The Nonantum name 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 historical Kennebunkport resort perfectly. Named one of the best family resorts in all of New England by Yankee Magazine and a winner of countless other awards, the Nonantum Resort is one of the premier resorts in the area that does it all very well. We stayed here recently, and the Nonantum made our time in Kennebunkport really memorable. If you’re in the area, here are the reasons you may want to consider a stay at the Nonantum Resort.
The Perfect Water Front Location & Manicured Grounds
Situated on land overlooking the Kennebunk River, the Nonantum offers picturesque views of the river that you can enjoy from your water-view room or from the gorgeous grounds. Stroll the beautifully manicured grounds, grab a cup of coffee, and relax in some of the Adirondack chairs perched above the river. You’ll be rewarded with a great view of all the boats in the harbor. It’s a peaceful place to enjoy all the goings-on out on the water. The back lawn is also a wonderful spot for photo opportunities, especially around the lighthouse and flowers.
A Huge Selection Of Activities
Nonantum has come up with the perfect list of activities to keep everyone happy. My favorite was the watercolor painting class. We signed up for the approximately 2-hour class 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 lawn out back overlooking the river, trying our hand at filling a blank canvas. The art instructor was a super helpful, full-fledged artist, who comes to the resort to teach a couple of times per week. How cool is that? It was very fun and inspiring to do something so totally different from the routine type of things we all do day in and day out. In my mind, vacations are for exactly this: trying new things. The watercolor class fit the bill for me.
Other fun options they offered were yoga on the lawn, a walking history tour, guided crab trapping, arts and crafts, and nightly campfire sing-alongs. Participation in all of these activities is totally voluntary, so if you want to do your own thing, you sure can, but it’s nice to know there are options available on-site for interesting things to do. Along with the above, they also have games like giant Jenga, cornhole, and lawn bowling. Plus, they have a kid’s fun club where you can drop your little ones for a couple of hours while you go to dinner. The kids will love hanging out with the big high school and college kids while you enjoy a few hours of adult time. There is an additional fee for this service and registration is required for the Kid’s Fun Club.
After dinner, we saw lots of families enjoying the fire pits that can be rented for a reasonable price. Included with the rental are all the fixings for s’mores. This made for lots of happy little (and big) people! If all this isn’t enough, they also have kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and bikes for rent by the hour. This really is fun for the whole family. Some of the activities are only available in season, which is usually until around Labor Day, so call the resort if you have questions on timing.
Location, Location, Location!
Just like in real estate, the location of your vacation property is a big deal. If you want convenience in Kennebunkport, then you’ll want to book somewhere like the Nonantum that’s within walking distance to a lot of the action. Like many beach towns, parking is at a premium in Kennebunkport, so any time that you can avoid parking, you’re way ahead of the game. We knew that we wanted a very walkable location while in town, so that’s one of the reasons we chose the Nonantum. The hotel is only about six blocks from all the shops and restaurants down at Dock Square. Leave the hotel, turn right, and you’re heading down towards the famed Mabel’s Lobster Claw and Walker’s Point. A left-hand turn out of the lot takes you to the shops and restaurants at Dock Square and the Lower Village. Within 20 minutes, you can be exactly where you want to be, no parking required.
Pro Tip: If you’re not into walking, you’re in luck, because you can hop on the Nonantum shuttle that runs every hour and makes stops at many of the popular places around, including the beach.
Top-Notch Dining On-Site
Nonantum has lots 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. Servers fill your plate with whatever you choose from a wide variety of classic breakfast selections plus house specialties. The buffet menu changes daily so you don’t have to worry about getting tired of the same old fare.
The breakfast hash was incredible with its tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Another day the crepes were amazing. Along with hot entrees, there are plenty of pastries, rolls, and fresh fruit along with a bagel and toast station. Seating options are plentiful — either overlooking the grounds or in the exquisite main dining room. Even though the Nonantum was busy, we never felt crowded or rushed.
All the staff is very accommodating and super nice. Our waitress gave us great tips for 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 made a point of finding us the next day to follow up and see how our adventures went. Try a waterfront meal at upscale 95 Ocean, where dinner is served at your own private table overlooking the Kennebunk River. It’s quite a beautiful setting and perfect for a special occasion meal. If you want to be more casual, you can grab a beer in Heckman’s Pub, the small bar near the front porch.
A Variety Of Fun Boat Tours
Three different boat tours depart on-site from the Nonantum Marina. Talk about convenience! You’ll have your choice of three different types of boat tours. First is the lobster boat tour with Rugosa Lobster, where you’ll learn about the lobster industry. Next is the sailing tour with the Pineapple Ketch; finally, you could opt for a fishing charter with the Libreti Rose II. Or you could do all 3 since they are all totally different experiences! We did a lobster boat tour and had a fabulous time learning a lot about lobster fishing. As part of the tour, we also cruised along the shore and checked out all 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.
Relaxation At The Pool And Pool Bar
Nothing is better than relaxing poolside, especially when you can sip on your favorite cocktail. The Nonantum lets you do just that at their popular saltwater pool and the Latitudes pool bar. We enjoyed a couple of afternoons lounging by the pool and enjoying a refreshing cocktail. You can also order a wide array of fresh food to snack on if hunger pangs strike. And, if all this isn’t great enough, they also had live music at the pool! How fun is that? The live music at the pool was great both days we were there. All in all, a very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours between activities. Quite a few families were there when we were, and boy were those kiddos having a ball splashing around in the water.