Here is a trip report from our late fall getaway in Kennebunkport this past week, Oct. 22-26.
About us: early 30-somethings from a busy Boston neighborhood. As I was 25 weeks pregnant with our first child, this was our "babymoon." I'm a vegetarian, while the husband eats it all for the most part. We love food. Most of our vacations have been busy/active, but under the circumstances this go-round (me pregnant, the husband waaaay overworked and exhausted), we prepared ourselves for a really lazy, restful time. Kennebunkport was a good decision, esp. due to its close proximity to home for us (only a 1.5 hour drive) and the fact that in this off-season, there's hardly anything to do :) in a good way - its a great chance to unwind and enjoy the scenery.
Monday, Oct 22
3:30 pm Arrive at Hidden Pond Resort; check in to cottage #44 "Tryst". A 1 bedroom (studio) style cottage - nice screened-in porch with small table and seating, living room with gas fireplace, couch and coffee table, kitchenette (mini-fridge, coffee pot, hot pot, sink, flatware and silverware); king size bed, luxurious bathroom with glass shower stall. I noticed there were caff and decaf coffees, but no tea bags. The fridge had a bottle of milk, OJ, some yogurts and butter, and jams - all ready for the next day's breakfast. Outdoor shower stall as well (didn't use b/c too cold).
Settled in and unpacked for about an hour
5 pm Walk to bike stand and pick out two bikes, then bike to lodge for tea/cocktails and cookies. I steal a few tea bags for our cottage :) I'm sure I could have asked for some and they would have happily provided, but knew I'd forget if I waited till later. Play a round of scrabble where I kick my husband's butt :) Eventually they light the bonfire outside, so we go out and each have a s'more.
7 pm Bike back to cottage to get ready for dinner
8 pm Dinner at Earth, the on-site restaurant. Yum! A white sangria for him, a non-alcoholic cocktail with cucumber and honey flavors for me. Appetizer: roasted cauliflower, and entrees: skirt steak with chanterelles and avocado mousse for the husband, an arugula, ricotta, caramelized onion and chili oil pizza for myself. Dessert is carrot cake with real candied carrots on top!
9:30 pm Head back, stuffed. Veg out awhile by the fireplace, then hit the sack, tentatively planning to go to on-site complimentary yoga class the next morning at 9 am.
Tuesday, Oct 23
8 am Wake up to the sound of faint, quiet footsteps outside, and know that this is our breakfast being delivered. I go out to collect it from the hook near our door - mmm, freshly baked croissants and chocolate chip muffins, with a carafe of fresh coffee, all packed in an insulated bag. Our fridge had butter, oj, milk, yogurts, and jams. We fire up the gas fireplace, then sit in our pi's, bath robes and slippers, and feast. Despite our best intentions, 9 am yoga class doesn't happen as we're too stuffed again from breakfast. Realize this is going to be one of "those" vacations where we are pretty much stuffed around the clock.
We veg out in the cottage, with no real sense of urgency about getting ready and heading out, until approximately 11 am. I do some quick Tripadvisor research to figure out spa treatments for later in the week, settling on Cottage Breeze Day Spa. I call to book appointments for the next day, and the staff person is friendly and courteous on the phone.
11:15 am Decide to mobilize for the day, and head to downtown Kennebunkport (near Dock Square). We realize quickly that a) this is a very small little town, and b) it is seriously the end of the tourist season. All the quaint little souvenir stores, boutiques, cafes and shops appear to be having seasonal close-out sales, and several are shut down already for the year. We walk around briefly just go get a lay of the land, eventually finding our way to Kitchen Chicks. This appears to be mostly a take-out/catering joint, but they do have some cafe items for eat-in and a few cute tables on a balcony. A cup of clam chowder and a crab cake for the husband, and a caprese sandwich for me.
