A Late Fall “Staycation” in Kennebunkport
Captain Fairfield Inn guests come from all over the globe, so it surprised resident managers Jed and Alana to encounter guests who live very close to our Kennebunkport boutique inn. Several residents of the southern Maine coast have elected to stay with us for a while. We think being the boutique choice of those familiar with the area is quite an honor! Especially as the holiday season begins.
For some, a staycation in their home can actually seem difficult and stressful. If they do manage to dodge the neighbor who “spotted” them and wants to chat and they do keep that fervent promise not to run an errand or pick up the phone, it is still a challenge to shake routine. Such a struggle does not automatically encourage rest and relaxation.
You can more easily change your mental mode in a different environment. Staying with us creates the opportunity to limit locals’ expenses and travel time while still allowing them to enjoy attractions just a short walk from our prime location in Kennebunkport.
Guests from far away also hunker down for a staycation experience. We deliver breakfast baskets–our version of room service–so you can enjoy plenty of food, coffee, and juice outside our dining room. Whether you rise early or sleep in, you can choose breakfast in bed. You could even access your own Netflix and iTunes through the room’s AppleTV, pick up some movie-style popcorn from H.B. Provisions, and curl up in bed to watch a show or three.
Day Trip to the South from Kennebunkport
Fall is the perfect time for a slow, meandering drive — whether it is to peep at the leaves, or simply enjoy the golden Autumn light over the ocean. We offer turn by turn directions (just ask!) for a variety of drives from here at our boutique Kennebunkport inn. One of our most popular unique driving routes follows the Coast to the South. The expedition begins at the Captain Fairfield Inn and ends in Portsmouth, NH, and includes the ‘Maine Beaches’ region towns of Wells, Ogunquit, York, and Kittery.
It is a nice way to enjoy a few more hours of vacation for those who have checked out and are traveling toward Boston, just an hour and a half away from our design-driven Kennebunkport lodging. Of course, you can easily take one day (or even two!) during your stay at the Captain Fairfield Inn to fully explore some of the many fantastic coastal towns less than 45 minutes south.
Even travelers who have utilized our instructions before or who are familiar with the area will always find something different to see near the Southern Maine shore. Perhaps you’d like to head to the summit of Mount Aguamenticus and feel like the ruler of all you survey. Captain Fairfield Inn guests have raved about their experiences taking an entertaining and informative class from the Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School in York. Or maybe you’d like to see the port city just over the border in New Hampshire. Portsmouth’s Strawberry Banke Museum is always a favorite historic site.
We understand, though, if you’ve finished with the outdoorsy, edifying, and/or historical part of your vacation and instead you’re after some retail therapy. When headed to Kittery, ME for shopping at the Kittery Outlets and Kittery Premium Outlets, we like to grab a nice lunch first at an all natural bakery and cafe called the Beach Pea. If you linger until late afternoon or dinnertime, there’s no better choice than The Black Birch for a refined take on classic comfort food.
Kennebunkport Happy Hour
Strolling around Dock Square after lunch? Looking for a place with a view where you can sit and relax? Feeling peckish in the afternoon or hankering for a cocktail? There is one solution for all these dilemmas: the consummate Happy Hour in Kennebunkport.
Sure, you can grab a drink at the Captain Fairfield Inn and snack on our freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, but it’s nice to have abundant opportunities for going out on the town. These are a few fabulous options within walking distance of our boutique hotel.
Dine with a View
For expansive views, there can be no better choice than Stripers Waterside Restaurant. Between 3 & 5 on Sundays and weekdays you can sit in adirondack chairs overlooking the river delta and beach. Servers bring drinks right to your seat while you watch the waves and let the sun soak into your skin.
For affordable, delicious food we favor the instantly popular David’s KPT, Kennebunkport’s newest waterfront dining destination. Just a few blocks from the Captain Fairfield Inn en route to Dock Square you can find generous, shareable dishes. Tasty steak tartar, mouthwatering fried calamari, to-die-for duck sliders, and more for $6 or less! The indoor/outdoor happy hour runs from 3 to 5 all week long.
For convenience, we recommend Tia’s Topside, which is just over the bridge in Lower Village Kennebunk. Oh no, it’s after 5? Don’t fret, because Tia’s offers happy hour every day from 3-6PM. Get an appetizer or two, or simply enjoy 50% off alcoholic beverages. Don’t miss out on river views from the deck!
