Where is the New Brewpub located near Kennebunkport?

Brew Pub Glasses

Dick Varano and his wife Sherri have opened a new restaurant in Wells, Maine.  It is a great new brewpub called Fire and Brew. The restaurant is offering specialty crafted beers on tap as well as a nice selection of small plates.  Fire and Brew is located on Mile Road in Wells, Maine which is a short 10 minute drive from The Captain Lord Mansion and Kennebunkport.  The Varano’s also own and operate Billy’s Chowder House, a terrific seafood restaurant as well  as Varano’s an authentic Italian restaurant.  All three of these choices offer excellent food and Varano’s has a superb wine list.  In fact, Dick Varano goes to Italy each spring to participate in Vinitaly where he selects some of the finest Italian wines for his wine list.  When you are a guest with us, we can give you directions and help you enjoy one of these three eateries! Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Captain Lord Mansion History, Part 5

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1972 – 1978

As I continues to recall the Captain Lord Mansion History, I’ll share about how in April 1972 a young Jim Throumoulos of Biddeford, Maine acquired the Captain Lord Mansion.  His plan was to convert the building to office condominiums.  Ugh!  However, Kennebunkport had passed its first zoning ordinance in March of that year and the new ordinance prohibited commercial development in the newly designated historic residential area.  However, the ordinance allowed rooming houses and Bed & Breakfast inns.  He owned the Mansion for 6 years from 1972 until 1978.  During Jim’s ownership, he was responsible for much decorative restoration such as wallpapering, painting and refinishing painted floors.  During their subsequent 35 years of ownership, Bev and Rick have re-renovated all of Jim’s renovations and done much more upgrading to the physical plant.

After Jim purchased the Mansion, he advertised in college newspapers for students who would trade work for summer lodging. He had no trouble attracting a crew of workers to Kennebunkport for summer work!  To house his workers, Jim made the barn (carriage house) into a dormitory by constructing crude cubicles and added limited bath facilities. Nevertheless, young folks did come and worked hard at sanding floors, stripping wallpaper, painting and generally transforming the old building with a fresh look.  However, Jim was under capitalized and soon was facing severe financial pressure.  First, he sold the land in front of the Mansion to the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.  In fact, that purchase was the catalyst for the formation of the trust; it was their very first piece of land purchased for conservation.  Subsequently, Jim fell in love with one of the workers who had come to work on the gardens.  Shirley Green was a lovely young lady with much talent.  As Shirley and Jim were planning their wedding, his financial plight worsened.  Supposedly the phones had been turned off.  Whether true or not, Jim went to the post office and found a letter from a local attorney inquiring if Jim would rent a couple of rooms to an elderly woman and her nurse.  Apparently, the attorney had tried to call Jim directly!  Jim came away from that meeting with enough money in advance and security deposits that he was able to stave off financial collapse for a time.  That woman, Mrs Parsons, became their savior.  She lived at the Mansion for only a short time before she was taken gravely ill; but, she was to be a rescuer a second time.  When Shirley visited Mrs Parsons in the hospital, Mrs Parsons knew of the young couple’s financial struggles and told Shirley that she would have her attorney fulfill a year’s rent obligation.  Again, Jim was rescued at the last moment.  That was the beginning of renting rooms to senior ladies.  Jim and Shirley provided three meals a day, breakfast on a tray in their rooms and lunch and dinner “family-style” in the Mansion’s grand kitchen.  Additionally, no nursing care was provided; only room cleaning and laundry.  Whether due to the financial struggles or other personal issues, the marriage foundered and Jim and Shirley’s relationship became strained to the point where she asked for a divorce. Things were complicated because her parents had made an investment in the property.  Also, Jim had apparently mortgaged his mother’s home in Biddeford.  Those financial issues complicated Jim’s life tremendously.

During summers between 1974 and 1977, the couple rented a few rooms on the third floor to transient guests.  However, there were mostly shared baths and marginal “antique” furnishings.  Norman Simpson, the author of “Country Inns and Back Roads” discovered the Captain Lord Mansion during one of his visits to the town. Previously, Norman had the Shawmut Inn in his book; however, Norman was looking for an alternative offering to his readers.  He approached Jim and Shirley and encouraged them to rent rooms and he would list them in his book. Thus, Norman Simpson was the one who discovered the Captain Lord Mansion as a place for the traveling public.  That was when bed and breakfast inns were just beginning to be discovered by the travelers.

