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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.

Popcorn from H.B. Provisions.

Popcorn from H.B. Provisions.

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.

 

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!

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.   

Salad from Kittery Maine cafe

Yummy salad at Beach Pea in 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.

It’s August! Hit the Beach in Southern Maine

We’re in for a phenomenal stretch of summer weather here in Southern Maine. Time to hit the beach!

Parsons Beach Kennebunkport Maine

Road to Parsons Beach

The winding coastline of Kennebunkport has a number of options — sandy and rocky, festive and secluded. Each beach seems to have its own personality. Check out these stretches of sand and pebble close to our Kennebunkport boutique inn.

Colony Beach

Colony Beach–or Arundel Beach–is a true neighborhood beach.  Locals fish the breakwater, watch the sunlight hit the ocean, or even sit in their cars reading.  Parking here doesn’t require a pass, and it is walkable from the Captain Fairfield Inn or Dock Square.  Probably the smallest choice in the Kennebunks, the sand and pebble Colony Beach marks the beginning of Parson’s Way Shore Walk.  Start here and follow the seashore to spot some other free attractions:  St. Ann’s Church, Walker’s Point, Spouting Rock, and Blowing Cave.

Mother’s Middle and Gooch’s

The connected Kennebunk beaches, Mother’s Beach, Middle Beach, and Gooch’s Beach, are often full of people and energy.  They offer a sidewalk, facilities (in season), and a playground.  Residents stroll the sandy expanse with their dogs in the morning, and families and lively groups populate them each afternoon.  They’re great for sunbathing, but watch out for high tide!  Captain Fairfield guests can borrow a season pass and make the easy five minute drive from the inn.

Glorious Goose Rocks

Kennebunkport’s Goose Rocks Beach is one of our favorites. Between the miles of sand skirted by tall grass and the rocky outcroppings emerging from the bay, Goose Rocks feels like the quintessential Maine beach.  Being fifteen minutes outside of town keeps it somewhat less crowded and ideal for a long walk or a picnic.  We provide one day pass (on us!) for guests headed to Goose Rocks Beach.

Quiet as a Parson

An off-the-beaten-path find for in or off season visitors is Parsons Beach.  Parking is limited but free. The scenery?  Lovely.  The mood? Quiet and relaxed.  We recommend Parson’s Beach to those of our guests exploring the coast to the south or simply heading that direction after check-out.  Ask for turn by turn directions leading to this narrow, sandy strip in Kennebunk.

Wherever you’re bound, Captain Fairfield Inn staff will be happy to lend you a tote with large, luxurious beach towels from vineyard vines as well as folding chairs.  Just like our creative cooked-to-order breakfasts, a parking pass and beach gear (to use during your stay) are included in your room rate.

 

Summer reading for Kennebunkport summer getaways

If there’s one item that’s high on the list of things people hope to do with their limited leisure time, it’s catch up on their reading.  Many guests at Captain Fairfield Inn simply peruse the ‘Newsstand’ on the complimentary iPads we provide for guest use.  

Library near Kennebunkport B&B

Louis T. Graves Library in Kennebunkport, Maine

Still more leaf through current magazines provided in their rooms and in our boutique hotel’s lounge overlooking the Kennebunkport River Green.  Like us, though, you may like to tackle a tome cover to cover when you travel.  

Need a beach read?  Forgot or finished your fiction?  Just around the corner from Captain Fairfield Inn is Louis T. Graves Public Library, pictured here.  They are open seven days a week and have a helpful program allowing our guests to gain temporary membership with a small, refundable deposit.  Borrow books to your heart’s content!

In case you’re not a speed reader or you’re in the market for a literary souvenir, here are a couple of locally owned bookstores in the Kennebunks you could delve into:

Kennebooks has a little bit of everything housed in their bright blue building in Lower Village Kennebunk.  The inside is crisp and professional, making it easy to find a Maine publication or a bestseller, and their craft & hobby section is always worth a look.

Mainely Murders is a specialty shop full of mysteries, true crime novels, and thillers.  At this indie store with a blood red door, uncovering the right find for you amidst fully stocked shelves may be as great a challenge as solving the case in its pages.

 

Southern Maine Scenic Walks

Southern Maine and The Kennebunks are full of scenic strolls.

Kennebunkport Maine hiking

Captain Fairfield Inn guests on the Monastery Trails in Kennebunk.

We love meandering along Marginal Way, which is less than half an hour’s drive from our Kennebunkport boutique inn. You begin the journey by Perkins Cove shops and restaurants at one end of the cliff walk, then enjoy a mile of beautiful panorama on the way to Ogunquit Beach.  The accessibility is a serious plus.  People in wheelchairs frequent Marginal Way, and benches are situated only a stone’s throw apart.

Still, some of our favorite scenic walks in Southern Maine are even closer to Captain Fairfield Inn and not quite as well traveled.  There’s something out there for serious hikers as well as those who just want a little fresh air and New England scenery.  