For the Oyster Lover
Incomparable oysters harvested from Maine’s clean, cold waters can be found at each of the above hot spots as well as nearby One Dock. Still, our pick for the oyster lover is The Hatch, located underneath Federal Jack’s. Those on a quest for fresh, local oysters can dine happy on quite a selection. When in town on a Wednesday, stop by between 4 & 7 for $1 oysters and $3.50 beers.
You can stay on budget and continue your appetizer round-up in the evening. Simply order some small bites for dinner at one of the area’s superb restaurants.
June in Kennebunkport
A stay in early June can easily be enriched by the Kennebunkport Festival, which offers something for every taste. Midweek or weekend, budget or elaborate, daytime or evening, and lively or intimate happenings occur throughout the Kennebunks. As I write, this year’s collection of food, wine, art, and music events is winding down, but we are already excited for Kennebunkport Festival 2014.
Most festival venues are within walking distance of the Captain Fairfield Inn, including the popular Brews & Tunes concert held annually just across the street. We popped over to listen for awhile and had a pork belly sandwich at the event (see pic). Yum!
Traveling to Kennebunkport after all the hoopla doesn’t necessarily mean you’re missing out. For instance, guests of our boutique inn between now and July 4th can check out the Choice Art Show launched during the festivities and featuring works of Maine artists chosen by the public. Chefs introduced dishes at the festival they’ll be serving throughout the season. Live music will ring out in restaurants and brewpubs on a weekly basis.
To us, this six day celebration serves as the herald of the high season. As the official first day of summer swiftly approaches, our guests are already revelling in summer perks. They’ll park at Captain Fairfield Inn when they arrive and then go on foot throughout their stay; devouring The Clam Shack’s famous lobster rolls (which, by the way, just won the Lobster Roll Rumble in NYC) with fried clams before hopping onto their favorite water based excursion.
St. Patty’s Day at Captain Fairfield Inn
River Tree Arts, one of our favorite local fixtures, is less than five minutes from our Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast. River Tree’s nonprofit mission enriches the cultural landscape and fosters creativity in our Maine coast community. The best part for Captain Fairfield Inn guests and other visitors to The Kennebunks are the unique, affordable events they host throughout the year.
There is an eclectic evening jazz performance next Saturday, March 23rd, for example, and River Tree will host an art reception for the Kennebunkport Festival in June. We had the good fortune to attend the Celtic Connections Concert this week. All the Irish music, dance, and poetry made us eager for St. Patrick’s Day.
Around this time last year at Captain Fairfield Inn we debuted our local craft beer selection. Being able to savor a nutty brew by the fire or sip a cold one on a warm summer day is as appealing now as it was then, but we also want to try something different in honor of the St. Patty’s holiday. This year we’ve decided to feature an Irish-inspired beer. Aged on vanilla beans, Maine Beer Company’s Old Mean Tom should be perfect in the morning as part of our new recipe: stout cinnamon buns. Guests on the night of the 17th will be the first to try this homemade pastry as part of a creative St. Patrick’s breakfast menu. In case this makes you green with envy, the sweet, sticky rolls will likely appear again at our boutique B&B.
Even if you don’t stay the night with us, St. Patrick’s Day seems like a great time to come to Kennebunkport. You can drop in one of Southern Maine’s many Irish pubs or just try some great seasonal items at any cherished local establishment. The truth is, all our area restaurants are getting geared up for Spring. We’re tempted by the house cured corned beef sandwiches at Eventide Oyster Co. in nearby Portland, but you’ll probably catch us at Pier 77 listening to live music and sampling Guinness Lamb Stew.
New Offerings at Old Vines Wine Bar and other Favorite Kennebunkport Restaurants
In the last post, we brought you the dish on new Kennebunkport Restaurants opening for the 2011 season. But we are equally excited about returning to our favorite spots to ooh and ahh over their new menu items. When choosing what to order, we like a challenge – so bring it on!
Old Vines Wine Bar – Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant – 10 minute walk from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast
Old Vines… new vibe. Entering their 3rd season, Old Vines has become a go-to for a great pour and a light bite, a place that’s gourmet but yet so inviting, and one of the few places that serves food late into the evening. This season, they are introducing an expanded menu, adding small plates like Broiled Maine Shrimp and Chorizo to their ever-popular paninis, salads, cheeses and cured meats, as well as debuting a full bar, including cocktails and beer. And all of these enticing selections can now be enjoyed al fresco! Absolutely a perfect spot whether you’re up for an aperitif before heading elsewhere for dinner or just kicking back in one place and noshing all evening.