That was the scene when Bev and Rick discovered the inn during a trip to New England while researching business opportunities. They were shown the inn on March 17, 1978. 90 days later they became owners of the Captain Lord Mansion on June 15, 1978. That is the “rest of the story”! To be continued. Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

 

Captain Lord Mansion History, Part 4

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1900 – 1972

In this edition of the Captain Lord Mansion History, I will cover the years after Charles Clark’s ownership of the Mansion.  Charles P. Clark died in Nice, France in 1901.  After his death, the house always passed on to daughters in the family.  In fact, Charles P. Clark’s daughter Susan and her husband inherited the home during the early years of the 20th Century.  Susan had married Edward Buckland at the Charles P. Clark family brownstone mansion in New Haven on June 21, 1898.  It is located at 444 Orange Street in New Haven, CT and still exists.  As her parents did, Susan and her husband used the Mansion as a summer residence only.  After Edward’s and Susan’s deaths, their daughter Julia and her husband Harrison Fuller inherited and occupied the house summers only.  When Harrison died at the young age of 58 in 1958, Julia moved from Southern Connecticut to Kennebunkport and made the Mansion her year-round residence.  Since the Mansion was used only as a summer residence for many years, the building had never been properly winterized and the heating system was inadequate for year-round occupancy of the entire house. During her winters at the Mansion, Julia lived in only a few rooms of the 20,000 square foot house.  Additionally, during the years that the Bucklands and Fullers owned the Mansion, they maintained extensive gardens on the “River Green”.  There are some wonderful old paintings and photographs of the Mansion taken from Ocean Ave. which show the beautiful gardens.

Julia and Harrison had only one child, Lucy and she inherited the Mansion upon Julia’s death in 1971.  By the time of Lucy’s inheritance there was little left of the family estate in the way of liquid assets; yet, there were sizable inheritance taxes owed to the State and Federal governments.  Lucy chose to liquidate the family estate and to move to a more livable home in New Hampshire!  However, the extensive family collection of nautical historical documents, family heirlooms, fine antique furniture, paintings, china and silver was sold by Lucy at either private sale or by public auction to generate funds to pay taxes.  For example, there was a Simon Willard tall-case clock which was sold through Israel Sack’s New York City Gallery.  Additionally, the pair of original John Brewster paintings of Nathaniel and Phebe was sold by the Kennedy Gallery.  An ad for those paintings was prominently displayed in a 1972 copy of Antiques magazine. Reproductions of these valuable paintings hang in the lobby of the Captain Lord Mansion bed & breakfast inn today; they are for the enjoyment of guests and visitors.

Lucy had four children and we are still in touch with one of them, Juliet M. Parry.  Juliet has been a good friend to the Kennebunkport Historical Society by providing them several Lord Family paintings and family papers. Juliet’s mother Lucy died a number of years ago; however, the extended family is quite large and members show up at the inn from time to time to see the house and to share family history. I’ll continue the history in the next installment which will cover 1972 to 1978 when we bought the property.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

 

 

More Kennebunkport Vacation Activities Revealed!

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In this Blog we’ll reveal more Kennebunkport vacation activities.  Let us share with you several of our choices for the top relatively unknown places to visit on a Kennebunkport vacation.  Many guests who visit the area just see Dock Square, Ocean Avenue, a beach, the Bush compound, eat some lobster at a local restaurant and leave.  They often miss these interesting and enjoyable out-of-the -way sights.  Here we’ll share some information about each attraction and it will hopefully inspire you to seek out these vacation treasures which will make your visit to Kennebunkport more memorable.  Our office staff has lots of area maps and is pleased to share directions to each of these “secret places”.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Ganny’s Garden : Garden honoring Barbara Bush on the “River Green” in front of the Captain Lord Mansion.

Blowing Cave & Spouting Rock : Two ocean side attractions on Ocean Ave.

Parsons Beach : Secluded beach off the beaten path.

Picnic Rock : Secluded picnic spot accessible only by kayak and canoe.

Franciscan Monastery : Beautiful and peaceful grounds and walking trails.

Eastern Bicycle Trail : Superb gravel bicycle trail through the woods from Kennebunk to Biddeford.

Kennebunkport Vacation Activities Revealed!

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Considering a vacation to Kennebunkport? Including a visit to the Captain Lord Mansion, an intimate Maine Coast Bed and Breakfast, Kennebunkport offers you a plethora of activities from A to Z to entertain, to educate and to expand your horizons!  Or just come to the Mansion to relax and unwind! Here, the ABC’s of the many Kennebunkport vacation activities are revealed.

Activities include:

Bev and I enjoy summer in Maine and especially Kennebunkport because there is so much to do.  There is hardly time to fit it all in!  Call the Captain Lord Mansion, a luxurious Maine Coast bed and breakfast inn, today to discuss your vacation plans and how we may assist you in planning the perfect vacation, including romantic sunsets!  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield.

What are the Kennebunkport Area Golf Courses?

Cape Arundel Golf Club

Let me share with you the choices you have for playing Kennebunkport area golf courses.

The most famous one is the Cape Arundel Golf Course which is located a short distance from the Captain Lord Mansion.  This is the course which is a favorite of President George H.W. Bush.   It is a rolling links-type of course which borders the Kennebunk River.  In winter, Bev and I enjoy snowshoeing alongside the river because of the scenic beauty of this course.

The Webhannet Golf Club is also located close-by; it is across the river in Kennebunk.  Founded in 1899, Webhannet is a 6100-yard par 71 course featuring serpentine fairways, tidal-fed water hazards and undulating greens that challenge and tempt golfers of all handicaps.  This is another beautiful course well worth the visit and time to play.

The Dutch Elm Golf Club is located about a 10 minute drive from the Captain Lord Mansion is the nearby town of Arundel.  This course is quietly situated in a rural setting, and many of the courses links are bordered by trees. This is another course that welcomes cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing  in the winter.

