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12 Things To Do In Kennebunk & Kennebunkport, Maine

By Michele Herrmann
January 27, 2022
Wedding Cake House in Kennebunk, Maine
Michele Herrmann

Although Maine is considered to be more of a summer destination, there are still plenty of activities going on year round, even as colder temperatures rush in—there’s even a popular holiday celebration in Kennebunkport called Christmas Prelude every December. Though shops and restaurants in Kennebunk and its neighbor, Kennebunkport, may close down for the season or reduce their business hours, day-to-day offerings within both locations keep the pace going. Consider this your go-to bucket list for visiting these two towns along Maine's southern coast.

Take a cooking class

Started by the Kennebunkport Resort Collection in February 2015, Table Maine is a weekend culinary program of classes led by local chefs, offering kitchen techniques on food and beverage subjects (like mixology) or preparing meat and seafood dishes. Coursework includes viewing cooking demonstrations, hands-on lessons, and even local restaurants putting on tasty “pop up” dinners.

Treat yourself to breakfast at Boulangerie

In Kennebunk, this village bakery produces artisanal breads, croissants, baguettes, focaccia, sticky buns, meat pies, and other flour-based delights. The location is very rustic—a barn dating back to the 1900s—with indoor and outdoor seating for plopping down and savoring a breakfast treat or afternoon snack.

Stop by the Wedding Cake House

Referred to as the most photographed house in Maine, this Gothic style home off Route 35 in Kennebunk is literally eye candy. According to local legend, this bright yellow house with white trim was built by a sea captain as a wedding gift for his bride. Today this place is privately owned, but most people might stop by to catch a glimpse or snap a quick photo (104 Summer Street, officially called the George W. Bourne House in Kennebunk).

Go for a bike ride

Kennebunkport is known for having the best places to trek to on two wheels, whether you prefer to peddle alongside the water, through town, or on a nature trail—Ocean Avenue takes you on a scenic route with views of the sea, beaches, restaurants, and summer homes, like presidential Bush family’s compound at Walker’s Point. Serious mountain bikers should consider heading to the Edwin L. Smith Preserve of the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, which has acquired and preserved various natural areas and trails. Not bringing your own bike? Rent your wheels from Kennebunkport Bicycle on Arundel Road.

Hunt for antiques along Route 1

The Maine Antique Trail (aka. Route 1 in Southern Maine) doubles as a map for 42 miles full of more than 50 antique stores, where rare a treasure trove of rare finds, hidden surprises, and one-of-a-kind items can be discovered. Kennebunk contains a few, including Armada Antiques & Collectibles. Located in Kennebunk’s Lower Village, the shelves and display cases inside this two-level building feature old-fashioned dinnerware, books and periodicals, sports memorabilia, and an assortment of relics from another era.

Taste New England favorites at Salt & Honey

In Kennebunkport’s Dock Square, Salt & Honey has been dishing out comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner since it opened in May 2014. Its ever-changing menu offers staple dishes and New England favorites, featuring ingredients like Maine lobster and blueberries. Try my favorite, the fish and chips combo with a finely breaded North Atlantic haddock.

Get back to nature

Just about a 10-minute ride from Kennebunkport, the town of Wells has two nature reserves that are best seen on foot. The Wells Reserve at Laudholm has a network of trails that allow for strolling along the different habitats through a protected coastal ecosystem. Open year-round, trails run easy to moderate and, for the most part, are self-guided. An admission fee is charged from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day. Not far from Wells Reserve, the Rachel Carlson Wildlife Refuge has designated visitor use areas that enable the public to do activities such as kayaking or viewing wildlife.

Have lunch at Duffy’s Tavern & Grill

With one location stationed in Kennebunk’s historic Lafayette Center, Duffy's Tavern & Grill offers great pub fare. The venue serves up American food for patrons of all ages: burgers, salads, apps, and wings, plus gluten-free some options, in a family-friendly, casual scene.

