When it comes to vacation destinations in the United States, the charming coastal town of Kittery, Maine, often flies under the radar. However, those who have had the pleasure of visiting this hidden gem know that it offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture that is hard to find elsewhere. Nestled at the southernmost tip of Maine, Kittery is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, food lovers, and history buffs alike. From its picturesque beaches and hiking trails to its bustling food scene and historic sites, there is something for everyone in this quaint New England town.

A Brief History of Kittery

Established in 1647, Kittery is the oldest town in Maine and carries a rich history that is deeply intertwined with the early settlement of New England. The town was named after the birthplace of a founder’s family in Kittery Court, Devon, England. Over the centuries, Kittery has evolved from a small fishing and trading village into a vibrant town that is home to a thriving community.

Exploring the Great Outdoors

Kittery’s location along the coast of Maine offers a plethora of opportunities for outdoor activities. The town is home to several beautiful beaches, including Fort Foster Park and Seapoint Beach, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. For those who prefer land-based activities, the town’s numerous hiking and biking trails offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

  • Fort Foster Park: This park offers three small but beautiful sandy beaches, an extensive trail system, picnic areas, and historical fortifications to explore.
  • Seapoint Beach: A favorite among locals, this sandy beach offers calm waters that are perfect for swimming and a large grassy area ideal for picnics.
  • Kittery Land Trust: This organization has preserved several areas in and around Kittery for public use. These areas offer a variety of hiking and biking trails that cater to all skill levels.

A Food Lover’s Paradise

Kittery’s food scene is as diverse as it is delicious. The town is renowned for its seafood, with many restaurants serving fresh catches from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. However, seafood is not the only thing on the menu in Kittery. The town also boasts a variety of other culinary delights, from traditional New England fare to international cuisine.

  • Robert’s Maine Grill: Known for its fresh seafood and Maine comfort food, this restaurant offers a true taste of New England.
  • Anju Noodle Bar: This popular spot serves up innovative Asian-inspired dishes in a casual setting.
  • Lil’s Cafe: A local favorite, Lil’s is famous for its crullers and other baked goods, as well as its selection of sandwiches and coffee.

Rich in History and Culture

Kittery’s rich history is evident in its many historic sites and cultural institutions. The town is home to several historic forts, including Fort McClary and Fort Foster, which played crucial roles in several wars. Kittery is also home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, the oldest continuously operating shipyard in the United States.

  • Fort McClary: Named after New Hampshire native Major Andrew McClary who died in the Revolutionary War, this fort offers a glimpse into the past and stunning views of the surrounding area.
  • Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: Established in 1800, this shipyard has a rich history that is explored through its museum.

In addition to its historic sites, Kittery also boasts a vibrant arts scene. The Kittery Art Association hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including art shows, workshops, and concerts. The Dance Hall, a historic building turned performance venue, hosts a variety of performances, from dance to music to theater.

Shopping in Kittery

No visit to Kittery would be complete without a trip to the Kittery Outlets. With over 120 stores, this shopping center offers something for everyone. From high-end fashion to outdoor gear to home goods, shoppers are sure to find something to suit their tastes and budgets.

In conclusion, Kittery, Maine, is a town that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a food lover, a history buff, or a shopaholic, you’re sure to find something to love in this charming coastal town. So why not make Kittery your next vacation destination? You won’t be disappointed.

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