Lunch over, we walk around briefly some more till about 1 pm, stopping at the provisions store across the street for some beer and snacks to take back to the cottage for later. We then decide to do the Ocean Ave. drive at a leisurely place, and find our way back to Hidden Pond for an afternoon siesta. We pass the marina, beach, Walker's Point, and then find our way to the Gooserocks Beach area. We disembark and stroll briefly. Its a sunny day, but windy enough to put a chill in the air. The beach is beautiful with soft powdery sand and gentle waves at this low-tide hour. At a distance, there's a lady with her dog on a leash, and a small family with a young child - but otherwise, absolutely no one else there.
We head back to the car and are once again nestled in our cottage by about 1:30 pm, none too soon as I feel a nap coming on. I crash on the comfy bed and am out like a light till about 4:30. My restless husband who doesn't understand the joy of afternoon naps takes an alternate approach - after trying unsuccessfully to nap, he gets up around 3 and goes for a 5-mile run from Hidden Pond, out to Gooserocks Beach again, and back. It chills down considerably in this time and he looks glad to be home again.
We hang out and he cleans up; head to the bonfire around 6:30. I hit up the tea in the lodge lobby, while husband has come prepared from the cottage with beers in his coat pockets. Get a basket of fixings for s'mores. We hang out for about 45 minutes, then decide to see about dinner. This is the only night we don't have reservations somewhere, and we notice that many of the good restaurants are closed on Tuesday nights.
8 pm We find ourselves back in Kennebunkport center at Hurricane's. I'm not at all hungry, having hit the s'mores with a fury :) I order a french onion soup and side salad, while the husband gets the lamb chops with potatoes and red wine reduction sauce. We are too full for dessert (plus had eaten it before dinner with the s'mores fest). We take a stroll around the block before getting back in the car and heading home to the cottage.
Wednesday, Oct. 24
8:15 am Hard to wake up today as its a little cold, and so nice and warm in bed. Once again, I think to myself that I might try to get to yoga, but the thought of the breakfast outside derails my plan :) We collect our bag - today's offerings are a baguette with herb flavored boursin cheese, and a slice of blueberry bundt cake. Some coffee, tea and OJ round out the meal. We veg even longer today, till 12 noon, requesting housekeeping to come back later though they came by at 10. They are cheerful in honoring our request.
Around 12 noon, we head toward Kennebunkport again. Quick stop at Scalawag's, a pet-oriented boutique - we buy some silly gifts for our cat :) We have figured at this point there isn't much to do besides more souvenir shop browsing, which we're not into - so I am glad I've booked spa appointments at Cottage Breeze for the afternoon. I actually call them and add more services to our day, just to give ourselves something to do and to enjoy the experience more. We head to Allison's for lunch - a very sports bar/pub feel. I notice that people's lunch portions are huge, and suggest to the husband that we split some stuff so that we're not overly stuffed before our massages. He gets a cup of clam chowder, and I get a house salad. We split a veggie/feta wrap.
1:45 pm We head to Cottage Breeze for our spa afternoon. I can't say enough about how much we enjoy our time here. The staff is very warm and welcoming. As I'm 25 weeks pregnant at this point, I get a 50 minute prenatal massage by the attentive Kerri (sp?) who is very sensitive to my needs and encourages me to let her know if I'm at all uncomfortable or need to move around. The massage is awesome. The husband goes in for a men's facial with Jen, which he declares awesome. We both get scalp massages as well. Then we switch - I go in for a moisturizing facial with Jen, while he gets a sports massage by Kerri which again he declares awesome. The prices at Cottage Breeze are the most competitive that we find in the entire area, and we come out completely relaxed and feeling pampered. A fun way to spend a few hours.
4:30 pm We head back to our cottage to veg out awhile. We make a pit stop at the lodge for tea and freshly baked macadamia nut cookies, then head back and unwind by watching some TV and vegging. Decide to shower and spruce up before making our dinner reservations for tonight, which are at Bandaloop at 8 pm.
8 pm Head to Bandaloop. Even before our food arrived, we already had a feeling it would be our favorite restaurant of the week in Kennebunkport - and we were right. For me: a blood orange/pomegranate non-alcoholic cocktail, tofu medallions with cilantro-pistachio relish as a starter, and an organic mac-n-cheese with veggies. For him: a ginger manhattan, kale salad with delish dressing, and blueberry molasses BBQ chicken with organic veggies on the side. We shared a mango/apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert, then waddled to the car, drove back, and fell into a deep food coma. I can understand why most of the Kennebunkport restaurants are heavy on the seafood, esp. lobster - but unsure why they're all stuck in the vortex of pseudo French/American gourmet fare like racks of lamb, duck, veal, etc. when there are other delicious local and organic ingredients available in the area, to make creative (and less snooty) dishes like that blueberry BBQ. My two cents. Remember, I'm a vegetarian so maybe I don't know WTF I'm talking about :)
Thursday, October 25
9 am Latest wake-up yet :) Breakfast delivered to the door included fresh croissants again and a cranberry muffin, with the jams, butter, etc. and coffee. Vegged out till at least 12 noon in pajamas and robes, in the brilliant sunlight that illuminated the whole room. We declined housekeeping this day as there just didn't seem to be a need, and we wanted to laze around uninterrupted. We don't usually go on vacations that are nonstop activity, and as a result don't book expensive accommodations since we're hardly ever in them except to sleep. So happy that this time, with R&R as the priority, we splurged for a really cush and comfortable place to hang out for more than half the day.
1:30 pm finally venture out from the cozy cottage to do something with ourselves. We are officially uninterested in returning to downtown KBP till nightfall/dinner. So we decide to eat lunch at the grill within Hidden Pond's property. The husband orders a jerk chicken sandwich, and I actually bring my doggy bag from Bandaloop's which the staff are perfectly fine with me doing (I asked beforehand!). We sit out in a sunny area with comfy tables/chairs behind the lodge at Hidden Pond, and play board games during lunch.
2:30 pm We decide to adventure a little bit. Grab some bikes and helmets, and make the approx. 1.5 mile ride to Goose Rocks Beach. The beach cruiser bikes are perfect for a pregnant gal's slow ride on this flat terrain :) We park on a gravel beach entrance, then walk all the way down this quiet, isolated beach and back. There are approximately zero waves - perfect, calm waters. No other company other than a few seagulls snacking on crabs and clams. Even the houses lining this beach appear deserted, with the summer tourist season long past them now. After about an hour's stroll, we venture back to the bikes, and back to Hidden Pond. We park bikes, then decide to venture on a hiking trail in a easy U-shape that takes us back to the lodge.
5 pm Tea time - lodge for freshly baked cookies and caffeine.
6 pm We head back to our cottage to veg out before dinner.
7:30 pm venture to One Dock Square tonight for some grub. There was a big event going on this night, so the place was packed - the hubby and I joked that it was the first time in 4 days we'd seen more than 10 people in one place. It took some time to get seated, and the service was a tiny bit slow this day b/c of the event, but no biggie - we're on vacation after all. And the wonderful live band made up for any delays. For me: a beet and mesclun salad, and a mediterranean flatbread pizza. For him: a cup of clam chowder, and the "Lazy Lobster" - fully deshelled lobster with asparagus and potatoes, and of course that delectable melty butter sauce for dipping. Perfect for my spouse, who loves lobster but often doesn't order it b/c he's squeamish about the shell :) As per our norm, we were stuffed at the end of the meal and declined dessert. Headed back to the cottage and watched a little TV before passing out.
Friday, October 26
8:30 am Up on this chilly, foggy day to collect our breakfast basket with baguettes, brie spread, cranberry crumb cake, jam, and coffee. Though we have had a great time this week, we decide that we'll check out a little before the official check-out time of 11 am and run a few errands on our way home. There really isn't much to do in Kennebunkport in the off season! We spruced up, packed our bags, and loaded them in the car, then checked out and hit the road. On our way home, we stopped at the Kittery Outlet Mall for about 45 minutes to browse and purchase some clothing for our new arrival due in February - our first baby purchases, hehe :) Grabbed a quick lunch at a Wendy's in Salisbury, and were home to Boston by about 3 pm, happy to have a few weekend days free before the Frankenstorm projected to hit on Monday.
In summary - we had a wonderful time! I'd say the highlight of our trip was the comfortable accommodations at Hidden Pond. We'd return in a heartbeat!