Now, you've heard of Kennebunkport. If you don't know why, then it's lodged in the back of your mind because it is home, at least part-time, to President (ex) George Bush. The older one. As you approach the entrance to the river, there is a set of big white buoys to one sid marking the 'Presidential Exclusion Zone'. No boats, no swimmers (on or under the water) and no nothing. At one of the little marinas in town is a big black inflatable with 'US Secret Service' written on the side. Very secret.
Kennebunkport doesn't just house a slightly aging ex-president, nor does it only win the prize for the best name on this coast. It is also a beautiful, thriving little riverside village. The Kennebunk river is narrow, winding and shallow but it is early in the season and we found a vacant mooring with enough depth for us. We were pretty much the biggest boat there. On one side, the river is lined with expensive looking houses, hotels and yacht clubs with verdant lawns and picket fences. On the other is the wooded grounds of a Franciscan monastery, which keeps the river looking somewhat as it must have done so many years ago.
We took the dinghy up river to look for supplies, and found many, many art galleries and boutiques and one little grocery store with a fabulous deli and a few essential provisions, at prices that we reckoned might have bought us one of the artworks in the gallery next door. Until, that is, we looked in the gallery next door. This is clearly an upmarket destination.
Back on the river, the local fisherman were pulling little mackerel out by the dozen. Ah-ha, we thought, breakfast. So we pulled down the fishing rod and cast a few times with demonstrable lack of success. We changed lures and tried again, and again, until we finally got down to the basic, lightest line we had, with a small hook and spinner and suddenly we were grabbing them almost every cast. We soon had six nice little fish for breakfast the next day.
And very nice they were too, even the kids loved them. As usual, breakfast took a lot longer than we planned and it was nearly lunchtime before we went ashore to explore. In the meantime, the local harbour master came by and said hello, once again showing the upmarket nature of the destination - he talked about how he was concerned whether we had enough depth at low tide, and by the way, they normally charge $25 for these moorings but don't worry. Just drop a cheque to his address when we get a chance. Very diplomatic, and very effective, we don't really feel we can just cut and run without paying but neither do we feel hassled for cash. Smart. And for the very special location and comfort of the Kennebunk river mooring, it's a price worth paying.
Then we had a lovely lunchtime wander around the village, feeling a bit out of place but finding time for a very nice cup of coffee and slice of Maine blueberry pie with ice cream. After that it was back to the boat and off north on a gorgeous sail to Wood Island Harbour, twenty miles further towards Portland.
This coast is fun, we're enjoying the variety of places, winds and weather. Casco Bay, here we come.
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