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The Wells Reserve – A Great Kennebunkport Destination

In terms of famous coastlines in Southern Maine, the Kennebunks boast some of the best (and still public) sandy beaches for miles. But funnily enough, one of the most beautiful tucked-away natural places to visit hides just out of sight—and notice—of most visitors to our colonial port town.

Wells Reserve in Kennebunkport

Wells Reserve is a lovely place to take a stroll during your visit to our boutique Kennebunkport inn

Approaching Kennebunkport from the south, you’ll find yourself winding along route 1 in Wells, past well-loved ice cream shops and old clapboard antique shops proudly spilling their collections out onto their lawns.

But if you’re not paying attention, you’ll easily miss the right-hand turn for Laudholm Road, home of one of the best-kept “secrets” in the area: The Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm.

Transformed and preserved by local community efforts in 1982 from the lapsed Laudholm Farms into the non-profit Laudholm Trust, the Wells Reserve now offers its rolling hills, beautifully preserved working farm buildings, winding trails and miles of coastal estuarine habitat for public visits, events and education.

Whether it’s cross-country skiing in January, an evening lecture by a well-known author in May, a summer trail run in August, or an autumn craft fair and pumpkin festival in September, there’s beauty, education and natural splendor to be found on these 2000 acres of protected wilderness all year round.

Visiting the reserve, you can enjoy beautifully maintained trails rich with informative wildlife and ecological information that wind down to a beautiful and secluded corner of sandy beach and crashing surf. Visiting the Kennebunks for the summer? The little people in your family can enjoy summer science camps and workshops, too.

With its ongoing residential estuarine research activities, The Wells Reserve brings together an inspiring array of community events with an ongoing commitment to environmental stewardship.

And what’s more, (for the soon-to-be brides who might be reading) it’s large and roomy barn offers a glamorous and down-to-earth A-list wedding and event destination that books up over a year in advance!

No matter when your next visit happens to be, be sure to bring your camera, and your sense of wonder and make sure this charming and oh-so-beautiful hidden gem is at the top of your must-visit list.

2014 Kennebunkport Summer Photo Contest

Share your Kennebunkport photos with us!

How much do you love Kennebunkport? We’re looking for photographic proof. rarebrick_20100607_8419

Share your shots of the landscape, town, beach, sunsets, views, or folks just generally having a blast in our amazing Southern Maine town. Tag Captain Fairfield Inn and upload to our Facebook page (or — if social media is not your bag —  email it to us at stay@captainfairfield.com ) 

What’s in it for you? 

You just might win a prize! 

First prize: Perfect Picnic in Kennebunkport 

  •  A vineyard vines large canvas tote with built-in pocket and red, white, and blue ‘starfish and stripes’ lining
  • 2 vineyard vines adjustable cotton whale logo baseball caps – you choose red with blue whale and/or blue with pink whale 
  • *$50 gift certificate to Down East Wine Imports, the sommelier-owned and operated shop just over the bridge in Kennebunk.  Peruse their wide selection or ask the experts to help you pick a special wine that exactly suits your tastes and/or meal.
  • 2 entrees (winner’s choice!) with hand cut fries from Salt & Honey, the brand new chef-owned Kennebunkport restaurant in our neighborhood.  Personally, we love the sandwiches and crab stack salad!
  • Basket of gourmet goodies from the new Ocean Avenue store, Maine-ly Drizzle, including an artisanal oil and vinegar as well as coastal decorative items
  • Local cheeses and accoutrement
  • Lark Fine Foods savory Olive Scourtins (perfect to pair with cheese)
  • Lark Fine Foods sweet “cookies for grown-ups” Salted Rosemary Shortbread
  • 2 Spindrift natural sodas or lemonades

$380 value

Take your picnic anywhere you like, or you’re welcome to enjoy it in our outdoor lounge or borrow one of our season passes to Kennebunk Beach.

Runner up prize: A Taste of Maine Decor & Nibble

  • Coastal Maine centerpiece curated and provided by Abode of the Kennebunks, a new, locally owned Lower Village Kennebunk home decor shop that carries great offbeat items.  Includes mirrored tray, starfish, “the amazing flameless candle”, and glass “Buddy Vase” made from reclaimed materials.
  •  A baker’s dozen of Captain Fairfield Inn’s famous chocolate chip cookies with Maine sea salt.

$50 value

Contest details and rules

  1. Submit your photo(s) via our Facebook page (be sure to “like” our page while you are there!) or through the email stay@captainfairfield.com 
  2. Photos must be of Kennebunkport scenery or of you or your family and friends in Kennebunkport. Please don’t submit photos of folks you don’t know!
  3. Winners will be chosen in September 2014 
  4. Winners will be notified via Facebook or email and must contact Captain Fairfield Inn to redeem prize.

 

The small print

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Winner to be chosen in early September 2014. Captain Fairfield Inn and Lark Hotels or its agent or assign is the sole judge of eligibility and reserves the right to disqualify any entry for any reason. No cash substitutions or alternate prizes. Prize value determined by actual purchase cost. By accepting the prize, winner agrees to permanently release Captain Fairfield Inn and Lark Hotels of any and all claims or liabilities resulting from the acceptance, use or ownership of the prize. All entrants into the contest agree to the use of his or her name and chosen photo in print, on display at the inn and in email marketing for the purpose of promoting Captain Fairfield Inn and Lark Hotels now and at any time in the future without further notice or release. Entrants personal information such as address, e-mail or phone number, will not be shared or made public by Captain Fairfield Inn and Lark Hotels. 

 

A Maine Vacation for your Bucket List

Now that Captain Fairfield Inn’s unbelievably luxurious Lark Suite is complete, we find ourselves pondering the nature of a truly exceptional getaway.  The spacious suite itself has charming historic details like centuries-old hardwood floors as well as contemporary touches like stylish, comfortable furnishings and a 40 inch LED Smart TV.  Such unique accommodations deserve better than a generic agenda – perhaps something special and memorable for 2014 that does not necessarily make your trip itinerary every year.  

Kennebunkport inn luxury suite

The Lark Suite at our Kennebunkport boutique inn.

Our boutique bed & breakfast hotel in Kennebunkport, Maine is surrounded by iconic New England attractions.  Within easy walking distance you can shop local artisans’ wares, enjoy water views, eat amazing food, and climb aboard a sailboat on its way out to sea.  Driving distance things to do in Coastal Maine are too numerous to count, but top sights are outlets, downtown areas, lobster shacks, hiking trails, sandy beaches, museums, and lighthouses.

A few offbeat or uncommon activities can transform a great trip into an unforgettable escape.   These items on our concierge staff’s bucket list might give you some inspiration.

1)  Go horseback riding on the beach.  How many of us consider this a perfect romantic date?  And how many of us have actually done it?  Riverhurst Farm, which is just over 5 minutes from Captain Fairfield Inn, offers guided horseback beach rides.

2)  If the sky’s the limit, then take a scenic biplane tour with Atlas Aero.  The plane takes off from Sanford Seacoast Airport, less than half an hour from Captain Fairfield Inn.  It’s a pretty drive, plus you can stop on the way in Downtown Kennebunk and/or the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area former blueberry barrens. Once you take to the skies you’ll fly to see everything from Biddeford Pool to Portsmouth, NH.  

3)  Our favorite sommelier, Erica Archer of Wine Wise, often hosts wine tasting events in Southern Maine cities.  It is now our dream to catch the brand new HydiWave Water Taxi service that would carry us over the ocean out of Dock Square to and from one of Erica’s wine walks in Ogunquit.

Late October in Kennebunkport

One thing we’re sure about is that there are always things to do in Kennebunkport. Each time of year has its own special draw, but Halloween is a personal favorite of our resident managers Jed and Alana.

A spooky Kennebunkport in the fall

A spooky Kennebunkport in the fall

Each October, the southern coast of Maine boasts harvest festivals and holiday happenings aplenty.  Every garden overflows with mums; every stoop with pumpkins.  Some visitors survey the Fall foliage between apple-picking and antiquing.  Others try free samples of small-batch mead before hitting a farmer’s market or craft fair.  The shoulder season means no worries about crowds whether you roam the day away or spend it fireside with a good book and mug of spiced tea.

Last year our Kennebunkport boutique hotel introduced a BYOP pumpkin carving contest with some sweet rewards.  Every entrant received a bottle of local craft beer perfect for a fall night as well as a bag full of homemade candies fresh from our kitchen.  The contest winner—who had never before carved a jack-o-lantern—wine a future free night’s stay.  We are thrilled to resurrect this Halloween event for 2013!  Click here for details.

 Guests less than enthralled by All Hallow’s Eve are not out of place if they visit in late October.  They can still sample decadent seasonal specialties at breakfast, like caramel apple scones and Brazilian pumpkin rabanada (think hearty, fried French toast!), but each guest celebrates or doesn’t on their own terms. Foodie festival Harvest on the Harbor  in Portland and wine tastings at Kennebunk’s Bel Cibo da Cherie and Downeast Wine Imports are among the events appealing to any traveler.

 Those reveling in all things scary, silly, and spooky have almost too much to choose from.  The Brick Store Museum will celebrate area history on Halloween weekend with their 10th annual All Souls Walk through Hope Cemetery. Plus, this year clothing from the Brick Store’s collection of 19th and 20th century costume pieces will be on exhibit through November 15th. Bentley’s Saloon always hosts a costume party with live music and plenty of raucous fun — this year on the 26th.  All of Dock Square comes alive with decorations, sales, and trick-or-treaters on October 31st. Neighborhood brewpub Federal Jack’s will host a Haunted House for charity on the big night, which might be the perfect excuse to stop by for a harvest ale or two.  