Shop at H.B. Provisions

At this general store and deli, also in Kennebunk, pick up a souvenir or order a sandwich, specialty wrap, burger, or panini. There’s table space for sitting down and just watching the shop work, or you can grab some groceries—check out the walls for photos of famous shoppers who have stopped by over the years.

Learn about Kennebunk’s history

Said to be one of the few U.S. museums to open during the Great Depression, the Brick Store Museum in the center of Kennebunk serves as an arts institution, historic site, and archives center. It is comprised of three buildings dating back to various periods in the 1800s—inside, rotating exhibitions highlight the town’s legacy through its residents and locations.

Do dinner at The Ramp Bar & Grill

Under Pier 77, in Kennebunkport’s Porpoise Harbor, the tiny yet lively waterside Ramp Bar & Grill has both a local and tourist following. What you’ll notice first are the football helmets hanging above the bar, but the lunch and dinner servings run the gamut from New England seafood favorites and finger foods to more fork-required dishes like traditional penne Bolognese and a Greek meze.     

Tour the Shipyard Brewing Company at Federal Jack’s

At this eatery in Kennebunkport Harbor, Shipyard brewed its first craft beer in 1992. Although the main plant is now in Portland, Maine, visitors can still see and learn more about Shipyard on tours at this location in the same building as Federal Jack’s. A seven-barrel system uses state-of-the-art technology to produce house and seasonal ales, plus stouts and IPAs, and keeps its upstairs pub neighbor supplied with continuous suds.

