Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, known collectively as the Kennebunks, have been attracting summer visitors for centuries. In the 1700s the Abnaki Indians came to these shores for summer fishing and hunting. From 1800 to about 1850 more than 1,000 wooden schooners, cargo vessels, and clippers were built in the area’s fifty shipyards. Here, as in other New England ports, wealthy sea captains built impressive homes, many of which still grace Kennebunkport’s streets. After the Civil War shipbuilding became less important, and the region gained prominence as a summer vacation spot for the affluent from Boston and New York. By 1907 thirty grand hotels had been constructed in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Today the Kennebunks and the surrounding towns still attract large numbers of vacationers who come for the sea breezes, the beach, and boating. The Kennebunks comprise four distinct communities.
Across the Kennebunk River is Kennebunkport, a bustling beach town whose center, Dock Square, features upscale boutiques and restaurants. Ocean Avenue, which winds along the water, sports many lavish houses, including Walker’s Point, the summer home of former president George Bush and his family. This eTrail is one complete vacation written with families in mind. It’s loaded with exciting things to do, family-friendly places to lodge and dine, recommended side trips, local sources of information, and detailed travel directions.
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