Turning “welcome into welcome back”
Kennebunkport, being a short 1.5 hour drive north of Boston, is a wonderful place for a quick getaway. I had the pleasure of visiting in the off-season and recently returned at the beginning of the high season to have a peek at the contrast. While I believe Kennebunkport is a fantastic place to go in any season, summer is the BEST season. Even better is discovering one of the town’s nicest resorts, The Nonantum Resort, which is perfectly matched with the casual elegance of this great town.
I was thrilled to be invited by The Nonantum Resort to come check out their beautiful property in June and enjoy a bit more of the Maine coast. One of the largest of resorts in Kennebunkport, The Nonantum has 110 rooms ranging from the classic & historical in the Carriage House to the recently added more modern rooms in the Portside Lodge. The Nonantum’s atmosphere is hip yet relaxed and is an ideal place to stay for couples, families or even a getaway with friends. With a range of activities from swimming pool fun to sailing & sport fishing to stand up paddle boarding & kayaking, there is plenty to keep you busy at The Nonantum. Also a short walk from the property are the popular shops and restaurants all around Dock Square in Kennebunkport.
The Nonantum Resort is open from mid-April to mid-December but just because the doors are closed doesn’t mean work isn’t getting done. This is a historical property that’s 128 years old which means upkeep and also bringing new life to the place. For example, to celebrate the 125th anniversary, the resort added Heckman’s Pub, named after the original family that opened the Inn back in 1884. Continuously operated as an Inn, the Ginn family took over ownership in 1996. Today, The Nonantum is still family owned and run. It is everything you could hope for in an ideal family operation. The care and compassion that ownership has for the property, staff & guests is immediately felt as soon as you enter through the doors. There is a warmth about The Nonantum that is seen in the smiles, welcomes and enthusiastic interest in making sure you are having the kind of stay you planned.
During my visit I was greeted by the friendly reception, of course, but had been invited up by the Director of Marketing, Kyle, to enjoy the grand opening of their restaurant, 95 Ocean. Not only was I welcomed by Kyle but also Owner & Innkeeper, Jean, as well as Tina, General Manager of The Nonantum Resort. I honestly couldn’t imagine nicer hospitality. All made sure to introduce me to the Executive Chef of 95 Ocean, Steve, as well as other invited guests. During the grand opening party of 95 Ocean, the hors d’ourves were spectacular but, to me, the gracious welcome extended from the staff is something I will never forget. Once the party ended, all three wanted to show me a newly opened hotspot in Kennebunkport. It was like meeting old friends so I can see how they turn “welcome into welcome back”. The next morning, I had a brief meeting Jean who greeted & said goodbye to me with a hug. WOW! This endearment definitely makes me want to return to The Nonantum Resort.
A big notable aspect is The Nonantum Resort’s concerted effort toward being environmentally friendly and going more green over the past 2 years. This project is still being continued as they have a long-term plan and their efforts can be seen all over the property. Also noteworthy is the resort’s participation with ‘Clean the World’ who takes bath amenities and sends them to 3rd world nations in need. I really enjoyed learning about the property’s commitment to their community as well by having several fundraisers throughout the year to support various initiatives and charities.
Some of the events you can look for are the weekly wine dinners offered throughout the season. The Nonantum Resort’s Executive Chef customizes every menu on a weekly basis taking into consideration the freshest and most creative ingredients and wine parings all at a tremendous value. This year, The Nonantum put on their first annual Paddle Battle, an outdoor paddle festival done by kayak, canoe, stand-up paddle board or any vessel without a motor, that races down the Kennebunk River. Look for this to be a summer highlight in Kennebunkport from here on out! And, in the off-season, the very popular fundraiser, Fire & Ice is hosted by The Nonantum. 2013 dates are December 13-14th. Held the second weekend of Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude, Fire & Ice is a holiday celebration featuring themed ice bars, a huge bonfire (thus Fire & Ice), several live bands and delicious food from 95 Ocean and other local food vendors with a portion of the proceeds going to charity. Who couldn’t love a fun party for a good cause?!
If you haven’t discovered The Nonantum Resort for yourself, consider making a quick trip up to Kennebunkport, Maine for a wine dinner, special event or a long weekend stay. I think you’ll be as impressed by this fabulous family run property as I am. I look forward to my “welcome back” to The Nonantum and hope it’s sooner rather than later!