The Southern Coast: Places to Explore

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Kennebunk

Sometimes bypassed on the way to its sister town of Kennebunkport, Kennebunk has its own appeal. In the 19th century the town was a major shipbuilding center; docks lined the river with hundreds of workers busily crafting the vessels that would bring immense fortune to some of the area's residents. Although the trade is long gone, the evidence that remains of this great wealth exists in Kennebunk's mansions. Kennebunk is a classic small New England town, with an inviting shopping district, steepled churches, and fine examples of 18th- and 19th-century brick and clapboard homes. There are also plenty of natural spaces for walking, swimming, birding, and biking—the Kennebunks' major beaches are here. Kennebunk's main village—downtown means here–is along U.S. 1, mostly extending west from the Mousam River. The Lower Village is along Routes 9 and 35, three miles down Route 35 from the main village. Route 9 runs right across the Kennebunk River to Kennebunkport's touristy downtown, forming one commercial area with restaurants, shops, boat cruises, and galleries. The drive down Route 35 keeps visitors agog with the splendor of the area's mansions, spread out on both sides of the road. To get to the grand and gentle beaches of Kennebunk, continue straight (road becomes Beach Avenue) at the intersection with Route 9.

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