Hello everyone. I hope you’re all enjoying spring so far? I know we are loving it here at the Inn. Although it hasn’t been hot, it has been nice and dry with all the flowers and blossoms in full bloom.
I’m excited to tell you about the opening of a new bakery in downtown Kennebunk. It’s been sometime since Kennebunk or Kennebunkport had a high quality bakery, and I think this one might be the best yet! It’s called Boulangerie and it is located behind the new Ice skating rink/pavilion off Main st. Kennebunk. My family and I tried it this past weekend (the day after their opening) and it was packed. It took us 30 minutes to get to the counter, but it was worth the wait (plus I got to catch up with a dozen or so friends.) The Briocha Bobble Loaf and Sticky Honey Pecan Rolls were to die for! I even picked up some small Sourdough Boule for the Inn’s breakfast. I can also tell you for certain that it is kid approved. Both my sons (2 and 4) barely came up for air while devouring their rolls. So if you’re are in the area and are looking for a treat, give it a try.
Welcome to spring! Ok I’m going to admit something. There were times this year I thought the snow and cold were never going to end. But here we are with a week of sunshine and temps in the mid 70’s! So to celebrate I thought I’d talk up two more of my favorite restaurants. Both of these establishments are owner operated with a focus on fine, locally sourced ingredients.
The first is Bandaloop. A Kennebunkport restaurant owned by Scott and Bridget Lee. Scott is the chef who in his own words” loves to incorporate local, fresh foods to create exotic worldly flavors and textures, showcasing the natural taste of the food without pretense.” And this is what you get at Bandaloop; wonderfully aromatic, fresh and delicious food without any pretension. The restaurant setting is funky, alive and fun. It was the first restaurant in Kennebunkport (that I can remember) that broke out of the standard “New England” fare of lobster rolls, fried haddock and creamy clam chowders. And although none of those are bad things, Bandaloop open my eyes to a more cosmopolitan, west coast fusion of asian/anglo blend of food. Since they opened their doors in 2004 I’ve been addicted to selections such as the egg rolls (caramelized red onion, walnut, spinach, danish blue cheese with a sweet & sour port wine balsamic reduction) or the wilted spinach salad (with red onion, broccoli, artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, lemon-balsamic vinaigrette, sheep’s milk feta and toasted pine nuts!)
The other restaurant is 50 Local in downtown Kennebunk. The owners are Merrilee Paul & her husband David Ross. Before meeting Merrilee and moving to Kennebunk (Merrilee’s hometown) David worked in an assortment of New York restaurants including Oceana and Tabla. 50 is the restaurants address (50 Main st. Kennebunk) and Local is what they represent. The first thing you see entering the restaurant is a giant floor to ceiling chalkboard adverting the days ingredients and the local farms who produced them. You’ll see names like Frinklepod Farm, Black Rock or Nonesuch. In their words “ 50 Local presents an outstanding, approachable menu containing many of the traditional dishes offered in French bistros with an American take, served in a comfortable, elegant & friendly atmosphere.” A must try on the menu is their crispy farm egg salad (soft poached egg, caesar dressing & shaved pecorino), fried calamari (with pickles and spicy tomato sauce), and (hands down the best dessert in town) their beignets with creme anglaise!
If locally sourced, delicious food, with great atmosphere is what you’re looking for in Kennebunk or Kennebunkport, Bandaloop and/or 50 Local are the places to try. Both stay very busy during the season, so make sure to reserve your spot. bon appetit!
We are pleased that Old Vines, our local and nearby wine bar, has opened for the 2015 season. It has new owners, a new look, but the same wonderful wines and food. It’s a wonderful setting within an antique barn in the heart of Lower Village. The new owners say that Old Vines has not changed but evolved. They serve a diverse selection of tapas ranging from “wild marinated mushrooms” to “Manchego curado reserve” cheese to a “Tuscan bread salad” (Paige’s personal favorite with added steak!) Plus their wine and cocktail menu is superb! It’s a wonderful, cozy, warm and inviting place to spend an evening and it’s an easy walk ( if you like to walk) from the inn. So if you’re in Kennebunkport or Lower Village give it a try, I’m confident you’ll enjoy yourself.
Capt. Steve Brettell
It’s hard to believe looking out the window, that striped bass will be here soon! Starting at the end of May the smaller bass find there way up the Kennebunk River, past Kennebunport to us here at Bufflehead Cove Inn. When they arrive they are hungry and are great sport on light fishing tackle and fly. I spent my high school years fly-fishing in front of the inn. With an outgoing tide and the setting sun (or early mornings) the fishing can be great. As the season continues into summer the river fishing can slow down, but this is the time to head to sea. During July and August larger fish are patrolling the beaches, coves and rocky shorelines. For fly-fishing and light tackle the rule once again is early mornings and evenings, otherwise bait is your best bet. With the arrival of September the fish start to school up into larger groups. This is the time of year you can land large bass right here at the inn. If you sit on our deck during an outgoing tide on an autumn evening, you’ll often here the popping and splashing of fish driving sand eels and other small bait.
If you are interested in fishing for Striped Bass your best best is hiring a guide. The best Kennebunkport striper fishing guides are Capt. Niels Jacob of Castaway Fishing Charters and Capt. Steve Brettell. Both have what it takes to get you on fish and help you enjoy a day on the water.
