The Kennebunks

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport are the towns I grew up in, where I biked, walked, skated, drove endless loops around the coastal roads, worked at over half a dozen restaurants, and where my wife and I were married. I’m brimming with hometown pride and nostalgia for this weekend’s trip with my wife Jocelyn and son Oskar.

The Colony Hotel keeps a watchful eye on the Atlantic Ocean.

A front row seat at Gooch’s Beach


5:00 p.m. @ Boathouse Hotel

We’re staying at the Boathouse Hotel on the Kennebunk River, which has luxurious riverside suites with private decks and water views. And, lucky for us, David’s KPT restaurant is right downstairs. We plan on an after-dinner drink.

5:30 p.m. @ Bandaloop

Oskar and I venture out and stop at the creative culinary endeavor of W. Scott and Bridget Lee. We enjoy crispy Yukon Gold potatoes with horseradish salt and a coconut-based, maple-cauliflower soup with a couple of Maine Root root beers.

6:30 p.m. @ Cape Porpoise Kitchen

We pop in to browse the wine and cheese selection and admire the gourmet to-go menu, making a mental note for future fine-food purchases.

7:00 p.m. @ the Ramp

Kate and Peter Morency have decked out the Ramp with an incredible array of sports and political memorabilia, including “Red” Auerbach’s office floor from the Boston Garden. Our group orders onion rings, kale salads, and chowder to start and burgers, fish, and pasta dishes for mains. We finish with tarte tatin, crème brûlée, and a blueberry crumble that’s to die for.

David’s KPT delivers a breakfast that can’t be beat.

Hurlbutt Designs provides perfectly curated home interiors and design

Clean lines at the Landing School


8:00 a.m. @ Kennebunk Beach

Jocelyn and I run to Gooch’s Beach, passing the St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery and the beaches of the Kennebunks.

9:00 a.m. @ Dock Square Coffee House

In a corner of Dock Square is this tiny green cottage over the river, where they brew Coffee by Design and offer Blue Hill-based Lucy’s Granola, among other treats.

9:15 a.m. @ Salt and Honey

Chef Jackson Yordon and his team create a breakfast to remember, especially the fluffy wild blueberry pancakes.

10:30 a.m. @ Antiques on 9 and Snug Harbor Farm

I stop into Antiques on 9, Beverly Bangs’s curated collection of rugs, lamps, furniture, and kitchen needs. Just a few hundred yards down the road is Tony Elliott’s life’s work and a horticultural heaven, Snug Harbor Farm.

11:15 a.m. @ Kennebunk Skate Park

Twenty-three years ago, I was part of a group of teens who, with former youth services coordinator Jim Chappell, raised money, poured cement, and built the first Kennebunk Skate Park. While only the tar of that first iteration remains and a new park is in the works, I can’t help but beam with pride watching my son skate the varied terrain.

12:00 p.m. @ Cherie’s

Since 1995, the people of the Kennebunks have enjoyed the delights of Cherie Davis’s baked creations. We grab a rich chocolate brownie to split.

12:15 p.m. @ New Morning Natural Foods

We head across the street to a longstanding citadel of all things healthy.

12:30 p.m. @ Boulangerie, A Proper Bakery

Right behind the Waterhouse Center is this village bakery with variations on classic breads and pastries.

1:15 p.m. @ the Landing School

For close to four decades, the Landing School has taught prospective boat builders and designers world-class yacht design and wooden and composite boatbuilding.

1:40 p.m. @ the Wayfarer

This is my first time at the newly revamped Wayfarer and it is solid, stem to stern. Chef Brendan Levin’s delectable BLT with a cup of haddock chowder is perfection.

2:40 p.m. @ Farm and Table

Just up the road in an old red barn is a collection of artisanal, creative, and curated goods such as soaps, candles, linens, and cocktail mixers.

3:30 p.m. @ Dannah

For 30 years Dannah Schoettner has sought to creatively beautify the world. With jewelry, scarves, handbags, and gifts, she has created a signature style that is Dannah.

6:00 p.m. @ Old Vines Wine Bar

New owners Rick Taranto and John Ellms have reinvigorated and redefined one of Kennebunk’s coolest spots. Jocelyn and I chat with the friendly bar staff and eat some tasty snacks.

7:00 p.m. @ Daytrip Society

The brainchild of Jessica Jenkins and Andy West, Daytrip has a wisely selected panoply of treasures for gifts, your home, and yourself.

7:40 p.m. @ One Dock Prime

Chef Casey Christensen’s menu strikes the ideal balance of familiarity and flair. For our main courses Jocelyn and I indulge in the hanger steak with horseradish sour cream and the maple- balsamic, lime-glazed salmon.

8:30 p.m. @ On the Marsh Bistro

For dessert we arrive at this old farmhouse, home to the culinary talents of chef Jeffrey Savage. The piano bar is warming on this cold night, as is our coffee and dessert, a Dutch Applebol with caramel, cinnamon, and housemade vanilla ice cream.

A sculpture by Lyman Whittaker moves with the wind at Maine Art Gallery.


9:00 a.m. @ David’s KPT

Eating here is a must. There is a limited number of breakfast spots off-season, but no matter the season, or time of day, David Turin’s cuisine commands a crowd.

10:00 a.m. @ H.B. Provisions

H.B. is much more than the village store; it has food, friends, good coffee, beer, wine, and local flavor. We grab a coffee and continue walking.

11:00 a.m. @ Aquaholics

We don’t surf, but we would like to. Owner Nanci Grenier Boutet helps interested individuals understand that with good gear and motivation anyone can learn.

11:30 a.m. @ Hurlbutt Designs

Louise Hurlbutt and her team have long been helping homeowners as well as premier hospitality locations look their absolute best. We explore the 4,000-square-foot space in Dock Square and find inspiration at every turn.

12:30 p.m. @ Scalawags Pet Boutique

We were never dog people, but that changed when we adopted our greyhound. Now, we’re unapologetic dog people. Scalawags is the place for dog lovers, and cat fans can come, too.

1:00 p.m. @ the Hut KPT

In this little shop, East meets West. Jewelry designer Devon Rutherford splits her time between California and Maine, bringing a design sense informed by both coasts.

2:00 p.m. @ South Congregational Church

We finish our weekend where Jocelyn and I married. We come back often to celebrate birthdays and visit family and friends. For us, as for my parents, who visited in the early 1980s and moved to town in 1985, the Kennebunks are a place to explore and, perhaps, carve out a lifetime.

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