Innkeeper Nancy Gray Greetings from the Harraseeket Inn.  It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Nancy Dyer Gray, matriarch and builder of the Harraseeket Inn. She passed peacefully at her home in Freeport with her daughter by her side on Memorial Day, which was always a special day for her, a day of ritual and remembrance. She would visit the cemetaries where her parents and grandparents were buried and plant flowers on their graves, then watch the parade that went through town and honored our fallen heroes. She was eighty seven years old. Her obituary can be read here.

Nancy was the heart and soul of the inn, and her drive and vision inspired all of us to work together toward making the Harraseeket Inn the special place it has become.  She pioneered and promoted farm to table dining long before it became a "thing". She was the recipient of countless AAA Four Diamond Awards while continually building the Harraseeket Inn's reputation for hospitality excellence and environmental stewardship. 
Nancy and Chip Gray
Nancy with son Chip Gray, pose in front of the inn with Freeport Police Chief Sue Nourse's pride and joy

She was tremendously proud of her employees, and although she was an astute businesswoman with a no nonsense attitude and tireless work ethic, she always had time to listen to, advise and nurture her staff. Her door was always open. Always. She was the person everyone went to with personal and professional problems. She had a generous heart and would spare no effort to help anyone in need. 

Mom at the Labrador camp, gathering kindling and, as always, smiling!
Her love of outdoor adventures kept her going to camp on a regular basis throughout her seventies. She accompanied me into the Labrador wilds many times, beginning way back in the '90's when
 I raced my dog team there, and we always had a blast together.  She brought joy and enthusiam to everything she did and adapted effortlessly to the most challenging of situations, including toting a shotgun around the year a big, brash black bear kept trying to break into camp.  The bear broke one of her freshly washed windows and that made her mad, but though she was a fine shot, she wouldn't hurt a fly and loved wildlife, especially bears. 

Nancy didn't shy away from going after what she wanted, and being a woman didn't slow her down one bit.  I was with her the day she marched into that big Portland bank, sat down in front of a panel of Doubting Thomas bankers and asked for a loan of five million dollars to build the Harraseeket Inn.  One hour later, having wiped the skeptical expressions off their faces with her masterful and flawlessly delivered business plan, she walked out with the full amount of the loan and proceeded to build the inn of her dreams.
Nancy sits front and center as first woman elected to, and the first Chairwoman of, the Resort Committee of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

Many of our guests knew her personally, and she so enjoyed welcoming all of you over the past 35 years.  She also loved when you stopped by her table at breakfast or when she was having lunch or dinner in the tavern to say hello.  Well into her eighties, she was walking to work every day to "keep an eye on things".  When dementia robbed her of her memory in her final years, she still lit up when guests greeted her personally. In her final months, she never realized that there was a pandemic going on, nor did she know that her inn had been closed down
Mom with Gus, a feral rescue cat who never left her side in her last years.
by the governor. This was a blessing. She spent her last lovely spring days sunning in her garden, puttering around her house, cuddling with her cats while under the watchful and loving care of some very, very special companions. Though she was steadily failing, she called the shots to the very end, choosing to depart this life while I was with her on Memorial Day, her special day of remembrance.

Few could match my mother's sharp wits when she was on top of her game, and it was extremely hard watching how dementia robbed her of that incredibly brilliant mind. But she was tough to the very end.  One of her favorite sayings was "Never Try, Never Win."  She did both throughout her entire life, always with tremendous style and class, endless optimism and more than a hint of mischievousness.  She will be greatly missed. 

To commemorate her passing, we're gifting you a voucher this month. The inn is currently open to Mainers and those who have quarantined, and we're offering outdoor patio dining in our Broad Arrow Tavern. We hope that you'll redeem this voucher by visiting her beloved inn.  Lift a glass and toast her memory.  She'd like that.

June 2020 Voucher

There are still many unknowns at this time, but we're doing our best to respond to the situation as it evolves. We're monitoring health & travel advisories & mandates put forth by the federal government and the state of Maine, and we've collected some resources here for your reference.

Important Notice: If you're traveling to Maine from out of state, please call ahead to ask about any quarantine measures in effect. The quarantine requirement is currently two weeks but that could change. We will do our best to answer any and all of your questions and help you with your travel plans.

In closing, we hope that you are well, and once again we want to extend our sincere gratitude to all essential front line workers who've kept the wheels turning during the pandemic these past few months. We appreciate your efforts and applaud your courage.  Thank you.

With warmest regards,
Penny Gray
The Gray family 
Nancy Dyer Gray 13 yrs.
Nancy Gail Dyer standing at her father's float plane with "Danny", circa 1945