Known for its waterline charm, we were excited to visit Kennebunkport!
Although George and Laura Bush were unable to meet us upon arrival, Chicks Marina's dock-dog, Rudder was waiting at the dock. Just as good!
This charming yellow lab with mossy green eyes and whiplash tail paced the dock until we were ready for him to escort us to the marina office. My son, Ryan and his sweet girlfriend, Molly joined us for the first five days of our Maine excursion - as you can see, it was love at first sight!
A Bit of History
Kennebunkport was first incorporated in 1663 as Cape Porpus, but due to Indian depredations, the town was depopulated by 1689. It was not resettled again until the arrival of European immigrants in the early 18th century. At that time the town was renamed Arundel, and in 1821, renamed again to Kennebunkport.
Originally known as a shipbuilding community, by the 1870s the towns industry had grown into a popular summer destination. A bit confusing (but the locals give a lot of grace) there are actually two towns: Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. They sit side-by-side and feel as one, but are divided by the Kennebunk River. Both towns provide a quaint riverside town esthetic along with the gorgeous Atlantic coastline.
The population in 2010 (last census) was round 3,500 residents and 1,600 households, including the summer home of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, father of former U.S. President George W. Bush. The home was first built by Bush's maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker and is now known as the Bush Compound.
Another notable resident is Patrick Dempsey who lives here full-time and can be seen biking or walking the town. As tribute to his late mother, Patrick started the Dempsey Center, a center that helps people manage the impact of cancer in their lives. The Dempsey Challenge, a walk, run, cycle event in the nearby town of Lewiston was said to have raised over a million dollars last year. This years event will take place on Sept 28-29th. They say Patrick and his family always attend (he also rides the event) and meet and greet participants in person. So if you're a big fan, here's your chance!
The Kennebunk River adds even more waterline charm to the small shops, elegant ship captains’ homes, and fishing ports. We were told our visit would not be complete without eating at the world famous Clam Shack, so Ryan and Molly (Tad and I are allergic to shellfish) indulged in their lobster rolls and said they were dripping good with a pound of lobster, tons of butter and mayo.
Boating around Maine is a bit slower because of the dense morning (and often, afternoon) fog. Not knowing this, our arrival was a bit late, so we decided to take the Trolley Tour which lasts about an hour. The fog kept us from seeing some of the coastal sights, but it was fun and informative just the same!
In the heart of Kennebunkport along the Trust River Green, is Ganny's Garden, which was created as a tribute to former First Lady, Barbara Bush. As you stroll through the beautiful flowers you will discover plaques and bronze features highlighting some a Mrs. Bush's favorites things such as the book "Pride and Prejudice", her Keds sneakers, and her straw sun hat. There are also 17 trees, one for each grandchild. Each tree is carved with the initials of a grandchild.
We stayed at the popular Chicks Marina and loved it! Aside from Rudder and Sophie (Rudders counterpart) the marina team, lead by Charlotte was great; fun, professional, helpful, friendly.... all the good stuff! The facilities were beautiful and a close walk into town.
Radio: VHF 9
Fuel: Diesel and Gas
Power: 110v/30A 220v/50A, and 100 amp
Pump Out: yes
Fresh Water: yes
Other amenities: Showers, laundry, sundeck, complimentary 6-passenger van. If that's not enough, there is free coffee and baked goods each morning and cookies in the afternoon. The store has great Adams hat wear, HH gear, quality marine supplies, drinks, ice, etc.
Also.... dog friendly! Yep, there's a salty dog water station and puppy treats!