The Kennebunks in 48 Hours
48 HOURS-June 2012
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Sophie Nelson, Kevin Thomas + Rebecca Falzano
The Kennebunks in 48 Hours. Here's where we went, who we met, and what we love about the Kennebunks.
Sophie Nelson, Associate Editor
Jeff Griecci of Mint Films picks me up at the office, and we head south to film the video that will accompany our 48 Hours story. Near the end of our short journey, views of Goose Rocks Beach fill the windows. Dune grass, white sand, and dollops of clouds in the blue sky—I didn't know I was starving for summer until I got a taste of it.
1:00 p.m. @ the Tides Beach Club
The Tides is gorgeous—casual and elegant, outfitted in a mix of contemporary and classic beachside decor. Throughout the afternoon, a few Kennebunk folks—Ingunn Milla Joergensen, Heidi Burns Maynard, and Brad Maushart—sit down to chat with me.
4:00 p.m. @ F-8 Gallery + Bandaloop
Jeff and I head to town to get some more video footage. We stop by the F-8 Gallery to see if Brad Maushart is home, and, sure enough, he is. Bandaloop is not open yet, but when we swing around the corner, we find W. Scott Lee busy behind closed doors. He waves us into the restaurant and we meet Devin Shepard, of Flying Goat Farm, who has brought cheeses and meats for Lee. They send us off with some amazing garlic goat cheese.
5:30 p.m. @ the Inn at English Meadows
The Inn is within walking distance of downtown Kennebunkport and a stone's throw from great shops and restaurants, but as I climb the slight incline of the driveway and approach the entrance, a peaceful feeling washes over me. I feel tucked away. Co-owner Eric Brodar greets me and leads me to my room. Eric and his wife, Liz, have kept the beautiful bones of the nineteenth-century inn intact while incorporating fresh, modern details.
8:30 p.m. @ On the Marsh Bistro
My friend Maggie has made the trip up from Boston to join me this weekend. We couldn't have picked a better place to catch up. On the Marsh is cozy, quiet, and candle lit. And the food is beautiful. My dish of pan-seared sea scallops, gigante lobster ravioli, morel sherry cream, English peas, and fresh chervil is unforgettable.
8:00 a.m. @ Parsons Beach
We park near the end of the tree-lined street and follow a trail through the dune grass to the sandy beach. It's all blue skies and calm, foaming ocean. If only every morning started on a secluded beach!
9:00 a.m. @ the Inn at English Meadows
Nothing could have prepared me for this epic breakfast. In the soft light of the dining room, we start with coffee and orange juice and banana bread. Next arrives a sampling of sautéed pear in a honey sauce with mascarpone cheese. The meal concludes with a slice of bread toasted to perfection and covered with avocado, asparagus, bacon, and a sunny-side-up egg. Delicious.
10:00 a.m. @ the Hive
I enjoy glimpses of the grand old captains' houses as we drive down Summer Street to downtown Kennebunk. It's a sleepy Saturday morning, and residents sit with coffee and bagels on public benches in the square. Maggie and I stop by the Hive, a performance venue, gallery, and retail space featuring work by local artists.
11:00 a.m. @ Keys to the Kitchen
Maggie and I both love to cook, so we enjoy spending time perusing the store's impressive collection of cookware. Maggie leaves with a vegetarian cookbook she's been pining after. I make a less romantic but much needed purchase: a cheese grater.
11:30 a.m. @ Fleurant
Fleurant smells heavenly. The owner, Melissa, sells unique bags and jewelry in addition to beautiful flower arrangements and plants. At Maggie's urging, I buy a delicate sterling silver necklace. We run into Liz and Eric talking to Mike Ferrell outside of his restaurant, Old Vines Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant. Our chat gets cut short, so we plan to meet the Brodars back at the inn that evening to hear the story of how they found their way from Manhattan to the Kennebunks.
12:00 p.m. @ the Galleries at Morning Walk
I can't say enough about the Galleries at Morning Walk. Eight artists have found homes for their artwork in a string of cottage-style galleries in Lower Village. The galleries double as studios, and the artists can be found in their sunlit spaces making their art or on their porches and walkways bouncing ideas off of each other and chatting with visitors. Whether you're interested in fine-art photography, paintings, handmade jewelry, or household wares—or if you're just looking for good company—this is a wonderful place to go. I know that I'll be back soon to catch up with these incredible women and see what they're working on.
2:00 p.m. @ Market Day + Les Chapeaux
We pick up delicious sandwiches and sparkling water from Market Day to take to the beach. On the way, we stop at Les Chapeaux, a custom hat maker, and learn that they offer a service that allows customers to choose a style and a fabric to their liking and pick up a hat at the end of the day! That kind of shopping is rare.
2:15 p.m. @ Colony Beach
The sun has turned the ocean to diamonds and it hurts our eyes if we stare at the horizon too long. A group of teenagers shows up, and we listen to them tease each other as they climb a nearby rock wall. I wonder what it's like to grow up with the ocean for a backyard.
3:00 p.m. @ Mast Cove Galleries + the Louis T. Graves Memorial Public Library
At Mast Cove, realist paintings cover the walls and elegant sculptures capture the light that streams in through the windows. I'm too late to stop into the nearby library, but I make a mental note to check it out next time. It looks like a real classic.
3:15 p.m. @ Minka + Daytrip Society
Minka is the project of husband-and-wife team Michelle and Christopher Larochelle. I adore just about everything I see, from Michelle's handmade jewelry and artful plantings to Chris's prints and paintings. Maggie runs into one of her co-workers, who is accompanied by Daytrip Society owner Jessica Jenkins. What fun Jessica's shop is! I especially love the cards and stationery for sale.
3:40 p.m. @ Sea Glass Jewelry Studio
Hidden down an alleyway we find Sea Glass Jewelry Studio, which features many lovely designs incorporating sea glass. Maggie and I pick out matching rings—narrow silver bands topped with tiny gold hearts.
4:15 p.m. @ Coastal Jewelers + the Emporium
I stop by to visit the extraordinary princess-cut diamond we featured in the Wedding Issue. It's as stunning as ever. Just down the street, a chandelier at the Emporium catches our eye. Inside, the shop is glittering with name-brand crystal products and other collectibles.
4:15 p.m. @ the Best Of Everthing
Walking back to the Inn at English Meadows, I stop in and see what they have to offer. I find a pair of turquoise studs for three dollars. I don't typically go in for so much jewelry, but Maggie has such an inspiring collection. I blame her.
5:30 p.m. @ the Inn at English Meadows
After so much walking around, it feels good to relax with a bottle of wine in the company of Eric and Liz Brodar. We sink into the comfortable couch and chairs in the inn's sitting room, and they share the serendipitous story that led them to the Kennebunks. Maggie and I have been admiring a particular chair all weekend. The pattern is great and when we mention it to Eric, he names it for us—ikat. It turns out that both Eric and Liz were in the garment business for years and have traveled extensively. (That explains the delicious food and wine, the lovely decor, and the indulgent European toiletries in the bathroom.)
8:00 p.m. @ Old Vines Wine Bar
and Tapas Restaurant
Maggie has an insanely good gin cocktail with mint and cucumber, and I love the glass of red that Scott Doherty recommends. We nibble on roasted-beet salad and flatbread pizza.
7:30 a.m. @ Gooch's Beach
The beach is filled with young families, joggers, couples walking hand in hand, and blissful dogs bounding in and out of the water. Maggie and I say hello to the folks we pass as we make our way to a rocky breakwater. We skip stones and plan our next reunion.
10:30 a.m. @ Krista Stokes's Porch
I say goodbye to Maggie and meet Rebecca, Steve, and interior designers Nicki Bongiorno and Krista Stokes on Krista's wide porch. We have coffee and hand-mulled mimosas in jars and chat about the weekend. Soon Kevin and Lisa join us, and the morning slowly slips into afternoon.
