New England is home to many cute little towns that attract tourists seeking “a weekend away”. From the Green mountain skiing in Vermont to the coastal isles of Nantucket, it’s no secret that many of these retreats boast seasonal itineraries. Visit any of these towns in the off season and you’d hardly recognize it. Half of the shops and stores are open, there’s little to do as the locals aren’t prepared to entertain. However, this stillness can have it’s advantages for those seeking a non-traditional weekend away.
My beau and I wanted a weekend away since our schedules seldom align, which makes it difficult to have small moments together. It was high time we got out of the urban jungle, and with the thank of Lark Hotels we headed to Kennebunkport, Maine for an overnight stay. It was our first time to this coastal town and once we made it up the coast it became very apparent that Kennebunkport was a seasonal splendor – which made it very, very quiet. Many shops were closed and the town took advantage of the reduced population to sponsor construction. However, the low population was intimate, charming, and had many unsuspecting advantages.
Captain Fairfield Inn
We stayed at the rustic and inviting Captain Fairfield Inn was the perfect spot for our midweek getaway. It’s located just off the main strip or “dock square” of Kennebunkport, which would be easily walkable in the summer. We were welcomed by the groundskeepers, whom were cheery and helpful. At check in they give you an iPad stocked full of apps (including one for the hotel) on local suggestions and getting around. Or, be like my boyfriend and use it to catch up on sports news that you couldn’t get in the car ride up.
Each room has its own personality and the decor is unmatched, a signature of Lark Hotels. The bed was comfortable and faced an electric fireplace that warmed us up as we watched our favorite Wes Anderson movie, Moonrise Kingdom (as if there was any contest). The breakfast was the most impressive, the frittata was – only explained by emojis.
delicious and homemade; every day at 2 pm fresh cookies were served
Why You Should Consider the Off Season
In Boston, you are never alone. You share walls when you sleep and the streets on your commute. While you are “alone”, the city is hardly vacant & there’s no privacy. Being in small town there can be minutes or hours before another car even drives by. It can be a wonderful emptiness that can leave you with an overwhelming relief. In the quiet stillness you can talk and be silly without the worry of politeness or courtesy as there is plenty of space to share.
Due to supply and demand there can be a huge spike in price of lodging, eating, and doing during the peak season. There are more people wanting to do the same thing, time is money and people have it on vacation. Off season can be a great time to explore a new place without breaking the bank. For example, Kennebunkport has a “February is for Lovers” promotion were hotels in the area off special prices throughout the month. Also, especially in seasonal summer spots, parking was free. While we could walk to the small downtown from the Captain Fairfield if the weather permitted, signs posted around the beaches warned of costs higher than the tide.
It’s no secret that photography was a huge part of our weekend itinerary wherever we go. With lots of people it’s usually hard to be considerate but also get the shot. The quietness of Kennebunkport allowed for us to stand and enjoy the impressive secnery. Not that I was breaking in or being unreasonable, but we could get closer and more in touch with the environment simply because we were the only ones there.
With many people flocking to the same area, the cost and hassle of getting there can be huge. We rented a car and had a nice drive up. We never worried about parking, traffic, or rush hour the entire time we were in Kennebunkport. There is a lot to be said about the advantage of a worry free commute on vacation. The Captain Fairfield also offers all their guests a free parking spot. However, from the signage it seems that finding overnight parking might be a struggle during the peak.
Without worrying about leaving before traffic or making a dinner reservation, we had lots of time to just relax and live in the present. We didn’t plan what, where or when during our stay. Some of that had to do with not knowing what would be open – but what was open always had an open table and quick service. On our drive home, not worrying about timing we stopped through Portsmouth, NH before driving leisurely back to Boston.
There are so many advantages of an off season vacation even though its often overlooked. While I still have an itch to visit Kennebunkport in the summer, meeting the town during the winter can me a taste of its charm while giving me the privacy I needed for relaxation.
Lark hotels have boutique inns throughout New England – with two in California. I know I’m excited for my next stay – Would you consider an off season getaway for your next vacation?