Saving Easter Bunnies at Maine’s Inn By the Sea

Sunday Apr 8, 2012

Cape Elizabeth, Maine - Inn by the Sea, Maine's premier luxury beach resort, boasts dramatic Atlantic views, a soft white sand beach, and ... bunnies. New England Cottontails aren't just Easter visitors here. They're native to coastal Maine but also endangered.

In an effort to stop New England Cottontails from disappearing in Maine, Inn by the Sea and the Maine Department of Conservation and Bureau of Parks and Lands are collaborating to restore habitat - or "Rabbitat," if you will -- for the endangered rabbits at Crescent Beach State Park. Loss of native shrubland and predation are causes commonly attributed to the region's dwindling Cottontail populations. Cottontail habitats typically include a combination of local shrubs, vines, dense thicket and wetlands.

"Cape Elizabeth's coastal setting is important to the Inn," said Sara Masterson, the Inn's general manager. "Restoring bunny habitat, creating nectar gardens to help the survival of endangered butterflies and creating pleasing gardens that also feed and provide shelter for local wildlife - this is what will preserve Maine's pristine environment for future generations. The beauty of this natural setting is an important part of our guest's experience- who doesn't love bunnies, beaches and butterflies!"

Inn by the Sea has assumed responsibility for removing invasive, non-indigenous plant species, such as bamboo, from two acres on state park and private property near Crescent Beach, and later restoring the acreage to native shrubland habitat suitable for the survival of New England Cottontails.

Restoration work began in November 2011 and Inn by the Sea has re-planted the area with indigenous shrubs such as raspberry, blackberry, dogwood, alder, winterberry and dewberry to create a high quality and safe habitat for rabbits. Herbs and grasses such as goldenrod, clover, plantain, chickweed, wild strawberry and buttercup will also be planted as additional food sources.

Collaboration to restore Cottontail Habitat is just one of many environmental initiatives undertaken by Inn by the Sea over the last decade. "The beauty of Cape Elizabeth’s natural surroundings is an important part of our guest’s experience," said Masterson, the Inn’s general manager. "Restoring habitat and reserving the state’s pristine environment for future generations is not only the right thing to do, it also makes good business sense. Maine’s natural environment is the magnet that attracts tourism to the state."

In answer to Bugs Bunny’s legendary- "So, what’s up Doc?" Inn by the Sea hopes the restored habitat will stop, at least, this one disappearing rabbit trick.

The eco-luxury Inn by the Sea is located on Crescent Beach in the charming coastal town of Cape Elizabeth, just minutes from Portland’s historic Old Port. Selected one of Tripadvisor’s Top Ten Green hotels worldwide and one of Travel & Leisure’s Best 500 Hotels in the World in 2011, Inn by the Sea is set in a location of unspoiled beauty and offers guests unsurpassed personalized service.

The Inn redefines coastal eco- luxury with a combination of modern and environmentally friendly design features. Transformation of Inn by the Sea into Maine’s premier luxury beach destination began in 2008 after a massive multi-million dollar makeover of the main inn, followed by addition of 10 new direct ocean view suites in July, 2012.

The renovation seamlessly wed contemporary amenities with traditional coastal charm to create an atmosphere of upscale elegance throughout the property. Inn by the Sea is Maine’s only Virtuoso ® and Preferred Boutique® property and has Maine DEP Green Lodging and Silver LEED® certifications.

Getting There
Most major carriers fly into Portland International Jetport (PWM). JetBlue has non-stops service and great low fares from JFK, only 45 minutes flying time from New York. The Inn is a two hour drive from Boston and Amtrak offers rail service into Portland from Boston, New York and Washington D.C.


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