By Marsha Fottler –
The beautiful coast of Maine with its 35 miles of pristine beaches is like no place else and can’t be replicated although famous painters from George Bellows and Edward Hopper to Andrew Wyeth and John Marin have rendered gifted interpretations of their impressions of Maine’s coastline. Can there really be so many breathtaking hues of blue?
People from all over the world come to Maine to vacation on its shores and islands as they explore the beaches, marshes and picturesque little villages grouped around quaint town squares. Local history is inescapable and is part of everyone’s cultural education whether you are born in Maine or come to vacation. Chef Judi Gallagher and I were in Maine recently to experience the hugely enjoyable Kennebunkport Food, Wine & Art Festival in June, which was five days and nights of eating, gallery hopping, wine tasting and appreciating all the rich flavors of this unique place.
The Kennebunks are actually a cluster of four villages that flow into one another – each different, all charming. There’s Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arndel and Cape Porpoise. Kennebunkport was first incorporated in 1653. During the height of Kennebunkport’s maritime prosperity there were 72 ship captains living in the village. Just about of them constructed spectacular homes, many of which remain today. Some of them are inns. Shipbuilding in the Kennebunks began in the 17th century and continued up until 1918 when the last sailing ship was launched on the Kennebunk River.
Whether you travel to the Maine coast in search of the perfect lobster roll, the ideal beach, the most picturesque lighthouse or the most exquisite cottage perched on rocks at the edge of the ocean, you will not be disappointed. Maine’s coast is so special that you want to immerse yourself thoroughly in the “sense of place” that this area has to offer. So, stay in an historic inn. It’s the best way to let all of your senses experience Maine.
I can recommend from personal experience two and they are right across from one another on a tree-lined residential street in Kennebunkport – The Captain Lord Mansion where your hosts are Richard Litchfield and Beverly Davis and the Captain Jefferds Inn where you’ll be treated with exemplary hospitality by Erik and Sarah Lindblom.
In both historic homes the rooms are spacious and appointed with 19th century furniture and artifacts. But, while you’re transported back in time to another era of gracious living, all ensuite bath and electronic accommodations are up to the minute modern. You get the best of both worlds. Both inns are located just a few minutes from Dock Square, the village center of Kennebunkport where you’ll find restaurants, shops, sailing and whale-watching opportunities and local breweries that turn out some of the best artisan beer in the country.
The Captain Jefferds Inn is the 1804 home of a locally famous sea captain, William Jefferds, Jr., and his wife Mary Walker. The house was actually a gift from Daniel Walker to his daughter and new son-in-law. (The Walker name is quite prominent in Kennebunkport and one of the most famous residents to have it is former president George Herbert Walker Bush, who owns a family compound on Walker’s Point).
Originally designed in the Federal style, The Captain Jefferds home at 5 Pearl Street was remodeled to a Colonial Revival style in 1888 and became a bed and breakfast in 1981. There are 16 guest rooms. A lovely little welcoming tradition is the Lindblom custom of keeping a lighted candle in every window of the big white house. This inn is lovely inside and out so stroll the gardens and the common rooms. And, of course, enjoy the bountiful and delicious breakfasts.
The Captain Lord Mansion was built by Nathaniel Lord and his wife Phebe Walker in 1812. Lord was a merchant and shipbuilder and became wealthy and influential in his town in a short period of time. He and Phebe had nine children and Nathaniel died just shy of his 39th birthday. The mansion was Phebe Lord’s home throughout her long life. Remarkably, the home stayed in family hands until 1971.
The present innkeepers have lovingly run The Captain Lord Mansion for 30 years. Rick and Bev added considerably to the amenities and to the period decor. Bev designed and made all the opulent drapes and bedding. They’ve expanded the beautiful gardens and have brought the house and all its rooms up to the most exacting standards. More than 60 percent of guests are returning ones. There are 16 guest rooms in the Mansion and four guest rooms in the Garden House. Sue, the inn chef, makes amazing breakfasts using local fresh ingredients such as tiny Maine blueberries and local maple syrup.
The Kennebunks are entirely special and so are these two award-winning inns. You’ll be happy at either one of them.
The Captain Lord Mansion
The Captain Jefferds Inn
Kennebunkport Festival, Food, Wine and Works of Art 2012