2:00 p.m. @ the Ramp
Eventually, we move our gathering to nearby Cape Porpoise. The view from the Ramp just about breaks my heart, and I decide to make a point of bringing everyone I love to experience it at some point (Maggie: I know what we're doing next time you head north).
Kevin Thomas, Publisher
This is the first time I've been able to join our crew on a 48 Hours excursion and I'm thrilled that it's taking place in the Kennebunks. I've vacationed here and started a business here. When I moved back to Maine in 2003, I searched the state from Kittery to Bar Harbor to find the right fit for my family and ended up in Kennebunkport. Even though I spend a lot of time here, it's never enough.
3:00 p.m. @ Kennebunkport Inn
After I check into the chic Kennebunkport Inn and throw my luggage in the room, I drive to the Tides Beach Club where Maine magazine associate editor Sophie Nelson is concluding interviews for an upcoming video. I'm reminded of how comfortably stylish the Tides has become after last year's renovation. A large, curving bar lined with gleaming chrome, Plexiglas, and leather bar stools fills one side of the room. The weather is sunny and warm, and waves gently lap at Goose Rocks Beach in front of the inn. I'm still working, but already on vacation.
4:00 p.m. @ Dock Square
I love that the Kennebunkport Inn is located within walking distance of so many of my planned activities. Friend, photographer, artist, and raconteur Brad Maushart waves me down from across the street. Lisa, my traveling companion, and I join him for a glass of wine at a little cafe table in front of his gallery. A returning summer neighbor stops by for the first time this season. The happy-hour banter is priceless.
5:00 p.m. @ Hurricane Restaurant
Owned by Brooks MacDonald, the former chef at the Shawmut Inn, Hurricane Restaurant is a popular dining establishment and watering hole. I love the cheeseburger sliders, so I'm hoping it's open. The bar is open and packed with locals enjoying the Red Sox home opener—an annual Hurricane tradition. I leave satiated by food, drink, and good conversation.6:30 p.m. @ Old Vines Wine Bar and Tapas Restaurant Mike Farrell's Lower Village restaurant is a favorite. With bartender extraordinaire Scott Doherty, Old Vines serve up great food, amazing cocktails, and interesting wines. The dark, comfortable space is filled with heavenly food smells. Mike helps Lisa and me pair two fantastic wines by the glass with the cheese plate that we've ordered.
8:00 p.m. @ One Dock
My dinner reservation creeps up on me. It's typical to lose track of time in this town as you meet friends old and new. Our table has a view of the lively bar area and tonight's singer-pianist. The buzz complements the snazzy blue-and-white decor and the ridiculously comfortable chairs that Louise Hurlbutt has tastefully installed. Dinner is delicious, and we finish it off with a Moxie float.
8:00 a.m. @ Ocean Avenue Loop
There is no better way to see Kennebunkport than on foot or bike. It's a gorgeous morning and I'm going to start with a run. The three-mile loop takes us through Dock Square and down Ocean Avenue, past summer cottages, the gleaming yachts at Chicks Marina, the sprawling Nonantum Resort, and the grande dame Colony Hotel, the site of the Kennbunkport Festival Grand Tasting. As we turn the corner, we see open ocean, Saint Ann's Episcopal Church, then the Stone House, which some say appeared in the opener of the television show Dark Shadows. At the crest of the hill, Walker's Point, the summer home of President George H. W. Bush, fills the horizon. This is the Cape Arundel that Kenneth Roberts wrote about in Arundel. I know of a shortcut back to town. An abandoned dirt road weaves us through the woods that surround the former home of Booth Tarkington, author of The Magnificent Ambersons, and spits us out on South Main Street. We're nearly home.
9:30 a.m. @ Cafe Couture
Lisa can't start a day without a triple espresso. We're in luck—Cafe Couture is just outside the Kennebunkport Inn. Kristen takes care of the order while Pete cooks breakfast treats in the background.
