What it Feels Like to be in Kennebunkport, Maine
by Eric Hurwitz. Page updated on 9/8/17
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Kennebunkport receives a great deal of travel press,
with good reason: this quaint Maine town is sort of like a
"greatest hits" package of the Maine coast.
With stunning rocky coastal ocean views at Ocean Ave., plenty of
interesting little, locally-owned shops and waterfront seafood
restaurants in its visually
appealing, colorful small downtown at Dock Square, Kennebunkport truly
offers a grand introduction to those interested in visiting the Maine
It's a place of grand old sea captain's homes -- some of which have
become inns and bed and breakfasts -- and narrow, crooked streets to
stroll by the coast. Kennebunkport also has one
of the most familiar, welcoming
scenes to any town in New England. The bridge over the Kennebunk River
provides a wonderful introduction of things to come for visitors to
Kennebunkport with its water views and the initial distant sight of a
cute little village setting with stores, restaurants and church
steeple. It's truly one of those "Happy Place" scenes that never gets
Crossing the bridge into Kennebunkport.
At times during the summer and revered Christmas
where the downtown is beautifully lit with thousands of lights,
Kennebunkport can seem a bit hectic and not built for the crowds --
this is, after all, a small little town. Don't let that discourage you,
though: No matter how
busy it gets during the summer and at Christmas, Kennebunkport feels
offers great scenery, a friendly vibe and plenty of shopping and dining
options without ever getting too touristy. Some even prefer fall and
spring travel, the latter which is the least crowded time.
My favorite things to do:
1. Drive Ocean Ave. -- it's one of the most scenic ocean
routes in Maine. This spectacular road includes a glimpse of the
summer compound of George W. Bush, Sr.,
our 41st U.S. President.
The Bush Compound on Ocean Blvd. in Kennebunkport.
2. Enjoy some beach time at peaceful Goose Rocks Beach, located just
off the the King's Highway, with its three miles of sandy beach.
Goose Rocks Beach, Kennebunkport
3. Shop in Dock Square where you'll find a delightful mix of
gift and souvenir stores, boutiques, galleries, ice cream places, candy
clothing stores in colorful, wethered buildings with appealing
competing store signs.
Side street in Dock Square.
4. Be sure to see Cape Porpoise with its views
Goat Island Lighthouse and the brief yet charming village mix of
lobster pounds, fish markets, local stores and a few restaurants.
Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport.
The Huffington Post features a nice article on fun things to do in Kennebunkport. I highly
suggest you read the story! But wait,
there's more to my article that you won't want to miss...
Where to eat: The Clam Shack, at 2 Western Ave. in
the heart of Dock Square, stands as one of Kennebunkport's most iconic,
beloved food destinations with its huge portions of fried clams,
lobster rolls, boiled Maine lobster dinners, New England clam chowder
and great lunch boxes of fried seafood with fries and cole slaw.
Scenically located at the bridge over the Kennebunk River, this small,
legendary fish shack has been around since 1968 and can often be seen
with lines forming in the summertime.
The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport. Photo source: The Clam Shack web
For a greater variety of food in a larger setting, walk over
the Kennebunk Bridge to Federal Jack's, at 8 Western Ave., with its
scenic water views and excellent pub food for lunch and dinner. Fresh
seafood highlights the menu here (and the New England clam chowder is
one of the best we have tasted), but other options abound including
substantial salads, burgers and of vegetarian dishes. If 21 or
over and so inclined to adult beverages, try the hand crafted beers --
Federal Jack's is the birthplace of the Shipyard Brewing Company!
Federal Jack's in Kennebunk.
View from Federal Jack's.
For an informal, retro general store experience with old-time
floors and surprisingly good food options for breakfast, lunch or a
light dinner, try H.B. Provisions just over the bridge in Kennebunk at
15 Western Ave. It's hard to know what to get, but a good start would
be lobster omelets, Belgian waffles with Maine blueberries, the flat
bread pizza, lobster roll, New England clam chowder, Maine crab and
cheddar melt, blueberry pie and Boston creme pie. I once had a special
here called the maple/bacon crab meat panini, and it was simply amazing!
H.B. Provisions offers limited seating and all the essentials
like groceries, locally-made ice cream, wine, beer, gifts and an ATM.
H.B Provisions in Kennebunk.
Alisson's, at 11 Dock Square in Kennebunkport, offers an
attractive downstairs/upstairs casual atmosphere and cuisine.
It's a popular dining choice with its handsome hardwood-look, prices
within reason, and a little something for everyone from its extensive
menu. Couples can dine on chowder and lobster for date night, bar flies
can sample a brew and nachos, buffalo chicken wings and crab cakes from
the pub fare, and families can delight in lobster rolls, pizza, fried
seafood, chicken parmesan, chicken tenders and burgers.
Alisson's in Kennebunkport.
Where to stay: Kennebunkport
has an impressive offering of hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, resorts
and motels ranging from charming Federal style homes to all-inclusive
Captain Fairfield Bed and Breakfast in Kennebunkport. Photo
Here are some favorites amongst travelers:
The Boathouse Waterfront lodging with many
amenities, an on site restaurant, proximity to Dock Square and the
scenic ocean views along beautiful Ocean Ave.
Cape Arundel Inn and Resort Great water views,
upscale rooms, an outdoor pool and highly regarded restaurant highlight
this long-time revered Kennebunkport resort.
Captain Fairfield Inn This beautiful, historic bed
and breakfast dates back to 1813 in the form of a federal mansion.
Visitors love this place for combining old world charm with modern
amenities. Immaculately maintained, and a centerpiece of grand
Rhumb Line Resort This is where we stay. One of
Kennebunkport's best values, the Rhumb Line Resort goes way beyond
basic lodging with its spacious guest rooms, suites with kitchenettes,
air conditioning, cable television, Wireless Internet Access, direct
dial phones and small refrigerators in every room. There's also a
cozy fireplaced lobby, free continental breakfast in
a friendly lower-level dining room, indoor and outdoor pools and hot
tubs, a fitness center, a summer poolside outdoor restaurant called the
Admiral's Table (with lobster bakes!) and attractively landscaped
grounds nestled within a four-acre wooded setting.
See all listed Kennebunkport hotels including special
Kennebunkport is a special Maine destination, one
that we can recommend
as one of the true quintessential coastal Maine towns. Hope you get to
go there soon! And please write me to share
your Kennebunkport experiences. I'd love to hear from you.
Eric at VisitingNewEngland.com
Highly recommended reading! Please check out Megan Erhart's excellent story at the New England With
Love blog on some of her favorite destinations in Kennebunkport.
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A favorite Maine snack...
VisitingNewEngland.com Publisher Eric Hurwitz
Town Greens -- Discover New England's first travel attractions:
Best Diners in New England
-- If you love
classic diners, New England has them! In my book, I write in detail on
50 top local diners.
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