Scenic Strolls Nearby

The Franciscan Monastery, just over the bridge in Kennebunk, contains interesting architecture as well as footpaths along the riverbank. These byways are perfect for viewing our beloved port town, boats and buildings alike.

Wells Reserve at Laudholm provides surprisingly varied sights, including historic farm land and structures, salt marsh, woods, and a quiet beach.  Be sure to pause at each overlook! If you’ve seen it all and still want more, there is a great mile loop just down the road at The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.  This refuge actually spans many miles of Maine’s coast and includes quality trails in several communities.

When we visited the East Point Sanctuary to the north of Kennebunkport, there was not another soul in sight. Vistas of Biddeford Pool and Saco Bay as well as Wood Island Lighthouse can be found in this tucked away spot.

Of course, you can’t beat a stroll down Ocean Avenue, starting at Captain Fairfield Inn and following the river and shore to Walker’s Point.  It’s a perfect route for jogging.  If we’re feeling less inclined to exertion, we drop in to Striper’s for a midwalk drink with an ocean view.

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.shamrock

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.

 

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.

Valentine’s Day and a Maine Getaway

Valentine's Day

Perhaps the sneakiest of holidays, Valentine’s Day has crept up on us once again and is now less than 2 weeks away! What to do, what to do… It may be the fourth quarter, but this is when you bring your A game. Channel Tom Brady and come up with a hail-mary that will win her (or him) over.

We almost forgot ourselves, but were luckily reminded when Love and Lobster featured us on their blog post about Valentine’s Day getaways. Thanks guys!  (BTW, if you are single or dating and your Valentine’s Day is so successful this year that it leads to something more, this blog about clever coastal New England wedding inspiration may come in handy…)

So what would make a getaway at Captain Fairfield, a Kennebunkport bed and breakfast, a game-winner for Valentine’s Day? Option 1 – a classic Valentine’s Day package with all the details taken care of. Option 2 – customize your stay with wine, small plates, or other items from our a la carte selections. Option 3 – dream up anything, then call or email us and we’ll see what we can do about making it happen!

Kennebunkport, Maine bed and breakfasts and inns are known for being romantic, but what makes Captain Fairfield an especially perfect choice for this holiday?  The boutique experience we offer – which means your special requests will be greeted with a smile, but you’ll also get the privacy you desire.  Help with your dinner plans?  We can help you make the tough call of choosing among all of the fabulous Kennebunkport restaurants.  Then we’ll take care of the reservations for you.  Table for two for our gourmet breakfast?  Done.  Did you say breakfast in bed?  Just ask for our breakfast basket option.  Combine all of this with our boutique style, and you’ve got a game plan for an unforgettable getaway.

PS.  Thanks for indulging the overdone football references.  Must be Superbowl fever.

What was I talking about?  Oh yes, Valentine’s Day…

Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude

Dock Square Christmas Tree

Dock Square Christmas Tree

2011 marked the 30th anniversary of Christmas Prelude, and as always Kennebunkport’s holiday festival was brimming with cheer.  To say Christmas Prelude is a big deal is no hyperbole; it helped K’port earn the #2 spot on HGTV’s list “Top 10 Christmas Towns.” During the first two weekends in December, residents and visitors mingle at tree lightings, caroling, open houses, craft fairs, public luncheons and suppers, and Santa’s arrival via lobster boat.  Most of the events are inspired simply by the season and are offered for free or for a donation to a local charity.  Set in this picturesque seaside village, Prelude is truly a Normal Rockwellian holiday festival.

Our Kennebunkport inn is located just a short walk to many Prelude events, and our guests soaked up the holiday spirit at many of them.  Here are a few of their highlights:

  • Candlelit caroling at the Franciscan Monastery, where everyone received not only a candle but warm chestnuts as well
  • Firehouse lobster bake at the Washington Hose Fire Station
  • The Dock Square Christmas tree, decorated with lobster pots and topped with a red wooden lobster
  • Tour of the 1853 Nott House, elegantly decked to the nines
  • Historic trolley rides on an electric streetcar through the Maine woods
  • Fireworks over the cove, right in the center of Kennebunkport
Christmas Prelude Fireworks

Prelude Fireworks (photo by Robert Dennis)

At Captain Fairfield, we want our guests to have a Prelude weekend that is as full and festive as possible.  Our halls are decked in a chic boutique take on traditional holiday decor.  Guests are welcomed with a wine and cheese reception and a roaring fire in the Lounge fireplace.  Before the tree lighting, a Prosecco pour is offered.  Later on, a port pour and chocolate bite might encourage some conspiring.

Whenever you stay at Captain Fairfield, whether during the holidays or another time of year, we believe your stay should evoke a warm sense of nostalgia.  While you’re here, we hope you’ll have the feeling that you’ll be looking back on this getaway for years to come.

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