Youíve worked hard all year long, with strenuous hours at the office and dealing with traffic. But it was all worth it now that itís time to think about that much needed vacation you have been talking about since your last one. Enter the serene little cottage enclave known as Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport, Maine. The wooded retreat sits on 60 acres with serene cottages and bungalows with names like Wanderlust, Nestled In, Hideaway, Solitude, Tranquility, Serenity, Daydream and Moonwatch, dotting the property.
We stayed in one of the newer bungalows, Rendezvous, which was nestled in the woods. There is a screened-in porch with ceiling fan and comfy day bed where you can kick up your feet while listening to nothing but the birds chirping and bullfrogs calling peacefully around the property. Inside the open cottage with vaulted ceiling, there is a floor-to-ceiling stone gas fireplace, wet bar with small refrigerator, large king bed with Frette bed linens and robes and a flat screen TV.
We loved the private outdoor shower where you can freshen up under the stars. (There is a marble bathroom inside as well featuring Malin & Goetz toiletries). Hidden Pond has got every little detail covered, from delivering a basket of freshly baked goods, fruit, yogurt, coffee and the newspaper each morning, to Símores baskets left by the bonfire every night. You can even request the cottage be stocked with a goodie basket prior to your arrival. The service here is first class with the friendly staff only too willing to accommodate your every request.
For lunch, take one of the complimentary bikes from the shed and head over to the oceanfront sister property, The Tides Beach Club, where you can nosh on some of the best seafood in town. Start off with a dozen fresh oysters, or the flavorful roasted corn and clam chowder with bacon before moving onto a hot buttery lobster roll, golden fish and chips, or seared shrimp and Maine scallops with lobster fried rice.
Having dinner at the James Beard Award winning Boston restaurateur, Chef Ken Oringerís Earth is an absolute must when staying at Hidden Pond. The restaurant is open to the public as well so you can dine at Earth even if you arenít a guest. The main dining room, which was inspired by nature and built with the wood harvested from Hidden Pond, features a floor to ceiling fireplace, open kitchen and menu offering fresh ingredients from two onsite organic gardens, as well local cheeses, seafood and meats.
Starters include local iced nonesuch river oysters with oxalis mignonette and buttermilk as well as a charcuterie plate with pickled fruit and mustard. For dinner, try the fried chicken with bok choy, baked beans, salad burnet, dill, and cilantro or the spicy seafood paella with spring peas and pea greens (which takes 25 minutes to prepare but it well worth the wait).
If you are a foodie, book a trip aboard Maine Foodie Toursí culinary trolley tour of Kennebunkport. The narrated two-hour tour visits some of the areaís most historic inns and resorts, including the Cape Arundel Inn, Colony Hotel, Nonantum Resort, The White Barn Inn, Captain Jefferds, Captain Fairfield, and the Captain Lord Mansion. At many of these stops you can sample local dishes like salmon martinis, lobster pate a choux and fresh fish and vegetable canapťs. (Photo Courtesy of Maine Foodie Tours)
If you want to head off property, be sure to check out the waterfront views from Federal Jackís Restaurant and Brew Pub, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and is the birthplace of Shipyard Brewing Company. Sip on their famous Shipyard Export Ale, Goat Island Light Ale or seasonal Sunfish Wheat while snacking on an enormous bowl of fresh steamers, crispy chicken tenders with maple jalapeno barbecue sauce and bowl of creamy New England clam chowder. For entrees, we love the meat and ricotta lasagna and tavern steak and cheese sandwich. (Photo Courtesy of Federal Jackís Restaurant)