Summer Activities – Kennebunkport, Maine

whale watching in Maine

Think you’ll be bored on your summer vacation in Maine?  Think again!  Here is our list of 17 things to do this summer in Kennebunkport.  And this list only scratches the surface of the plethora of summer activities found in Kennebunkport and the surrounding area.  When visiting the Captain Lord Mansion, our capable staff can connect you with tickets, times, directions, maps and any othe rthing you need to take advantage of these summer activities.

Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

  1. View the Bush Estate on Ocean Avenue; it was the summer White House for 41!
  2. Swim at the beautiful white sand Goose Rocks Beach
  3. Shop the many fine boutiques found in the Port’s Dock Square
  4. View Goat Island Lighthouse and see the Lobster Boats at Cape Porpoise Harbor
  5. Tour the Franciscan Monastery Gardens and Grounds
  6. Experience the nature trails at Laudholm Farm/Wells Reserve
  7. Tour the Kennebunkport Historical Society’s White Columns “First Families” Museum
  8. Learn the history of the Kennebunks at the Brick Store Museum
  9. Take a Ride on an old trolley at the Seashore Trolley Museum
  10. Take an educational and scenic cruise on the Lobster Boat Rugosa
  11. Go canoeing on the Kennebunk River and have a Captain Lord Mansion picnic lunch at “Picnic Rock”
  12. Enjoy a day seeking whales on the “First Chance” Whale Watch cruise
  13. Bicycle along Ocean Ave to tour the beautiful stone edifice of St. Anne’s Episcopal Church
  14. Enjoy a sea Kayaking adventure with Coastal Maine Kayak
  15. Take a horse-drawn Carriage Ride through the Historic District
  16. Take a relaxing scenic sailing adventure on the Schooner Eleanor
  17. Take a cooking class at Jillyanna’s Wood-fired Cooking School

Sailing in Maine

Kennebunkport River Green – Fascinating History

River Green in KennebunkportThe Kennebunkport River Green has a fascinating history.  Originally, the land which now is called “The River Green” was house lots; there were three houses situated on that land during the 1800’s.  In the late 1800’s, the Captain Lord Mansion was owned by Charles P. Clark, the grandson of the original builder, Nathaniel Lord.  Because the three house blocked his view of the Kennebunk River, he had each moved to different part of town.  Being a wealthy railroad magnate from Connecticut, he could easily afford the cost of removal of the houses.  The bucolic park-like setting remained as part of the Lord family estate until 1972 when the Mansion was sold out of the family for the first time in 170 years.  The purchaser of the Mansion estate, Biddeford native Jim Throumoulos, was intent on selling the land to raise capital for funding his renovations to the Mansion.  Local residents were concerned that an important scenic part of the town would be destroyed by development; thus, in 1973, the River Green became the catalyst for citizens organizing the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.  The Kennebunkport River Green was the initial land purchase of the Conservation Trust which has grown exponentially under the leadership of Tom Bradbury.  Currently, the land owned and under conservation by the Trust is extensive and even includes Goat Island and its’ iconic lighthouse.  As owners of the Captain Lord Mansion, we are grateful for the stewardship of the citizens of Kennebunkport to create the Conservation Trust and preserve the River Green as an open park which showcases the Mansion during the winter and spring months.  Your innkeepers, Bev Davis & Rick Litchfield

Inn in Kennebunkport Maine

Awarded the 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!


TripAdvisor Hall of Fame

The 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence  was awarded to the Captain Lord Mansion for 5th consecutive year and has been inducted into ‘Hall of Fame’ of Five-time Certificate of Excellence Winners on the World’s Largest Travel Site

The Captain Lord Mansion is proud to announce that it has been recognized as a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame winner. The Certificate of Excellence award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor. The ‘Hall of Fame’ was created to honor those businesses that have earned a Certificate of Excellence for five consecutive years. Winners include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

“Being awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence five years in a row and inducted into the ‘Hall of Fame’ is a true source of pride for the entire staff at the Captain Lord Mansion and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

Your innkeepers Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield

 

Kennebunkport Weekly Village ArtWalk Starts June 12th!

Abbott Graves CLM

Kennebunkport: Where art lives! This summer is going to be a terrific season as The local Chamber of Commerce promotes our vibrant community of artists and art lovers. The natural beauty of Kennebunkport has long been a draw to artists, and The Chamber will soon launch new initiatives to highlight all we have to offer with “Kennebunkport Weekly Village ArtWalk” and Art Movements! These fun, social events will bring together our local artist community and thriving restaurant scene with our residents and visitors looking for summer fun.

