Kennebunkport, Maine, is a destination. People visit or relocate there on purpose. Since 1602 when colonial fishermen spent their summers along the Kennebunk River, until the present day when former presidents and other solace-seekers come to spend time in favorite haunts, people have been setting their sights on the area as a haven. Some find themselves fortunate to remain in that haven all year round, while others return like migratory birds, to enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the architecture, as well as to escape the stresses of their daily lives.
Before any permanent dwellings had been built in the locale, fisherfolk camped out on the islands offshore, catching fish and drying them there. These summer fishermen might have been the first to visit the area, go away, and return again. Later, the settlement became a trading center, and then a shipping and shipbuilding center. Meanwhile, however, it was also becoming something of a tourist hotspot. Even in the early 1800s, the Kennebunkport Beach was lined with summer hotels. People arrived by rail, often with staff and extended families. They settled at the beach for the summer season, and at the end of it, everyone went home.
According to the Kennebunkport Historical Society, “By the 1880s, its natural beauties and convenient beaches made Kennebunkport one of the more popular and prominent resorts of the Maine coast, a distinction which it still holds.” Some sources claim Kennebunkport as “one of the most romantic vacation areas in the Northeast.” Others view it as one of the most expensive ones, largely due to the presence of the impressive estates along Ocean Avenue, for example, and because it is the location of the family vacation home of former president Bush. Certainly the town has its share of wealthy summer visitors. In reality, however, vacationers from all walks of life come to visit its shores, whether to enjoy the beach, the seaside walks, the history or the autumn foliage.
Taking into account the significant tourist presence of the town, former innkeepers and current real estate brokers Rick and Janet Wolf locally represent a company specifically targeting the real estate needs of hoteliers, The B&B Team. Not content only to help potential innkeepers find properties, they also provide training seminars and other resources to help their clients run successful bed and breakfasts and inns.
Wolf is clearly passionate about both his current business and his former one, and he speaks eloquently of the place of bed and breakfasts in the Kennebunkport community. He cites Kennebunkport as a specifically appropriate location for such business, both because of its history and also because of its exceptional landscape and location. Furthermore, he says, people there have had the imagination and foresight to preserve and maintain the wealth of beautiful and historic buildings in the area, so there are many likely properties for the hospitality business. He further asserts that “some of the best B and Bs in Maine are in Kennebunkport,” and that they have raised the bar for innkeepers in other areas.