July 7 - This trip officially commenced after we dropped Brody off at Midge’s Home for Pampered Pooches. Over the course of the ensuing 3 plus hour drive to KPT, we stopped once in Littleton, MA for lunch at Littleton Sub Shoppe and House of Pizza. A big name for a very small restaurant where we shared a small Italian cold cut grinder that will long be remembered as being the worst grinder, bar none, ever consumed. A 0.5 Forks on a scale of 5 has been reluctantly assigned only because neither of us required a hospital visit.
Our home for the next 4 nights was The Lodge at Turbats Creek, an older but well maintained motel situated only a few miles from downtown KPT. Sophie, our ever present hostess, warmly welcomed us and provided invaluable information about the immediate area throughout our stay.
Following a short rest, it was off to our first night’s first happy hour. Yes, that is correct, we decided if one happy hour would make us happy than a second would make us even more happier.
Our first stop was The Burleigh at the Kennebunkport Inn where we settled in at the bar while enjoying glasses of Harken chardonnay (Ann) and Sangre de Toro tempranillo (Frank). Our plan was to order mussels, but we were informed that management had recently decided to scrap not only the happy hour mussels but the entire dinner service. Sigh! 3 Sips
Since the Inn’s happy hour terminated at 5PM, we settled up and crossed over the bridge to Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk. There was a line waiting to be seated in the second floor restaurant overlooking the river that we bypassed in favor of a pair of empty stools at the bar. Ann chose Foxhorn chardonnay while I wet my whistle with a glass of Goat Island Light (ale). Since my whistle was unusually dry from the longish drive, a second glass, this time Export Ale, was requested. 2.5 Sips
We continued west to the Pearl restaurant where we held an OpenTable reservation. Ann ordered the evening’s special, halibut with corn, asparagus and tomatoes in a mouth-watering sauce. I chose the bouillabaisse, a large bowl filled to over the brim with a delightful mix of shrimp, mussels, scallop (singular), hard shell clams, halibut and ½ a lobster tail in a lobster broth and an aioli crouton. 4.5 Forks
After dinner we stopped in Abacus Gallery and enjoyed viewing the eclectic mix art, handmade gifts, sculptures and tourist crap.
Upon retracing our steps, we discovered the local constables had left a welcoming gift in the form of a parking ticket under the windshield wiper.
July 8 – I was out the door and in the car before realizing that my watch read 5:15AM, not 6:15AM – ugh! After a short drive, I visited in quick succession Mother’s, Middle and Gooch’s beaches, but did not linger for fear of incurring a second parking ticket. Next was a walk around Kennebunk’s downtown center that was decorated in a riot of colorful flowers.
The small Rotary Park was included as well before I returned to Kennebunkport where I parked (legally) along Parson’s Way and walked past Walker’s Point, a.k.a. the Bush Compound, to St. Ann’s Church.
Anchor to Windward sculpture dedicated to George H. W. and Laura Bush
On my return, I stopped and talked to an officer, likely Secret Service, stationed on the road immediately in front of the entrance to Walker’s Point and learned that former President George W. Bush, a.k.a, 44, and wife Laura were currently in residence.
On my return, we decided to take a pass on the meager continental breakfast at our motel in favor of raspberry cream croissants at Mornings in Paris. These were absolutely delicious though my impression is that they were baked elsewhere. 4 Forks
We next visited Maine Art Hill that features works by artists with some connection to Maine housed in 4 separate art destinations: the Gallery, Shows, Grand Hotel and Studios. We started off at The Grand Hotel’s lobby that included a number of new works by a few artists. Proceeding up hill, we stopped at Shows, housed in an historic home that is bathed in natural light with the current exhibit a display of works by Margaret Gerding, Julie Houck and Ingun Jorgensen.
Painting by Ingun Jorgensen
Crossing the road we next toured Studios which included 6 micro galleries where we started with Pop-Up, works by artists on display for one week only, in this case photographer Max Pizza. A few of the other galleries were closed but we were able visit Maine Art Hill Prints and The Works, the latter a 3-dimensional gallery.
Eclipse Composition by Joseph Webster
Lastly we stopped at the Gallery which included the works of over 40 regional artists as well as a wind sculpture garden. 3.5 Claps
We also visited several gifts shops in KPT followed by a few stops along Ocean Avenue including Happy Nest by Maili where “we”, actually “she”, purchased, actually “me” since “she” forgot “her” credit card, a t-shirt. Another stop was the Scott Bundy Galleries where I discovered a piece of sculpture by Akiva Huber that was much to my liking though not much liked by our bank account.