50 Local – Local Food – 10 minute drive from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Inn
A downtown Kennebunk restaurant that opened last year, 50 Local enters its second season with popularity that suggests they may stick around for awhile. Priding themselves on offering food prepared with ingredients from local farms and fisheries, 50 Local serves up a nice combination of comfortable and hip, both in fare and atmosphere. Also enticing are the handcrafted cocktails, like “The Jam Jar” (Nana Paul’s homemade strawberry jam, vodka, lemon – served right in the jar) or the savory “Ghost of Mary” (spiced tomato water, vodka, tomolives). Speaking of beverages, this season they are offering complimentary progressive tapas at the bar when you order drinks between 5 and 6:30pm. Yep, that’s free food! Also new for 2011 are $2 Taco Tuesdays. Self-explanatory but definitely worth mentioning. Lastly, 50 Local joins Old Vines in heading outdoors; their new patio, aka “Main Street’s Veranda” seems perfect for sipping one of those Jam Jar cocktails on a warm summer evening.
Bandaloop – Local / Organic / Eclectic (with many Veg and Vegan options) – 5 minute walk from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Maine Bed and Breakfast
Oh Bandaloop. We have spent many, many a night with you since 2004. Due to frequent cravings for
the Vermont Cheddar Quesadilla (with sugar-cured jalapenos!) and the Wilted Organic Spinach Salad, we will simply never be able to get enough of this Kennebunkport restaurant. But being a long-standing favorite also means we like to see new things on the menu now and again. This season we are eager to try the small plates like the Sweet Corn Three Onion Risotto and the Maine Shrimp (or Tofu) Taco (with roasted poblano hot sauce and herbed sour cream). They’ve also added a nightly flatbread selection, which fits in perfectly with the Bandaloop concept. When it comes to entrées, diners can keep things fresh by pairing any protein with any sauce. So with the Rosemary-Olive Oil Grilled All Natural Pork Chop, will it be the fire roasted BBQ onion sauce or the caramelized onion-gorgonzola cream sauce? I might have to have another strawberry mojito while I decide…
Cape Arundel Inn – Oceanfront Restaurant – 5 minute drive from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Maine Inn
Cape Arundel Inn has long been home to a fine dining Kennebunkport restaurant, a choice for elegant evenings and special occasions. Chef Rich Lemoine has made it so. The winter of 2011 saw a changing of the guard for this landmark property, and ownership has been passed from Jack Nahil to our friend and neighbor Rich Malconian and his partner Mike Shea. But Chef Lemoine remains at the helm, assuring long-time fans that their returns visits will be as special as they always have been. Fear not, if you remember fondly the “Sauteed Maine lobster in a whisky and wild mushroom beurre blanc, returned to its spinach-lined shell, lightly broiled, and served with herbed fingerling potatoes” – it’s still being prepared as carefully as ever. However, changes are being made cautiously. For starters, they’ve added a Spring Midweek menu with items like Slow Roasted Meatloaf with Roasted Tomato Gravy and Garlic Whipped Potatoes. Rich and Mike’s vision is to help people create memories, we are eager to see what else they will bring to Cape Arundel.
With so many outstanding options for dining in Kennebunkport, it may be tough to make up your mind. However, if you are planning to visit Captain Fairfield Inn during the summer or fall, we highly recommend making that call sooner rather than later, as many restaurants are quite busy especially on Friday and Saturday nights. We are happy to make your dinner reservations for you; just let us know the when and where, and we’ll take it from there!
Pedro’s and Other New Kennebunkport Restaurants
If you are a regular visitor, you know that Kennebunkport is a standout among small towns for its number of dining establishments and the quality of the experiences they offer. But even if you are a creature of habit – destined to return to Mabel’s for a classic lobster dinner again and again – you are probably at least a little curious to know what’s new on the Kennebunkport restaurant scene. The buzz around town falls into two categories – brand new eateries, and new offerings at our favorite dining spots. Thus, this will be the first in a series of two blog posts that will hopefully pique your interest and whet your appetite. Now, let’s dish…
Pedro’s – Mexican Restaurant – 15 minute walk from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast
Pedro’s in the newest venture / adventure for Peter and Kate Morency of Pier 77 and The Ramp. Finally, some good Latin-inspired food in Maine! The concept is based on Peter and Kate’s past experiences in Mexico and Mexican kitchens. Step inside – the décor is rustic casual, with lots of interesting found objects. We are seated next to a large stuffed bull head. Open the menu – margaritas, sangria, tacos, burritos and the like. We are both tempted by the Carnitas Burritos, made with chipotle braised pork. The food arrives – it’s clearly made with fresh ingredients (which is a must in Peter’s kitchens) and the flavors are kickin’. Early indications are that this is a winner – in the first two weeks after opening, it was nearly impossible to get a table (they don’t take reservations). Pedro’s earns bonus points for serving both lunch and dinner and for offering outdoor seating.
