Keep Calm and Spring On – 5 Ideas for Your Spring Visit to Kennebunkport

There’s no time like the present to plan your spring vacation, especially if the present finds you buried underneath a record snowfall.  Kennebunkport, Maine is a destination for all seasons, but the locals know that spring is the unsung hero with a charm all its own.  Here are some of our top picks for the “tweener” season, so book your stay at the Captain Fairfield Inn today!

  1. Timber Point Trail

    TimberPointTrailMap

    Map of Timber Point Trail

    We think there’s something special about walking a deserted beach or trail in the cool spring weather.  After exploring the Granite Point beach area, a short drive from center of Kennebunkport, extend your adventure by checking out the Timber Point Trail. Accessible only from the very end of Granite Point Road, this flat 1.4 mile loop will take you past salt marshes, mixed forest, and the rocky shoreline. At the end of the trail lays a special discovery – Timber Island – passable only at low tide and with a good pair of galoshes.  A tide clock installed at the trailhead will help you successfully time your visit.  We speak from personal experience when we say you don’t want to get stuck on the island at high tide!

  2. Galleries

    For a town with a small footprint, Kennebunkport has a vibrant art scene.  One of our favorites for art, Americana, and everything in between is Abacus.  Featuring crafts, jewelry, and home accessories inspired by nature and the state of Maine, each work will be a unique reminder of your visit.  

  3. Brewery Tour

    After you’ve stretched your legs on the trails or with a walk around town, belly up to the bar at one of the local breweries.   The Kennebunkport Brewing Company is located underneath the popular restaurant Federal Jacks, just over the bridge in Dock Square.  Whether your tastes run towards the pale (Goat Island Light) or the dark side (Export Ale), KBC has something for every palette and great water views to boot.

  4. Fiddleheads

    Lush green fiddleheads can be found in Maine in the spring

    Mainers have been “fiddleheadin'” for generations

    Around these “pahts,” foraging for fiddleheads is a springtime tradition.  The young, coiled green leaves of the edible ostrich fern are considered a delicacy and have a taste that’s been described as a cross between asparagus and spinach with slightly nutty flavor.  It’s important to note that not every fern is edible, so make sure to do your research ahead of time.  If rooting around the banks of rivers, streams, and brooks isn’t for you, many local restaurants incorporate fiddleheads into their menus during the brief harvesting season.

  5. Funtown Splashtown

    Entertaining the young and young at heart since the 1960’s, Funtown Splashtown opens its gates to thrill seekers and fun lovers on the weekends in May.   Easily accessible on route 1 in Saco, Maine, Maine’s very own amusement park features Mount Olympus-sized water slides, antique cars, miniature golf, thrill rides, and carnival games.  A visit to Funtown Splashtown truly marks the start of the summer season.

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.

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

valentinesPerhaps 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

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Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude

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.

Kennebunkport Festival: Food, Wine, Art

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Kennebunkport Festival

The Kennebunkport Festival, which takes place during the first week in June, is a wine festival, a food festival and an art festival, all in the destination where you can sink your toes into the meaning of the term “summer vacation.” Planning for the 2012 Festival is well underway, with some of the participating chefs already revealed! You can keep up with the latest by liking the Festival on facebook.

All of us at Captain Fairfield Inn were lucky enough to enjoy several events at the 2011 Festival. Here we share with you some of our experiences…

Pop the Kennebunks

As soon as we arrived at the William Farley Estate for Pop the Kennebunks, it became clear that this was truly a celebration of everything that Kennebunkport represents: good times with great food and drink in a beautiful location. This was no ordinary backyard party; crystal chandeliers hung from the sweeping tent’s ceiling, table upon table greeted guests with savories and sweets, and at the epicenter – a large wine bar where Cellardoor Winery was bustling to serve glass after glass of their well-crafted libations. While some guests had donned their finest tuxedos, ball gowns and costume jewelry, others appeared more nonchalant, yet all were wearing the ease of the good life in Kennebunkport. The gala paid homage to all the local treats Maine is lucky to claim, like fresh oysters still salty from the sea, robust wines, and fun music by local band Secret Service. The energy that resonated from Pop the Kennebunks is a great start to the summer and initiates all the good things to come.