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Budget Travel Lists

8 Essential Tips For Visiting the Island of Oahu

I was lucky enough to grow up in Kaneohe and Kailua on the island of Oahu—my parents had visited for their honeymoon in the 1980s and fallen in love with the island, vowing to move there someday and raise a family, which they eventually did. After leaving our home in Kailua 14 years ago, my mother and I finally had a chance to go back and visit Oahu this year, stopping by our old haunts along the Windward coast and North Shore, and checking out new restaurants and nightlife in Honolulu and Waikiki now that I was actually old enough to enjoy them. Hawaii will always have a place in my heart and if you're in the process of planning your own island adventure, I want you to help you have the most amazing trip possible. Here are my best tips for visiting Oahu, Hawaii's Gathering Place, whether it's your first trip or you're a veteran visitor. Always look for travel deals First things first, always check for flight specials on Hawaiian Airlines, especially if you're flying from the West coast or from JFK in New York. If you don't see anything you like there, browse through Budget Travel's Hawaii travel deals to find air and hotel packages to the islands. If you want to see Pearl Harbor, reserve your tickets ahead of time online. Nothing ruins a trip more than not planning ahead and getting locked out of a major attraction you came all the way to see. Anyone interested in World War II history will want to visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial, a moving reminder of the attack that launched the United States into World War II in the Pacific. Click here to reserve your tickets ahead of time (you'll have to pay a $1.50 convenience fee per ticket but other than that, it's free.) Each historic tour is about an hour and 15 minutes long, and includes a boat ride to the site of the USS Arizona Memorial, where you can see the remains of the battleship just below the water's surface. Make time to venture out of Waikiki and Honolulu Some of the island's best attractions are located out of the main tourist zone of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu, but are still worth checking out. The Bus, Hawaii's main form of public transportation, offers a variety of options for as low as $2.50 a ride with two free transfers, or you could even hop on one of the Circle Island Tours, which last anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 hours depending on where you board. A four-day bus pass is also available for $35 per person. Of course, the other option is to rent a car and travel around the island at your own pace. My favorite drive? Up the windward coast from Waikiki to Waimanalo along Kalanianaole (pronounced "ka-la-nee-ah-nah-oh-lee") Highway, where you'll have Koko Head, a dormant yet impressive-looking volcano on one side, and sharp cliffs leading into the bluest ocean you've ever seen on the other. Step into your favorite films at Kualoa Ranch Are you a fan of Jurassic Park, George of the Jungle, or LOST? Don't miss the "Hollywood's Hawaii Backlot" Tour at Kualoa Ranch, where you can take a 90-minute trip through Ka'a'wa Valley onboard a vintage school bus and visit Godzilla's footprints, Hurley's golf course from LOST, and take a silly photo with the fallen tree from the infamous raptor-chase scene in Jurassic Park. There's also a chance to walk through a legit WWII bunker and check out some historical artifacts from the 1940s. Kualoa Ranch also offers a number of tours and day-trips—my favorite is the trip to "Secret Island," where you can chill out on the beach, play volleyball, or go kayaking around Kaneohe Bay for 2.5 hours (each tour mentioned here starts at $35 for adults, $25 for children ages 3-12). Snorkel at Hanauma Bay Spend a day snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, a protected nature preserve on Oahu's southeast coast that rents out snorkel gear and a supply of fish food guaranteed to work the wildlife into a tizzy you'll never forget. Tickets start at $7.50 per person, free for children under 3 and Hawaii residents and it costs $1 to park. Open daily except Tuesday. Get to know Polynesian culture Visit Oahu's North Shore and spend a day exploring the Polynesian Cultural Center, where locals from Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Fiji, Hawaii, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Aotearoa (New Zealand), and other islands showcase their cultural dances, food, music, and other traditions (tickets start at $59.95 for adults, $47.96 for kids ages 5-11). For a real treat, opt for the Ali'i Luau Package, which gives you daytime admission, entry to the Ali'i Luau and dinner show, and great seats at Ha: The Breath of Life, an incredible show and the perfect way to end your day in paradise (from $99.95 for adults, from $79.96 for children ages 5-11). Taste shrimp scampi and shave ice on Oahu's North Shore If you're venturing up to see the sights of Oahu's North Shore, make sure you stop by Giovanni's Shrimp Truck in Kahuku just outside the town of Laie—their shrimp scampi is still something I think about, even though it's been 14 years since we moved. The North Shore is also home to Oahu's legendary shaved ice spot, Matsumoto Shave Ice, in the historic town of Haleiwa. They're known all over the island for having a unique variety of flavors like tangerine, green tea, and creamsicle among others, so choose wisely. Stay in the middle of the Waikiki—for less! Waikiki is home to family-friendly beaches and great nightlife. Stay in the center of all the action at The Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, located just a few blocks from Waikiki Beach near the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (a Joie de Vivre hotel, rates from $170 per night in January). For that iconic Diamond Head view, stay at the Park Shore Waikiki, a beautiful beachfront hotel that's just steps from Waikiki Beach and located next to Kapiolani Park, home of the Honolulu Zoo, (rates from $153 per night thanks to their Rock A Shaka special). For more information and to plan your Hawaii adventure, visit GoHawaii.com.

