Does Your “Bucket List” include Kennebunkport? If it doesn’t, perhaps it should!
Kennebunkport has long been a destination resort. In the late 1800’s there were 37 grand hotels facing the sandy beaches which stretch from Kennebunk to Kennebunkport. A few years ago the Brick Store Museum did an exhibit titled “A Summer Watering Hole”. It recounted those early tourist days. There were 7 trains a day depositing passengers at the train station which today is a restaurant called the Pilot House. It is located on the river between the two towns. Re-purposed “Concord Coaches” awaited summer visitors to ferry them and their luggage to their hotels. Of course, many of the hotels offered only small rooms, baths down the hall and no amenities such as air conditioning. Those that remain, such as the Colony Hotel pictured here, have been modernized.
Imagine the types of clothes worn by folks in those days; even with the cool ocean breezes, I believe it could be very uncomfortable in the hotels of the day. After the Depression and two World Wars, Kennebunkport sort of went to sleep. Vacationing habits changed and folks no longer came to the shore for the “season”. Travel by private auto replaced travel by train. Many of the old hotels had burned or been torn down. There were few places to stay in the Village. The tourist season was short and quiet.
All that changed with the “back to our roots” emphasis during the USA’s Bicentennial in the 1970’s. Folks began to return to New England seeking their early history. About the same time, small bed and breakfasts and country inns began to spring up in the great old homes of the region. Many of those homes offered authentic New England experiences in colonial era buildings of interesting architectural form. One of those is our romantic bed and breakfast inn, the Captain Lord Mansion. Although it was built between 1812 and 1814, it has been thoroughly updated and offers large luxurious guest rooms with all the latest amenities travelers have come to expect from a 4 Diamond rated, AAA lodging facility. Kennebunkport prospered during the economic growth of the 1980’s. Many bed and breakfast inns opened and new lodging facilities also were built.
Meanwhile, many of the old commercial buildings in Kennebunkport were renovated and opened as gift shops, boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Today, Kennebunkport is a thriving year round community offering an excellent variety of lodging choices, restaurants with fine dining, quality gift shops, art galleries and wide choice of tourist activities.
Additionally, Kennebunkport has long been home to the Bush family. It was the summer White house during G.H.W. Bush’s presidency from 1988 to 1992. Many guests like to stop along Ocean Ave to view and take pictures of his compound. Here’s a picture of it. We hope you’ll add Kennebunkport to your “Bucket List” and join us at our destination Kennebunkport inn. Your innkeepers, Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield