A short drive up coastal Route 1, Kennebunkport, the presidential respite and rustic resort town, is the perfect weekend getaway. By, Brandy Rand
Weekend wanderlust is a common occurrence among New Englanders. And with good reason: In a little over an hour, you can be in Maine, aptly dubbed “Vacationland.” So start your engines and enjoy a leisurely ride up Route 1 to Kennebunkport.
Kennebunkport has been a popular summer haven since the 1870s-long before the Bush family set up camp here-when wealthy merchants built mansions along Ocean Avenue. Now, this resort town offers a mix of quaint shops, picturesque beaches, and outdoor eateries.
Arrive in the afternoon and check your bags at Captain Fairfield Inn, a boutique B&B. Luxury abounds, with Frette linens, fluffy down-filled duvets, and wireless Internet (if you must). 8 Pleasant St., 800-322-1928, captainfairfield.com. Rent bikes from Kennebunkport Bicycle Co. and set out on the winding back road north toward Cape Porpoise Harbor. 34 Arundel Road. Or, take a 15-minute ride to The Ramp, a charming sports bar with dressed-up pub food like mussels with chorizo. Grab a local Allagash White brew and sit outside to watch the lobster boats cruise by. 77 Pier Road, 207-967-8500, pier77restaurant.com.
Then, spend some time in town browsing at Daytrip Society, a Mecca of eco-friendly and outdoorsy gear and gifts. Buy an all-seasons Down East Doormat, handcrafted in Maine from rope formerly used by lobstermen. 4 Dock Square, 207-967-4440, daytripsociety.com. Don’t hesitate to bring your pooch, as there are plenty of water bowls placed outside pet-friendly stores. For a treat, head to Union Square, where Scalawags Pet Boutique (24 Ocean Avenue, 207-967-2775, scalawagsonline.com) sells Capt. Jack’s Sea Biscuits for Fido, while nearby Roly’s English Fudge (24 Ocean Ave., 207-571-8296, englishfudge.com) offers an array of scrumptious gelato to satisfy your own sweet tooth.
At boutique resort Hidden Pond, the buzzed-about open-air eatery Earth at Hidden Pond opened earlier this summer. An open-air kitchen showcases the restaurant’s “Farm to Fork” philosophy; reservations are required. 354 Goose Rocks Road, 877-815-8552, hiddenpondmaine.com. If small plates in an intimate setting are more your style, try Old Vines Wine Bar in neighboring Kennebunk. With a wide selection of wines and tapas, the atmosphere is reminiscent of a true European wine bar. 173 Port Road, 207-967-2310, oldvineswinebar.com.
Short StopsÂ Complement your Kennebunkport getaway with these easy stops heading north along Route 1
1. Stonewall Kitchen is an actual place, not just a line of gourmet foods. Samples abound, so try before you buy. 2 Stonewall Lane, York, 207-351-2712, stonewallkitchen.com. 2. Pie in the Sky is as old-fashioned as they come: real butter, no preservatives, and perfectly puffed crusts. One River Road, Cape Neddick, 207-363-2656, pieintheskymaine.com. 3. Blacksmith’s Mall is a veritable museum of antiques. Recent find: a 1940s juice press. 166 Main St., Ogunquit, 207-646-9643. 4. Mike’s Clam Shack is always packed with patrons hungry for its delicious lobster rolls, soups, and classic boiled dinners, plus live lobsters packed to go. 1150 Post Road, Wells, 207-646-5999. 5. Bo-Mar Hall is a treasure trove of glassware, toy collections, sports memorabilia, and much more. 1622 Post Road, Wells, 207-646-4116, bomarhall.com.