Budget Travel Lists

10 Cheap Eats You MUST Try In Berlin

German cuisine may not garner the recognition that French and Italian do, but a visit to Berlin will show you why this city is a magnet for up-to-date epicureans. You can feast on hearty Teutonic classics like and Schnitzel and Schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle), but Berlin really shines when it comes to casual, eclectic eats. The current food scene goes way beyond bratwurst yet doesn't eschew traditional flavors. Get ready for a mouth-watering adventure that's heavy on flavor and light on the wallet. 1. DÖNER KEBAB/ DÖNER KEBAP  Best place to try it: All in One, Rosenthaler Str. 43 The doner kebab is a robust sandwich that rarely costs more than a few euros and is served at stands all over the city. Invented by a Turkish immigrant, it's thin slices of flavorful meat carved from a rotating spit, garnished with fresh veggies and your choice of sauce, all piled into warm bread. All in One in Mitte serves a delectable one. The fresh lettuce, cabbage and tomatoes add a salubrious crunch. 2. CURRYWURST  Best place to try it: Curry 61, Oranienburger Str. 6 Invented in Berlin after World War II, currywurst is the local's fast food of choice. It's sliced bratwurst served in tomato sauce that has been liberally laced with curry for a sweet-spicy kick. Berliners are so passionate about this fortifying snack, there's even a museum dedicated to it. You'll find currywurst stands all over town, but venerable Curry 61 won't disappoint.  3. CHOCOLATE  Best place to try it: Fassbender & Rausch, Charlotten Str. 60 If you've got a sweet tooth, a stop at the self-proclaimed biggest chocolate store in the world, Fassbender & Rausch, is a must. The tempting goodies include truffles, pralines, and single origin chocolate bars. The atmosphere is as whimsical as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, with eye-catching renditions of local architectural icons like the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Reichstag carved entirely out of chocolate. Make sure to head upstairs to watch the chocolatier spin edible magic. 4. DOUGHNUTS  When JFK made his famous speech and proclaimed Ich bin ein Berliner, he was apparently making a grammatical mistake and claiming to be a doughnut, not a resident of Berlin. Berliners are jam-injected rounds of ethereal fried yeast dough dusted with granulated sugar. Mind-bogglingly good, you'll need some serious willpower to eat just one. Sold at every bakery in town. 5. CHICKEN AT DA HENNE  Best place to try it: Da Henne, Leuschnerdamm 25 This Kreuzberg stalwart has been serving the same minimalist menu since 1908. Crispy chicken is the star here and though the menu does include a few other choices, the bird is the word. This is fried chicken so good, you'll want to lick not only your fingers but the plate. A side of tangy coleslaw or German potato salad and a frosty beer are the perfect accompaniments. 6. BREAKFAST  Best place to try it: Factory Girl, August Str. 29 Unlike most of the Continent, where breakfast is not much more than bread, butter, and jam, Berlin's residents start the day with a fortifying breakfast. The town's trendiest congregate at Factory Girl, where a stylish morning meal is served all day. Nearly everyone orders vitamin-rich Magnolia, a soy-based pudding that somehow tastes like muesli infused with marshmallows. 7. VIETNAMESE FOOD  Best place to try it: Monsieur Vuong, AlteSchönhauser Str. 46 Berlin is home to a sizeable Vietnamese community, good news for hungry visitors on a budget. There are many excellent eateries specializing in this delicate cuisine, but inexpensive Monsieur Vuong tops the list. Fresh, tasty, authentic food is the reason this place is always packed, so be prepared to queue. Sink your teeth into the spring rolls, pho, and glass noodles; it's worth the wait. 8. TURKISH DELIGHTS  Best place to try it: Leylak, Kottbusser Str. 25 Turks form the largest ethnic minority in Germany and their influence in the edible arena runs deep. Step into barebones eatery Leylak and you may think you've taken a wrong turn and landed in Istanbul. An assortment of sweet and savory pastries wrapped in handmade dough or flaky filo are sliced from a gigantic sheet pan or served in individual portions. Order the fresh mint tea to complement this authentic taste of the Ottoman Empire. 9. BEER Best place to try it: Weihenstephaner, Hackescher Markt No trip to Germany is complete without sampling the local brew. Weihenstephaner is an atmospheric brewery located in a historic building in a scenic market square. They offer an extensive range, from mellow wheat beers to the strong and malty. 10. TAKE A FOOD TOUR  Booking a guided food tour is an excellent way to sample a variety of eats in a limited time frame. Even if you're not a foodie, you will learn about the culture, history and sights of Berlin as you stroll the city and nibble away. Berlin Food Tour is owned and operated by a bilingual local who is both passionate and knowledgeable when it comes to what's cooking. They offer a score of diverse itineraries and low prices. This article was written by Allison Tibaldi, a native New Yorker who has lived in Rome, Tuscany, Melbourne, Toronto, and Los Angeles. She is fluent in Italian and Spanish and laughably adequate in French. When she's not traveling, she's scouring NYC for delectable eats. As a freelance travel writer, she focuses on family, culinary, and car-free travel. She's also a senior travel writer at offMetro.com.

