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Ready to get your holiday cheer on in a charming small town in Maine? Get ready for Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude.

There are plenty of towns you could visit for some holiday cheer and they would all probably be really lovely in their own way. However, few places embrace the wholesome traditions of Christmas like Maine does.

In this blog, I share…

  • What Makes Kennebunkport Special at Christmas?
  • What is Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude You Ask?
  • How Did Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude Start?
  • Support Small Businesses This Holiday, Shop Local in Kennebunkport
  • Where to Eat in Kennebunkport During Christmas Prelude
  • Where to Stay in Kennebunkport
  • Parking in Kennebunkport

** This blog is not sponsored. Everything you see in this blog was experienced by and paid for by yours truly. **

Christmas in Kennebunkport, Maine

Where other small towns across the country have opted for big chains and billboards advertising the latest commercial offering, Maine has leaned into supporting small, local businesses by word of mouth and keeping its beautiful, natural landscape intact, visible for all to see.

And then there’s Kennebunkport, usually known for its lobster rolls, boat outings and beaches… This historic village by the sea has kept Christmas traditions alive for centuries while adding a little flare in recent decades. No wonder why Kennebunkport was voted #2 Christmas town in America by HGTV.

The bridge to Kennebunkport

After spending the last few years living in Maine, I’ve had the opportunity to experience Kennebunkport all year round. It never ceases to amaze me just how much this small town has to offer, especially at Christmastime when the community gets together to decorate the town. It’s an incredible transformation from its Summertime seaside feels.

And so, I’ve decided that Kennebunkport should be voted the #1 Christmas town. You heard it from Real Girl Review first ya’ll. 😉

Christmas tree in Dock Square, Kennebunkport

What Makes Christmas in Kennebunkport Special?

Aside from the usual things we love about Kennebunkport like its quintessential small-town New England charm, picturesque oceanfront scenery, twinkly

lights and festive decorations lining every shop window and street, Kennebunkport offers a festive celebration every year called, Christmas Prelude.

What is Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude You Ask?

The easier question is, what is Christmas Prelude not?

From Christmas karaoke, candlelight caroling, smores, gingerbread pop up shops and Pin the Tail on Rudolph to trolley rides, hot cocoa bars, chocolate sculpting and Christmas cocktail classes, you’ll always find something fun to do throughout Kennebunkport during Christmas Prelude.

And because it’s Maine, there are also oyster shucking classes and beer tastings. But, what exactly is Christmas Prelude and what does it mean?

As the name suggests, the celebration is a prelude (or, introduction) to Christmas.

How Did Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude Start?

The tradition started off as a way for the Kennebunkport’s small businesses to show their appreciation for the community that supported them all year long. Of course, everyone is welcome! Visitors come from all over the world to attend Christmas Prelude.

The whole town is in on it! Every year, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of volunteer hours go into preparing for the two-week celebration, which begins in early December.

Look out for shops, restaurants and hotels offering specials and packages for those attending Christmas Prelude.

Signature Events

Holiday events and activities are held daily, one of the biggest being, the Lobster Bake, held by Washington Hose Fire Company, who serves hundreds of people. The proceeds from the event are put back into the community by the firemen, who purchase rescue equipment without using tax payer’s dollars.

Cape Purpoise Lobster cage in Kennebunkport
Cape Porpoise lobster trap

Don’t miss Christmas Prelude’s signature events such as Santa arriving in a lobster boat, fireworks, a tree lighting ceremony in Dock Square and in typical Maine fashion, the lighting of the famous Cape Porpoise lobster trap, decked out in lights! It’s a certainly a sight to see.

See a full schedule of Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude events here.

Support Small Businesses This Holiday, Shop Local in Kennebunkport

Support Kennebunkport and its community by doing your Christmas shopping at small and independent shops in town.

Best of Everything

They have a tent outside during Christmas Prelude and sell cute Christmas baubles and Winter wear. I got this adorable matching bag and mask there during COVID, also, different ear muffs.

Farm + Table

This not your typical country store. The people behind this shop really have an eye for detail and did a wonderful job at arranging everything from floor to ceiling. It is absolute eye candy… in a barn! You’ll find different

Daytrip Society

If you’re an adventurer, this store will inspire wanderlust. Here, you’ll find a mix of locally crafted gifts, accessories and décor.

Sea Love

This cute candle bar boutique lets you create your own candle with your choice of over 100 fragrance oils!

Compliments Gallery

This shop is a fun mix of collectible art and glass blown lamps.

Sea Glass

Freshwater pearls, natural found sea glass, gemstones and sterling silver are found in the jewelry made by local Maine artists.


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Small Business Saturday: WINTER EDITION


Where to Eat in Kennebunkport During Christmas Prelude

Okay, so let’s be honest here. Most of what you’ll be doing during Christmas in Kennebunkport is eat. You can’t help it. There’s so much good food going around from salty to savory to sweet. Whatever you do, do not go on a diet when you’re here. What’s the holidays without all the good food?

Let’s start with…

Batson River

This is a local’s favorite with locations all over Maine’s coast. They also craft their own spirits and beer. They also offer tasting room menus and happy hour specials daily from 4 – 5 and Wednesday all day long babay.

Geeves standing out front of Batson River restaurant

The first thing you’ll notice is the adorable old fashioned truck parked out front. As if those Maine vibes weren’t enough, the restaurant also has a very edgy, yet rustic ski chalet thing going on too.. almost like an Abercrombie vibe.. but in the Winter with a cozy interior and fishing shacks you can dine in outside (reservations highly recommended).

fishing shacks at Batson River in Kennebunk

One thing about their food is that I make them sound more basic than they really are. The flavors are too explosive for words. To get you in the holiday spirit, they offer fun things like holiday brunch, Christmas movie night, reindeer games and Christmas cribbage. See their events here.

