The name Nonantum comes from a Native American word meaning “blessing” or “prayer”. Today it has become synonymous with “family,” and with family in mind, the name fits this historic Kennebunkport resort perfectly. Named one of the best family-friendly resorts in all of New England by Yankee Magazine and winner of countless other awards, the Nonantum Resort is one of the best resorts in the area that does everything very well. We stayed here recently and the Nonantum made our stay in Kennebunkport truly memorable. If you’re in the area, here are the reasons you might want to consider a stay at the Nonantum Resort.
The perfect waterfront location and well-maintained grounds
Located on land overlooking the Kennebunk River, the Ninety offers picturesque river views which you can enjoy from your water view room or from the beautiful grounds. Stroll through the beautifully manicured gardens, grab a cup of coffee, and relax in some of the Adirondack chairs perched high above the river. You will be rewarded with a magnificent view of all the boats in the port. It is a peaceful place to enjoy all the activities on the water. The back lawn is also a wonderful place to take photos, especially around the lighthouse and the flowers.
A wide choice of activities
Nonantum has put together the perfect list of activities to keep everyone happy. My favorite was the watercolor painting class. We signed up for the roughly 2 hour course that taught the basics of watercolor painting – something I’ve always wanted to try. And what setting could be more perfect? We were seated at picnic tables on the back lawn overlooking the river, trying to fill in a blank canvas. The art instructor was a very helpful full-fledged artist, who comes to the resort to teach a few times a week. How cool is that? It was a lot of fun and inspiring to do something so totally different from the kind of routine things we all do day in and day out. In my mind, vacations are about exactly that: trying new things. The watercolor class suited me perfectly.
Other fun options they offered were yoga on the lawn, a historical walking tour, guided crab trapping, arts and crafts, and nightly chanting around a campfire. Participation in all of these activities is completely voluntary, so if you want to do your own thing you can of course, but it is good to know that there are options available out there for some cool things to do. In addition to the above, they also have games like Giant Jenga, Cornhole, and Lawn Bowling. Plus they have a kids’ fun club where you can drop your little ones off for a few hours while you go to dinner. Kids will love spending time with senior high school and college kids while you enjoy a few hours of adult time. There is an additional charge for this service and registration is required for the Kid’s Fun Club.
After dinner we saw many families taking advantage of the fireplaces which can be rented at a reasonable price. Included with the rental are all bindings for s’mores. It made a lot of young (and old) happy! If all that isn’t enough, they also have kayaks, stand-up paddles, and bikes to hire by the hour. It’s really fun for the whole family. Some of the activities are only available in season, which usually runs until around Labor Day, so call the resort if you have questions about the schedule.
Location, location, location!
Just like in real estate, the location of your vacation property is a big deal. If you want comfort in Kennebunkport then you’ll want to book somewhere like the Nonantum which is within walking distance of a lot of the action. As in many beach towns, parking is very expensive in Kennebunkport, so any time you can avoid parking, you have a head start. We knew we wanted a place that was very walkable in town, so that’s one of the reasons we chose the Nonantum. The hotel is only about six blocks from all stores and restaurants in Dock Square. Exit the hotel, turn right and you head towards the famous Mabel’s Lobster Claw and Walker’s Point. A left turn from the lot takes you to the shops and restaurants of Dock Square and the Lower Village. In 20 minutes you can be exactly where you want to be, no parking required.
Pro tip: If you don’t like walking, you’re in luck, as you can board the Nonantum shuttle which runs hourly and stops at many popular spots including the beach.
High-end catering on site
Nonantum has a lot of options in the food department, and all of them are very good. For breakfast, wake up to a wonderful buffet in the beautiful dining room. The waiters fill your plate with whatever you choose from a wide variety of classic breakfast selections and house specials. The buffet menu changes daily, so you don’t have to worry about getting bored of the same old fare.
The breakfast hash was amazing with its tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Another day the pancakes were amazing. In addition to hot options, there are plenty of pastries, rolls, and fresh fruit as well as a bagel and toast station. Seating options are plentiful – either overlooking the park or in the exquisite main dining room. Even though the Nonantum was busy, we never felt crowded or rushed.
All the staff are very accommodating and super friendly. Our waitress gave us great tips on all the things to see and do in the area as well as the best places to buy souvenirs (Seas The Day for T-shirts). She was keen to find us the next day to follow up and see how our adventures unfolded. Try an upscale waterfront meal 95 Ocean, where dinner is served at your own private table overlooking the Kennebunk River. It is quite a beautiful setting and perfect for a special occasion meal. If you want to be more casual you can have a beer in The Heckman pub, the little bar near the porch.
A variety of fun boat trips
Three different boat trips depart on site from Nonantum Marina. Talk about convenience! There are three types of boat trips to choose from. The first is the lobster boat trip with Lobster rugosa, where you will learn about the lobster industry. Then comes the sailing tour with the Pineapple ketch; finally, you could opt for a fishing charter with the Rose II booklet. Or you can do all 3 because they’re all totally different experiences! We took a lobster boat tour and had a fab time learning a lot about lobster fishing. As part of the tour, we also cruised along the shore and checked out all of the mansions as well as the Bush Compound on Walker’s Point. The tour was very interesting and well worth the time and reasonable cost.
Relax at the pool and pool bar
Nothing better than relaxing by the pool, especially when you can sip your favorite cocktail. The Nonantum lets you do just that in their popular saltwater pool and the Latitude pool bar. We spent a few afternoons lounging by the pool and enjoying a refreshing cocktail. You can also order a wide variety of fresh foods to snack on if you feel hungry. And, if all that wasn’t enough, there was also live music by the pool! Is it fun? Live music by the pool was great the two days we were there. All in all a very pleasant way to spend a few hours between activities. Quite a few families were there when we were there, and the boys were those kids splashing around in the water.