New this month, in creative collaboration with many local artists, The Chamber will launch its inaugural Village ArtWalk, a new self-guided walking tour between 14 local galleries in Kennebunk’s Lower Village, Kennebunkport’s Dock Square and Ocean Avenue. The first night is set for 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 12, and will continue monthly on the second Friday through Christmas Prelude. Watch for our full-color brochure with an illustrated map by local artist Holly Ross, in coordination with Sue Rioux Designs and Tracey Sharpe at The Sharpe Gallery.  Or call the Captain Lord Mansion and we’ll mail you one prior to your visit.

Later this summer, the Chamber of Commerce will launch the new Art Movements! series, a trio of rotating events to take place on Tuesday evenings at various restaurants throughout the Kennebunks. Watch for details on Cut Throat Artists!, Pushing Paint! and Click and Swish!

On alternating weeks, artists of all media – emerging and established – will gather for an outrageous competition to see who has the smarts, the talents and the nerves to lay it all on the line in a challenge called Cut Throat Artists! With choices like oven mitts, old toothbrushes, pirate hooks and whatever is crazy enough to paint with, they will execute a masterpiece against a ticking clock. And, with a cheering crowd providing the backdrop for inspiration, they’ll make each competition a night to remember.

On the alternate weeks, artists will be invited to participate with fellow artists in Pushing Paint! They’ll join together as a “tag team painting machine” to create a mural that just might be a work of art for the ages! They will be competing against a clock and switching sides at the whim of a timer. (Here’s hoping they can play well together – this may be just the fun night to find out!)

In addition to these events, the local artisits will be featuring a weekly test of talents called Click and Swish!, as photographers submit one of their pictures to be randomly selected and interpreted by an artist and presented in a mini pop-up gallery showing.

So, if you are traveling to Kennebunkport this season, plan on participating in these fun activities and events. Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

P.S. The painting depicted here is titled “New England Doorway” by Abbott Graves, a well-known, but deceased artist from the area. This work hangs in the Pasco Center at the Kennebunkport Historical Society.

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Beautiful Maine Lighthouses near The Captain Lord Mansion!

Beautiful Lighthouses of Maine
Those who have visited The Captain Lord Mansion will tell you that the inn is distinctly romantic and stately, offering a relaxing spa getaway where all the senses are pampered and body, mind and soul find the peace they crave. After enjoying a soothing Couple’s Spa Experience, you may wish to explore some of the most romantic sites in Maine: the beautiful Maine lighthouses, all of which are just a short drive away from the Mansion and which boast a rich and intricate history that makes them a must-see for visitors from all over the world.

nubble-lighthouse

The Nubble
Cape Neddick “Nubble” Lighthouse, ensconced near the entrance to the York River, is perched on ‘The Nubble’: a rocky island whose barren simplicity is broken by the graceful lighthouse. Although sailors first requested that the lighthouse be built in 1807, it wasn’t until 1874 that President Rutherford B. Hayes would set aside a then-impressive amount of $15,000 for its construction. The lighthouse, which was completed in 1879, is still in use today. Its brick and cast-iron tower stands proud at 41 feet, and it is one of the last eight lights in Maine to rely on the Fresnal Lens. In 1985, the lighthouse was placed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Voyager spacecraft, which carries images of the most beautiful constructions and natural spaces on the Planet, holds a special place for a spectacular photograph of this lighthouse, considered one of the nation’s most beautiful. Visitors are welcome to visit the nearby Sohier Park to paint and photography the lighthouse, or indulge in many fun activities including scuba diving, fishing and relaxing. There is also a beautiful gift shop from which you can purchase souvenirs and representations of the lighthouse; so if you hail from outside the US, make sure to bring your credit card or ensure you change your currency into dollars so you can take a small representation of the lighthouse or other beautiful gifts, to your loved ones back home.