- Hillary & Nate

Grand TastingGrand Tasting

That first bite moment. The restaurant everyone’s been telling you to try, an artfully presented dish, ingredients you love, a novel combination or preparation… You take that bite, then pause, then – “Mmm, that’s good.” At the Grand Tasting, you get to experience that moment again and again. On a sunny early summer afternoon on the porch at The Colony Hotel, overlooking the Atlantic, we meandered from table to table, sampling food from Maine restaurants and wine from national and international wineries. There were sixty restaurants and wineries, and although we didn’t have a chance to visit all of them, there are some that still linger in our minds. David’s definitely generated some buzz with their Mushroom Risotto Balls with Lobster and Truffled Microgreens. Several people told me, “You have to try those!” They were right – amazing. The Lobster Cakes from 95 Ocean were also delicious. Hmm – a trend here? But not every restaurant elected to feature fruits of the sea – there were plenty of other choices. Chef Jonathan Cartwright presented the White Barn Inn’s Crispy Braised Beef Short Rib with Sauce Remoulade (ribs from a Maine farm, Archer Angus, in Chesterville, Maine!), and Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier, of Arrows, MC Perkins Cove and Summer Winter, showed off a steak with Mom’s Sauce (which they are now making available to their fans!). We also enjoyed wine tasting (many of the wines are represented here in Maine by Nappi Distributors), and liked C’est La Vie Pinot Noir/Syrah so much that we’ve added it to our wine list at Captain Fairfield. As the afternoon wore on, we had to make another lap around for some sweet samples. Gelato Fiasco, as usual, did not disappoint, and we loved Academe’s version of “Cookies and Milk.” We were pleasantly surprised to discover Black Dinah Chocolatiers of Isle Au Haut, Maine, and are considering offering their chocolates as an a la carte item at Captain Fairfield. Well, I’ve gone on long enough – but there were just so many memorable moments of sipping, sampling, and savoring at this year’s Grand Tasting.

- Leigh

Brews & Tunes

After enjoying the early part of the afternoon at the Grand Tasting, we headed over to Brews & Tunes, an event new to the Festival this year. The venue – the boatyard next to the Kennebunk River and the Pilot House Restaurant – set the scene for this nothing-fancy, laid-back summer party. Part of the yard was covered with a tent but many people opted to hang out in the late afternoon sun while they enjoyed several local craft beers from Maine and some great live music. We got there in time to catch most of the Gypsy Tailwind set (GT being our favorite Maine band), which was definitely enjoyed by the crowd of a hundred or so. Sadly, we just heard that this great up-and-coming group has broken up to pursue individual projects, so as it turned out we were lucky enough to have seen one of their last shows in Maine.

- Rob

How to Revel in the Fall in Kennebunkport, Maine

Often I find myself living in a world where things exist purely for their function – or they’re just there as I whiz by on my way to get another thing on my to-do list done.  But when I see the world through the eyes of my daughter, who is now nearly 9 months old, I remember that the world is full of colors, shapes, textures, sounds, scents and flavors, and we are here to experience and enjoy it.  Another thing that brings me back to this part of life is traveling.

Fall foliage at Captain Fairfield Inn

Fall foliage at Captain Fairfield Inn

Autumn in New England is rich; there is so much to experience and savor.  Of course it all starts with the New England fall foliage – vibrant hues of orange, red and gold against skies that are never as brilliantly blue as this time of year.  Enjoying the foliage starts right outside our door at Captain Fairfield Inn, your Kennebunkport inn, as we are surrounded by towering elms and maples.  The last week in September and the first two to three weeks in October are a good bet for peak foliage, but you can get help from the leaf peeping pros who provide Maine foliage maps, Maine foliage reports, Maine foliage blogs, and photos of the Maine foliage at specific locations.

How best to take in the scenery?  May we suggest a good old fashioned bike ride.  Feel invigorated and carefree as you coast along.  We are happy to arrange rentals for you.  Or even better, our Autumn Escape package will turn your stay at Captain Fairfield into a true autumn experience with bike rentals, a gourmet picnic lunch and suggested routes for your ride (just some of the included amenities!).  If you’d rather paddle than peddle, you can try an afternoon of kayaking and enjoy the foliage from the unique vantage point of the Kennebunk River.

