The Tides Beach Club, Kennebunkport
“Would you like a glass of champagne?” the three behind the reception desk asked after giving us our buoy room key. There was no swipe card for these doors hung in 1899.
We looked at each other. What? When has that ever happened at any hotel we’ve stayed at – including the Mount Washington Resort or the Ritz?
“Well, my wife retired 2 hours ago, so yes, we’d love a glass of champagne!” my husband replied.
Smiles and cheers all the way around!
We toasted, took a sip, and carried our flutes and overnight bags up the stairs – no elevators in this historic, renovated inn.
Thanks to the Kennebunk Resort Collection, the inn has been refreshed, rejuvenated, and modernized in a beach theme with 21 brightly colored rooms. Ours was cantaloupe colored with cathedral ceilings, a king-sized bed with wicker headboard, a bay window that looked out onto two beautiful beach homes and the ocean off to our right, lamps made of sea coral, and a gorgeous shower.
Amenities continued throughout our stay. Cruiser bikes are free for guests - no need to check them out. No locks or bike helmets are needed in the quaint people-friendly community of Goose Rocks Beach. Those who live and visit this enclave drive cars slowly and with courtesy for the walkers, bikers, children and dogs who abound. Many residents ride their bikes to the beach – bikes are everywhere – none precious or locked, simply a convenient way to get around the narrow streets.
Each morning between 7:00-8:00, a “bakery bag” is left on guests’ doors. I don’t typically eat sweets in the morning, but the bag was too cute for me not to! Ours contained two tiny bottles of freshly squeezed orange juice and two warm chocolate croissants! Keurigs are in each room and Poland Spring waters are free and readily available.
Going down onto the beach, three young men in hats to protect them from the July heat, offered beach umbrellas, bright yellow lounge chairs or Nantucket-style, wooden-framed, beach chairs along with wooden or plastic side tables for your backgammon board or lunch brought across the street from the inn. They lug your items to your spot, offer you waters, and tell you to just let them know if there is anything else they can do for you.
The inn had more workers than we’ve seen anywhere – especially at this current time in history when every business seems short staffed. These workers were friendly, efficient, and happy. They were all hardworking.
The menus were different than the offerings we see everywhere, and the food was delicious. In the evening, diners come from beach homes or pick up take out. The vibe is happy, festive, convivial. “Shiny, happy people having fun,” came to mind.
Our stay could not have been better.
We loved the Tides Beach Club resort. And I already knew I loved Goose Rocks Beach. There is a story……
I have a best friend from when we were twelve – Terena. Her sister-in-law’s parents have a home at the far end of Goose Rocks Beach down by the tidal pool. Terena first brought us here when her daughter, Kea, and my younger son, Ben, were two. Unless you’re a guest of a home owner, you can’t really come to Goose Rocks. There is no public parking.
I found the beach – which is huge at low tide – the tidal river, the quiet and privacy at the far end where we were – like nothing I had experienced. I remember that day, 26 years ago, as though it was yesterday. It was one of my best days. It solidified my love for the magic that is Goose Rocks Beach.
Over the years, Terena brought us maybe a half dozen times. It wasn’t every year, but it was wonderful every single time. Sometimes, we came with kids, sometimes with the Dinner Club girls, sometimes with husbands.
Terena passed away a year ago on July 5 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 1 week prior. She was 60 years old. She was a lifelong physical fitness buff. She was fit and strong and hardworking. At 60, she had not yet retired. She was still saving her money for “one day….”
For my retirement, my husband asked what I’d like to do – a party? Go away somewhere? Gather with family? Or friends?
I knew what I wanted.
I had wanted to come to The Tides Beach Club for years and now was the perfect time. I would celebrate my retirement with my biggest supporter (my husband), and I would honor my friend at the place that will always remind me of her…..because how Terena would have loved the chance to celebrate her retirement? It made me beyond grateful to be able to celebrate mine. After 40 years in my career, I made it.
We toasted our BFF at dinner. It wasn’t sad. We remembered all that was good; we told some stories; we laughed; we felt grateful to have had her in our lives as long as we did.
Goose Rocks Beach will always be a favorite for me. My mind will treasure my beautiful memories.
And Tides Beach Club added to our love for the area and this beautiful beach.