Voted a Best Hotel in the WORLD on Travel + Leisure's 2024 IT List


About The Norumbega

The Norumbega, nestled along a lush, scenic stretch of Route 1 overlooking Penobscot Bay, is one of Maine’s most distinguished hotels. Situated within the High Street Historic District of Camden, Maine, the boutique hotel offers eleven unique and elegant guest rooms, including two luxurious suites, and a full service bar + small bites menu several nights a week. With endlessly elaborate wooden trimmings, several prominent fireplaces throughout the house, expansive landscaped grounds, and a quiet yet personable service, we know you are going to enjoy your stay at The Norumbega.


The earliest record of the name “Norumbega,” – a similar word, “Aranbega,” was written on a map drawn by explorers who spoke of a sparkling city in the New World. The geography of these maps and subsequent legends, where “the palaces were overlaid with gold leaf and surmounted by crystal towers,” would come to perfectly describe Penobscot Bay.

The Beginning


Joseph Barker Stearns, a native Mainer, is born. Eventually leaving Down East to seek his fortunes in Boston, he would not catch his break for several years. His persistence paid off – after many failures, Stearns revolutionized the fire alarm system with his patented reverse currents. Encouraged by his recent success, he focused his genius on the telegraph, eventually leading to his invention of the double telegraph. He sold his rights to Western Union, and, after traveling extensively around the globe – often staying in lavish estates – set about building his own castle by the sea



Declaring Camden, Maine the most beautiful place in the world, Stearns began construction on this great house. He hired New York architect G.B. Jennings and spared no expense to furnish it with the new electric light and steam heat. The house was completed in 1887 and was instantly dubbed “The Stone Castle by the Sea,” although Stearns officially named it “Norumbega.”

The Evolution

The Norumbega remained a private residence for the next century and was frequented by the likes of American Presidents and high society, until it was purchased and converted to an Inn by Elsie Griffin in 1984. The property changed hands a few times over the years, until one day it captured the special attention of another New York architect – William Tims. Will and his partner, Brett Haynie, purchased The Norumbega in May 2022 and set about comprehensive renovations of the historic property. They look forward to sharing with you the magic of Camden, and more especially, The Norumbega.

Present Day