Goat Island Lighthouse
Goat Island Lighthouse is a simpler, starker lighthouse than that which can be viewed on The Nubble, though it holds its place in history as being the first beacon to guide sailors into the buzzing Cape Porpoise in the early 1800s. It stands majestically on Goat Island, once the home to the pasturing goats of local herders. The first ever lighthouse was completed in 1823, but failed to adequately mark the shallow reef to the north of the island, causing many boats to crash against the rocks. Therefore, it was decided that it would be of better service off the northern end of Goat Island. Some $67,700 was set aside to build a dike, which would support a brand new 29-foot tower. The lighthouse was automated in 1963 but is still used to help mariners find their way. Goat Island is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This lighthouse has recently been restored to its former glory by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust. There are tours of the Island and Lighthouse available in the Summer season.

wood island light

Wood Island Lighthouse
This lighthouse boasts over 200 years of maritime history and is currently undergoing extensive renovation. In the early 1800s, construction commenced on the building of a light house to help the mariners into Winter Harbor and Saco River; by 1808, the beacon was up and running. In 1857-58, damage to the original wooden structure necessitated reconstruction of the tower and a new fourth order Fresnel lens was added: the dwelling house was also renovated. The lighthouse has been through many small changes; in the 1900s, for instance, the keeper’s house was renovated and in Dutch colonial style; in 1873 a steel fog bell was placed, only to be replaced in 1890 by a metal-cast bell. In the late 1960s a rotating aero beacon replaced the old lantern room, creating a potent light that guided sailors for almost 20 years. Many say that ghosts roam Wood Island, which is home to a famous murder and suicide reported by the Biddeford Daily Journal on June 2, 1896.

 

Twin Lights
Twin Lights Lighthouse
This lighthouse has played host to a number of important scientific, historical cultural events. Built to support the increase in shipping traffic to and from New York, it was completed in 1828, boasting a revolutionary design that cost a whopping $74,000. The site of twin lights was chosen as the backdrop for the first official reading of the Pledge of Allegiance as the national oath of loyalty. It was also the first electrically powered lighthouse in America. These lighthouses are easily approached by road so that you may walk around them and experience the sense of place where they guarded the shore.

Portland Head Light 1

Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light is one of Maine’s most oft visited sites, since it is Maine’s oldest lighthouse. It is located in Fort Williams Park. The lighthouse was lit for the first time in 1791; it was originally powered by whale oil lamps and it wasn’t until 1864 that a Fresnel lens and cast iron staircase were installed. The tower, which originally measure just 72’ from base to lantern deck, was raised 20’ and a fitted with a second Fresnel lens in 1865. Fort Williams Park, situated in Cape Elizabeth, Maine is a popular tourist attraction in the Portland, ME area. Perhaps most famous for Portland Head Light standing on its grounds, the park has a vast amount of history worth exploring. Portland Headlight is described by many as being the most photographed lighthouse in the world. It was commissioned in the late 1700’s by George Washington and is still operational today.

This blog was written for the inn by by Susan Francis

Sources:
Nubblelight.org, The History of the Nubble, accessed March, 2015.
Lighthousefriends.org, Newport Harbor (Goat Island), accessed March, 2015.
Woodislandlighthouse.org, History of the Light Tower, accessed March, 2015.
Twinlightslighthouse.com, Touchstone of History, accessed March, 2015.

Did You Know ? Kennebunkport is home of Kennebunkport Brewing Co.!

Shipyard

Federal Jack’s Restaurant & Brew Pub sits above the Kennebunkport Brewing Co, a 7 Barrel micro brewery and it is located directly on the shore of the Kennebunk River.  This restaurant is a favorite of both tourists and locals alike because it combines a terrific view of the Kennebunk River from an open-style dining room which serves excellent food.  If you are looking for lobster, other fresh seafood, salads and hand-crafted beers, this is the place for you.  “Federal Jacks is your neighborhood Brew Pub And Restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine”.  The beers created and served there run the gamut from “Shipyard Export Ale”, “Fuggles IPA”, “Old Thumper” to “Blue Fin Stout”.  Here is a link to their website where you can learn more about each brew. Additionally, the Kennebunkport Brewing Company offers brewery tours and tastings. When staying at the Captain Lord Mansion, please allow us to call ahead for you to reserve space on one of the tours.  Your innkeepers, Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield

Lobster Lovers

Kennebunkport Shopping

Kennebunkport Shopping  at Five Excellent Kennebunkport Dock Square Shops

Dock Square Monument BD

As year-round residents of Kennebunkport and business owners of the Captain Lord Mansion for 37 years, we have seen many different tourist shops in Dock Square come and go.  We try to visit each shop during the season to get an idea of their inventory and become aware of any new items that they might carry.  We also want to see and experience what new shops have opened for the season.

