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Another Traveler's Opinion (with apologies to Neal Sanders): Two Weeks in Kennebunkport and Area

Another Traveler's Opinion (with apologies to Neal Sanders): Two Weeks in Kennebunkport and Area

Old Aug 7th, 2001, 10:43 AM
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Another Traveler's Opinion (with apologies to Neal Sanders): Two Weeks in Kennebunkport and Area

I spent a good part of my youth at Cape Cod and never considered the coast of Maine; I’m glad it waited for me. The beaches are long, clean, and fairly easy to use; the water is cold-—sometimes very cold—-but it is very clean. There are those who say that “Kennebunkport is not the real Maine,” but we need to be within two hours of our home until my husband retires-—and this fit the bill.

We rented a house in the town of Kennebunkport, not on the beach. The house came with the needed beach sticker, and we never had a problem parking at any of the local beaches: Gooch’s, Middle Beach, or Mother’s Beach (which has a playground—-wonderful when little visitors came). Side-street parking was often easy to find if necessary. Colony Beach, a smaller but just as beautiful beach, in front of the Colony Hotel on Ocean Avenue, does not require a beach sticker. All the beaches except Colony have lifeguards from 9 to 5; dogs are allowed but not during those hours. People are good about cleaning up after the dogs.

The downtown, called Dock Square, can be very, very busy, as there are many shops and restaurants, horse-drawn buggy rides, and Ben & Jerry’s. The shops are quality, not junk; I do most if not all of my Christmas stocking-stuffer shopping here as I find the most unique things. A few notes: the lobster rolls at Allison’s are excellent; the piano bar at the Kennebunkport Inn is fun after dinner; a shop called Carrots & Company is the best source for those unique items mentioned above; there’s a shop with penny candy (really); a busy book store; a well-known clam shack (don’t lean against the guardrail on the bridge to eat—-the seagulls are expert at stealing the goodies right out of those little white boxes). Hurricane Restaurant, the same as the one in Ogunquit, has just opened this summer, and it is very good. A drink on the deck at 4 PM at Arundel’s, watching the boats come and go out to the ocean and the sunset was a part of many days. “The Old Salt” is run by an old salt, and he was open as early as 7 AM for coffee, before the others. You can buy coffee, a muffin or bagel, and a newspaper and sit outside on a bench or walk around-—no inside seating.

We had a fabulous dinner at Arrow’s in Ogunquit. Worth mentioning too is dinner at a lobster-in-the-rough place at the very end of Cape Porpoise. Fresh fish for the grill was from Preble’s in Cape Porpoise; fresh vegetable stands are everywhere. Fore Street in Portland was excellent—-we walked in at 5:30 or so, sat in the bar briefly, and got a table--without a reservation. I had “pan-roasted lobster,” served in a black frying pan--excellent. And the mussels were the best I’ve ever tasted anywhere. The Kennebunk Inn, in the town of Kennebunk, is a good place for either dinner in the dining room or the pub menu in the bar.

We attended a performance of Figaro at the only five-years-old Portland Opera Company—excellent! We visited the Designer House in York, an annual fund-raiser by the York Historical Society. This year a beautiful old home overlooking Cape Neddick Harbor had been transformed by a different interior designer for each room-—for sale at $1.5 million.

I also like this area off-season, especially Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude weekend in December.

I’ll be happy to elaborate or answer questions. It was a fun two weeks.

Old Aug 7th, 2001, 11:51 AM
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Thanks for posting your trip report, Audrey. It sounds really idyllic! I've never been to Maine, but it's on high on my list.
Old Aug 8th, 2001, 08:07 AM
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Great trip report, Audrey. Renting a house vs. staying at an inn/motel is an intriguing idea. Which raises two questions: 1) how did you find a house to rent? 2) how did the cost compare?
Old Aug 8th, 2001, 09:55 AM
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Funny you should ask, Chris. We had a lengthy discussion as to whether we would do this again next year, because, for one thing, we had too much company. The house, which is next door to relatives who own their house, is lovely and has 3 bedrooms, one full bath, one bath with shower, and a half bath; plus a family room with a sofa that opens to a double and a loft with a double bed. It was $1,300 a week. We looked around a little bit and talked with friends; we could rent a condo with ocean view from all windows for $1,200. A week or so at The Colony, including breakfast, might be comparable. That’s as far as we got. Houses on the beach are another matter: they start at about $3,500—-if you can get one. The owners of the house had made a deal with one another: they would buy this lovely home if she would agree to rent it for two weeks a year in order to pay the taxes (at least that's the story I heard); and our family next door recommended us.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 07:19 AM
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This is the kind of trip report you print out and file away for when you get to the east coast. It sounds beautiful! Thanks for posting it.
Old Aug 9th, 2001, 01:35 PM
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After a wearying series of OT threads, its a pleasure to read a well written trip report. You don't owe an apology to anyone!
Old Aug 20th, 2001, 11:47 AM
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for JC

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