The 2nd question every visitors asks as they arrive in Kennebunkport, “where do I get the best lobster?” The 1st being, “how do we get to see President Bush?” Folks eagerly want to see Walkers Point out Ocean Ave, and really want to have a glimpse at President’s 41 and 43 and the Bush Compound where two former presidents and their family spend every summer. So we locals give directions out Ocean Ave, past St Ann’s Church where the Bush’s go for Sunday service, beyond Thunder Cave and Blowing Hole to the Anchor to Windward perched on the sparkling granite shores, this scenic vantage offers a fantastic view of Vesuvius Point, the so-named peninsula where the Walker Bush family resides. It’s a magnificent oceanfront property and family estate – a must see in KPT.
On to Question 2….back to the lobster!
You don’t need to wait in a long line in the hot sun to score an award-winning lobster roll. Reality is there are several delicious renditions of the lobster roll in Kennebunkport… with sit down dining and table service, not just an outside shack.
We love Alisson’s in Dock Square – you can get anything you want as the Arlo Guthrie song goes, and you can definitely get a delicious lobster roll served with mayo, or butter if you prefer, and of course fries! Alisson’s features several lobster specialties including lobster bisque, lobster pizza, lobster mac n’cheese, and a lobster cobb salad, even Lobster Poutine for the French Canadian folks. All this deliciousness is served in a great pub setting so you can enjoy a refreshing cocktail or local draft beer at this convivial bar – the Cheers of Kennebunkport in Dock Square.
Mabel’s Lobster Claw is the BEST for fresh Maine seafood cooked the traditional way, and their lobster roll is just plain awesome, and loaded. Mabel’s Lobster Bisque is to outstanding too. Dinner time at Mabel’s, the menu expands to some award-winning dishes like the Lobster Savannah – Rachel Ray’s favorite. Serving a 2-pound lobster split and stuffed with crab, scallops, breadcrumbs and butter, topped with creamy Newburg sauce, yes you can insert a moan here for this extravagant Maine dish. Mabel’s will also simply steam your lobster, or serve it over pasta Fra Diavolo style. If you also like scallops and crab with your lobster – try the Duke or Duchess. You can take-out from Mabel’s if you prefer to picnic on Ocean Ave on a sea view bench, but then you’ll miss the authentic dining experience at this family-owned bistro that is tried and true… the Bush family dines here frequently as you will see from the many framed photos on the storied walls.
Nonantum Resort is another classic Kennebunkport dining spot, over a century old, this grand hotel has excellent cuisine. You can order your traditional lobster roll or a steamed lobster here, at the water view 95 Ocean dining room or the more casual Heckman’s Pub. Mix it up by trying the Chef’s unique Maine crustacean creations like Lobster Rangoon Spring Rolls or Lobster Grilled Fritters. What’s fun about the Nonantum is its an old-world resort in an historic hotel, and its always a buzz with live entertainment, weddings and waterfront activity.
Stripers is also out Ocean Ave, just before Colony Beach, at the beautiful Breakwater Inn & Spa. The view of the river and breakwater out to sea are fantastic, so is the menu. Of course, you can have your classic lobster roll with an ocean view, watching the lobster boats pass by. Or indulge in Lobster Risotto Arancini, Lobster Tacos or Lobster Bisque. When Striper’s features their Lobster Lovers special, it’s a great sampling of lobster flavors. There is no better place to watch the sunset than the Adirondack chairs at Stripers – so plan your evening accordingly.
Rhumb Line Resort out Ocean Ave past the Bush estate is a great outdoor poolside venue for a casual lobster and clam bake. Here at this family-friendly resort, the crew cook lobster on an open firepit at Admirals’ Table. Their Down East Feast includes all the fixins – Lobster, steamed clams, drawn butter, clam chowder, corn on the cob, and strawberry shortcake! Yum! You can also order a good ole’ fashioned lobster roll, and their patent Fresh Fries are scrumptious accompaniment! Rhumb Line is affordable, fun, with a complete kids menu too, and after dinner you can relax by the fire pits or enjoy a round of corn hole.
Back in Kport, in Dock Square The Boathhouse is open for lunch and dinner with a commanding view of the Kennebunk River from its open dining room, bar and outdoor deck. The Boathouse has a lobster bar – where you can chill with a cocktail and select and savor fresh shucked Maine oysters, clams, shrimp, and chilled lobster. On the Boathouse’s extensive menu, you will find a Maine lobster served in a lobster roll, lobster tacos, Asian-style lobster spring rolls, lobster mac n’ cheese, and you can add lobster to any of their fresh salads, or order it “In the Rough” – steamed with butter and corn on the cob and a bib!
If you want fancy, the White Barn Inn takes Maine lobster to an elevated level, with a 4-course prix-fixe $125 per person menu. This is Maine’s only five-star dining, so bring your wallet and sport coat and prepared to be wowed with fine service and exquisitely prepared small artful plates.
Enjoy your time in Kennebunkport, and enjoy your lobster – often! It’s a delicious seafood delicacy, you might want to order some Maine lobster to arrive at home to keep your Vacationland vibe going long after your Maine vacation.
As for Question 1, if you want to experience more of the Bush family and their presidential presence and legacy in Kennebunkport, visit White Columns, the 1853 Greek Revival – part of the Kennebunkport Historical Society. Its on Maine Street, and offers a wonderful tribute to the Bush family and the Summer White House at their First Family Legacy exhibit. Also see our fond memories of First Lady Barbara Bush and her favorite spots in Kennebunkport.
Copyright & Photography Kennebunkport Maine Lodging, 2018