Water, Water Everywhere

Spring and summertime in Kennebunkport are all about outdoor living, and after the long winter we just endured, can you blame us? Along with the unexpectedly quick disappearance of the snow, signs of the new season are everywhere, from the budding flowers to the people strolling around town. As the mercury continues to rise, we think one of the best ways to explore this area on your next stay at the Captain Fairfield Inn is by boat, and we’ve got all the seaworthy details for you.

Lobster buoys

Colorful buoys dot the KPT landscape

For the Love of Lobster – If you’ve wondered about the life of the storied Maine lobsterman, Rugosa Lobster Tours is where you’ll want to drop anchor. Departing from the Nonantum Resort Marina, this classic New England wooden lobster boat offers a 1.5 hour trip down the Kennebunk River. You can watch the professionals haul in the lobster traps or roll up your sleeves and pitch in. Sadly, they do not pay in fresh lobster, but we have lots of recommendations for a lobster dining experience when you’re back on dry ground. The Rugosa departs daily at 10:30am, 1:00pm, and 3:30pm during height of season, and private charters are also available.

Sail Away on a Schooner – Imagine gliding over the waves aboard an elegant schooner, and then head for the Arundel Wharf. Helmed by Captain Rich Woodman, Schooner Eleanor is a traditional gaff rigged schooner constructed with modern materials. Although she was built in 1998, her four flying sails, large teak cockpit, and spacious cushioned cabin tops to stretch out on will transport you to another time. This two hour sail along the scenic coastline from Cape Arundel to Cape Porpoise departs daily at 11:00am, 2:00pm, and 4:30pm, depending on the weather and tides. 

A Whale of a Time – While not always popular with the out-of-towners, Kennebunkport’s cold Atlantic waters are a fertile summer feeding ground for Finbacks, Humpbacks, Minkes, the rare Blue Whale, and the endangered Right Whale. Bring your binoculars and step aboard the 87-foot Nick’s Chance vessel from First Chance Whale Watch. All trips are approximately 4.5 hours, and Captain Gary will do his best to show you some of Maine’s best specimens. There is a galley on board with snack items and beverages for you to enjoy while you scan the horizon.

Drop a Line – There’s something so peaceful about sitting in a boat in the middle of the vast ocean, holding a fishing rod and contemplating life. And then suddenly – a tug at your line! Manta Ray Adventures promises to provide guests with the former, if not always the latter, on their 36-foot Northern Bay. Just beyond the port lies many of the Gulf of Maine’s most famous and productive fishing grounds, home to bluefin tuna, shark, cod, haddock, stripers, bluefish, and more.

Paddle Power – For a completely different vantage point and more active water experience, consider a guided sea kayak tour. Based in the Lower Village by Federal Jacks, Coastal Maine Kayak offers rentals and excursions to nearby Cape Porpoise Lighthouse, Kennebunk River, Mousam River, and Casco Bay. Tours are led by a licensed Maine Guide and are approximately 3 hours. They provide a kayak, PFD (that’s a personal flotation device for you landlubbers), and a paddle. Trips can be tailored to all levels of experience, and each trip begins with instruction and an introduction to safety techniques. Coastal Maine Kayak is also your one-stop-shop for stand-up paddleboard and bike rentals.

Meals and Music in Kennebunkport

There’s nothing quite like some live music to take an evening of dinner and drinks up a notch or two. For a small town, Kennebunkport is home to several restaurants that highlight local Maine talent on a weekly basis. If you like your meal served with a side of music, read on for some great options located within a short walk or drive from the Captain Fairfield Inn. And don’t forget the Kennebunkport Festival (June 7th-13th), which will feature amazing musicians such as Spencer Albee, Amy & The Engine, Model Airplane, and Ghost of Paul Revere right here in town.

The Pub at One Dock

One Dock Square, Kennebunkport

Situated just off the main square, One Dock features some of Southern Maine’s most talented entertainers Thursday-Sunday nights, covering a wide variety of genres from Frank Sinatra covers to contemporary music and everything in between.

Federal Jack’s

The waterfront view from Federal Jack's

Brews, views, and tunes at Federal Jack’s – not a bad way to end the day

8 Western Avenue, Kennebunk

Fed’s is all about a brew with a view.  The original home of the Kennebunkport Brewing Company, this picturesque pub is located right on the waterfront and has both indoor and outdoor dining options (complete with heat lamps).  It’s a lively scene most nights, especially in the high season, but things really get cranked up on Friday and Saturday nights when the live music starts at 10:30pm.

Pedro’s

181 Port Rd, Kennebunk

Why Pedro’s?  Because margaritas, a house specialty, always taste better with live music. Serving up a menu of Mexican staples, it’s Pedro’s drink menu that really shines.  The extensive list of creative margaritas, cocktails, and tequila will get you in the mood for live music on Friday nights starting at 9:00pm. 

Elements Book Bar

265 Main St, Biddeford

This hybrid coffee shop, book store, and bar is bringing back an element of much needed fun to Biddeford’s downtown. This hipster spot offers free trivia nights on Tuesdays at 7:00pm and local musicians throughout the weekend.  Visitors can tune into folk, jazz, blues, and classical performances on Friday nights or Sunday afternoons (for a more mellow vibe). Always dreamed of bring a DJ?  They also host an occasional Vinyl Night, when guests can get in on the action with their own LPs.

Atlantic Hall

173 Main St, Cape Porpoise

What started as a modest firehouse in the center of neighboring Cape Porpoise has become a historic venue for cultural events, musical and otherwise.  A highlight of the spring calendar? The return of the Rhythm Future Quartet, a 4-piece jazz band, known for their dexterity, high energy, and good humor. 

 

No Waffling Allowed

Although the Captain Fairfield Inn is proud to call Maine home, its breakfast menu pulls some of its inspiration from below the Mason-Dixon line. Our multi-talented chef (she’s the general manager, too) hails from Georgia, and she puts a little bit of that southern love in her cooking – especially when she’s feeling homesick. Using her grandmother’s recipes as a guide, she can often be found sipping on sweet tea while conjuring up new dishes in the kitchen. Guests can expect to find peaches and pecans incorporated into a variety of seasonal small plates, and if she could figure out a way to make boiled peanuts a breakfast staple, rest assured she would. The Buttermilk Waffles with Peach Gastrique detailed below are a Captain Fairfield favorite, and we hope they bring a touch of southern comfort to your home, too.
 

Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk waffles with peaches and sausage

Whether you come from the North or South, we can all agree that waffles, peaches, and sausage make for a great breakfast.

2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk, well shaken
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
 
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl whisk eggs, butter and buttermilk together. Pour wet ingredients into flour mixture and stir with spatula until just mixed. Put into waffle iron and voila! We like to serve ours with a side of local sausage, as pictured.
 

Peach Gastrique

 

1:2 ratio of sugar to champagne vinegar (ie: 1 cup sugar to 2 cups vinegar)
 
Place sugar and champagne vinegar in a small sauce pan. Boil down until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Add fresh sliced peaches, and reduce heat to a simmer.  Serve over waffles…or ice cream or whatever you want!
 

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.

Our Kennebunkport Inn’s Famous Cookies

Kennebunkport inn cookies at Captain Fairfield Inn

Our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast’s famous sea salt chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

With many parts of the country firmly in the grip of winter, the aroma of freshly baked cookies is just the thing to warm up your house and spirits. Our Kennebunkport inn’s sweet treats took home top honors in the 2014 Christmas Prelude Cookie Crawl, a holiday stroll through historic Kennebunkport, Maine, and have received as many accolades on TripAdvisor as the inn’s cozy central lounge and fireplace.

Visitors to our hotel can look forward to enjoying homemade delights every afternoon, and now you can whip up a batch of their signature Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies in your own kitchen. Sure to please kids, adults, and snowmen alike!

Captain Fairfield Inn’s Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Sea salt

Directions

  1. Position a rack in middle of oven, and preheat to 350 Fahrenheit. Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar, whisk until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla then whisk until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons on to the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake the cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned and the tops feel firm when lightly touched, 10-13 minutes.
  6. Rotate halfway through cooking. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.

A Mystery of the Seas

by Martha Gandy Fales

shipgd2In 1884 the Boston Globe carried an article entitled “A Mystery of the Seas.” It told of a portrait with a very strange history. “Looking at it closely,” said the reporter, “you can see that it is very rough and creased, the effect of salt water.” The portrait was of a sea captain named James Fairfield of Kennebunk, Maine and its mysterious history is linked with that of Captain Daniel Nason whom Kenneth Roberts immortalized in his novel The Lively Lady. It makes a fascinating tale

A good-looking, self-assured man, Fairfield was dark and handsome, if not tall. Five and a half feet tall and stocky, he had curly sable-brown hair and long sideburns. His eyes too were dark brown and direct as well. Only a few years younger than Nason, James Fairfield was born in Arundel in the district of Maine in 1784, the son of William and Sarah (Burnham) Fairfield. His father, a ship captain (or sailing master as they were called then), was the grandson of John Fairfield who had come to Kennebunk from Worcester, Massachusetts, about 1725. James Fairfield had numerous brothers and sisters but was especially close to his sister Mary, familiarly known as Polly, who was just a few years younger and who married Joseph Lord in 1805.

