A Day in Kennebunkport

(Today we begin an occasional series to introduce our readers to some of our favorite parts of Maine, our “A Day in . . .” series. We hope you’ll follow our perambulations and be tempted to explore some of these places yourself)

Bruce Coffin: Several months ago, following a twelve year hiatus, my wife and I returned to the Captain Lord Mansion nestled within the picturesque village of Kennebunkport, ME. This was our seventh stay in the former sea captain’s residence turned B & B.image

We discovered the inn in the mid 80s when I was still relatively new to the police force. Back then I worked quite a lot of overtime to supplement our income. One of the outside details was providing plainclothes security during business hours for a local high end jeweler. Endless hours of watching customers come and go, checking for furtive movements, gestures, glances or anything out of the norm indicating they were up to no good. During the down time, when there were no customers, I read, everything in the store. I read about mining expeditions, gemology, travel, sales, even the inside labels sewn to my suit jacket. I tell you, this was one action-packed detail. One of the periodicals regularly displayed on a table in the lobby was the Conde Nast Travelers Guide. The official travel magazine for the masses. It was fun to imagine jetting about the globe, visiting strange new places, that was if money hadn’t been in such short supply. It was in this most prestigious of travel mags that I first discovered the Captain Lord. I was instantly captivated by the glossy professional photos taken at the inn. Each of the rooms ornately decorated and furnished with antique beds, Queen Anne dressers, and claw foot tubs. All of this and we wouldn’t have to fly to New Delhi to get there!

Straightaway, I began planning our weekend adventure. By weekend of course I mean middle of the week. Rookie cops don’t get weekends, not in the traditional sense. The upside was that the Captain’s rates we’re better during the week, likewise was the choice of rooms. As soon as my shift ended I drove home and called the inn. From a landline. Come on now, this was the 80s. There were no cellphones, no email, and no internet.

imageFrom the very first, we fell in love with both the inn and its locale. Staying there was quite literally like traveling back in time. We even found ourselves adopted by Aggie, the inn’s official tiger cat. The owners were very gracious hosts and seemed to genuinely enjoy chatting with the guests. Breakfast was a splendid array of homemade muffins, yogurt, granola, fruits, and egg based casseroles. There was something for every palate.

Our days were spent seated in the warmth of great room in front of the large brick fireplace, or driving along the York County coastline, or strolling among the various shops and eateries of Kennebunkport.

Many things have changed over the past thirty years. Aggie is no longer haunting the inn, although perhaps in spirit. The real wood fire in the great room has been replaced by gas. But the rooms continue to be regularly updated and the inn retains all of its charm.image

Sadly, one of our favorite K-Port dining locations, Windows on the Water, is gone. But good restaurants still abound in the village, Federal Jacks, David’s, Allison’s, Hurricane, and a brand new favorite, Ports of Italy. Perhaps the best thing about Kennebunkport is that everything is within walking distance.

If you haven’t visited this jewel of Maine’s southern coast, it’s high time you did.

About Bruce Robert Coffin

Bruce is a retired detective sergeant with more than twenty-seven years in law enforcement. At the time of his retirement, from the Portland, Maine police department, he supervised all homicide and violent crime investigations for Maine's largest city. Bruce also spent four years working counter-terrorism with the FBI, where he earned the Director's Award, the highest honor a non-agent can receive. He is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mystery Series from HarperCollins. His short stories appear in a number of anthologies including The Best American Mystery Stories 2016. Bruce lives and writes in Maine.
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15 Responses to A Day in Kennebunkport

  1. MCWriTers says:

    How nice that you don’t have to go far to get away, Bruce. I love B&Bs and their great breakfasts and this one sounds lovely.

    Curious readers wonder whether you ever did have to stop a jewel thief, or a would-be one?


  2. Dottie MacKeen says:

    Enjoyed reading this remembrance of one of my favorite places – you only need three more visits and you get a brick. Our first time was also in Aggie’s reign and we still have the Christmas ornament in her image. Congratulations on the publication of your first novel.

  3. C.T. Collier says:

    I love K’port, and it’s been far too long since I visited. Thanks for the reminder! Glad to hear Allison’s Restaurant, a favorite, is still going strong.

  4. Back in the day when I was still a newspaper reporter, Kennebunkport was part of my beat. In addition to sitting through selectmen’s and planning board meetings at the town office, I covered various events at the Captain Lord Mansion. I never stayed there because I lived right down the road. I didn’t have an antique bed, Queen Anne dresser or a cat, and I made my own breakfast. But still, it was Kennebunkport, right?

    It was a lot of fun to live there and I love going back to visit. Thank you for bringing its enduring beauty to mind this fine summer morning.

  5. vy kava says:

    Enjoyed the travel story.
    Would like to hear more about the customers gestures, glances and behavior that gave them away.

  6. Barb Ross says:

    Sounds like a truly marvelous day. My daughter and new son-in-law just spent a part of their honeymoon in Kennebunkport.

  7. Skye says:

    Bruce, thank you for this beautifully written piece about Kennebunkport: a place I’ve always wanted to see, but haven’t made it there ( as yet). The B and B is lovely and your words are even better.

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