Posts Tagged ‘Kennebunkport’

K’port lodging deals at the Nonantum

April 19, 2010

Kennebunkport is one of Maine’s first coastal towns to awaken from its winter slumber, and the riverfront Nonantum Resort has a few noteworthy specials for its opening week. The resort is a pleasant stroll from Dock Square, the jumble of fishing shanties turned boutiques, and it provides easy access to Parson’s Way, an oceanfront walk that takes in crashing surf, lovely homes, St. Ann’s Church, and Walker Point.

Earth Day 40th Anniversary Weekend special

The Nonantum has a super package with the National Estuarine Research Reserve, Laudholm Farm, part of the a 2,250 acre coastal jewel that’s a must-visit on anyone’s list.The Saturday-night (April 24, 2010) package includes workshops, tours, and Making a Greener Path: The hotel is promoting using alternative transportation—bicycle, walk, Rollerblades, etc.—for the 6.2 mile journey to the reserve. Even better, the booking the package requires a $40 donation to the Laudholm Trust.

For $129 plus the donation, you receive:

• One night lodging in the Portside Lodge

• Sunday breakfast with artist Barbara Moon

• Participation in the Making a Greener Path alternative-transportation walk/run/ride to the reserve.

• a Tom’s of Maine gift basket (love the toothpaste)

•  Earth Day activities at the reserve

• a sapling from the Arbor Day Foundation to plant at your home

Add Friday night for $99, including the Saturday morning Earth Day Benefit Breakfast.

Opening midweek special

Consider sticking around for this steal, open to anyone: The Nonantum Resort is offering river-view rooms in its Portside building for $79 per night, including breakfast, April 25-29, 2010. Yes, it’s midweek, but still, that’s one heckuva deal and a good reason to slip away for a couple of nights.

NOTE: You can’t book these deals online; you must call the resort: 800-552-5651.

Winter romance in K’port

January 21, 2010

If you’re hankering for a fully frilled escape, want to impress your Valentine, and have cash burning to be spent, Kennebunkport’s five-star/five-diamond White Barn Inn, and its siblings, have some decent winter packages.

Get Snowed Inn at the White Barn Inn:

Package includes one night’s lodging, continental breakfast, lunch, and a four-course dinner from the five-star restaurant served in your room. And that’s not all, also included are a bottle of wine, afternoon tea and treats, a butler-drawn bath, and in-room movies. Rates begin at $735 per night or a junior suite. Package is valid through March 31.

Romance Month at the WBI

Book any room (rates begin at $360 including continental breakfast and afternoon tea) at the White Barn Inn during February and receive a $200 voucher valid at the inn’s restaurant or spa. Valid through February.

Dine at the restaurant during February, Greek Romance Month, and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Romantic Greek Vacation, including three nights at the Mykonos Grace hotel and three nights at the Santorini Grace hotel with a suite for two and plunge pool at each property; one complimentary three-course set dinner; Champagne breakfast daily; and arrival and departure transfers. Valid throughout February 2010, drawing March 31, 2010. Valid for use in 2010 and blackout dates may apply.

• Breakwater Inn & Spa Romantic Getaway

This riverfront sibling is a pleasant stroll from Dock Square, and some rooms have views down river to the ocean. Getaway includes one night in a deluxe room with a half-bottle of Tattinger Champagne, served in room or at dinner; three-course dinner for two at the inn’s STripers Waterside Restaurant or a four-course dinner for two at the White Barn; $300 credit at The Breakwater Spa; and daily continental breakfast and afternoon tea. Rates begin at $434 double; valid Feb. 5-20, 2010.

• Beach House Inn Romance Package

Now this property has a primo location facing Kennebunk Beach, perfect for walking or perhaps snowshoeing or skiing, or watching the brave souls who surf in winter (fools, me thinks, but I digress). Two-night package includes a 50-minute couples massage, rose petal-strewn bed along with champagne and chocolates, cheese and crackers served with port or brandy, romantic inroom movies, and continental breakfast and afternoon tea daily. Rates begin at $262 double, and it’s valid through February.

Check each website for other packages, too.

Captain Lord for $149

November 23, 2009

Yup, you read that right. The Captain Lord Mansion, a posh B&B within easy walking distance to Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, has a midweek holiday package geared to shoppers (valid through Dec. 23).

The $149 Shopping Survival Getaway Package includes:

• King or queen room with fireplace

• Discount coupons to Kennebunkport’s boutiques and nearby factory outlets

• A “shopping assistance kit” comprising notepad, pen, and aspirin)

• A complimentary gift wrapping station stocked with everything necessary to tie up the perfect package

• Afternoon bubbly by the fire in the living room (to enjoy while wrapping presents)

The Captain Lord is a AAA four-diamond inn and was recently included on Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 30 Small Hotels for 2009.


Nibbles and bites along the south coast

July 4, 2009

Beyond the extremes of the White Barn Inn and the Loco Poco’s, I grazed my way through a couple of other Kennebunk/K’port restaurants (both siblings of the White Barn) and a fish and lobster joint in Wells.

Given that White Barn Inn chef Jonathan Cartwright oversees the empire, I expected both Grissini and Stripers to be excellent, and I wasn’t disappointed. Note: In both cases, they knew I was coming, so take that into consideration.

IMG_1045First stop, Stripers at the Breakwater Inn. Although only a few years old, the dining room and lounge area were renovated for this season. The bar, previously on the street side, was moved to the river side. A wall of windows separates it from a deck, with more seating. On the other side, the back wall is actually a 500-gallon acquarium, which helps set the mood. Fittingly, we watched anglers casting lines in the river as we sipped wine and nibbled on a few choices.

IMG_1051This was only the first or second night of serving a new bar menu, and the place was empty. Service, as would be expected given the lack of crowds, was excellent. We split orders of crabcakes (moist and delicious) and—are you ready—lobster poutine. Yup, you read that right. French fries smothered in lobster sauce and sprinkled with cheese curd from Smiling Hill Farm. And yes, it was as decadent, rich, gooey, and delicious as it sounds. It could have achieved perfection if the fries had been just a bit crispier.

IMG_1032_2Next, we waddled over to Grissini, but instead of dining upstairs (a gold-toned room anchored by a walk-in stone fireplace and an open kitchen with woodburning overn), we headed down to Grotta, the fireplaced lounge in the basement level. Unlike Stripers, both the restaurant and lounge here were hopping. The lounge was noisy—not the place for a quiet dinner, but then it’s not meant to be.

Grissini specializes in Tuscan cuisine. We split an appetizer order of capesante: pan-seared scallops paired with celeriac puree, cucumber, red onion salad, honey vinaigrette, and mint oil. Wow! That just danced off the tastebuds; fabulous. We also split a small mushroom pizza, which has to be one of the best deals in the K’bunks. This $8 pizza was a meal in itself, a thin, thin, crispy crust topped with sauce, a heavenly fontina, and abundant mushrooms. We ended up taking half of it to go for lunch the next day.

Two days later, we feasted at Fisherman’s Catch, on the Harbor Road, in Wells. I love this place, which gets everything right. A friendly, service oriented staff of high school and college age waitresses obviously enjoy what they do. And so do the customers. We were seated at one of the picnic tables by the windows overlooking the Rachel Carson preserve, an estuary teeming with wildlife. A pair of binoculars was available to use, nice touch. Over head, a roll of paper towels was within easy reach. Much appreciated by the folks chowing on lobster at the neighboring table.

The big hits here are lobster, chowders, lobster rolls, and fried fish. We touched on two: one order of clam chowder and one order of fish and chips. The chowder was rich, thick, creamy, and delicious. The fish and chips were crispy on the outside, moist and tender inside. Doesn’t get much better than that. Well maybe it does. I’ve heard it’s worth coming for dessert alone. Hmmm, maybe next time.

Pre-Prelude quietude

December 6, 2008

img_8274Spent Wednesday night at K’port’s Cape Arundel Inn. This is a very comfortable B&B with a smashing location: It’s on Ocean Drive, with views of crashing surf, the Bush’s Walker Point estate, and open ocean from nearly every room. Owner Jack Nahil was the former owner of the White Barn Inn, so he knows a thing or two about keeping a genteel inn.

img_8265We took the two least expensive, #1 and #8, at $160 each; not the lowest possible, in Februrary the same rooms go for $125. Room 1 is cozy and built into a bow. Great views, teensy bathroom. Room 8 is in the back of the main house and stretches side to side, with views from either end. It has a gas fireplace. The bathroom is old fashioned, with cranky plumbing in the clawfoot tub (the water temperature was quite finicky, hot, then cold, never constant)

What we really loved were the downstairs public rooms; graceful, flowing, with nice seating areas, big windows on the water, and a gas fireplace.

Of course, most folks have dinner here, too. The dining room, with its white tablecloths, cobalt blue glassware, big windows, and fine artwork is quite stunning, and every table has an ocean view, thanks to the two-level floor plan. Chef Rich Lemoine’s cuisine suits the setting, or perhaps drives it. It’s pricey, though, with entrees running $28 to $40.

We settled for breakfast, which was included. It comprised a continental spread augmented by a hot entree of the day, scrambled eggs with chives and cheddar, served with maple sausage and buttered toast. Yum.

I’d love to return in the dead of winter to watch a storm from here, and afterwards, bundle up for a walk along Parson’s Way. Talk about heaven!

Moon guidebook updates

November 7, 2008

Sorry to report on a couple of closures.

In Presque Isle, Heidi’s Tea Room has shut its doors, a real loss. The combination restaurant/gourmet shop/antiquarian bookstore served excellent fare and had a mind-boggling assortment of teas. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Heidi, a trained chef, finds her way into another local kitchen.

In Bethel, the Prodigal Inn and Gallery has closed the B&B operation, but Tom White’s impressive bronze gallery remains.

In Kennebunkport, The Inn at Harbor Head (in Cape Porpoise) is no more.

And in York, Food and Co., the combo gourmet food store and cafe in York, is also out of biz.

Cheap Sleeps in the Kennebunks

September 18, 2008

You don’t have to be religious to book a room at the Franciscan Guest House. An easy walk to Lower Village and Dock Square (avoid parking hassles), the guest house, located on the grounds of the riverfront Franciscan Monastery, provides simple accommodations, with a few frills.

The guest house is located in a renovated former Catholic high school and outbuildings. While some stay here for religious reasons, guests of any faith are welcome.

I paid $69 for a room with a single queen bed, and that rate includes a full buffet breakfast, with dozens of breads and pastries, two hot entrees, cereals, fresh fruit, meats and cheeses. The room: vintage 1970s decor, with blond fake paneling, brown carpeting, synthetic patterned bed spreads, not-so-great art, TV, pine desk and bureau, full bathroom. All spotless, with a tinge of antiseptic aroma. Also available are a rec room, an outdoor pool, free wifi, and two computers available to guests. But hey, who needs fancy with this location.

The monastery was founded by Lithuanisan Franciscans, who fled war-torn Europe in 1947 and purchased the Tudor Great House and estate, originally landscaped by the Frederick Law Olmstead firm. Monks still reside in the mansion, which isn’t open to the public except for a seasonal gift shop and a modern chapel, attached.

A sneak peek toward Kennebunkport's Dock Square from the Franciscan Monastery grounds.

A sneak peek toward Kennebunkport

The monastery’s 66 mostly wooded, riverfront acres are open to the public (no pets), providing a wonderful escape from the nearby hubbub. Paved, wheelchair- and stroller-accessible trails lace the grounds, which are peppered with shrines and an outdoor chapel. Don’t miss the eye-catching, recently restored, modern sculpture, created by Vytautas Jonynas for the Vatican Pavilion during the 1964-1965 Worlds Fair. A guide to the shrines is available in the gift shop or the Guest House for 50 cents B&W or $1.50 color.

This is an inexpensive place to stay, a great value with a wonderful place to walk or meditate. Another plus for guests, it’s an easy and pleasant walk (past the oh-so-haute White Barn Inn) to Gooch’s Beach.

Hungry for art? Fill up at Kennebunkport Maine’s Arts in the Inns

May 22, 2008

Here’s an event that makes a fun, food-and-art centered early-season escape in Kennebunkport.

Get an inn-side take on fine art and fine food during Art in the Inns, June 4-8. The annual event highlights local chefs, local artists and local inns, pairing them in a series of intimate dinners, social events, shows, an artist-in-residence inn program and an inn-to-inn tour.

For the specialty dinners, on Wednesday and Thursday night, each chef uses his culinary palette to create a palate-pleasing work of art that complements a specific artist’s work. On Friday night, White Barn Inn chef Jonathan Carter prepares the hors d’oeuvres for a grand soiree in St. Anne’s Rectory, a recently restored architectural gem in a stunning oceanfront setting that would upstage more pedestrian food or art.

Other events include a Thursday champagne preview with the artists and chefs and a Saturday evening of lobster rolls, chowder and blueberry crumble pie at the Seaside Inn, with Rebecca Charles, author of “Lobster Rolls & Blueberry Pie: Three Generations of Stories and Recipes from Summers on the Coast of Maine” and chef at New York’s Pearl Oyster Bar.

While the social events are fun and an opportunity to meet artists and chefs in person–especially the intimate chef-prepared/artist-attended dinners–it’s the tour that packs the most bang for the buck. Sixteen inns, each doubling as an art gallery for the occasion, open their doors; tour tix are $5.