Like his father, James Fairfield sailed ship owned by Tobias Lord, Jr. In 1806 the newly-built brig Somers was put under his command when it was launched. The following year on November 12, James was married to Lois Walker, daughter of Daniel Walker. Shortly thereafter he and his brother-in-law Joseph Lord bought a house and six acres of land on South Maine Street in Kennebunkport from John Perkins. Since both men were mariners and much of their time was spent at sea, their joint ownership of property had several advantages not the least of which was that their wives were not left entirely alone when one or both of their husbands were away.

shipvwAccording to family tradition, it was on a voyage shortly after his marriage that Captain Fairfield decided to have his portrait painted at one of the first ports he visited on his trading mission. Being in the cotton trade he frequently sailed to Charleston, South Carolina, or New Orleans,then to southwestern Europe, on to England and then back to New England.

Since he was not coming directly home, he sent the portrait to Lois by another ship. Imagine his surprise and disappointment when he arrived back in Maine months later and he discovered that not only had his portrait not yet arrived, but that the ship by which it was sent had been lost at sea!In 1810 the command of another newly-launched, two-masted square-rigger, the Adrastus, was given to Fairfield. Letters that he wrote to his wife have been preserved at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk. One was written to Lois from Charleston in 1811 where he had put in for provisions after an unusually long coastal passage lasting sixty-three days. He hoped to get freight for either Spain or Portugal.

“My voyage will be much longer than I expected when I left home but after going to Europe I Shall Come home if my life is Spared,” he promised her.

shipdrFairfield’s life was spared; but, with the coming of President Jefferson’s hated embargo and the War of 1812, both he and his brother-in-law Joseph Lord felt called upon to enter into a privateering venture with Captain Daniel Nason and two other sailing masters, Joseph Perkins and Abner Stone. No sooner had they successfully made their way out of Kennebunkport on their brig Macdonough, which had been named for the stunning victory on Lake Champlain two months earlier, than they were captured on November 1, 1814, by the British frigate Bacchante and taken into Halifax.

In a letter written on November 17th, James related the story of their capture to his wife Lois:

. . . the next morning after leaving home we fell in with the Frigate Bacchante which gave Us Chase at 2 PM Both of Our Topmasts wint Over the Side which Made Us a Compleet Wreck but by heving our guns Over Board and other articles to lighten our Vessel She did not Make us her prize before 7 in the Evening.

portholFairfield and Lord were both put on board the British ship Penelope and in a few days were being transported to England with 250 other American prisoners in their ship and another accompanying frigate full of prisoners. James was most concerned for his wife and wrote to tell her to turn to Captain Tobias Lord for help if she needed anything.

I think he wont let you Suffer,” he said.

On another occasion he assured her that they were all well and in good spirits considering their situation. He suggested that she sell her horse to cut down on expenses and to sell anything else she might need to, rather than suffer any deprivation.

“I don’t know what Part of England we Shall go to but Shall write Every oppartunity. Could you find out where I am Nothing but my Liberty would give me more Pleasure than a line from you.”

Perhaps Captain Fairfield and his friends would not have been in such good spirits had they known that their destination was the dreaded Dartmoor Prison. It was the day before Christmas when James Fairfield, Joseph Lord and the rest of the Arundel crew were checked into this formidable compound and issued only a hammock, bedding and blanket.

Four months later the men were still at Dartmoor when the bloody massacre of prisoners took place there on April 6, 1815. James described it to Lois,

“the Ridiculous and Infamous Conduct of our Commander in this place Barbarously and cruelly fireing upon us . . . and killing 8 and wounding 45 of the poor Innocent and defenceless prisoners.” “Fortunately” he said, “none of our Kennebunkers fell Victim to British cruelties on that never to be forgoten day.”

The days in prison following the massacre must have been the worst of all. From the beginning, Fairfield realized that he would be imprisoned
“Untill peace which god Send may be soon.”

The day that he was incarcerated at Dartmoor, the Treaty of Ghent had been signed, but news of the signing did not reach this country until February and peace was not proclaimed by President Madison until February 17, 1815. From that time on, the men expected to be released from prison. As Fairfield wrote to Lois,

“I soon did expect to be clear from this prison but our expectations have failed owing the negligence of our agent. … My anxiety to get home is beyond description,” he told her in a letter sent by the cartel ship on which Captain Nason had been allowed to return to Kennebunkport.

Fairfield had hoped himself to be in that first draft of 250 men who boarded the cartel ship in Plymouth on April 20th. He had, in fact, bought another man’s place on that ship, but to his bitter dismay, when the prison authorities called out the name of the prisoners, the man he had given the money took his own turn and left Fairfield to wait for his.

While he did not have much money, he still had a little cash, “thank god and good friends,” but the conditions were very disagreeable, “being confined within the dismal walls of a prison deprived of all the comforts of life and the agreeable and pleasing company of a wife and friends.”

At length, James Fairfield’s name was called, he and his brother-in-law were released, transported by a cartel ship, and ultimately discharged by the British on July 3, 1815, in time to celebrate their own independence day on American soil.

The year after their return they were living in a new double house on the corner of Green and Pleasant Streets in Kennebunkport. Lois’ father had given to her and her husband six acres of land here in 1813 as a measure of his affection and appreciation of their many kindnesses to him.

There were no houses on the land then, but about the time Nathaniel Lord built his mansion on the opposite corner, the Fairfields completed their big house, and in September of 1816 they sold half of the house and land to Joseph Lord so that he and Polly could continue to live under the same roof. Neither James Fairfield nor Joseph Lord, unfortunately, were destined to live long in the house. The ship Joseph was commanding in 1817 in the cotton trade to Europe was lost at sea. His widow Polly soon married again. Her husband’s brother Captain John Lord was the groom, and they continued to live in the house conjoined to the Fairfields’ home.

Early in the summer of 1820, James Fairfield became mortally ill and on July 23rd he died at the age of thirty-six. Lois sold their part of the house on Green Street to his privateering associate Abner Stone and probably lived with Polly and Joseph until her death the following year. It was two years after Fairfield’s death that the unusual event occurred. Word was sent to Tobias Lord from a Swedish bark that had come into Portland that his presence was requested on board their ship. There on the Swedish ship was the life-like painting of Captain James Fairfield. In the background of the portrait was a ship under sail and flying an American flag. Furthermore Fairfield was shown holding a letter in his right hand to Messieurs Tobias Lord and Co., Kennebunk, Maine, his employers at the time.

It was the letter in his hand that made it possible for the painting to be delivered to Kennebunk at last. Apparently the portrait had been rolled up and put in a tin case when Fairfield sent it home from the port where it had been painted. After the ship in which it was conveyed went down, the encased portrait was buoyant enough to make its way to the surface of the water and travel many miles away where it was spotted and retrieved by the men on the Swedish ship.

So it was that Polly Lord received the portrait of her brother after his death. The painting and the story of its history were cherished by her descendents and one hundred and seventy-five years later the address on the later shown in his hand prompted the inheritor of the portrait to make it possible for it to be returned once again to Kennebunk, where it can now be enjoyed by all who visit the Brick Store Museum.

The Captain Fairfield Inn is proud to welcome an authentic reproduction, painted by a well-known local artist, of this famous portrait of Captain James Fairfield to grace our living room mantel. We’d like to Thank the Brick Store Museum for their generous cooperation and Martha Gandy Fales for her marvelous sleuthing to unravel The Mystery of the Seas.

The winning Kennebunkport inn “cookie crawl” cookie – 2014!

Our Kennebunkport bed and breakfast has come to the rescue — just in time for fabulous holiday parties and family get-togethers — with this unique holiday cookie recipe: Fried Sage Chocolate Shortbread.  

Our Kennebunkport boutique inn’s winning Christmas Prelude cookies!

Our Kennebunkport boutique inn’s winning Christmas Prelude cookies!

Because this brand new treat was crafted in boutique bed and breakfast Captain Fairfield Inn’s kitchen, we’re sure you’ll be the only one on the guest list to bring it. The best part?  We can even guarantee they taste amazing.  

Captain Fairfield Inn won Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude‘s Cookie Crawl contest by baking this crowd-pleaser.  As a Lark Hotel, we love to create just the right amount of mischief in our guests’ vacation experience.  We hope this Fried Sage Chocolate Shortbread will do the same for your holiday.

