Something about the rocky coastlines, lush vegetation and quaint coastal towns drew us to Maine this past summer. Jay and I drove up to Maine from Boston, which is a quick two-hour drive to our first stop: Kennenbunkport. First of all, I should say that I picked the location because looking at a map of Maine, and all the places I wanted to go, the list was far too long and the uniqueness of the town name stuck with me each time I’d study the map. It doesn’t hurt that George H.W. Bush summers here too. If it’s good enough for George… So when Jay said, “where shall we go?” I replied, “Kennenbunkport, of course.” From Kennenbunkport we drove 45 minutes up the coast to Portland. Even though it’s currently November, and the lazy days of summer are still a fresh glimmer in our memories, here are four reasons you should consider planning your next summer vacation in Maine:
- New England Cuisine. Obviously the number one reason to vacation in Maine is the seafood. From Lobster (try Federal Jack’s) and Lobster rolls to oysters and New England clam chowder – we consumed just about every type of seafood you can imagine for two blissful days. When in Kennenbunkport, one of my favorite meals was at a tiny clam shack (named appropriately the Clam Shack!) on the Kennenbunkport River. It was a toss up between ordering their famous Lobster Roll or the Clam Cake Lunch box – we split the lunch box. We dined under the sun, sitting on lobster crates, watching all the Labor Day weekenders pass by. (Note: Tired of seafood? We stumbled upon a gem of a dumpling house in Portland. Try Bao Bao. It will change your life.)
- Beaches. Maine boasts more than 5,000 miles of beaches, and Kennenbunkport is home to some of the most beautiful. We took bikes from our inn (see Pedal Power: Hop on a Bike Next Time You Explore) to spend a few hours soaking up the late summer sun at Kennenbunk Beach. Visitors of all ages frolicked in the gentle surf and played bocci in the talcom sand.
- Sightseeing. According to the New York Time’s “36 Hours in Portland,” “There is no place in the country better known as a bastion of good living, leisure and happy inebriation than Oregon’s largest little city, the low-lying mini-metropolis of Portland.” And sure enough, it proved to be a very lovely town with quirky, endearing charm. Full of art galleries, boutiques and coffee shops, one of the the city’s best attractions is made by Mother Nature: Casco Bay. There are several options to explore the bay, but the best bang for your buck is a tour on the Casco Bay Lines Mailstop Run. It’s a working mail and freight boat that takes passengers on a 3-hour boat tour of Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Cliff and Chebeague. The best part? It’s $16 a person.
- Inns. One of the most casually elegant boutique inns in Maine is the Kennebunkport Inn, situated in the heart of Kennenbunkport just blocks from Dock Square. We only stayed on the quintessential American historic property featuring crisp blues and bright reds (think Ralph Lauren) for a night, but we easily could have spent a week on the property, writing, working, sipping wine and listening to the cool jazz performed live on the weekends in the inn’s bar.