9:45 a.m. @ Kennebunkport Bicycle
We meet Brandon Gillard, proprietor of Kennebunkport Bicycles. He has two fierce-looking mountain bikes in the back of his sweet antique Mercedes wagon. We're going to hit the Edwin L. Smith Preserve trails today, part of the land holdings of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust.
11:00 a.m. @ the Edwin L. Smith Preserve
God and Brandon are the only two who know where we are. The Smith Preserve is filled with miles of mountain biking trails. I pay close attention to keeping my balance and staying on my bike as I follow Brandon between trees, over roots and stumps, and scrambling up boulders. Brandon regales us with stories of excursions with President George W. Bush, who rides these trails regularly and aggressively with his secret service in tow.
12:00 p.m. @ Smith Trail Head
Finally, we're back to our car. I learn that the bike I've been riding is a Niner—named for the 29-inch wheels on their bikes. Riders of Niners are "Ninerds" and their motto is "Pedal Damn It." This exhortation, and my pride, have kept me going for the past two hours. This ride, and getting to know Brandon, is a 48 Hours highlight.
12:20 p.m. @ H.B. Provisions
We're on the hunt for coconut water and I'm certain that Bonnie Clement at H.B. Provisions will have it in stock. We're not expecting the crowd huddled around the lunch counter. It reminds me that H.B. is a local favorite and a great spot to enjoy a morning coffee in the Kennebunks.
1:30 p.m. @ Pedro's
After a long morning spent running and biking, a margarita is in order. Pedro's is where we head. Recently opened by Pete and Kate Morency, owners of Pier 77 and the Ramp, this Mexican restaurant is within easy walking distance in Lower Village.
2:30 p.m. @ Lower Village + Dock Square
Time to enjoy the shops and galleries, but first we get some salt caramel nut ice cream from Willard Scoops. Next door at the Book Burrow, I meet children's book author Julia Spencer, who wrote A Mascot for Maine. At Maine Art Gallery we ogle the wind sculptures by Lyman Whitaker. Eventually, we head in to look at the amazing metalwork by Patrick Plourde and paintings by Craig Mooney. On to Anniebells, Dock Square Clothier, Coastal Jewelers, the Emporium, and Abacus before climbing the hill to boutique clothing store, Benoits Portside.
7:00 p.m. @ Pier 77
We meet up with my great friend and former business partner, Kevin, and his wife Kelly at Pier 77. We're seated at a fabulous corner table where we get to enjoy a glorious Cape Porpoise Harbor sunset while devouring one of the weekend's best meals.
9:00 p.m. @ Bentley's Saloon
If you want live music and dancing, this is where the locals will send you. But they suggest it while carefully sizing you up. Bentley's is not your run-of-the-mill dance hall—it's a biker bar with an occasional fistfight, women riding a metal pig, and often a steady beat of 80s music. Whitesnake's "Here We Go Again" is blasting out the open doors as we walk up. The crowd may look rough and tumble, but they are exceedingly polite and generous. We stay longer than we should—but not as long as I want to.
8:00 a.m. @ Beach Avenue Loop
A longer five-mile run today takes us over the bridge that connects Dock Square and Lower Village. On Beach Avenue and within half a mile, we smell salt water. The venerable White Barn Inn sits to the right, St. Anthony's Franciscan Monastery on the left. Kennebunk Beach, where we head next, is actually three linked cresents—two sandy and one rocky: Gooch's, Middle, and Mother's. Gooch's is the largest of the three and this morning it's filled with dog walkers. We run until we can go no farther, stopping at Great Hill, where the Mousam River separates us from Parson's Beach.
11:00 a.m. @ Krista Stokes's Porch
Our team meets at the home of local interior designer, Krista Stokes. An hour turns into two and somewhere into the third, we head to the Ramp for drinks and lunch.
Rebecca Falzano, Maine Home+Design Managing Editor
Golden afternoon sunlight accompanies us on the drive down from Portland. My husband, Steve, and I can't wait to spend the weekend in a place where so many of our friends have memories.
5:15 p.m. @ Huston and Company
Though the showroom has closed just minutes ago, I peek through the windows and see exquisitely handcrafted furniture.
5:30 p.m. @ Bridge over the Kennebunk River
Crossing the bridge, we find all the signs of a town waking up from its winter slumber—shops dusting off and re-opening for the season, kids on bikes, cars with windows open. The promise of summer.
6:00 p.m. @ the White Barn Inn
Nothing can prepare us for the hospitality at the White Barn. Corinne, the innkeeper, welcomes us at check-in. In our suite, wine, fruit, and cheese await, along with a perfectly prepped fire. We nibble on Brie and breadsticks before meeting friends for dinner. In the less than half-mile walk, we run into four different familiar faces. I'm reminded that the places I love most in Maine are the ones where serendipitous encounters like these happen all the time.
7:00 p.m. @ Pedro's
Pedro's is hopping the way Friday night favorites do. The lively vibe is no surprise—owners Peter and Kate Morency have the art of creating fun, eclectic atmospheres with great food down. I order an El Pepino (tequila, muddled cucumber, lime, and agave nectar), and we take a seat by the bar with Sophie to wait for our table. We linger for hours over guacamole, tacos, quesadillas, and more margaritas, while our local guides Nicki Bongiorno and Krista Stokes share their personal recommendations for the weekend. We order churros for dessert, and they, like everything else we've had, hit the spot. Outside, tables under twinkle lights and heaters await warmer weather.
10:00 p.m. @ the White Barn Inn
The bed is turned down and a plate of chocolates beckons from the nightstand. We tuck in for the night, excited for tomorrow.
9:00 a.m. @ the White Barn Inn
I wander into the inn's living room, where I enjoy a cup of tea by the fire while Steve eyes the brandy for a possible nightcap later. Guests come and go from the dining room, where breakfast is being served. Despite Corinne's kind offer to wrap up croissants to go, we head out to get our day started.
9:30 a.m. @ St. Anthony's Franciscan Monastery
Across the street on the banks of the Kennebunk River is the monastery, which was founded by monks fleeing war-torn Lithuania in 1947. The 66 acres of woodlands are filled with walking paths and dotted with shrines. We stop for a moment at an outdoor chapel shaded by trees, and I feel the energy around us shift. On the trail, we take in water views from a sun-drenched bench.
10:00 a.m. @ Chase Hill Bakery
We stop in for a raspberry Danish and cinnamon twist, which owner Pat Foley offers to warm up for us. Beautiful cakes line her shelves, and a couple comes in to buy one for a fiftieth birthday celebration.
10:30 a.m. @ Hurlbutt Designs
We ran into interior designer Louise Hurlbutt and her husband, Ralph, last night at Pedro's, and I'm happy to see Louise again this morning. Inside their store, I find several home furnishings worth oohing and ahhing over: exquisite balustrade bedside lamps, framed vintage photographs of beach scenes, lusciously upholstered chairs.
11:00 a.m. @ Antiques on Nine
The sign outside promises 12,000 square feet of antiques. Treasure after treasure. I walk out with a galvanized-steel bucket, which I plan to use as a planter for my herb garden.
11:30 a.m. @ Spaces Kennebunkport
After spending the evening with interior designer Nicki Bongiorno, we know that her store, like many, has just opened for the season. We miss Nicki this morning, but meet her lovely business partner, Anna Greenglass. I touch virtually every item in the light, airy, colorful shop: John Robshaw pillows, a woven bamboo lamp sphere, cheeseboards. Steve talks me out of (another) set of cloth napkins, and instead we opt for a wooden, owl-shaped bottle opener.
11:45 a.m. @ Dannah
Nearly every square inch of the shop features fanciful accessories—jewelry, scarves, artwork, soaps, hats—you name it. Outside, owner Dana Schoettner is arranging her vibrant sidewalk display.
