It’s hard to imagine that the tiny little town of Kennebunkport has played host to world leaders from around the globe. One such world leader even calls this place home, for at least half the year. Former President George H. W. Bush, the senior of the two Bush presidents, spends his summers in a compound just outside of town.
The presidential homestead is probably what draws most Maine visitors to detour off Interstate 95, and head towards this part of the coast. But there are plenty of other reasons to visit.
Kennebunkport’s downtown business district is just a few blocks long, but it’s picture perfect. You’ll find plenty of Bush memorabilia and conservative bumper stickers in these stores. It all seems oddly out of place, in the normally blue northeast.
Drive past this flower-filled island at the edge of Western Avenue (Kennebunkport’s Main Street, also Maine Rte. 9)…
… then turn onto Ocean Avenue. Ocean Avenue heads south…
… along the eastern edge of the Kennebunk River. The river is wide enough here to provide room for hundreds of boats, and there are marinas, restaurants, and bed-and-breakfasts to welcome tourists arriving by boat.
After heading south for about a mile and a half, Ocean Avenue reaches the ocean, then curves around to the east. This is when you see the famous piece of property that likely sparked your interest in the town, in the first place.
The summer home of Bush 41 is situated on a rocky peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It’s called Walker Point, named after George H. Walker, a banker and grandfather of the former president. That’s where the “George H.W.” in his name comes from.
Early morning isn’t the best time to take a photo of the compound, but if you zoom in a little…
… you can see that this is a pretty nice house. It was certainly suitable for welcoming the likes of Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev.
After you’ve gawked at the Bush Compound, and bought your “Miss Me Yet?” sticker in town, head back inland to visit…
Charming little Kennebunk is 4 miles away from the similarly-named port. It feels a bit more like a town, and less like a tourist destination.
[tmt_info =””]Oddly enough, Kennebunk is not located on the Kennebunk River. The Mousam River cuts through the middle of town.[/tmt_info]
And of course, there’s a beautiful church. The First Parish Unitarian Universalist church was built in 1773, and in its early years, it also served as a library and a town hall, among other things.
[tmt_info =””]The UU Church underwent a strange expansion project in 1803. Instead of adding to one end or the other, workers cut the church in two, and extended the middle by 28 feet, and turned the roof sideways. They also added the steeple. And yes, the weathervane is an ear of corn.[/tmt_info]
[tmt_info =””]To reach Kennebunk, take exit 25 off I-95. For Kennebunkport, continue down Maine Rte. 35. After visiting Kennebunkport, you can follow Rte.9 south, back to US 1, to continue the trip down the Maine coast.[/tmt_info]
Here’s a dash-cam, time-lapse video of the drive from Sanford to Kennebunkport, Maine: