On our way to Kennebunk, we stopped at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. A beautiful area, but I guess we were too late in the season to see the best of the flowers. It was very hot and there was very little shade to cool off.
Sunday and Monday nights we spent at the Kennebunk Inn in Kennebunk, Maine ($276). The Kennebunk Inn is a “charming” hotel. Unfortunately, “charming” is not my cup of tea. The rooms were very clean, had rocking chairs on the porch, a sitting area inside and a small patio. The Inn provided coffee/tea for breakfast and a discount at a local coffee shop. We picked up some buns and had coffee out on the patio. The hostess was very friendly and helpful. Since there was no elevator, we asked for a first floor room. The bedroom was a nice size, had wood floors and a king size bed. However, the bathroom was a disappointment – a claw tub (shower curtains surrounded the tub leaving very small space in the tub and curtains sticking to your body. The bathroom tile floor was not level. The closet door squeeked when opening. Whenever someone walked above us you could hear every step. I didn’t realize how far the hotel was from the center of Kennebunkport and the beaches. Parking is tight and if you’re lucky enough to get a spot in the street it’s only for 60 minutes. They had bicycle patrols checking the cars. They did have a parking lot ($3 for each hour). We dined at The Landing ($75) on the patio. Nice atmosphere and very good food. Drove by the beach and finding a spot we walked along the beach. Apparently in the evening everyone walks and plays with their dogs on the beach, taking the joy out of watching the beautiful sunset for us.
Monday - From 8/15 to 9/15 The Wedding Cake House had a fund raiser and the house was open to the public. While waiting for the tour, we were told we could go out back and sit in the gazebo in the shade (it was in the 90s). When we approached the gazebo an elderly gentleman insisted we join him and his Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. He chatted with us for quite some time and I began to wonder what his function was. It turns out he was the owner of the house, Jimmy Hunt Barker (82). The house is filled with quirky objects and treasures. And Barker, 82, has a story for each piece, like the 19th century chairs in the front parlor. With their dark, carved wood and blue and white striped upholstery, the chairs are an elegant reminder of days gone by. And like everything else in the house, there's a tale to tell about them. They're copies of English dining chairs, Barker says, and he found them in an antique shop in Stockbridge, Mass., in 1976. He was just killing time before going to meet with iconic artist Norman Rockwell and made a deal to buy the eight chairs for $5 each.
In the afternoon we wanted to catch the 3 pm sightseeing boat ride but they were sold out. Our hotel gave us a beach parking permit but only allowed us to go on certain beaches. There was no parking on Ocean Avenue. We did walk on the beach, drove around for a bit and then ventured out to the Franciscan Monastery. The monastery is set on a beautiful piece of property and we walked the trails that lead us out to the water and some great views. They even have a hotel on the premises and we might actually consider staying there should we venture out to Kennebunk again. Dinner was at Federal Jacks ($73.75) and we had a little wait for a table but the food was well worth the wait.
Tuesday we checked out and went into town to catch the 11:00 a.m. sightseeing cruise. It was delightful. The back view of the homes was spectacular with the waves bouncing off the stones. President Bush was not waving from the compound today but we did pass his lovely home. The crewmen caught a lobster and gave us a detailed description of the female/male, how they are caught, marked, etc. The children all got to hold the lobster or throw the smaller ones back.