A stop at Snug Harbor Farm included a variety of plants, flowers, rustic buildings, ornaments and farm animals.
A short detour before returning to the room brought us to Cape Porpoise Kitchen where we shared a Sienna panini (grilled chicken, pesto, provolone, roasted red peppers, roasted tomatoes & artichokes). 4 Forks
Following a much needed and appreciated rest, we retraced my early route past Mother’s, Middle and Gooch’s beaches before continuing on to downtown Kennnebunk which we found pretty much devoid of interesting shops though Ann managed to find a nice pad for a neighborhood friend.
As the clock ticked down to 5PM, we entered 50 Local just as happy hour began. A total of (3) glasses of sangiovese, (1) pinot grigio and an order of mussels in a spicy sauce were consumed. 3 Sips and 4 Forks
Dinner this Monday evening was at Village Tavern in West Kennebunk where on arrival we discovered a full parking lot at this highly acclaimed and obviously popular restaurant. We were fortunate to score a table though those that followed frequently had to wait. An order of chiffonade of spinach salad with Maine feta, roasted red peppers, kalmata olives, toasted pine nut and a lemon garlic vinaigrette proved to be both light and delicious.
Ann’s entree was local pecan crusted haddock over spinach with a creamy lemon basil aioli. My entree of choice was linguini with pan roasted shrimp, scallops and clams in a roasted poblano cream sauce.
One side dish is included with Ann not surprisingly choosing crispy potato-herb pancakes with a chive cream fraiche while I, not surprisingly, chose crisp, fried Brussel sprouts with lemon honey aioli. 4.5 Forks and counting.
We returned to Ocean Avenue to watch the sun set from the grounds of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church.
July 9 - This morning I drove around Cape Porpoise and Biddeford Pool (marsh), managed to get lost, found my way, took a wrong turn, made a U-ey and finally made my way back to the room in time to wake Ann up.
On route to downtown Kennebunk, we stopped to view the famous “Wedding Cake House”, reputedly the most photographed house in Maine though in recent years it has fallen in disrepair. The house with its Gothic inspired architecture was constructed in 1825 by George W. Bourne, a prominent shipbuilder who constructed his vessels on the Kennebunk River that flows behind his home.
Our breakfast provider was Boulangerie where we enjoyed the “quiche de jour” (asiago, sundried tomatoes and asparagus) on the patio along with several friendly canines. 3.5 Forks
Next stop was the Wells Reserve at Laudholm where we joined a group of bird banders though our arrival was near the end of the session. The sole bird banded during our visit was a rose breasted grosbeak though the session proved informative.
We bid adieu to the birders and followed the Barrier Beach Trail for just over a mile past fields, marsh and woodland before arriving at Laudholm Beach.
Happy hour was celebrated at the Boathouse Restaurant overlooking the Kennebunk River. We both started off with French martinis while enjoying an order of mussels (lemongrass, tomato, tamarind, ginger, garlic and baguette). We switched to wine for the second round with Ann chosing the house chardonnay and me the cabernet sauvignon. 3 Sips, 4.5 Forks
Dinner was at Pier 77 in Cape Porpoise where every table enjoys a commanding view of the harbor. We started off sharing a spinach and goat cheese salad that included roasted beets, candied pecans and the house made sweet balsamic vinaigrette. The salad proved to be a disappointment due to the supermarket quality of the spinach and the use of canned, not roasted, beets.
We fared far better with our entrees with Ann choosing the pan seared scallops drizzled with house made black bean vinaigrette and accompanied by organic bok choy and creamy wasabi mashed potatoes.
Meanwhile at the other side of the table, her companion requested the seafood stew – fresh little neck clams, mussels, prawns and local fish (haddock?) in a light saffron broth that brought a smile to both my tummy and mouth.
On exiting we crossed the parking lot in order to take a few photos and then drove around Cape Porpoise to an area not previously visited.
We then drove to a parking lot near Walker’s Point and walked along Parsons Way where we met a beautiful Old English Sheep dog and its owner.
We concluded the evening viewing the sunset at Colony Beach, a.k.a. Arundel Beach, at the mouth of the Kennebunk River.
