DAY 3– Maine is the kind of place where you can do a lot on vacation—or do nothing.
In the Kennebunks,, we’re staying at the brand new Lodge on the Cove –a motor inn retrofitted for the 21st century—we can lounge by the pool, go for a bike ride, or kayak up the street. Yesterday, my husband Andy and our Fresh Air Fund friend Enesi Domi, 14, from the Bronx, learned to do stand-up paddle boarding at the Tides Beach Club on Goose Rocks Beach, part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, that includes the cozy Lodge on the Cove.
This morning, despite the heat, we’ve opted for a bike tour with Summer Feet Cycling. As we arrive, locals and visitors alike are already lining the main street in Kennebunk for the annual July Fourth weekend parade, part of festivities that include a crafts fair, hay ride and more that are part of Old Home Week festival, said Barry Tibbetts, the town manager.
I’ve got to admit as we ride by the beaches, I wish we could just pull over and jump in the water. The beaches are crowded with vacationing families We’re joined by Cindy and Ed Hirsch, a couple from Georgia who came to Maine for their first-ever “empty nesters” trip with their college-aged kids elsewhere.
Cindy is on an electric bike and loving it. I wish I had one. We’re all enjoying the scenery—the stately old homes with their red white and blue decorations, the crowded town streets where people are lining up for lobster rolls and fried clams and ice cream, the river where people are stand up paddle boarding and kayaking. .
We’re all glad when we stop for lunch. We all quit before the ride is officially over—the heat and humidity have sapped our strength — and savor ice cream cones on the way back to the car.
Food, of course, is a big part of vacation and that’s certainly the case in Maine famous for its no-frills lobster “shacks” where you can get lobster rolls—lobster salad sandwiches typically served on a hot dog bun to restaurants in Portland, about 20 miles from here, known for serving food that have just come from local farms.
We had breakfast in wells at The Maine Diner with a line out the door. The cod cakes topped with eggs and blueberry pancakes were worth waiting for. The website even offers weekly recipes. No wonder the place is a top pick for food writers—including the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Last night, we checked out a new restaurant David’s KPT Restaurant in downtown Kennebunkport overlooking the harbor where you could order anything from a lobster dinner to sirloin with mashed potatoes to jerk chicken pizza or lobster ravioli or a burger.
“The best meal of my life,” declared Enesi. He also gave dessert smoosh-in—a brownie and ice cream concoction and crème brulee a thumbs up.
Kudos to David’s for their children’s menu that includes a grilled skewer of shrimp and scallops, grilled steak with mashed potatoes and grilled salmon. I was glad to see there weren’t any chicken fingers or mac and cheese on the menu.
Maine is also the kind of place where you can go to a trendy restaurant like this in shorts and flip flops. You’re on vacation, after all.
We stopped for lunch on our bike tour at a historic old hotel called the Nonantum where we enjoyed their version of lobster rolls by the pool.
I confess I’m the first to bail after we start riding again after lunch and wait for the van to get me; by the time I’m picked up, the others are ready to quit too. It was about 90 degrees — much hotter than normal — and we agreed we would have finished the ride on a milder day.
That’s the thing about vacation—you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to—most of the time anyway.