I still can’t get over what a fabulous time I had in my hometown for the Kennebunkport Festival. Here is one last post, where I tackle where to stay, what to pack, and what to do if you decide to travel to the Kennebunks – for the Kennebunkport Festival or not. You might be wondering what the Kennebunks are, and that is a question I get a lot. There is Kennebunk, where I grew up – a town with a large stretch of beaches, then on the other side of a small green bridge (named the Mathew Lanigan Bridge after a dear friend) lies Kennebunkport. To the west of Kennebunk is West Kennebunk. The three towns share a school system, but each has its own personality. Kennebunkport is the vacation destination.
I recommend staying right in Kennebunkport. If you are traveling to attend the Kennebunkport Festival, and plan to stay for the entire week of events it might be fun to stay in two very different hotels and to switch half way through. The festival’s after parties are a lot of fun – but be aware that these are lively parties that last until midnight when choosing accommodations. Some of my favorite hotels are The Breakwater (I stayed at their waterside cottage the weekend of my wedding) and The Colony (which has a spectacular salt water pool). There are many old historic inns too, The Captain Lord Mansion is one of the most well known. Of course, I have luxurious accommodations at my parents’ home.
If you are traveling for the Kennebunkport Festival, you want to plan to dress to impress – while being prepared for Maine’s unpredictable weather. Luckily I was able to hide leggings under the maxi dress I wore to POP the Kennebunks on a 55 degree night. Be prepared, and remember that some events are outside. (The tent where POP the Kennebunks was held was heated but I am always cold).
The Kennebunkport Festival does have openings in the schedule, giving visitors time to take advantage of offerings in other areas. I recommend taking Hydiwave (a ferry service) to Ogunquit for a day. Barnacle Billy’s can’t be missed, and there are shops to explore. Maine’s largest “city” is Portland, where you will find art galleries, boutiques, and a hot culinary scene. Then swing up to Freeport for outlet shopping and a visit to L.L.Bean.
Locals know that the best brunch around can be found at Merriland Farm in Wells. This gem is certainly off the beaten path, but I make it there every time I am in Maine. My personal recommendation: start with one of the homemade muffins, and then split the french toast and one of the benedicts. The french toast changes seasonally, but it it always filled with fruit. When my mother and I visited we had a blueberry mascarpone french toast, and the Oso Grande, an eggs benedict with bacon, tomato and a spinach alfredo sauce. There is also a small golf course at Merriland Farm, so you could work off all the brunch if you want.
But – the Kennebunks have more than enough to keep you busy. My favorite restaurants are the Wayfarer – a local hangout in Cape Porpoise which due to the fact it is next to a church it can’t get a liquor license is BYOB (as far as I know the only BYOB in Kennebunkport). Another favorite is Hurricane which is located in the heart of Dock Square. For the best lobster roll in town head over to The Clam Shack, which is perched on the Kennebunk side of the bridge.
Make time to browse the local boutiques in Kennebunkport. I buy many of my dresses at Shoot the Moon, and Dock Square Clothiers is an old favorite. Spaces is a fun store with a variety of nautical offers. It is also the store where I purchased the Ropes Maine bracelet that everyone has been asking me about (and yes, Spaces sells them online). I also love supporting small locally owned businesses. None of the shops in Kennebunkport are chains, they are one of a kind stores owned by locals.
Kennebunkport has several fantastic art galleries which are mixed in among the other shops. My favorite gallery is Mast Cove Gallery which has a stunning selection of art from Maine artists.
There are lots of historic homes in the Kennebunks. Walk down Summer Street in Kennebunk to admire the Victorian mansions where ships captains once resided. The Wedding Cake House on Summer Street is the most unique, and as the name suggests, it was decorated to resemble a wedding cake. The Nott House in Kennebunkport offers tour of the Greek Revival home, as well as walking tours of Kennebunkport.
Kennebunk and Kennebunkport have lots of outdoor activities too. Many of the bigger hotels offer bikes, canoes, and kayaks. Scooter rentals are available if you want to scoot around town (this is my father’s preferred transportation). Surfing lessons, whale watches, fishing tours, sailing tours, and lobster tours are all available. Or you could lounge at one of the beaches.
There you have a collection of some of my favorite things to do in Maine. If you are a foodie traveling without children, then you should definitely check out the Kennebunkport Festival. I am already looking forward to going back next year.
Feel free to chime in, or ask questions in the comments. Want to read more about Kennebunkport – check out this post.