Ryan’s Corner House – Irish Pub – 10 minute walk from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Inn
Yes, we were sad to hear that Big Fish would be closing its doors for good after the 2010 season. Among many things we enjoyed was the warm, rustic character of the space which served as a hip hangout for both locals and vacationers. The good news is that those doors are once again open – this year as Ryan’s Corner House. Ryan’s is being billed as an authentic Irish pub. Being from Ireland, the owners have the qualifications to make this a reality. Enjoy traditional Irish fare like Shepherd’s Pie or Bangers and Mash, washed down with a Smithwick’s or a Guinness, naturally.
Earth at Hidden Pond – “Farm to Fork” – 10 minute drive from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Maine Bed and Breakfast
Hidden Pond brings a big name to town as they collaborate with Ken Oringer (of Boston restaurants Toro, Clio, KO Prime and Uni) to unveil Earth, the restaurant at Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport’s naturally spectacular
boutique cottage resort. With the grand opening happening next weekend during the Kennebunkport Festival, at this point we can only anticipate the open-air setting, South American and European influences, and farm fresh ingredients. Maine Magazine reveals menu items like paella with as many as nine different seafoods from less than a mile away, wood-roasted lobster with green curry butter, razor-clam ceviche, house-made pastas prepared with vegetables from the garden, a wine menu of eclectic and off-the-beaten-path selections, and cocktails focused on ingredients from the garden.
Tides Beach Club – Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar – 10 minute drive from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Maine Inn
It’s all about the setting at the Tides Beach Club. Overlooking Goose Rocks Beach, the Tides can boast something that few other upscale Kennebunkport restaurants can match – water views. The menu features “fruits of the seas and vegetables of the garden,” while the bar will offer a raw bar with local oysters, little necks, Maine shrimp and lobster, along with specialty cocktails and music. Newly opened as of this past Friday, this could become a popular spot for both dining and nightlife.
If you go, let us know!
For all of us at Captain Fairfield, the buzz gets real when you, our guests, let us know what you think about your experiences at these or any other Kennebunk / Kennebunkport restaurants. With your help we can continually fine-tune our suggestions for future guests. So be sure to share your thoughts with Hillary and Nate or leave a note in our Restaurant Review book during your stay. Or, you can always send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or post a message on our facebook page.
Our 48 Hours in Kennebunkport
We were fortunate enough to host a writer from Maine Magazine recently as she researched all of the great places to shop, stay and dine in the Kennebunks. We love Maine Magazine and couldn’t have been happier to host Melissa during her brief but busy stay at our Kennebunkport Inn. As strong believers that 48 hours is hardly enough to satiate the Kennebunkport getaway palate we encourage you to stay for longer, but if you can’t, we’ve designed a special 48 hours package just for you! To read about the package, click here.
First though, here’s our crash course on what you should see, do and eat if you are here for a couple of short but sweet days!
Rob and Leigh’s choices for a short visit to Captain Fairfield Inn
Kennebunkport Accommodations and Lodging
Captain Fairfield Inn – sorry, probably obvious but we had to get it on the “to do” list! Since we don’t live in Kennebunkport anymore, it’s a real treat when we have a chance to spend a night or two at the Inn. Everytime we’re there we re-discover why we love Kennebunkport. We’re excited about the upcoming season and the wonderful slow pace that the quiet season offers!
Kennebunkport Dining and Restaurants:
Bandaloop – one of our favorite spots. Sit at the bar, enjoy a mojito, crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside quesadillas, Bandaloop egg rolls – rich and creamy with a port reduction sauce!
The Ramp – best burgers in town with hand cut fries (we like the malted vinegar and sea salt accompaniment). I often try to get Leigh to split a burger and a “Pulled Pig.” Best of both worlds. Again, sit at the bar and enjoy a couple of beers. This is a locals’ refuge in the winter!
