To best appreciate the ambiance of Kennebunkport, visit Dock Square, an eclectic collection of historic fishing shacks that now house inviting art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants. The renovated shacks sit on wharves that jut out over the Kennebunk River. Try to envision the bustling wharf in the 1800s, when it operated as a busy shipbuilding port. You’ll see evidence of the fine mansions built by sea captains many of these are now stately inns.
Dock Square is known for its fresh seafood offerings, from fried clams to lobster rolls. Dine with a river view from the bridge at the small Clam Shack, which has been featured in numerous national reviews. At Alisson’s Restaurant, a Dock Square staple since 1973, find excellent service in a pub-style setting. The huge menu features seafood favorites, from the classic steamed Maine lobster to mahi mahi tacos. Ask for a table on the second floor for the best vantage point on Dock Square below.
Shoppers love Dock Square for its numerous shops selling everything from saltwater taffy and fudge to locally made pottery and souvenirs. Find boutiques selling handcrafted Maine gifts, jewelry and clothing, as well as bookstores, antiques shops and wine boutiques. Abacus Gallery is a favorite for homemade crafts and unique jewelry. Pick up olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegars at Maine-ly Drizzle.
Spend hours perusing the many art galleries that dot Dock Square. Purchase a print of an iconic Maine lobster dory from the True North Gallery. Look for one-of-a-kind light fixtures, yarn bracelets, photographs and sculptures at this and other shops.
Walk over the bridge to Kennebunk’s Lower Village, which has additional restaurants, shops and galleries. There’s a bit more green space here and you may find items for sale to be more affordable than in its more upper-crust neighbor.
Visit Dock Square during summer, when all shops and restaurants are open and the weather is pleasantly warm. Some shops stay open during the winter. Pay to park behind Alisson’s Restaurant, with the first half-hour of parking free. Parking in off-peak seasons is also free.