Kennebunkport is Full of Wonderful Surprises – Go Discover Them!

Kennebunkport Village

Wonderful Surprises Await You in The Quaint Seaside Town of Kennebunkport Maine

Kennebunkport Village
We are all familiar with the beautiful beaches, elegant inns and delilghtful boutiques of Kennebunkport; but recently, we discovered some hidden surprises that you won’t want to miss.  There’s a lot to learn about Kennebunkport if you know just where to look.

We hopped aboard the Intown Trolley, that leaves from 21 Ocean Ave, and is a great way to see the town and learn lots of entertaining facts about Kennebunkport.  Ed, our driver, began the tour with some touching stories about the Bush Family and Walker Point which has been in the Bush family for over a century.  Taking this tour was a great way to get an up-close view and introduction to the compound.

Walker Point
Wikimedia Commons

A little know secret about former President George H. W. Bush is his surprise drop-ins to weddings taking place at the Nonantum Resort. When the President is in town, and a wedding taking place at the resort, he would motor his speed boat to the Nonantum’s dock, crash the wedding, dance with the bride and present his Presidential Cap to the groom. A moment the bride and groom will always remember.  Alas, this is a tradition of the past as his health is failing.

Discover The Historic Nonantum Resort With Surprises to Entertain The Whole Family

Nonantum Resort Kennebunkport
The Nonantum Resort dates back to 1883 and has evolved with the times with a nod to tradition but amenities of pesent day with every room having a water view!  As a fun family resort, there are lots of activities for the kids including kid crabbing, and dress-up princess and pirate evening buried treasure hunts.  With a full time kid’s activity director, they’ll never be bored.  The resort itself is lovely with large rooms, swimming pool, wonderful water views, porches filled with rocking chairs and exceptional food and staff.

For An Indulgent Unplugged Escape Head to the Beautiful Colony Hotel
Want to have a technology detox, try the beautiful Colony Hotel, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and has one of the few private beaches in Kennebunkport.  There is  no television or air conditioning, but the breathtaking views are worth a million.  They are also very pet friendly

A Surprising Unique and Affordable Getaway at the Franciscan Monestary Guest House

Franciscan Monastery Kennebunkport Maine
Wikimedia Commons

St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery was one of the biggest surprises to us.   Established in 1947, the monastery is a bit of Lithuania in Maine and sits on the most beautiful woodlands, with walking trails to a sandy beach.  Their grounds, originally designed by the Frederick Law Olmsted Bros, are open to the public and are a wonderful oasis for reflection, picnicing and hiking.   The Monastery is one of Kennebunkport’s best-kept secrets. The Franciscan Guest House is a non-profit, modest hotel on the property that serves up a delicious home-baked breakfast buffet, all at very reasonable prices.  Guests come from all over the world for spiritual and physical renewal. The guest house serves breakfast and dinner buffets which are open to the public, but reservations are required.

Lives of Early Settlers Are Brought To life at The First Families Museum as well as Memorabilia from the Bush Family
Wikimedia Commons By Upstateherd

In the heart of Kennebunkport on North Street is the First Families Museum housed in a 1853 Greek Revival White Column home originally owned by Charles and Celia Perkins, who amassed their fortune in the shipbuilding business. Large sunny windows assured that Charles could keep an eye on his shipbuilding business in Dock Square from anywhere in the home.  We learned a fascinating fact before entering the home.   The porch ceiling was painted in a soothing blue, but not for it’s appearance, it was to keep wasps, birds and other insects away as they do not like the blue hue.   Three generations of the Perkins-Nott Family lived in the home and never redecorated!   The wallpaper, furnishing, and artifacts are all original to the home.

Barbara Bush in Kennebunkport

The First Families Museum is Kennebunkport’s only George H.W. Bush exhibit.  Here you’ll find a photo timeline of President George H.W. and Barbara Bush’s life in and out of Washington DC , the White House and Kennebunkport. In addition to the permanent display, the gallery also features rotating collections of Bush Family memorabilia and artifacts. The Museum is not only called the First Families Museum because the Perkin-Nott Family was one of the first families in Kennebunkport, but also because George and Barbara Bush were thre First Family of the United States while George was President.  Amazingly there’s another connection as well.  Their oceanfront property was purchased from the Charles Perkins by George H. Walker and David Walker, great-grandfather to President George H.W. Bush.

It’s Surprisingly Easy To Go Boating in Kennebunkport

Boating in Kennebunkport

Moored just behind the Nonantum Resort, you’ll find three traditional Maine working boats that offer wonderful offshore experiences. The Pineapple Ketch which is owned by the Colony Resort is a beautiful sailing yacht that offers one or two hour day sails  and sunset sails.  Just look for the handsome red sails.  The Rugosa is a working wooden lobster boat that offers twice daily trips on the Kennebunk River where the crew hauls lobster traps and introduces guests to the traditions of lobstering in Maine.  You can even fish for a “Wicked Tuna” here as well.  Captain Bruce Hebert of the National Geographic’s television series Wicked Tuna Fishing takes guests out on the Libreti Rose II on fishing charters of 2, 3 or 4 hours.

Don’t miss the best fried clams in town at The Clam Shack on Main Street.  There’s almost always a line to order, but we found that if you have an afternoon snack – say about 3:00, the line will be almost non-existant.  For a special experience, consider dining aboard the tall ship Spirit of Massachusetts that is now permanently anchored in Dock Square.  And you can never go wrong with a stop into Federal Jack’s, the original home of Shipyard Brewery and the only brew pub with a scenic water view.

Ganny's Garden Kennebunkport

As you’re strolling through Kennebunkport, it’s worth spending a few quiet moments at Ganny’s Garden on Ocean Avenue.  This delightful garden was created as a tribute to Barbara Bush and is dotted with lovely sculptures and seasonal blooms.

Kennebunkport is Surprisngly Lively in Winter – Come Back For Christmas Prelude Celebration

Kennebunkport is a year-round destination, although many of the resorts close mid-December through mid-April.   Kennebunkport brings the year to a close with the beautiful Christmas Prelude celebration during the first two weeks of December.  Thousands of people gather together to participate in the holiday festivities and stroll the town that has been festooned with holiday decorations.   But the hottest ticket in town is the Nonantum Resort’s Fire and Ice celebration .   Your Fire and Ice ticket is included when you book your stay directly with the resort. Spectacular ice bars and ice sculptures are surrounded by fire pits to keep you warm. Live music and dancing bring the perfect spirit to Prelude.   Delicious snacks are provided by the resort making the evening a spectacular event.  And this kids will cherish the memories of Breakfast With Santa the following morning.
There is so much to do in Kennebunkport all year long, and many more surprises are awaiting your discovery.

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