After your adventure, you could return to the Inn and lounge outside in an Adirondack chair while enjoying a local apple and cheese board and a bottle of wine from our boutique wine list.  Maybe it has something to do with working up an appetite, but there are few things as sweet and crisp as biting into a McIntosh after a day outdoors.

No doubt that dinner is in the plans during your fall vacation.  If you are staying at Captain Fairfield Inn, you can stroll into downtown, where there are several highly recommended Kennebunkport restaurants to choose from.  Bandaloop, for one, is a great spot in the fall; you can take in the warm, funky atmosphere as you start off with a bowl of Bandaloop soup (changes daily but always delicious).  Walk back to the Inn among the historic homes, with crackling leaves beneath your feet, the smell of wood smoke in the crisp air, the starry sky above.

There is so much of the season to enjoy in Kennebunkport, but if you want to explore more of Maine, Kennebunkport makes the perfect base for day-trips up the coast to Bath, Brunswick and Camden or inland to the lakes region.  You could even plan your trip around one of Maine’s fall fairs or festivals, which show off the proud agricultural traditions of Maine and usually coincide with the harvest.  Check out the Cumberland County Fair, Strawbery Banke Museum’s Fall Festival, the Fryeburg Fair (Maine’s largest agricultural fair), Eliot Festival Days, or the York Maine Oktoberfest – all within driving distance of Kennebunkport.

If you have your own suggestions for “autumny” things that you enjoy, we’d love to know!  Share them with others at our facebook page.  Wherever you are this fall, we hope you are able to take the time to relish the pleasures the season has to offer.

A Summer Vacation in Kennebunkport: Beyond the Bush Estate

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The Maine event at a classic back yard lobster bake at CFI.

We know you know. Maine means lobster. Maine means lighthouses. If this is what you’re looking for in a summer vacation, we at Captain Fairfield Inn, your Kennebunkport Bed and Breakfast, are standing by with driving directions and restaurant suggestions to help you find exactly what you’re looking for in a classic Maine vacation.

But what if whale watching and seeing the Bush Estate just doesn’t float your boat? Should you pass by Kennebunkport and start searching other destinations on Tripadvisor? Let us stop you there for just a minute, because Kennebunkport has another side to offer.

Restaurants: We are lucky to have the White Barn Inn just a mile or so from Captain Fairfield Inn, and they absolutely deserve to be so widely known. But there are so many other Kennebunkport restaurants serving up creative, innovative cuisine along with stellar service and memorable ambiance. We’ve recently written about a number of them, so check out our other blog posts here and here.

Shopping: Yes, there are several t-shirt and trinket shops. But then there are places like Minka – hip, handmade jewelry and apothecary items – and Daytrip Society – where I can’t help buying that very cool little treasure (click here to see examples) and sending it as an impromptu gift to my best college friend out in San Fran. Top it off with an ice cream cone at Aunt Marie’s for lunch (because you’re still pretty full from the creative gourmet breakfast at Captain Fairfield and hey, you’re on vacation!) and your morning’s made.

Sightseeing: You’re thinking you might not need to hit every tourist attraction – you just need one beautiful spot, maybe a book (hard copy or Kindle) and maybe some gourmet sandwiches and you could have the perfect afternoon. Simple, yet so memorable – because

We’ll be happy to help you find spots off the beaten path like this anchorage in Cape Porpoise.

although you could do something similar at home, you probably won’t – and that’s exactly why you are on vacation. Visit Market Day for your provisioning needs, Kennebooks for your reading pleasures, and Captain Fairfield Inn for directions to those scenic, secluded spots.

Relaxing: Late afternoon. Forget killing time before that 8pm dinner res. Instead – Captain Fairfield Inn, wine, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie, patio, seabreezes.

The first day of your Kennebunkport getaway has been amazing, and you haven’t even gotten in your car yet.

Maybe tomorrow a daytrip to Portland, or Freeport, or Camden, or Ogunquit, or into the lakes region… Why pack and unpack, check in and check out, when you can get so much of a Maine vacation from Kennebunkport? Whatever your whims, we’ll help you figure out your plans tomorrow morning over breakfast, which will feature such creative selections as a watermelon salad on a bed of arugula with toasted pine nuts, feta cheese and a balsamic drizzle and a black bean omelette with pepperjack cheese topped with sour cream and avocado with a side of local multi-grain toast.

Lastly, we must mention your room at Captain Fairfield Inn: In good weather, you probably don’t expect to spend all day in your room (but no one’s stopping you!). But we want it to be more than just a comfortable home base. We want you to walk in and say, “Wow, this is fun!” We hope our new rooms in particular will do this for you.

So, if you’ve never traveled to Kennebunkport or Maine, consider giving it a whirl. By the way, Kennebunkport is only 1 ½ hours north of Boston, and a half hour south of Portland (the nearest airport).

If you have your own insider tips on Kennebunkport or Maine, and you’d be willing to share one or two of your secrets, post them to our facebook page.

Hope to see you on the Maine coast!
Leigh

Our 48 Hours in Kennebunkport

Looking into the Ramp on a nice Fall day.

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!

Minka is a"must visit" shop right next to Ben and Jerrys.

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.

Maine Art Gallery – a wide selection of amazing art (original and print). Craig Mooney is our favorite artist. Huge canvasses, bold colors, pastoral subject matters.

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.

The Mousam River at high tide

Kennebunkport Activities

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

Maine College Visits

Leigh and I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at my college alma mater, Bates, where we enjoyed a classic Division III football game on a perfect fall day. The outcome of the Bates/Williams game isn’t important (it wasn’t a clash of DIII powerhouses) but it reminded us of when we were much much younger and considering applying to colleges. Mane has several excellent colleges. Bates, Bowdoin and Colby are perhaps the most prestigious but we also have the University of New England, University of Maine Orono, University of Southern Maine and the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor.

Clash of the college football titans...not really!

I remember the long road trips with my parents, staying at Best Westerns, Hampton Inns and Courtyard Marriots. It was fine for me but it strikes me that it would have been much more enjoyable for my parents if we had found a great bed and breakfast to make our home base for the few days in Maine.

While Kennebunkport is not too far over the border in southern Maine, it could make an excellent home base for your college visits. We are about an hour from Bates and Bowdoin and an hour and half or so from Colby College in Waterville. The University of New England is just 20 minutes up the road from us in Biddeford.

We’d love to be your Kennebunkport lodging choice during college visits! Also, consider us for Parent and Family weekends at UNE or even Bates and Bowdoin. We’ll make sure that you’re out the door in time for kick off!

By the way – southern Maine is now at Peak Foliage and we have some great deals on rooms open this week. Come on up and enjoy a classic new England foliage getaway.

Best, Rob

Kennebunkport Fall Foliage

It seems strange to say this coming off a weekend that boasted 80 degree temps, but Fall is officially here. At our Kennebunkport Maine bed and breakfast we had an amazing summer of perfect weather and if the first week of Autumn is any indication of what is to come, we say bring it on!

I think that most people are conditioned to think of Vermont or the White Mountains in New Hampshire when considering a fall foliage getaway. While western mountain destinations may be tempting when considering an early autumn escape, our experience tells us that Kennebunkport fall foliage along the Atlantic coast provides a unique visual experience. In Kennebunkport the contrast of the bright sugar maple leaves with the deep blue of the ocean and the light blue of the sky is striking.

Centuries old Sugar Maples frame the inn and turn bright red and gold throughout October.

In addition to the change in leaf color, we are fortunate enough to be exposed to the transition in dune and marsh grass – the gradual change from deep green to harvest gold has been in process for the last couple of weeks. You can see both dune grass and more typical fall foliage at Laudholm Farm and at the Rachel Carson Preserve. The other benefit of leaf peeping along the Maine Coast is that you can actually do it from the water. If you take advantage of our Autumn Escape Package, we’ll set you up with a half day kayak rental so that you can explore the Kennebunk River.

If you’d like to make your own kayak or bike rental arrangements you can do so through Coastal Kayak in Lower Village Kennebunk.

So, if you haven’t planned your foliage getaway already we’d suggest looking at the first couple weeks of October and figuring out when you can be in Kennebunkport to experience the height of Maine foliage. If you can come earlier you’ll be treated to pre-peak foliage along the coast and closer to peak foliage on drives inland.

As always, everyone at the Inn will be more than happy to help customize daytrips into the mountains or up the coast.

All the best, Rob