My partner and I have hiked NOBO on the trail for 5 months and 3 weeks, and this was the first hostel/bed & breakfast we’ve stayed at. We walked to the Sterling Inn from the trailhead with the intention of using their complimentary shower/laundry services, as advertised on the website and we figured we would buy our last resupply between here and Katahdin to patronize their business, since we were very grateful for them providing such a kind service to both guests and non-guests. We were at the inn for longer than expected and to avoid feeling like we were loitering (we were there from noon to 6:30pm), we decided to book a room to give them business and there was only one other person staying. We had hoped to do our last resupply there, since they advertised that they were the best hiker restock in Maine, but there was not enough real food to get us to Katahdin. Since they offered a free shuttle service, we asked if it wouldn’t be a problem to go to the general store. The first day we were there, everything was fine and the father/son that operate the business took a group to Berry’s General Store (which has a better resupply than the inn). The following day, we figured if any other hikers arriving were planning on going to Berry’s, we’d take a ride with them to get a few more things we realized we needed and some food for the day (they make daily runs to Berry’s, the pub, and another local business or two at specific times, which we were 100% flexible on adhering to). They said this was no problem. Around noon, when it came time for them to shuttle a group of hikers to the local brewpub and some back to the trail, he asked where we wanted to go. When we said we wanted to run to Berry’s once more if “it wasn’t a problem”, he blew up and yelled, “actually, it is a problem! You guy’s want to go back to Berry’s after I already took you there yesterday, and you’re not even staying here tonight!? It’s $10 if you want a ride there.” And he threw his arms up in the air and stormed off. He snapped at us and was very rude and highly unprofessional. We would have been happy to contribute a shuttle fee, had he not been so nasty toward us and had it not been advertised as a free shuttle service on their website. We were polite, undemanding, and it was completely uncalled for and we felt unwelcome and uncomfortable, after having spent over $150 on our stay and resupply. We were basically told to leave, even though the sign on our room’s door said that guests are welcome to hang out at the inn’s communal areas after checking out of the room (and we checked out on time). He was then a coward and instead of apologizing for his outburst, he sent his son out to explain that it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t realize that we had spent a ton of money (money that was just about the last of our trip’s budget) and thought we were someone else. It didn’t make any sense and regardless of who he thought we were, no one should ever speak to someone the way he spoke to us. We highly regretted patronizing this business, especially since the son even admitted that they dread having hikers at their hotel. So I guess they are hiker friendly until they decide to blow up. We would not recommend staying here and it seems they would appreciate if you didn’t.
We were totally overwhelmed as soon as we pulled in. The owner Eric and his son Zach have outdid themselves. The place is totally redone over and should be a feature item in a b&b magazine. We had an ample size room ($80 plus fees) across from a multi bathroom location. Highly rated for cleanliness and accommodation of your needs. Laundry facilities also were available. We are usually in a hurry to get back on the road but not this time. We are Already making plans to go back soon.
I'm an Appalachian Trail section hiker. After visiting some friends along the coast my wife offered to "slack pack" me so I could finish about 90 miles of the trail south of Monson. I found the Sterling Inn and we stayed for three nights. We both loved it! Absolutely great accomodations, whether hiking or just visiting the area. Eric, really knows how to take care of his guests, especially AT hikers. His rooms are all very clean and comfortable, and vary in accomodating hikers (e.g., bunks that keep the rate down) or travelers who want King size bedrooms. Additionally, he has a laundry room with washer/dryer; a store to buy gear, food and snacks; a lounge with a refrigerator and a big screen TV; and he serve a breakfast in a very nice breakfast room that accomdates at least 20 or more guests. The laundry and breakfast come with the very reasonable nightly fee. For AT hikers Eric will shuttle you from near the trail to the Inn and back at no cost. He can be reached from the Caratunk Post Office (phone is in a small booth outside - Sterling's # is next to phone). The Post Office is a short walk (10 min or less) from the trail where it crosses Hwy 201.
We stayed here for two nights for a white water rafting trip. We were a party of 8, split into 2 rooms: 4 adults, 4 kids ranging 8-15, and 2 dogs. We particularly enjoyed the lay out of our room and would certainly request it again. The beds faced each other and it gave the kids a little privacy/space. We were in the Flagstaff Double (room 9). Room 10 has a similar lay out. Our friends stayed at the Kennebec room (Room 1) which worked for them with younger kids. Their beds were next to each other with a more traditional lay out. We concur with what others have mentioned: the Inn was very clean, and welcoming. We enjoyed hanging out in the common areas (the great room) and the wrap around porch. Breakfast was simple, but had enough choices. Coffee was good. There was a fridge, microwave, and accessibility to kitchen utensils. Location was good, very close and convenient to rafting. We appreciated that the property was pet friendly. In sum, accommodations couldn’t be more comfortable!
I stayed here for two nights in March while snowmobiling, it should be noted that you can ride directly from the Inn parking lot to the main corridor trails including gas at Northern Outdoors or the Forks area, which is a big plus.
Also, (and probably unrelated to most aspiring future guests), I have an elderly Yellow Lab, and it is very difficult to board him because of his age, and mobility, so it makes getting away difficult. I saw that Dogs are welcome (obviously with some common sense) and Eric and Zach were wonderful, even taking time out of their day to let him out and walk him. It literally saved my weekend since my Sister cancelled dog sitting at the last minute to look at Colleges for my Niece. :( Cooper made many new friends during his stay at the Sterling Inn, and learned at 13 he can still get up and down a flight of stairs with a Milk bone treat for motivation!
Aside: The Inn is clean and feels like home. There is a common recreation room upstairs with a wood stove, an LCD TV, a refrigerator, and a stairwell that leads to an outdoor barbecue. The rooms are cozy. There is plenty of parking outside, and it is easy to move trailers around. The dining room is clean and expansive and includes a piano, with a large wrap around deck overlooking 201. There are many historic pictures on the tables of the Inn taken over the many years it has served the area. It's like going back in time, but not completely. They also happen to have great wi-fi and accept credit cards!