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Boating in Kennebunkport River & Kennebunkport, ME

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Boating in Kennebunkport, Maine

Worthy of a presidential visit
Cruisers headed farther east stop in Kennebunkport for an easy overnight. The harbor is easily accessible, has lots of options for visiting boaters, and its pedestrian friendly downtown serves shoppers and hungry travelers alike. Kennebunkport has always appealed to "outsiders." Originally founded by European fishermen as Cape Porpoise, the settlement provided an ideal place to dry cod and mackerel catches for the long journey to market. Soon popular Cape Porpoise became known as Arundel, and shipbuilding became the draw.

The maritime industry boomed during the 19th century with vessels sprouting up all along the banks of the Kennebunk River. As the shipbuilding industry waned in the late 1860s, tourism took root. Wealthy visitors attracted by the area's natural beauty built vacation "cottages" and soon the town was a premier summer destination.

Visitors still flock to Kennebunkport. Warm weather brings wall-to-wall people and traffic, but not all is bad- there's a reason people visit. Don't let the crowds deter you; shops, restaurants, and history make walking these jampacked streets worthwhile.

The rich and famous continue to congregate in town as they have for more than 100 years. Kennebunkport has often been in the national spotlight because President George H. W. Bush summers at his family compound on nearby Walker's Point.

Things to See and Do

Scenic Adventures: Walk, bike or drive along Ocean Avenue to see stunning homes (including the Bush Compound), historic St. Ann’s Church and gorgeous vistas of the waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline.

Golf fun: Bring your clubs to play a round at Cape Arundel Golf Club (19 River Rd., www.capearundelgolfclub.com). The more than 115-year-old Scottish links course has 18 holes (13 with water) and is open to the public.

Boat Building: Kennebunkport is home to the Landing School (286 River Rd., www.landingschool.edu), first established in 1978 as a wooden-boat-building school.The facility has since expanded to include modern yacht design and marine systems technology.

Art strolls: Wander through town to visit the many art galleries featuring local and international artists.

River Excitement: Rent a kayak or canoe from Kennebunkport Marina (67 Ocean Drive, www.kennebunkportmarina.com) and set out along the Kennebunk River for an up-close view of the picturesque coastline.

Where To Eat

Alisson’s Restaurant (11 Dock Square, 207-967-4841, www.alissons.com) is a local institution famous for its clamchowder and fun bar scene.

Bandaloop (2 Dock Square, 207-967- 4994, www.bandaloop.biz) serves dishesmade with fresh, organic and locally grown ingredients and has many vegan options.

White Barn Inn (37 Beach Ave., 207-967- 2321, www.whitebarninn.com) is an upscale destination set in a beautifully restored barn. Be sure to try the lobster spring rolls.

Federal Jacks Restaurant & Brew Pub (8 Western Ave., 207-967-4322, www.federaljacks.com) is across the river. Enjoy house-made beer, burgers and fantastic views of the harbor.

Pier 77 (77 Pier Rd., 207-967-8500, www.pier77restaurant.com), just north of Kennebunkport in Cape Porpoise, is a great place to sample local seafood and watch the working lobster boats in the cove.

Cape Pier Chowder House (79 Pier Rd., 207-967-0123, www.capeporpoiselobster.com), also in Cape Porpoise, has lobster rolls, fried clams, an open-air deck, and views of Goat Island Lighthouse.

You can get your banking, laundry, and provisioning done at the Village Marketplace (207-967-5204).

Use ChartKit Region 2, pages 15 and 58; Maptech Waterproof Chartbook Cape Ann, MA, to Portland, ME; or Maptech Waterproof Chart 36. Also, Maptech electronic and NOAA paper chart 13286 (1:80,000 with inset).

Navigation and Anchorages
The Kennebunk River's entrance buoy, G "1" Fl G 4s BELL, is approximately 7 nm northeast of RW "PC" Mo (A) at the entrance to Perkins Cove and 2.6 nm west of the Cape Porpoise entrance.

The Kennebunk River presents few challenges to the visiting mariner. The preferred approach begins at G "1" Fl G 4s BELL and continues north-northwest. Keep "red-right-returning" in your mind and stay east of G C "3" en route to the mouth of the river. This will keep your vessel clear of Fishing Rock. You may see local boaters entering west of Fishing Rock, north of G C "3." However, this is not advised unless you know the area and its unmarked ledges.

The entrance to the Kennebunk River is found between two breakwaters. Iso R 6s 25ft 5M "6" stands at the end of the eastern breakwater. The dredged channel begins here and carries about 4 to 5 (mlw) feet to the center of town. You might want to think twice about traveling all the way up, as the channel gets narrow near the swing bridge.

An open mooring is hard to find in the Kennebunk, so look for dockage at any of the marinas. Chicks Marina (207-967-2782) is located within easy reach of both downtown and the entrance, and can serve transients as large as 140 feet. You'll see a lot of the big boats overnighting it here, and for good reason. Most facilities sit on the east side of the river and are easily visible.

Shoreside and Emergency Services
Coast Guard:

South Portland 207-767-0363 or VHF 16
Kennebunkport 207-967-5040 or VHF 16
Police, Fire, Ambulance:
Tow Service:
Sea Tow 800-4SEATOW or VHF 16
TowBoatU.S 800-391-4869 or VHF 16

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