12:00 p.m. @ Cottage Breeze Day Spa and Boutique
I walk into Cottage Breeze Day Spa a mess of knots and gnarls. Owner Wendy Ross offers me a glass of cucumber water (which I vow to start making at home) and shows me around her sunny space, which was formerly a flower shop. She carries skincare lines I recognize—Dermalogica and an all-natural line called Naturopathica. I've signed up for a Maine river-stone massage with reflexology. The juxtaposition of hot stones and cooling arnica is just what my achy shoulders crave. I melt into the table, and 80 minutes later I walk out a different person.
1:30 p.m. @ King's Wharfe
Judi has just opened the store, which carries both men's and women's sportswear, for the season. I notice a couple of Jill McGowan shirts, and several linen dresses that would be perfect for a backyard party.
1:45 p.m. @ Scott Bundy Gallery
Scott Bundy tells me he was at first hesitant about opening an art gallery in a building with so many windows, but I'd say it's worked out just fine. I see several beautiful works, but I'm particularly struck by Elizabeth Stockton's painting Surpass.
2:00 p.m. @ Christopher Becker Gallery + Mabel's Lobster Claw
I love Becker's photography, which I noticed hanging in One Dock at the Kennebunkport Inn, but the gallery is closed. I make a note to come back this summer, and to visit Mabel's Lobster Claw across the street, which is buzzing with patrons seated outside.
2:15 p.m. @ Compliments Gallery
Back in Dock Square, I browse the handcrafted jewelry made by artists from all over the country.
2:30 p.m. @ the Ramp
We follow the shore all the way to the Ramp, the casual pub below Pier 77 overlooking picturesque Cape Porpoise. I order a cup of heavenly clam chowder. Chef Peter Morency is taking a break from the kitchen so I go over to say hi, and he shows me his latest sports memorabilia collection, an array of vintage basketball hoops, which he's fastened to the ceiling of the overflow bar room. A Bruins game is on and locals and visitors alike cheer together. If I lived here, I would be a regular. In fact, during the 48 hours we've been here, I've felt like I am.
3:30 p.m. @ Cape Porpoise Kitchen
We pull into the parking lot at Cape Porpoise Kitchen (the retail location of Kitchen Chicks Catering) just as an elderly couple pulls in, and we're all disappointed to learn that they don't open for the season until next week. The man looks at me, shrugs, and says, "Sorry: looks like you're cooking tonight." If only he knew!
6:00 p.m. @ the White Barn Inn Restaurant
We've been planning for this special meal all day, toeing the line between fasting and eating just enough to fuel our travels. Steve puts on a blazer and we walk into the dining room where we are greeted by a series of individual "good evenings," the first of many experiences that have us in awe of the perfectly synchronized service. Our table is centered in front of a floor-to-ceiling window; behind it, a backdrop of spring flowers. The barn is a feat of natural beauty, intimate with warmly lit wood. I order the lobster spring roll appetizer in a spicy, sweet sauce. Intrigued, I try the Parmesan ice cream intermezzo next, which is unexpected and delicious. For our entrees, it's beef tenderloin and vegetable ravioli on braised artichokes, Portobello mushrooms, and licorice foam. Our meal is perfectly paced—a gracefully choreographed dance. Chef Jonathan Cartwright comes out to say hello. We walk back to our room hours later, on cloud nine.
10:30 a.m. @ Krista Stokes's Porch + the Ramp
The plan was to meet for a quick coffee before heading off to brunch, but Krista's lovely porch overlooking Dock Square, the warmth of the spring sun, and her playful pup make leaving tough. We linger for hours before deciding we are hungry again. Brunch has become lunch, and we head to the Ramp. The views of the harbor, where lobstermen unload their catch, remind me of just what makes this area so one-of-a-kind: the sea is accessible at every bend, begging to be visited and explored. The weekend ends with laughter in a place we all love.