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Our History

The Norumbega Inn is a distinguished landmark which sits atop a rise overlooking the Penobscot Bay in Camden and is unique in design and structure from all other properties along the Maine coastline. Known to many who have seen it simply as “The Castle,” this is a grand building that invites wonder, curiosity and awe. This “stone castle by the sea” was built in 1886 by Joseph Stearns (b.1831, d.1895), a native of Weld, Maine and the inventor of the duplex telegraph.

Stearns sold his invention to Western Union and subsequently traveled throughout Europe doing business development for that company. He visited numerous castles and, upon his return, he decided to build a castle of his own. Our hotel reflects his vision, influenced by the historic castles he saw during his travels.

This stately building served as a private residence for nearly 100 years. It was added to the National Historic Registry in the early 1970s. From when it was built through 1984, there were multiple owners, including Mary Keep, Isabel Phelps, Helen Hubbard, Earle Pitman (whose family maintained residence here from 1943-1978) and W. Hodding Carter. In 1984, it was purchased by Elsie Griffin and converted to a B&B, managed by Mark Boland. They sold it to Murray and Elizabeth Keatinge in 1987, with Murray running the inn through the ‘90s. After his death in 1999, it transferred to trustees of his estate, Bruce & Roseanne Anderson and was run jointly with them and Murray’s son, Kent, until 2005. Thereafter Bruce & Roseanne ran the inn. The Norumbega was purchased from them in 2013 by Susan Walser and Phillip Crispo.

We are proud and honored to be part of the castle’s history. When we became owners of this iconic property in the spring of 2013, we immediately began the long process of bringing it back to life. After being shuttered for nearly two years, we reopened on Memorial Day Weekend, 2013.


Thank you to all who have been part of the journey so far.  We’re excited to be here!