Despite the turnover in the shops in Dock Square, there are a few that have provided excellent Kennebunkport shopping opportunities for many years. They have been and remain steadfast members of the Dock Square business community. We salute these five unique Dock Square shops.  Bev and I believe they each provide the best of a small town shopping experience.  Additionally, we have been customers ourselves at each of these shops.  So, let’s explore shopping in Kennebunkport!

shopping-survival

Compliments Gallery: Compliments Gallery is located in the heart of Dock Square and for over 30 years has offered unique home accents that are decorative, original and artful. Additionally, they have an excellent selection of fine jewelry; I bought Bev some beautiful gold earrings here.  The earrings are among her favorites.  Compliments has an excellent online catalogue too!  Shop founder and owner David Betses’ excellent taste is reflected in his diverse stock!

Compliments Gallery

Coastal Jewelers: This is another shop in the center of Dock Square and the owners specialize in Maine Tourmaline, a unique and fascinating gemstone which comes in several striking colors and the gems really are mined here in Maine. Bev’s sister loved jewelry and she found a superb piece of Maine Tourmaline which was set in a ring.   It was one of her most treasured pieces because she loved Maine and Kennebunkport; the ring reminded her of both!

fine_custom_jewelery

Saxony Imports: This is another Dock Square shop that has been serving tourists for over 30 years. If your need is for an inexpensive keepsake of your visit to Kennebunkport, this store is a must visit; it sells embroidered baseball caps, sweatshirts, t-shirts, magnets, Christmas ornaments, mugs, sunglasses and all sorts of other memorabilia.  This store is chock-a-block full of treasures!

Kennebunkport Maine

Flaherty Imports:  This winter was perfect for the cable-knit, authentic Irish sweater which I purchased at this Dock Square shop. This sweater kept me warm on cold Maine winter days and there were many of them this winter. (I didn’t wear the sweater every day.) This is terrific shop offering an excellent variety of imported Irish sweaters for all ages, as well as stocking other imported knitted goods such as wool scarves. I highly recommend a browse through this shop when you are shopping in the village.

Irish Sweater

Good Earth Pottery : Another gift shop which has been a fixture in Dock Square for over 35 years is this pottery shop. Owners and friends, Dave and Diane Jenkins personally create each piece of pottery at their kiln that is located at their near-by home. Being founding members of the Kennebunkport Business Association, they have been actively involved in supporting the business community during their long tenure in the Port,. Two years ago our niece and nephew purchased several items for their Steamboat Springs, Colorado home. Additionally, they bought us an earthenware water pitcher that we use almost daily at home.

Good Earth

This concludes this blog reagrding several of our favorite long-lived Dock Square retail shops. However, by no means does this blog do justice to the extensive choices of many other fine shops which are located throughout Kennebunkport’s historic shopping district.  We will be recommend many of those in future Blogs. Your innkeepers, Bev Davis & Rick Litchfield

Captain Lord Mansion & Select Registry Celebrate 40 Years Together!

Captain Lord Mansion Louis Norton

Captain Lord Mansion has been a member of Select Registry since 1975 when the organization was comprised basically of the group of inns listed in Norman Simpson’s Country Ins and Back Roads, a travel guide for bed & breakfast and full service inns.  Norman began publishing his small guidebook about 1966.  It began as a very personal travel guide recounting Norman’s travels throughout New England and included his wittingly-written recommendations of small, owner-operated, lodging establishments which he believed offered more personal service and more unique travel experiences than motels, the post-war travel trend.  For many years it was the “bible” of the Bed & Breakfast industry; of course that was before computers!

NormanSimpson
The Independent Innkeepers Association (I.I.A.)  was initiated by Mr. Simpson in the late 1980’s as a professional association offering educational seminars and recreational gatherings for innkeepers whose properties were listed in his books.  In fact, Bev was a founding board member of the I.I.A.  After Norman’s untimely death due to an auto accident, the I.I.A. was reorganized as the Select Registry.  Both Bev and  I served as regional representatives of the new association.

Today, the Captain Lord Mansion is one of the longest active member properties listed in the Select Registry.  However, we still have to meet the very exacting Quality Assurance Criteria of S/R. The inn is anonymously inspected every couple of years, the last one being in 2014.  We are pleased to say that we passed with top marks.

Kennebunkport Maine Boutique Hotel

Because of the emphasis on Q.A.  inspections, the Select Registry has an exceptional reputation for over 300 quality properties in its digest-size book.  Additionally, S/R has both a Website and a Mobile App.  Also, there now is a well-received “Select Rewards” frequent visitor program; for every 12 visits to Select Registry member inns, a guest receives a $100 Gift Certificate to be used at any of the member inns.  Sign up today at Select Registry Rewards.

