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Welcome to Kennebunk & Kennebunkport

The Kennebunks offer visitors a world-famous vacation spot steeped in maritime history, arts and culture, and fine dining. Kennebunk has the world’s largest streetcar museum with operating trains, one of New England’s most beloved clam shacks, and two museums dedicated to the town’s history, art and culture. Just outside Kennebunk in Arundel, Vinegar Hill Music Theatre books national, regional and local music, comedic and performance talent in a historic barn setting all summer.

 

1. In-Town Trolley Tours

This 45-minute narrated sightseeing tour is a great way to start exploring Kennebunkport. Points of interest along the way include the Bush estate, the Franciscan Monastery and Spouting Rock and Blowing Cave. Fares are good all day, so you can get off and back on at any of the stops along the route (adults $18, children $8). Tours leave the Trolley Stop at 21 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, every hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (207–967-3686; intowntrolley.com)

2. Farm to Fork Dinner

Enjoy a three-course family-style dinner at Wardbrook Farm (289 Alewive Road, Kennebunk) at Kennebunk’s largest farm table, a fundraiser for Community Outreach Services’ food and fuel assistance programs, Aug. 8, 5:30–10:30 p.m. ($120; coskennebunks.org/farmtofork)

3. Kennebunk Beaches

Kennebunk Beach. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

A string of three beaches—Mother’s Beach, Middle Beach and Gooch’s Beach—stretch along Beach Avenue (off Routes 9 and 35). Gooch’s is known for stellar surf, Mother’s Beach has a playground and Middle is—well, in the middle. Lifeguards are on duty starting in July. Look for pay-to-park kiosks. Dogs are welcome on Kennebunk beaches before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. for the rest of the summer. But, please, clean up after them.

4. The Clam Shack

The Clam Shack. Photo by Derek Dewey

This small but mighty seafood shack at 2 Western Avenue on the bridge between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport was USA Today’s Maine pick for “50 Great Plates from 50 States.” The line may be long and a seat difficult to find, but this one of Maine’s most beloved stops for fried seafood and lobster rolls on freshly baked buns from a local bakery. (207–967–3321; theclamshack.net)

5. First Families Kennebunkport Museum

The First Families Kennebunkport Museum at White Columns, an 1853 Greek Revival home, offers exhibitions covering two centuries of Kennebunkport history, from sea captains to U.S. presidents. Guided tours leave on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and highlight the artifacts of and stories about sea captains and shipbuilders, as well as the late George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush. The museum is at 8 Maine St., Kennebunkport. ($10, free for kids under 12; 207–967–2751; kporthistory.org)

6. Seashore Trolley Museum

The Seashore Trolley Museum

The world’s oldest and largest museum of its kind—a place where streetcars are restored, operated and celebrated for their place in transit history—is tucked into the woods at 195 Log Cabin Road in Kennebunkport. There are 250 streetcars on the campus, and the highlight of any visit is riding one (or several) of the antique cars. A 1.5-mile demonstration trip departs every 45 minutes 10:05 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. and is included with admission. The usual fleet of antique cars is supplemented with 1 p.m. appearances of more rare specimens not rugged enough to make daily runs. The gift shop is worthy of browsing, even if you’re not a streetcar buff. ($12, with child/senior discounts; trolleymuseum.org)

7. Nor’easter Deep Sea Fishing

Nor’easter Deep Sea Fishing. Photo by Amy Paradysz

This 42-foot commercial fishing boat takes up to 24 passengers out about 35 miles to Jeffrey’s Ledge, one of the richest fishing grounds in the area, to angle for cod, haddock and pollock. U.S. Coast Guard-licensed Capt. Mike Perkins supplies the rods, reels and gear, including his own handmade jigs, and will show you how to use them. The mate will fillet your fish before you get off the boat (so get your fish fry recipe ready). The boat leaves from a marina in downtown Kennebunk promptly at 7:30 a.m. and returns about 4:30 p.m. every day in the summer, weather permitting. ($85 per person; 207–450–1831; noreasterfishing.com)

8. The Art of Cute

The Art of Cute at The Brick Store Museum. Photo by Amy Paradysz

The Brick Store Museum’s feature summer exhibition examines an aesthetic that is often not taken seriously: cuteness. The Art of Cute is organized into three sections: Normative Cute, Applied Cute and Meta Cute. The exhibition, on display through Aug. 31, features work by well-known artists and designers from Maine and around the country who embrace cuteness as well as cute objects on loan from private collections. The Brick Store Museum is partnering with Illustration Institute, a nonprofit based in Portland that raises appreciation and awareness of illustration. The Brick Store Museum (117 Main St., Kennebunk) is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. (207–985–4802; brickstoremuseum.org)

9. Edwin L. Smith Preserve

The Smith Preserve, part of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust (KCT), includes more than 1,100 acres, 10 miles of recreational trails, quaint bridges over brooks and a forested landscape. The Smith Preserve is part of a 3,000-acre block of undeveloped land, the largest such piece between Kittery and Brunswick on the coast, and home to many species of wildlife. Ideal for hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and peaceful getaways. The trailhead is located at 76 Guinea Road, Kennebunkport. (kporttrust.org/edwin-l-smith-preserve)

10. Vinegar Hill Music Theatre

Vinegar Hill Music Theater. Photo by Douglas Merriam

Highlights of the August lineup includes: Livingston Taylor (Aug.1), Johnny A. (Aug. 2), Martin Sexton (Aug. 3), an evening with jazz legend Bill Frisell (Aug. 4), the THE BAND Band (Aug. 9), Well-Strung (Aug. 10), Katie Matzell (Aug. 12), Sibling Rivalry: Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway (Aug. 15), Paula Cole (Aug. 16), The Subdudes (Aug. 18), The Texas Tenors (Aug. 24), Slambovian Circus of Dreams (Aug. 25), Michelle Currie (Aug. 26) and Scarab: The Journey Experience (Aug. 30). The theater is at 53 Old Post Road in Arundel, just outside Kennebunk. (vinegarhillmusictheatre.com)

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