Capt. Niels Jacob
I’ve personally known Niels for 30 years. He is one of those guys that everyone loves, with his easy to like personality and gentle nature. But don’t be fooled by his friendly demeanor, the guy is a natural born fish killer. He has natural hunting and fishing instinct like no one else I’ve ever met. Couple that with 20 years of guiding experience and you’re in for some of the best fishing possible in Maine.
Steve is another class act. The guy’s been striper guiding since the 1980’s in Maine and is such a pleasure to be around (an important detail when stuck on a small boat for 4 hours!) Steve is also a fantastic wooden decoy carver and use to do guided sea duck hunts during the winter months.
Steve Brettell’s Wood Shop
Not that anyone who lives or visits here are surprised, but the Kennebunks were just voted one of the best places to live in Maine by Downeast Magazine! I was born and raised here, but have also traveled around the world. I have seen beautiful European towns, stunning raw beauty of Greenland, New Zealand, China and South America. Plus I lived all through the United States, but Maine and the Kennebunks (the twin sisters by the seas) are still my favorite. There are so many reasons people come here to visit year after year. And there are so many reasons to stay. Natural beauty, culture, incredible food, lodging, safety, friendly community, arts, and a great sense of history. We love to complain about the cold winters (especially this year), but we never leave. In January we dream of warm tropical locations, but after a visit we are always ready to get home. Kennebunk & Kennebunkport are special and like a fine red wine they are just getting better with time. So from all of us here at Bufflehead Cove Inn we tip our hat to both Towns and to everyone who loves them as much as us!
Ok so all of us here in the Northeast are sick of the winter. Just when the weather was starting to feel like early spring, poof! it’s 20 degrees and windy. Well for all of you dreaming of summer here is another idea to get excited about. The 13th annual George H.W. Bush Cape Arundel Golf Classic will be held on June 23rd. This year it is chaired by First Lady Barbara Bush and is open for public participation. All proceeds go to support Gary’s House at Mercy Hospital in Portland Maine. The house is an affordable lodging option for family members of individuals in medical crisis. It really is a great cause put together by a great family. Please click on link for further information and registration. It looks like Bobby Orr and Derek Sanderson are a couple of the celebrities participating this year! The night before the tournament the Colony Hotel will host the Point of Light Gala were there will be food, drink and an auction. Don’t miss it!
Golfers enjoying the Classic
Just wanted to let everyone know about the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust’s first annual Nurturing Nature fair. It will be held at Blackrock Farm March 21st from 1PM to 4PM. It is a collaboration of local farmers, commercial fisherman, aquaculture, bee keepers and landscapers to increase knowledge and love for everything outdoors! Great for family’s or anyone dreaming of warmer times. There will be talks, exhibits and food. Plus you get to enjoy Blackrock Farm’s wonderful green houses. If you live or are visiting Kennebunkport, Kennebunk or any of the surrounding towns, please mark it on your calendar!
Kennebunkport Conservation Trust’s Nurturing Nature Fair
When talking to guests the question i’m always asked is “what should we do?” Now this is a loaded question because Kennebunkport and the surrounding areas are loaded with activities. So over the next few weeks i’m going to post some of my favorite activities.
First is summer theatre. Nothing to me represents a timeless summer vacation better than summer theater. After a long day at the beach or on the water, you shower, eat a fine local meal at one of Kennebunkport’s fine eaters and then head off for a evening of theatre. The following are three very different, but all incredibly entertaining productions.
Shakespeare in the Park.
Also known locally as “Shakespeare in the Park.” 2015 will be their 5th year of free, open air, Shakespeare productions. The company is made up of young, passionate actors from all around the country. The performances can be seen during the summer months at Lafayette Park in downtown Kennebunk Maine, Kennebunkport Village Green or the Kennebunk Town Hall during adverse weather conditions. If you’re looking for simple, fun, summer night entertainment, look no further!
Arundel Barn Playhouse
Arundel Barn Playhouse.
Less than five miles away from the Inn you’ll find the old “Smith Sisters Farm.” This farm was in the Smith family for generations until it was turned into the Playhouse. It is a charming New England experience with professional acts running from June to Labor Day. The productions are great, the atmosphere incredible. Not to be missed!
The Ogunquit Playhouse.
The crown jewel of New England summer theatre. The Ogunquit Play House has produced Broadway quality productions for generations. Do not miss the opportunity to witness the magic of their shows. I’ve had guests confess to not enjoying theatre, only to return giddy with what they had witnessed after a show. It truly is worth the price of admission and it’s only 12.5 miles south of the Inn!
Looking out the window at the snow covered ground I can’t help but dream of summer! So in celebration of that dream I want to share two of our favorite ice cream haunts.
First is the Scoop Deck in Wells (just 9 miles to the south). This third generation establishment boasts more delicious flavors than a person can comprehend. During the summer months there is good reason why customers happily wait in line for flavors such as Moose Tracks, Mint Explosion or Fool’s Gold. Add one of their hand made fresh waffle cones and you’ll discover what real happiness is!
Scoop Deck Flavors
The other spot is Rococo’s in Kennebunkport (just over a mile from the Inn.) I’m told that Rococo was a whimsical art movement in 18th century France. The name fits the product (superb hand made, small batch ice-cream/gelato) that will transport you back to a time when summer meant play! At first the unique flavors may appear odd, but once you try a free sample of Cinnamon Caramel Cajeta, Spicy rocky Road or Banana Salted Almond Caramel I promise you will be asking for more! No matter if you are walking from the inn, already in kennebunkport or you don’t mind a short drive to Wells, I promise you will not be disappointed.