We’re so looking forward to Halloween!

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.

Kennebunkport restaurant appetizers

Duck Slider and Calamari at David’s KPT.

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.

Affordably Delicious

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.

Noshing Nearby

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.

Captain Fairfield Loves Harris Farm

There may not be lots of snow where you are but we’ve had our fair share this winter.  Coastal Maine’s winter weather pattern has kept the snowfall “just right.”   There’s no doubt that Jed has had his share of shoveling, but, in our view, our second winter in Maine has been just about perfect, with plenty of opportunity to sit by the fire, enjoy a glass of wine or a hot toddy and of course get out and explore the area.

Maine snowshoeing

Snowshoeing at Harris Farm in Kennebunk.

During this, one of the most beautiful times of year in our coastal village, many of our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast guests are taking advantage by strolling quiet beaches or hopping on a sleigh ride. Still more visit one of our favorite locations supporting local, eco-friendly agriculture: Harris Farm.

Just a short scenic drive to the west, Harris Farm offers visitors the opportunity to explore the farm on snowshoes or cross-country skis. Novices to both winter sports are always welcome! We’ve heard stories of the great patience and competence of the farm’s staff during lessons, and especially the fun to be had exploring this corner of Maine.  Of course, if you are accomplished in either sport there are many miles of beautiful trails to explore on your own.

Admittedly, we were introduced to our Southern Maine neighbors in a way that has nothing to do with winter sports. Harris Farm supplies several local restaurants, including our favorite new addition to downtown Kennebunk, Owen’s Farmhouse. Check out the “Harris” pizza, which includes ingredients sourced from its namesake farm.  We’d suggest stopping in at Owen’s on your way back from a day of exploring – they have takeout and dine-in options.  If you opt for take out, let us know and we’ll be sure to have the fire going so you can warm up after your day of winter trekking.

On a related note: It’s time to tap the Sugar Maples! If you’re visiting on March 22nd & 23rd be sure to check out Harris Farm’s annual Maple Weekend. Get an inside look at their operation and even sample maple syrup straight from the boiler.

Designer Showhouse – Happening Now in Kennebunkport!

Have you visited the Designer Show House at the Kenneth Roberts Estate in Kennebunkport yet? It goes through this coming Saturday, July 14 not too far from the inn.

Our friends at Portland, Maine’s Inspired Wire Stdio (the folks who – at this very moment – are crafting a custom light for our new tasting room!) have one of their pieces featured in the guest bedroom by Fiore Studio.

Check out this news clip on the showhouse. Watch until the end and you’ll see the orb “solstice” chandelier.

Images of Dock Square, Kennebunkport’s Village Center

Art Galleries along Ocean Avenue

You'll pass by several art and antique galleries along Ocean Avenue as you head towards Dock Square.

When I am looking around online at various Kennebunkport attractions, they are often described as being in or near Dock Square.  But if I wasn’t familiar with Kennebunkport, I would have no idea what this means.  Perhaps because it is mentioned so many times, I might eventually guess it has some significance within this Maine coast destination.

Dock Square is considered to be the center of Kennebunkport.  Located on the Kennebunk River (about one mile upstream from where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean), it’s a hub both on water and on land (well, as much of a hub as you can get in a small Maine village).  It’s home to numerous restaurants, boutiques, antique and art galleries, ice cream shops and a small provisioning market.

I’ve posted some photos and descriptions of what you might see walking from Captain Fairfield Inn, our Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, to Dock Square, and then through Dock Square, over the Kennebunk River and into Lower Village Kennebunk. If you are walking directly, it takes about 5 minutes to walk from the Inn to the monument in the center; if you’re meandering, who knows… These photos were taken on a recent sunny Autumn Saturday afternoon, and even though we’ve taken this walk so many times before, we had a lovely time.

Horse-drawn Carriage

This horse-drawn carriage from Rockin' Horse Stables is the perfect way to enjoy a tour of Kennebunkport's historic neighborhoods.

Aunt Marie's ice cream and other Ocean Avenue shops

Aunt Marie's and other storefronts, just before Ocean Ave comes into the Square.

Dock Square, Kennebunkport

Dock Square, Kennebunkport, looking west.

Austin's Alley

Austin's Alley is home to a small group of shops just off of Dock Square.

Kennebunkport Shops on the Water

Some Kennebunkport shops are on the water (literally).

Dock Square, Kennebunkport

Dock Square, Kennebunkport, looking south.

Kennebunk River from the bridge

Looking down the Kennebunk River from the bridge.

First Chance Whale Watch

A kayaker looks on as a First Chance Whale Watch boat docks.

The Clam Shack

The Clam Shack, winner of the Travel Channel's "Food Wars" for best Maine Lobster Roll.

The perfect spot for a mid-walk respite

On the other side of the bridge is Lower Village Kennebunk and this perfect spot for a mid-walk respite.

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