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Budget Travel Lists

Budget Travel's Coolest Small Towns 2022

Budget Travel was born from a simple idea: “Vacations for Real People.” Our audience (that’s you, by the way) is curious, discerning, intelligent, and down to earth. You want the best travel experience that money can buy, and you want to enjoy travel without the hassle. Our Coolest Small Towns in America series has been going strong for more years than we can count, and it reflects on a couple of our founding beliefs: you don’t need to break the bank to have a nice vacation, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. We want to invite you to explore the possibility that your next transformative travel experience might be just around the corner. Maybe in your own state, or maybe a day’s ride from home. This year, we want to highlight the small towns that not a lot of people have heard about and have a strong and thriving community. Trends may come and go, destinations may fall in and out of fashion. But curiosity, discernment, and intelligence are always in style. Our 2022 Coolest Small Towns are spread across the country, so that you can Rediscover America. Meet Budget Travel’s Coolest Small Towns for 2022: Content presented by Have Fun Do Good Have Fun Do Good (HFDG) is on a mission to provide adventure seekers with a unique experience that allows them to travel while giving back to the community through volunteering. Learn more at https://havefundogood.co/

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National ParksBudget Travel Lists

10 insider tips for visiting Yellowstone

Yellowstone, America’s first national park is big — 2.2 million-acres big. In addition to its size, Yellowstone divides into distinctly different regions and habitats that include geysers, fumaroles, and other geothermal features plus a canyon, a lake, and a series of limestone terraces as well as an abundance of roaming wildlife. With such vastness and variety, the park can be overwhelming. To make the most of your Yellowstone visit, follow these insider tips. 1. See Old Faithful in the early morning or in the evening. Almost everyone who enters the park heads to Old Faithful. For a more intimate experience, explore the Upper Geyser Basin in the early morning before the day visitors arrive or in the late afternoon after they leave. 2. Visit Yellowstone Lake in the afternoon. While the day visitors view Old Faithful and the surrounding area, head to 136-square-mile Yellowstone Lake, the largest in the park. Consider signing up for a guided boat tour or rent a boat on your own. 3. Take a hike. Don’t just see Yellowstone’s wonders through your car window. Walking even a ½ mile on a boardwalk or trail offers you a more complete sense of Yellowstone’s features and landscape. 4. Look for wildlife at the right times. Your best chance of spotting the park’s legendary bison as well as other critters is in the early morning or evening. 5. Explore Lamar Valley. Often less-visited than other areas, Lamar Valley’s habitat draws wildlife and the open vistas create optimum viewing conditions. You may see elk, bear, coyote, bighorn sheep, and eagles, especially if you arrive early. Consider booking the park’s early-morning Wake Up to Wildlife Tour. 6. Stop at the Visitor Centers. Each facility presents educational exhibits that focus on their region of the park. While at the centers, check for the ranger programs. 7. Look at the stars. Go outside after dark. Walk 100 yards from your lodge or drive a short distance to a turnout, then park, scan the lot for wildlife and if none is present, exit your car to look up at the dazzling display of stars. With little light pollution, the night sky is a wonder. 8. Carry a flashlight at night. Since the park keeps the outdoor lighting soft, bring a flashlight for comfort, especially when traveling with young children. 9. Bring binoculars. Stay a safe distance from the wildlife. If you want to see what a bison or elk looks like up close, view them through your binoculars. 10. Pack for multiple seasons. Even in summer low temperatures at night can hover near freezing and daytime highs shoot into the 80s. Pack layers. For more information and reservations, visit yellowstonenationalparklodges.com or call 307-344-7311. For more travel experiences available from Xanterra Parks & Resorts and its affiliated properties, visit xanterra.com/explore.

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