July 10 – Shortly after daybreak I walked the 1.5 mile out and back Timber Point trail, part of the Rachel Carson NWR near Biddeford, that passed through a woodland with frequent opportunities to view the rocky shoreline before culminating at a small beach. A side trail led me to the now abandoned Ewing Home, Charles’ not Bobby’s, that was constructed in 1929. I must have had a “now serving breakfast” sign fastened to my back because I was under constant attack by swarms of mosquitoes.
This day’s breakfast pastries were again served at Mornings in Paris with Ann again choosing the raspberry cream croissant with me switching sides by ordering a chocolate croissant that unfortunately suffered in comparison. 3.5 Forks
We also stopped by the Lisart gallery where I believe we talked to Lis.
Later in the morning we took a trail in East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford that followed the rocky coastline and offered a splendid view of Saco Bay, the Gulf of Maine and Wood Island Lighthouse. Though listed at 1.4 miles round trip, we likely hiked a bit further because of the side path taken that continued along shoreline before we retraced and rejoined the trail back to our car.
This night’s happy hour was hosted by Stripers Waterside which is indeed waterside. We started off at the bar with glasses of cabernet sauvignon and an order of mushroom and spinach arancini. The arancini appeared to have been deep fried and proved to be tasteless. For our second round that included another glass of cabernet for himself and a glass of chardonnay for herself, we moved to a pair of Adirondack chairs on the lawn where we enjoyed the boat traffic in the channel along with the wine. 3 Sips, 1 Fork
Dinner this evening was at Bandaloop at Dock Square. Ann chose the evening’s special entree, sesame grilled local bluefin tuna with wasabi aioli, tamari caramel and wasabi mashed Yukon potatoes plus saffron infused pickles. My entree was pan seared day boat scallops on a bed of seared baby spinach and sweet corn plus saffron basmati rice and red beet gastrique. 4.5 Forks
We concluded the evening by walking around town before driving out Ocean Avenue one last time.
July 11 – On exiting the room I was greeted by hazy sunshine that turned cloudy as I walked around town before making a return visit to Boulangerie. I arrived a few minutes early so I meandered around town before returning to purchase a pair of very large blueberry scones for breakfast and a pair of spinach, feta and tomato puff pastries for our lunch.
We enjoyed the scones at our motel along with orange juice before making the boring and thankfully uneventful trek home. After retrieving Brody, we shared one of the puff pastries for lunch while reserving the second for dinner that evening. 4 Forks
I want to thank each and every one of you who took the time to read this detailed trip report, hopefully your travel plans will soon include the Maine coast.
I’ve another week and a bit to go. My luggage is in my room. I’m in a pyramid room and I really like it. It severely needs updating but it has a big walk in shower and I like the Egyptian touches, will get pics after my room is made up tomorrow.
Before the raining on the toilet incident at the plaza there had been minor issues with the room smelling because the tub didn’t drain. I was just done and wanted to go.
This morning I lazed about a bit too long. So got a lyft to the Cromwell instead of the bus (hmm was I late on purpose), watched a bit of the last set of the men’s Wimbledon final in the sports book before heading to Giada for my reservation.
I was keeping tabs on the tennis and cricket and totally not reading the menu after I was seated. I’ve cancelled multiple reservations for Giada in the past and was finally getting to eat there, so I went all out bottomless mimosas and the brunch tasting menu.
I didn’t have a window seat but was the right side of the restaurant for fountain views so I was happy.
First plate, ricotta and honey on toast, amazing I could have eaten a plate of that and been delighted. Ham and cheese, cheese good, ham tasteless.
Salad, pretty tasty. Chocolate croissant to die for amazing. Mmmmmmm.
Main course I chose the salmon fishcake Benedict. Loved it, the hollandaise was served on the side which was good for me as I don’t like too much.
Dessert I probably made the wrong choice. I had ice cream sandwiches made with ricotta cookies. I ate one cookie and the filling.
My waitress was lovely and had a very light touch with the juice when making my refills so I was very tipsy at the end. England had just won the cricket World Cup so I was celebrating.
Played and was up a little at Cromwell and lost and lost at Bellagio. Got the bus back to Luxor lost some more and then took a nap and am now writing this.
We head back to LV tomorrow morning. Spent a wonderful five days with the grans and their parents, highlite being 3 nights in a place called Angels Camp CA. which allowed us to take a drive to Yosemite National Park. Stunningly beautiful!