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The Water Street Inn

The Water Street Inn is located in Kittery, Maine, just North of Badger's Island and the Piscataqua River. Its premises include the main house, built after the Victorian-style, and a 1700s-style barn. There are a total of eight guest accommodations on the property, all of which have private bathrooms. A unique feature of the rooms is that they each have a keyless self-entry system so that guests can be more independent during their stay. The grounds of the inn have two outdoor living areas—namely the front porch and the back patio—in addition to relatively extensive perennial gardens. In the nearby area of Kittery and Portsmouth, guests can find a comprehensive list of attractions to visit, activities to do, and places to eat. The Water Street Inn also has a sister property in Portsmouth called The Sailmaker's House.


The Water Street Inn is nestled in a neighborhood district of Kittery, Maine, just north of the Piscataqua River. The two buildings that make up the property include the main house and a barn that sits on one acre of land.

The main house is a two-story home built after the Victorian style, constructed almost entirely from red brick and complete with white trim. There is a front porch living area overlooking the river with rocking chairs, café tables, and white pillars. The house itself also has an abundance of windows, giving the rooms various perspectives of the surrounding area. Some of the windows are on the roof of the house, so guests staying in one of the second-floor rooms have a view of the sky above.

The barn is located just to the left of the main house and is also two stories. Just like the main house, it has an abundance of windows overlooking the grounds of the property. However, in contrast to its sister building, it is constructed from wood and is painted a dark blue color—though it is adorned with similar white trim.

Among the two buildings, there are eight guest accommodations available for patrons of the property to stay in. Rooms one through six are in the main house, and the remaining two, rooms seven and eight, are in the barn. The Water Street Inn wants to allow each of its guests to be as independent as possible during their stay, something their amenities and features reflect. Some of these include keyless-entry self-check-in rooms, private bathrooms, and individual climate control for each room. Each accommodation also comes complete with daily housekeeping, custom-made mattresses adorned with Matouk bed linens, Matouk towels, a hairdryer, as well as Bigelow brand shampoos, body wash, and conditioner. Additionally, there is a flat-screen television with cable in every room and Wi-Fi available.

All eight of the guest accommodations are unique, having different color themes, décor, and layouts. Michelle, one of the property managers, describes the rooms in the main house as maintaining a classic, Victorian-style element while still being modern. The beds in rooms one through six range from queen-sized to king-sized, and the wall's color themes vary from painted red, blue, and green or having classically designed wallpaper. The most popular of these rooms consist of rooms two and four. Michelle says this is because of their rather bold color themes and because they are both front-facing rooms that allow guests to look out over the Piscataqua River, the memorial bridge spanning it, and Badgers Island.

Michelle describes the guest accommodations in the barn to be more "airy" or even "beachy" in its feel, with vaulted ceilings and white-washed décor. Room seven is a suite and is set up like a studio apartment. It has a full kitchen with a sink, fridge, stove, oven, microwave, coffee maker, and dishwasher. Complementing this is a dining nook and living space area. A unique thing about this room is that it has its own private entrance. Because of this room's available amenities, particularly the kitchen, Michelle recommends it as the best room at the Water Street Inn to accommodate longer stays.

Room eight is the only accommodation on the premises with two bedrooms, each housing a queen bed. Because of this unique feature, this unit is a popular room among families or groups of up to five people. Complete with a relatively large living area, room eight is a two-story unit with a spacious vaulted ceiling and exposed beams running across it. Both these rooms are described as being in "a 1700s barn turned serene oasis."

Besides their accommodations, guests can spend time in any of the several shared spaces at the Water Street Inn. A common room is available at all hours of the day where patrons have access to a coffee bar, tea, snacks, filtered water, and refrigerator space. The main lobby has a couch Michelle describes as being "very comfortable." There is also the front porch mentioned above. Between the main house and the barn, there is a section of the building called the Breeze Way—which is the entrance to the barn—and an outdoor patio. Here guests can spend time socializing or relaxing in available chairs and have access to a second coffee maker.

