When you hear “Maine vacation,” what do you think of? Sand, sea, lighthouses and lobster — lots of lobster! We’ve just uncovered a wonderful family retreat in Kennebunkport that offers all these things and is open year-round, a rarity in New England. This is Goose Rocks Beach House, part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection (KRC), a portfolio of boutique luxury properties known for great style and service along with fine wine and cuisine. Located right on the beach, the property offers plenty of room for families to spread out and enjoy the space in every season.
The beauty of Goose Rocks Beach House is that its group of rental homes makes for a lovely, large home base on the ocean. In addition, you have access to KRC’s The Tides Beach Club Hotel, just steps away, and Hidden Pond, a sister property in the beautiful balsam fir forest, five minutes down the road via hotel shuttle. The Tides Beach Club offers great dining and live entertainment. Hidden Pond provides an awesome array of activities for kids, hiking trails, lawn games, evening s’mores around the campfire, the phenomenal dining establishment Earth and the heavenly Tree Spa. If you stay at Goose Rocks Beach House, you’ve hit the trifecta: private beachfront living adjacent to wonderful dining as well as kids’ and adult amenities and activities.
Accessibility to Maine’s beautiful and majestic Goose Rocks Beach is the No. 1 reason to stay at this historic property, which has been converted into a trio of two-story private residences. Guests have unfettered access to the shore, stunning water views from a large deck on the second floor, and the ability to cook their own meals with use of the full kitchen and Weber grill in each residence. Are you missing your cardio fix? Fear not — a dedicated Peloton bike is at your disposal, plus beach cruisers for outdoor rides. When you want a break from cooking, walk next door to the The Tides and nosh on local favorites such as lobster rolls and seafood chowder at The Tides Beach Club Restaurant. When you’re ready to move from beach to forest, ask the concierge to book the shuttle to Hidden Pond for hiking trails, kids’ activities, a heated swim, a relaxing spa treatment or evening bingo and s’mores.
Note: While Goose Rocks Beach House is open year-round, The Tides Beach Club and Hidden Pond are seasonal properties, open only in the spring, summer and fall.
Goose Rocks Beach House residences are spacious and well-outfitted, and allow for plenty of privacy. They are perfect for families.
Our family of six comfortably stayed in The Belair, which offers nearly 1,500 square feet of indoor space, a first-floor patio with lounge chairs and an oceanfront deck with ample seating on the second floor. The deck offers one of the best private views of Goose Rocks Beach and the charming Timber Island, and is an ideal space to take in a good book, watch beachgoers or have a family meal. The interior offers two bedrooms connected by a hallway; one bedroom has a king-size bed, a spacious sitting area, a chic electric fireplace and a luxurious ensuite bathroom with shower. The second has two twin beds and an adjacent bathroom with shower. Upstairs you’ll find a large oceanfront living room with an electric fireplace, a sectional sofa, a dining room table, a full bathroom with bathtub and a full kitchen.
Each beach residence features upscale furnishings, LED smart TVs, Bluetooth speakers, plush towels and robes, luxury bed and bath linens by Frette, and decor by Jonathan Adler. Kitchens in all residences include a full refrigerator, oven, microwave, dishwasher and small appliances such as a blender, toaster, hand mixer and coffeemaker. Guests have a private parking spot just behind the residence, and complimentary beach chairs, towels and beach cruisers are available. There is a common washer/dryer on the first floor as well.
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Upon arrival, Goose Rocks Beach House guests will find a generously sized coffee cake in their room to serve as a morning breakfast indulgence during their stay. Guests can also choose to have a Continental breakfast at the Tides Restaurant from 8 am to 10am during the week, and a more extensive à la carte breakfast on the weekends.
For lunch or dinner, visit The Tides Beach Club Restaurant for mouthwatering dishes such as lobster ravioli, Maine salmon, filet mignon, grilled swordfish, “shareables” like flank steak skewers and bacon-wrapped scallops, a raw bar, and kids’ plates such as grilled chicken, fish and chips, grilled cheese and other favorites.
As KRC is a collection of of luxury properties known for excellent cuisine, we recommend guests visit other KRC restaurants in the area as well, including Rosella, a sustainable sushi establishment; Via Sophia By the Sea, a modern Italian osteria; Ocean, which serves upscale sea-inspired fare with unparalleled views of the Atlantic; and Earth, the award-winning farm-to-fork restaurant at Hidden Pond. We can personally vouch for Earth, touted as one of the best restaurants in New England and maybe even the country. As the name implies, Earth’s focus is local, seasonal and organic, and chef Joe Schafer expertly turns Maine’s enormous bounty into a diverse menu of dishes featuring ingredients grown at Hidden Pond’s onsite organic farm, sourced from local farmers and fished from the nearby ocean. Handmade pastas, house-made charcuterie and dishes like halibut with lobster risotto, Florentine cauliflower and cognac lobster sauce adorn the menu. Cocktails also take inspiration from the farm-to-table movement with freshly muddled fruits and herbs from the garden. And for the pickiest of young eaters, Earth does offer a children’s menu.
TIP: Indulge in the four-course dinner menu to sample the best (and most) of what Earth has to offer.
In summer, guests can use Goose Rocks Beach House’s L.L. Bean kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for an oceangoing adventure, and kids may attend The Tides Beach Club’s Marine Science Camp at the beach. The concierge at the Tides Beach Club can arrange winter hikes in Kennebunkport, guided moon walks, stargazing, whale-watching, sailing trips, and picnics for guests as well.
Hidden Pond has two heated outdoor pools — one for families, the second for adults-only. The family pool is decked out with floats, floaties and diving toys. Next to it, the campfire area has dedicated chairs, a sand area and sand toys for little ones, tetherball, giant Jenga and a nightly fire starting at 5 pm, with s’mores and, often, bingo or trivia led by the resort staff. Hidden Pond also has a number of marked hiking trails around the property. Our family’s personal favorite was a drop-in open studio art shed, decked out with every craft imaginable: tempera paint, glitter, paper airplane-making books, origami, felt fabric, pipe cleaners, colored pencils, watercolors, crayons and more. It truly is an artist’s heaven!
The schedule of activities offered by Hidden Pond is curated based on the season. During our visit in late September, the kids painted pumpkins, went on a hike through the forest and created awesome tie-dye shirts. When you check in at Goose Rocks Beach House, the front desk will provide you with the children’s schedule of activities for the week. KRC’s children’s programs are truly the star of the show at these properties and allow for some serious family memory-making.
Goose Rocks Beach House is located in picturesque Kennebunkport on Maine’s southern coast, about an hour and a half north of Boston. Kennebunkport is an iconic New England seaside town (and the longtime summer retreat for the extended Bush clan) that generally leaves visitors smitten with its mix of boating, beaches, historic charm, old-fashioned ice cream shops and ultra-fresh lobster rolls.
While summer in Kennebunkport is lovely, there’s a case to be made for dropping in during the off-season. Come fall, the crowds disperse, the leaves began to change into a symphony of bright orange, yellow and red, and the earth becomes quiet and still. Named the No. 2 Christmas town in America by HGTV, Kennebunkport goes above and beyond for its visitors during the holiday season. See Santa arrive on a lobster boat or take a ride on the seashore holiday trolley during Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude, and explore miles of nature trails that provide the perfect place to snowshoe, cross-country ski or enjoy a snowfall.
Editor’s Note: Loren was hosted by Goose Rocks Beach House in order to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Loren Braunohler.
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