Sip Tripper

Why the Yachtsman in Kennebunkport is the Perfect Overnight Stop

This is ‘knot’ your average motel in this seafood Shangri-la

Given that this is Kennebunkport, there are no actual truck-stop motels in sight. The Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club is actually designed as motel, with its line of single level rooms, each with its own separate entrance, with parking in front of each door. In the back, a sliding door leads to the edge of the waterfront where there’s a bistro table and chairs for enjoying a glass of wine at sunset. Although it presents as a motel, it’s a hotel more on the side of luxury and considered a resort. But what other hotel on the Kennebunk River has a boat pool – an actual barge called the S.S. Sundaze? Or early morning yoga classes on the edge of the river, free of charge to guests – and at the same spot where continental breakfast is available following class?
Yoga class at Yachtsman Hotel &N Marina in Kennebunkport, Maine. Photos by Charlene Peters

Yoga class at Yachtsman Hotel &N Marina in Kennebunkport, Maine. Photos by Charlene Peters

As part of the Kennebunkport Resort Collection, the Yachtsman Hotel & Marina Club has its own playful personality, beginning with its retro design inside. The really good news is that this year, the Yachtsman will be open year-round!

Mornings on the river offer a calming effect that is best utilized in a complimentary kayak for two hours, when a glide across the river and under a footbridge that offers unparalleled views of the passersby on foot to discover one the best Maine lobster roll and fries – priced reasonably ($33) and boxed for takeout or picnic table dine-outside at The Clam Shack. From the Yachtsman, you can grab a complimentary bicycle to pedal to Dock Square… if you can find one that works for your seat preference. Otherwise, take a leisurely stroll of less than half a mile, get in the lengthy line at The Clam Shack, order to go and walk your box home to enjoy on your motel room patio overlooking the river. A comfy seat on an Adirondack chair is the perfect place to watch the ducks waddle around and the various water adventures on the river.

Dinner is a two-minute walk away at Arundel Restaurant, the perfect spot for dining while a thunderstorm is happening. If you can request the curved booth with the premier view of the river, you’re in for a treat. Order the crab stuffed haddock topped with lobster sauce and a chunk of fresh Maine lobster claw, and you’ll know you arrived at a seafood Shangri-la.

Dessert of ice cream is available every 100 steps you take in Dock Square. Or perhaps you prefer a little ditty of Irish music and a glass of Guinness. It’s all in the downtown where people-watching is a prime sport.

Back at the Yachtsman, cozy up in front of the colorful gas-insert fireplace under the wall-mounted television. If it’s a warm day, you’ll want to take time to experience the boat pool docked on the river. This is a wonderful place to view the whale watching boats depart in the morning, the kayakers passing by, and when the motorboats pass by and create a wake, you’ll remember that you’re actually in a boat pool on a beanbag lounge chair.

Rest, recharge, slow down. There’s no hurry to enjoy Kennebunkport. It’s open year-round.

Charlene Peters is a travel writer and author of “Travel Makes Me Hungry,” available on