The staff at the Captain Lord Mansion is pleased to schedule tee times for you at either of the 3 courses, as well as making sure you have carts and clubs if necessary. Also, you can practice your putting at the Mansion’s putting green.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Where Can You Find a Fairy Garden in Kennebunkport?

Fairy Garden 3

Where Can You Find a Fairy Garden in Kennebunkport?  You may discover a “Fairy Garden” at the Captain Lord Mansion; it is located amongst the flowers and shrubs which border the garden waterfall.  Imagine the fairies frolicking and splashing about in the cool refreshing streams of water falling over the pebbles and rocks.  Find little “Fairy Houses” tucked here and there among the flowers and foliage.  If you would like to create your own “Fairy Garden”, we sell the houses and additional “Fairy” items in our gift shop.  Come browse our gardens and see if you can see the fairies!  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Fairy Garden 2

What’s Playing at Kennebunkport’s Summer Theater, The Arundel Barn Playhouse?

Arundel Barn PlayhouseAre you wondering what is playing at Kennebunkport’s Summer Theater, the Arundel Barn Playhouse?  Allow me to share what the exciting and fun-filled schedule is; it begins this week with The Andrews Brothers, a slapstick musical where 3 stagehands fill in at a USO show when the Andrews Sisters have to cancel their show.  The next show is Chicago which runs from July 2 to July 12.  The New England Premiere of Shrek, the Musical runs from July 16 until August 3.  Then, grab your blue suede shoes and come to see All Shook Up which is playing from August 6 to August 17.  The Arundel Barn Playhouse concludes its season with  Always … Patsy Cline.  The Arundel Barn Playhouse is in an old barn which harkens back to an earlier time of Maine summer stock theater.  Bev and I enjoy this theater and the productions because the young crew is so full of enthusiasm and energy.  We always come away saying “That was fun!” The staff at the Captain Lord Mansion will call ahead and make you ticket reservations.  Let us help you plan an evening of Maine summer theater.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Historic Inns of Kennebunkport Garden Party is a Treat!

Kennebunkport Historic Inns Garden Party

The 2013 version of the Historic Inns of Kennebunkport Garden Party was a rousing success.  Guests from each of four of the member historic inns enjoyed food made with Maine products. We at the Captain Lord Mansion served small cups of a Maine-made clam chowder that was gluten-free.  We also served meat balls cooked in a Teriyaki sauce made in Portland, Maine.  Our wine choices were a Pinot Gris and a Pinot Noir, perfect for a light beverage on a warm spring afternoon.  Guests were shuttled from the three Kennebunkport village inns to the 1802 House Bed & Breakfast by Hydidrive in a stretch luxury golf-cart. Meanwhile, the three inns in the historic district were treated to music from “Brews and Tunes” which was being held simultaneously on the River Green in front of The Captain Lord Mansion.  The weather cleared in the early afternoon so that all the events for the Saturday of The Kennebunkport Festival went off in good order.  Make your plans now for next year’s Festival; it will be the first weekend in June, 2014.  Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield

Kennebunkport inn tour 2013

More Secrets of Shopping in Kennebunkport Maine!

 

 

Kennebunkport Shopping

If you haven’t been shopping in Kennebunkport Maine, you probably don’t know about the many great boutiques and galleries found here.  In this blog, let us share some more of our favorite places with you.

Dannah  This fabulous shop is located on Ocean Avenue across the street from Mabels’ Lobster Claw.  It offers an extensive and varied selection of fashion accessories and charming home decor.  Recently I was in Dannah’s and I was overwhelmed by the selection of goodies; everywhere I looked was a visual delight! Bev and I have enjoyed shopping in and recommending Dannah’s to guests for over 35 years!

Carrots & Co.  The Chamber of Commerce tells us “At Carrots & Company you will be greeted by a huge smile and surprised and delighted by all you see. We have gifts for every occasion,for your home and family and every special person in your life.Happiness greets you at the door and follows you home.” Bev and I can attest to this comment; our forays into this Dock Square Shop is always a treat; they have many unusual items and a friendly staff!

Julia’s Gift Shoppe  This is another long-lived shop which is located in the heart of Dock Square.  It is located next door to the Copper Candle and both shops have been here longer than the 35 years that Bev and I have been at the Captain Lord Mansion.  Lots of fun gift items can be found in Julia’s.

Beachgrass   This little shop is another which is located in the heart of Dock Square, Kennebunkport.  It “offers items inspired by all things beachy.” Explore their selections of home decor, books, music, fashion accessories and odds ‘n ends.  Also, “If you appreciate homegrown and handmade, you’ll enjoy the innovative talents of Maine and New England artisans that are showcased at Beach Grass”.

Daytrip Society  Located in Dock Square, Kennebunkport, Maine, this boutique features a unique mix of gifts, home décor, gear and hand-crafted treasures that blend modern design with the outdoors to fulfill your inner wanderlust. Additionally this shop carries a myriad green and organic lines.  Bev and I are pleased to have such a trend-setting store here in Kennebunkport.  We are always excited when a new, innovative shop like this one opens!

Your innkeeper, Rick Litchfield