Bev and I are proud to be counted among the Select Registry Inns which now encompass most of the continental United States.  Your Innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Kennebunkport’s Top 7 Casual Places :: Maine Lobster DInners

Kennebunkport‘s Top 7  casual places for Maine lobster dinners as recommended by the #1 rated Kennebunkport bed and breakfast by TripAdvisor, the Captain Lord Mansion.

Lobster Hut in Maine

1. Nunan’s Lobster Hut, founded in 1932, is the most famous of Kennebunkport’s top 7 casual places for Maine lobster.  This is the ultimate lobster pound-type place; it has long tables, bench seats, communal seating and serves only lobster; but it serves the best blueberry pie (my opinion) in Maine. Nunan’s does not take reservations and there is usually a wait for seating in peak season.

Casual Dining in Maine

2. Alisson’s is a Dock Square institution where locals go for excellent seafood and a variety of specialty suds on tap. Quality food, reasonable prices in a pub-type atmosphere; what more could you ask?  Yes, they serve freshly steamed lobsters too!

3. Arundel Wharf is a seasonal restaurant which is situated almost across the street from the Captain Lord Mansion.  It has a deck overlooking the Kennebunk River where Bev and I enjoy an adult beverage on a lazy summer afternoon.  Their lobsters are freshly caught and delicious.  Perhaps you might see at the Wharf’s deck bar one of the lobstermen who caught your crustacean!

4. Cape Pier Chowder House is located right on the pier in Cape Porpoise and it is just the place for freshly-steamed lobsters for lunch. Choose your live lobster out of their tank and then enjoy your meal while gazing over the Cape Porpoise Harbor.  Watch the lobster boats come and go and listen to the squawk of seagulls in the distance.  This is quintessential Maine!

Shipyard Hand-Crafted Beer

5. Federal Jacks is the home of Shipyard Ale and overlooks the Kennebunk River. Lots of fresh seafood choices, chowders, crisp salads and, of course, freshly caught Maine lobsters are always on the menu. This is another watering hole for the locals where you can rub shoulders with lobstermen and tradesmen.

Baked Stuffed Lobster

6. Mabel’s Lobster Claw has gained fame because it is one of George H. W. Bush’s (41)favorite of Kennebunkport’s Top 7 casual places for Maine Lobster. Bev’s dad always loved the restaurant’s famous baked stuffed lobster (pictured here) which is a unique menu item in Kennebunkport. Frankly, I don’t know how her dad ever finished the dish; it was that large! So, if you are looking for adequate portions, this is the place for you. From the Captain Lord Mansion, this restaurant is a short walk along Ocean Avenue.  The Captain Lord Mansion is offering a Lobster Adventure Cruise combined with a lobster dinner at Mabel’s. Here is a link explaining this Adventure Package.

Kennebunkport, Maine activities

7. The Clam Shack, which is conveniently positioned on the bridge in Dock Square, is not really a “lobster pound”; however, it has the best fried clams in the town. Also, it is adjacent to a Seafood Market where you can purchase live lobsters to go. Beware of low flying seagulls which will snatch your french fries!

There you have it; Kennebunkport’s top 7 casual places for Maine lobster dinners.  Your Innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Mother’s Day 2015 :: Romantic Getaway Kennebunkport

Romance Packages in Maine

Take Advantage of the Captain Lord Mansion “Mother’s Day Free” Package and make it a weekend to remember.

Kennebunkport Spa

Celebrate Mother’s Day Weekend (May 8,9 & 10) at the Captain Lord Mansion, an intimate Maine Coast Inn.  With this package enjoy a 3-day weekend with Sunday, May 10th, Mother’s Day being Free!  Additionally, this package includes a split of sparkling wine, delicious chocolates as well as a beautiful orchard plant to take away for Mom to enjoy at home.

Wine List - Maine B&B

This weekend includes the last Winter Wine Tasting event which will be on Saturday afternoon.  We’ll be tasting spring favorites.  Enter drawing to win a free night (next March) at the Captain Lord Mansion.  Can you believe that Spring is coming?

Call today to book your getaway with that special lady in your life, the mother of your children.  Celebrate this special weekend with Bev and Rick at their beautiful Kennebunkport Bed & Breakfast!