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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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
If you’re an adventurer, this store will inspire wanderlust. Here, you’ll find a mix of locally crafted gifts, accessories and décor.
This cute candle bar boutique lets you create your own candle with your choice of over 100 fragrance oils!
This shop is a fun mix of collectible art and glass blown lamps.
Freshwater pearls, natural found sea glass, gemstones and sterling silver are found in the jewelry made by local Maine artists.
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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…
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.
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).
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
- 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
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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!
- Dock Square
- Municipal Parking Lot (5 min walk to Dock Square)
There are also parking spots designated for people with disabilities. See here for location and availability of parking spaces.
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That’s a Wrap!
Thank you for reading!
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Thank you so much for being apart of this journey with me! I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.
Until next time… keep it real.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. I will investigate the facts and make changes as I deem necessary.