Beyond these, the property's grounds are also another common space popular among the Water Street Inn's patrons. They are covered in perennial gardens, something Michelle says has been with the house for a long time. Included among the gardens are a wide variety of flowers, which Michelle mentions that often neighbors, guests of the house, and people walking by will stop and admire. There is also a path in the garden that winds through a trellis, flowers, and several trees as it wraps around the home. All-in-all, Michelle describes the premises as "picturesque."


The culture of the Water Street Inn can perhaps best be described by its tagline, which is "A modern twist on a historic inn." The property staff tries to emulate this culture by providing a comfortable place for guests to stay and relax and all the modern amenities and features they have included in each room. Michelle, the property manager, tells how Amanda, the co-owner of the property with her husband Jay, takes "great stock and care" into getting comfortable furniture & things that people would actually want to use. Michelle goes further to explain that everything in the inn is "[something] Amanda would have in her own house." This attention to detail in the décor, comfort, and amenities of the guest accommodations is something that many of the property's patrons mention in reviews. One such guest review reads, "Our room was very nice. It had a spacious bathroom, plenty of storage, and a comfortable bed. The hotel had a lot of thoughtful touches (keyless entry, powerful Wi-Fi, variety of delicious snacks, tea and coffee, condiments, beautifully decorated rest areas, and an amazing garden next to the house)."

Another cultural element the Water Street Inn tries to create for their guests is one of independence and a personalized experience. The inn's management strives to emulate this culture by always being available should a guest need anything during their stay, while at the same time allowing their visitors the option not to have to interact with any of the property staff if they would prefer not to. Providing a keyless entry with personalized key-codes for each guest and always being available by phone or text, the inn allows visitors to be more independent in their day-to-day activities as they stay on the premises. Many guests appreciate how accessible the management is should they need it. One, in particular, said, "We received a text in the early afternoon to inform us that our room was ready early. The innkeeper was prompt to respond when I texted to ask about a good seafood place for lunch."

The typical demographic of the guests that stay at the Water Street Inn are couples. This is in part due to the fact that most of the rooms can only accommodate two people. Among these couples, there is a fairly even mix between older and younger people. Michelle tells how an abundance of the older patrons that have stayed on the property have also stayed at one of the previous lodging businesses that existed on the premises. In contrast, many of the younger visitors found them through social media, such as Instagram or Facebook.

Despite couples being the typical demographic, Michelle talks about the frequency in which groups will completely buy out the inn. These groups often come to the area for weddings, bachelor parties, family reunions, or vacations. However, regardless of whether their guests consist of a group, couple, or even a single patron, the staff at the Water Street Inn try to make them feel special and are "open to helping make their vision happen."

Michelle says that "people don't know what they're getting into at inns and bed and breakfast a lot of times." However, because of these cultural elements the Water Street Inn tries to uphold, guests are often "impressed with the modern style, and the business model" they experience during their stay. She says guests often mention that they love the décor, the style, the inside of the house and The Barn, the grounds of the property, and the "lovely sunset views." She also says that many guests describe the inn as a "reprieve" in the inn's guest book or an excellent place to rest their head after exploring the town and the surrounding area. One visitor's review reflecting this reads, "Water Street Inn has a unique character and a welcoming atmosphere. The rooms are clean and are beautifully decorated. The location is ideal."

An abundance of the guests who stay at the Water Street Inn has either heard about it from somebody else who has stayed there or are returning patrons. However, another prominent reason visitors stay at the inn is because of its central location to the attractions in the surrounding area. One guest mentioned it is in the "perfect location to enjoy both old-town Kittery and Portsmouth just across the river." Between these two coastal cities—Kittery, Maine, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire—guests can enjoy a wide variety of activities. Michelle says that guests can "walk to anything they want to do" and that she wished more people knew how conveniently located the inn is to everything in the nearby area. At the same time, however, the Water Street Inn itself is located in a quieter neighborhood. This is a feature Michelle says guests appreciate because, while they can walk to everything, they aren't in the hustle and bustle themselves, so they are better "able to relax as they get ready for their next adventure."

