Southern Maine proved to be the perfect setting for an end-of-summer staycation for my husband and me. First up: beaches, of course, since we find nothing more relaxing than a multi-day beach tour. Mother Nature cooperated, providing beautiful sunny days for the entire week, as we visited old favorites and added one more to our list:
- The week began with a couple of visits to Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth – a small, comfortable beach enjoyed primarily by families. Kettle Cove is a great spot to read, chat and reconnect with your inner child while
watching kids squeal with delight at nature’s gifts: sand, waves, and tidal pools.
- If you’re looking for a beach with more legroom, meander down the road a bit to Crescent Beach State Park. There’s plenty of room to spread out and take a long head-clearing walk at this beach.
- Heading north, we made our first visit to Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg. Arriving mid-day, we avoided the waiting line we’ve heard greets early morning arrivals. Firmly planted in our beach chairs after a long walk along the shoreline, we witnessed a family of seven sharing their lunch with brazen seagulls. We’ve seen seagulls before, but not like this: these gulls are well-practiced in securing their next meal! And, yes, we were grateful they weren’t interested in the grapes we surreptitiously snacked on over the course of the afternoon.
- Timing is everything when visiting Kennebunk Beach, as the sidewalk is the only place to park your chair or blanket at high tide. Arrive a few hours ahead of the tide, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a great beach experience as experts and novices surf the waves, sand sculptures take shape throughout the day, and peals of laughter erupt from every corner of the beach.
- Last, but certainly not least on our tour, was Ogunquit Beach. One of our favorite beaches, there is always a lot of activity to take in here: suddenly everyone is a kid again! Good intentions of reading were quickly replaced by a walk on the beach, jumping into the waves, and a catnap.
While we were based out of our home for most of the week, we spent a couple of days at the Kennebunkport Inn, where the staff’s attention to service was top notch very day, all day. The recently renovated patio was the ideal spot to watch the sunset following a bike ride along the rocky coast. The staff also graciously found us outdoor seating at their restaurant, One Dock, when we were late to make a reservation. Our meals were stellar, and service once again exceeded our expectations. And, since Kennebunkport offers up so many great restaurants, we had to visit a couple of favorites: Bandaloop and Old Vines. We’ve always felt right at home upon entering both of these spots that are filled with good food, good wine, and good friends.
With a week of lounging on the beach and exploring the restaurant scene here and there, we found plenty of time to add some exercise to the mix: a few scenic bike rides, a couple of runs in Portland, and perhaps best of all, joining two 15-year-old girls for a standup paddle board lesson. During our staycation we slowed down the pace to appreciate what’s right in our own backyard and, like Dorothy, found there’s no place like home.