Fried Sage Chocolate Shortbread from Captain Fairfield Inn

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp crumbled, salted fried sage
  • (1 bunch fresh sage, 1/4 cup olive oil, coarse salt)

Optional chocolate drizzle: 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300*F
  2. Prepare the fried sage:  Pinch the leaves off your bunch of fresh sage.  Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Once hot, fry a few leaves at a time for about 5 seconds.  Transfer to paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt. Once cool, crush or chop your fried sage to be incorporated into the shortbread dough.  OR If you prefer to simply use fresh sage, we recommend adding a bit of extra salt to the dough as well.
  3. Make the shortbread dough:  Sift together flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Combine butter and sugar in large bowl.  Beat until smooth and light in color, about 3 minutes.  Mix in vanilla and fried sage, then add the dry ingredients.  Stir until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  5. Using an offset spatula, spread dough evenly into a 9 1/2 inch tart pan with a removable bottom (note:  if you don’t have a tart pan, try using a regular pie or brownie pan.  It just might make the removal of your shortbread pieces a bit more challenging).  Smooth the top with spatula.  Prick lightly all over with a fork, and use a knife to make shallow cuts marking 12 equal wedges (or whatever pattern you’re using to define your separate shortbread pieces).
  6. Bake about 55-65 minutes until the top is evenly a muted brown color.  Remove from oven. Using the cuts you already marked as a guideline, cut the warm shortbread into 12 wedges.  Let shortbread cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Remove side section of the pan then slide cookies off the bottom.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Take things over the top: Heat heavy cream in a sauce pan until just boiling.  Turn off heat and add chocolate chips.  Whisk until melted.  If you have some fried sage left over, sprinkle up to 1/2 tablespoon into your melted chocolate and mix.  Drizzle over the top of your fried sage chocolate shortbread.  Enjoy!

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.

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

Lobster & Fish House

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.  

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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.

Introducing the Lark Suite!

Our very popular garden suite, The Library just completed an upgrade and we are loving the new look. Until we can get professional photos taken we are offering a sneak peek with a few Instagram shots. Check out photos here.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

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.  

Kennbunkport festival food

Pork belly sandwich at the Blues & Tunes event.

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.

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.

Local Connections = Great Maine Vacations!

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Portland Head Light lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth.

Whether you have been visiting the Kennebunks for years or you are planning your first ever trip to our Maine boutique inn, the resident managers of Captain Fairfield Inn are happy to help create the perfect stay for you.

Because we live and work in town and have great connections to the local scene, we can point you to exactly what might interest you.  Want activities within walking distance?  Absolutely.  Need the low down on the best places for gluten free guests to eat?  No problem. Looking to make a quick trip up to Portland but don’t want to break the bank? We’ve got you covered.

Our personal take on “Portland on a Budget.” 

The day trip starts after your three course creative breakfast at our Kennebunkport inn. For photo ops of lighthouses instead of tolls, we’ll give you turn by turn directions for the scenic route up the southern Maine coast.  When you arrive in Portland just snag our favorite spot for free parking:  on India Street right in front of Miccuci.  This Italian grocer is the perfect place to grab a satisfying lunch.  Dine there or take your Sicilian Slab pizza, cannoli, and maybe a bottle of wine to a nearby park. (you can not drink wine in the park)  Portland is a very walkable city, so you can explore the waterfront and independent shops in the Old Port for the afternoon.  

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The amazing lox and potato pancakes at Schulte & Herr

As a special treat, make your way to Maine Mead Works for a free tasting of the dry and sweet meads they create on site. While there are more great food options in Portland than we can possibly name, here are a couple of affordable options for dinner:  try Little Tap House for casual, locally sourced fare or Schulte & Herr for a BYOB German feast.

Other Concierge Resources

If chatting with us and hearing our thoughts isn’t how you want to make the most of your trip, we’ve still got you covered. As with other Lark Hotels, Captain Fairfield Inn staff will be present when you want them and absent when you don’t.  You can peruse area information and procure a local map while grabbing a complimentary soda or tea in our 24 Hour Guest Pantry.  Or, stay snug in your room and fire up the iPad given to you at check-in.  The iPad is curated by us and each alternative vetted, so you have top quality recommendations to explore on your own.  Because of the electronic medium, the information never gets stale.  You can easily browse attractions you may not have visited before and even see the menus of local restaurants who change their offerings daily.