This article originally appeared In Travel+Leisure.

To me, a native Texan, New England was always a far-off dream, a distant fairy tale where sailboats, lobster, and the Kennedys lived harmoniously in seaside mansions. In my part of the world — the Texas panhandle, tucked away between Oklahoma and New Mexico hours from the ocean — New England might as well have been old England — both truly exotic compared to my dusty, Dairy Queen-filled upbringing. 

On a recent road trip from New York City to Maine, I finally got to experience firsthand the New England fantasy I dwelled on growing up. And while the roadside lobster shacks and laid-back pace of life were exactly what I dreamed of, my overnight stay at Kennebunk's White Barn Inn wasn't just a highlight of my time in Maine, but one of the best hotels this travel editor has experienced in the U.S.