Old Vines Wine Bar – relatively new to the scene; this is a classy joint. Mike knows his wine and preps fantastic food on the side. His soups are out of this world and the meatloaf panini – well – awesome!
50 Local – the new comer and a bit of a drive over to downtown Kennebunk, but for the hip vibe and local flavors it’s worth it. Try the Monkey Bread.
Joshua’s – Dad is the farmer, Mom is the hostess and son, Joshua is the chef. The setting is fantastic – a 1700’s house – the food is fresh and simple and the prices are reasonable. Reservations are important!
Kennebunkport Shopping and Kennebunkport Galleries
Daytrip Society – one year we did all of our Christmas shopping here! Funky, local, interesting items and the owner is an amazing graphic designer – you’ll see some of his products there.
Abacus – this is Rob’s go-to spot for Leigh’s jewelry. Hand crafted jewelry, unusual artsy furniture, cute stuff. A gallery of really interesting things.
Minka – This place soothes our soul. Maine-made jewelry, candles, art – a must-stop-in shop.
Parsons Beach – a bit out of the way and only parking for 15 cars makes this a great bike ride from the Inn. Often deserted, never crowed, we used to walk our dog Riley here every evening.
The Bridle Trail – This trail is the old rail trail that connected the world of summer travelers to Kennebunkport’s grand hotels. The trail runs along the Mousam River in Kennebunk and is flat and easy – beautiful in the fall and even when it’s snow covered.
Laudholm Farm – miles and miles of walking trails that start high on a hill above Wells Beach and eventually wind down to a pristine white sand beach.
So that should keep you busy for 48 hours. As always, everyone at the Inn will be more than happy to help you customize your stay with us.
All the best, Rob and Leigh
Autumn Brews in Kennebunkport
In New England people feel differently about the changing seasons. I love the transition from late summer to early fall. On the Maine coast and especially in Kennebunkport, the air takes on a crisp quality; you can often smell wood smoke in the air as dormant fireplaces are put into use again and there’s no doubt that it’s nice to snuggle under plump down comforters during cool autumn nights.
Leigh and I have lived in New England for our entire lives and this season has become my favorite. I love the change that we see in Kennebunkport: the pace slows, chefs at Kennebunkport restaurants take advantage of the changing season to refresh their menus, Kennebunkport shops and boutiques often offer special sales and deals and there’s nothing better than the vibrant colors of sugar maples opposed to the deep blue of the Atlantic ocean.
One of the primary things I love about fall is autumn beer. If you’re thinking about a trip to Kennebunkport I’d suggest taking the time to enjoy some of Maine’s finest breweries.
Just down the road from the Inn, in Lower Village Kennebunk, is the home of Shipyard Brewing, Federal Jacks. In the fall you’ll find Pumkinhead and Brewer’s Brown on Tap. Pumkinhead is a subtly spiced british style ale – not my favorite. Brewer’s Brown on the other hand is one of my favorite Kenebunkport brews. This is full bodied, dark brown has a nice smoky taste up front and a smooth finishing and crisp hop taste at the back.
After Jacks you can head over to Sebago Brewing Company in Kennebunk, Maine. Look for Local Harvest Ale in the late summer and early fall. This American Pale Ale has a bouquet of citrus, pine and lemon grass and a deep mahogany color. Or, try Boathouse Brown which can be enjoyed year round but for me especially works on a cool fall afternoon.
Our other local brew house is just up the road on Saco Island. At Run of the Mill Public House you’ll find a host of beers brewed on premise. From classic English style Pale Ales like “Alewife Ale” to real Malt centric ales like “Tented Kilt Scottish Ale” your sure to find something to satisfy your palate. This is a great place to enjoy the deck overlooking the falls. Their menu is traditional pub food, but done with a local focus. Good ingredients and a very cool restored mill setting make this a great place to spend an afternoon or evening.
There are so many fantastic craft brewers in Maine that you could spend a week tasting tour – if you want to, our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast is the place to make your home. Just a short drive up the coast you’ll find Portland where Allagash, Sebago, Shipyard, Gritty’s, Gearys and Peak Brewing all have their breweries. We’ll be happy to help with directions to these beer lovers destinations. Maybe we’ll see you out there!
Enjoy this new season.
All the best, Rob