Michelle talks about how Kittery is called the "gateway to Maine" because it is often the first place people enter when they come into the state. Because of this, many visitors of the area associate Kittery with the feeling of being on vacation or starting a journey.

Some specific attractions in the area that Michelle recommends to her guests include Pepperrell Cove at Kittery Point, Downtown Kittery, and the historic forts. Pepperrell Cove has scenic views of the ocean, various venues, an ice cream parlor, a boat launch area where people can rent kayaks, and a "proper restaurant" called the Bistro 1828, as well as other more casual dining options. Downtown Kittery is called "The Foreside," a place Michelle describes as "small but mighty." It's a one-way street lined with five restaurants and some bars, including Lil's Café, which is known for its crullers and is popular among the guests of the Water Street Inn. The forts in the area include Fort McClary and Fort Foster. Here guests can learn about, celebrate, and watch reenactments of historical events.

Some marine activities visitors of the area frequently participate in include boating, river tours, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Biking is also a popular pastime in the region, with many routes running near the water and through upper-class neighborhoods. A company in Portsmouth called Port City Bike Tours rents bikes—both electric and standard—and hosts guided bike tours. Beyond this, there are a plethora of dining options for "foodies" and various recreational activities, such as hiking the White Mountains.

The owners of the inn, Jay and Amanda, also own several different restaurants in Portsmouth and Kittery. They call these restaurants, the Water Street Inn, and their sister lodging property—The Sailmaker's House—their "Family." One of these restaurants, in particular, is called Ore Nell's Barbecue. It is located only a short walk from the inn on Badger's Island. Many of the others are also within walking distance.


The Water Street Inn has been in operation for three years now, opening in August of 2018. However, this is not the first time the property has been used as a place for lodging. Directly previous to the Water Street Inn business taking up residence of the house, the property was the Portsmouth Harbor Inn and Spa. It had the six rooms in the main house just as it has now, yet at the time, the barn served as a spa. Even before that, the property was called the Gundalow House. Its rooms all had names reminiscent of ships, based on its own name—a Gundalow being a long flat-bottomed ship that was once a common vessel used in the Maine and New Hampshire area rivers. Regardless of its predecessors, the premises of the Water Street Inn has been accommodating guests and visitors of the area for a long time. Michelle, one of the property managers, tells how one older couple visiting the inn for their anniversary said they had stayed on the property more than thirty years previous for their honeymoon.

The current owners of the property are Jay and Amanda McSherry. Since purchasing it in 2018, they have made many changes to the premises, mainly in an effort to modernize it and provide all the features and amenities they now have available on the premises, such as the keyless entry rooms. Amanda also made efforts to change and update the decorations and cosmetics of the house. Some of these include repainting, redecorating, putting up new wallpaper, and adding new furniture. At the same time, however, Amanda tried to restore and maintain whatever she could that came with the house. Many of the old wallpapers, the grand stairwell handrail, the architecture style itself, and the bright blue tile in the entryway of the main home are antique to the property.

Beyond these, the Water Street Inn's most significant changes introduced to the property were adding the two rooms in the adjacent barn of the house, where the spa used to be. Even in this, they tried to maintain the feeling of the historic inn by having exposed beams running across the room and vaulted ceilings stretching relatively high above them, complemented by rough wood trimming. They also repainted it from red to the dark blue color it is now.

Jay and Amanda have been in business in the Kittery and Portsmouth area for a long time, though mainly on the culinary side of things. The Water Street Inn is their second of two separate lodging properties. The other is called The Sailmaker's House. It has been open since 2017 and is located a short walk away in Portsmouth, just across the Piscataqua River. In fact, many returning guests that visit The Water Street Inn will instead stay at The Sailmaker's House to try it out, and vice versa. Amanda had always wanted to get into the business of hospitality. So, when the Portsmouth Harbor Inn and Spa was put up for sale, she and her husband decided to seize the opportunity.

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6 Water St
Kittery, Maine 3904
United States


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Jay & Amanda

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