What to Eat

  • Brown Butter Lobster Roll
  • PEI Mussels
  • Poutine
  • Bavarian Pretzel with Beer Mustard
  • Chicken Sandwich
  • Roasted Beets
  • Glazed Carrots

What to Drink

Cocktails and beer! Everything I’ve had is great.

Old Vines Wine Bar

Old Vines Wine Bar

If you want a place with lively energy, head to Old Vines Wine Bar, a great spot for dinner and drinks. During Christmas Prelude, it becomes “Santa’s Hometown Tailgate Party”. They even have dueling pianos on some nights! I was dancing and having a great time. The piano players were very fun and quick to take requests.

FUN FACT

The Maine lobster industry supplies thousands of jobs. Unfortunately, because of false information in the media, the lobstermen and women have suffered and really need your support! Buy Maine lobsters any opportunity you get.

Boathouse Restaurant

I’ve dined here on many different occasions, but the holidays is my favorite.

This nautical chic seafood restaurant has a few tricks up its sleeve during Christmas Prelude. If you have a some money to burn, consider fireworks and a private rooftop dinner for you and up to 20 guests. Or, dine alpine-style in the most Christmasy setting on the water imaginable.

And just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our seafood too.

What to Eat

  • Seared Shrimp & Scallops with Lobster Fried Rice
  • Seared Scallops
  • Lobster Roll
  • Oysters
  • Togarashi-Spiced Salmon
  • Steamed Maine Mussels
  • Beef Short Rib Ramen
  • Maine Blueberry Crisp
  • Blueberry Skillet Cobbler

What to Drink

  • Naughty or Spice (chili infused bourbon, Godiva chocolate liqueur, Irish cream, topped with whipped cream)
  • Hot Blitzen (spiced rum, cinnamon, hot cider)

Where to Stay in Kennebunkport

Kennebunkport has a lot of really charming accommodations whether you’re looking for a B&B, Inn or boutique hotel.

If you’re looking to stay somewhere that sums up everything that is special about Kennebunkport at Christmas, you can’t go wrong with Kennebunkport Inn, which is very close to a lot of Christmas Prelude’s activities.

Kennebunkport Inn lounge

They even have board games by the fireplace, live performances, outdoor Winter activities like curling, festive cocktails, as well as igloos and ski gondolas to dine in by the firepit at their restaurant, Burleigh. Check out my blog about Best Christmas Bars for more info.

Parking in Kennebunkport

The great thing about Kennebunkport, is that it’s a small enough town to park your car and walk. Many of the restaurants and hotels have available parking. If you’re going to be walking around, there are other places to park.

On street parking is limited, especially during the Christmas Prelude celebration. Your best bet is to park in a paid lot. If you’re lucky, there are some places to snag a free parking spot too.

Free Parking

  • North Street
  • Cape Porpoise Pier
  • Maine Street (east of Dock Square)

Find more free parking spaces at Parkopedia.com or by downloading their app. I’ve never used it, but it’s worth a shot!

Paid Parking

  • Dock Square
  • Municipal Parking Lot (5 min walk to Dock Square)

Handicapped Parking

There are also parking spots designated for people with disabilities. See here for location and availability of parking spaces.

TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES

Best Travel Insurance

Accidents happen. Make sure that you’re covered on your next trip. Compare travel insurance here.

Earn Travel Perks & Free Trips

Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Read my in depth travel rewards series on how to earn points and miles toward free hotel stays, flights, car rentals and more! Book smart, travel more.

Compare prices for car rentals, trains and flights

Discover best transportation deals to and around Boston with Omio here.

How to Travel with a Chronic Illness

There are ways to travel even with a chronic illness. Check out my chronic illness travel tips and how I travel despite having Lupus.

Packing Guide

Check out my packing guide curated to your personality.

Dating Safety

Every woman should be able to date without being the next victim. Check out my safety tips guide for women.

That’s a Wrap!

Thank you for reading!

Have you been to Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude? Would you go? Let me know in the comments below and subscribe to the blog for travel adventures, tips & how to get in on travel rewards for free trips!!

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geeves cartoon in front of globe

Thank you so much for being apart of this journey with me! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.

To join in on the fun and get helpful travel tips and guides, subscribe to the blog. You can also follow Geeves on Instagram, TikTok and Twitter for travel inspiration, funny stories and well, life!

Until next time… keep it real.


Fact Check:

At Real Girl Review, we value truth and always strive for accuracy. Posts are updated regularly. If you read something that still doesn’t sound right, contact me at gv@realgirlreview.com. I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary.

6 Comments

  1. Sounds so much fun and you can feel the Christmas atmosphere through your post! I’d definitely love to enjoy a day exploring Kennebunkport!

  2. Christmas in Kennebunkport looks like so much fun! Everything is super cute. And this post has so many great recommendations. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I had never heard of Kennebunkport, but now I’m going to have to plan a visit! I wanna partake in all the lobster festivities like that Lobster Bake!

  4. This sounds like a lot of fun. I love how the tradition started and it’s still going strong every year. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love local celebrations that help me to get into the holiday spirit. The Christmas Prelude Celebration looks like a great choice in Kennebunkport Maine. Fun to try all the different events each day. I might be there for Christmas but I would not pass on lobster! A great guide.

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