Kennebunkport, Me, and Rockport, Ma, United States

Monday, June 19, 2017
Kennebunkport, Maine, United States
Kennebunkport is one of our favourite places on the east coast and we were lucky enough to be able to stay at the Seaside Inn which is right on the beach, as we had on our previous visit. This Inn was established in 1667 and has been run by the same family since its inception, currently the 12th generation. The coast at the northern part of the town is rocky and quite exposed. It is the site of St Ann’s church which was consecrated in 1892 and the Bush Estate belonging the former President, George HW Bush, on Walker’s Point. Weren’t invited for cocktails but we tried to sneak past the scary security guy who seemed intent on blocking our way. The church is build out of local stone and has a couple of amazing stained-glass windows. To the south, is the town of Ogunquit which is a beach resort and has a cute harbour at Perkins Cove. There is also a nice gallery, the Barn Gallery, where we bought a small bronze sculpture, called The Kiss, by Michael Alfano – for Sue’s new studio.
Other surrounding areas, such as Point Porpoise, are also very picturesque with inlets and lots of houses overlooking the water. The whole coast from Nova Scotia down into Massachusetts that we have been travelling, has some large tides, the effect of which can be seen in many of the photos. It is not unusual to see boats sitting on the bottom and we were told the tide determines a lot of the on-water activity. Also deliveries to some inhabited islands are also tidal dependent as they rely on the sandbars being exposed.
.Our next destination was Rockport, a small village in Massachusetts, to which again we drove via the coastal route as it enabled us to stop at our favourite lighthouse, Nubble Lighthouse, at Cape Neddick, completed in 1879 on a small island about 50 metres offshore. The drive from Ogunquit to York Harbor is breathtaking, with a picture-book scene around nearly every corner. The houses on the foreshore are also stunning, although again a lot of the coast is “private”. We had hired a cottage in Rockport for 3 days but it was so small and unimpressive that we left after one night. We had planned to have our dinners at home and relax but in this one, it would have been impossible. We stayed one night (all we had paid for) and instead found a beautiful little hotel, the Bearskin Neck Lodge, in Bearskin Neck, a peninsula jutting out into Rockport Harbour – sea views and the same price. Bearskin Neck is a couple of roads lined with lobster shacks, studios, shops, restaurants and wooden houses. Just along the main road into Rockport is a performing arts centre which has a huge window overlooking the water at the back of the stage. It was amazing to see someone practicing on the piano with the sea in the background. The Rockport Art Association, founded in 1921 making it one of the oldest in the US, has a permanent museum in a sea captain’s house and an adjacent old cotton mill which houses an excellent collection of art for sale – all pieces have been selected by a jury.
Gloucester which is next to Rockport, is a major fishing and ship repair port as well as being home for the Rocky Neck Art Colony, which is the oldest in the US, being founded around 1850. Rocky Neck, which is similar to Bearskin Neck, also has numerous galleries, studios and restaurants. We thought the best artist in the area was John Nesta, who is a plein-air landscape and marine painter, who stays all-year round so contrasts the scenes in summer and winter. Some of his winter scenes and boat paintings are fantastic.A note of caution – for some reason drivers in Massachusetts take very little notice of road speed limits and the indicators on most cars must be broken as they are not used too often. It’s especially scary on the highways where car cut in from side roads with total disregard of where you are. Haven’t seen a speed camera either. After a long drive, a stiff drink is a must.