Barbara Bush's favorite spots
Celebrate Mrs. Bush's legacy, right here in the Kennebunks, by taking in some of the sights and areas she loved best, as well as the places where the Bushes are honored:
• Stop in to the First Families Museum at White Columns in Kennebunkport, 8 Maine St. This Kennebunkport Historical Society property, once the home of the Nott family and lovingly preserved as a museum, houses not only pieces of local history, but part of the Bushes’ history as well. You’ll find a room filled with Bush family memorabilia, including materials from Mrs. Bush’s 90th birthday.
• Pay a visit to Ganny’s Garden. Located on the Village Green along Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport, the garden was created by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust to honor Mrs. Bush, or “Ganny,” as her grandchildren call her. It’s a beautiful spot for peaceful contemplation, and remembering Mrs. Bush.
*Take your pooch for a stroll along Gooch’s Beach, another of Mrs. Bush’s favorite pastimes in the Kennebunks. (Be sure to obey local laws!). Mrs. Bush was often found here in the mornings, chatting with locals and visitors alike, with her beloved dogs by her side.
• St. Ann’s Church, 167 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, Maine: During the summer, George and Barbara Bush often attended Sunday service at this historical Episcopalian landmark that overlooks the Kennebunk River and Atlantic Ocean and sits close to the Compound. View the stone chapel, gardens, and outdoor chapel that are open to the public from early summer through autumn. Presidential fact: St. Ann’s Church was the landing location for both of President George H.W. Bush’s skydive jumps on his 85th and 90th birthdays, with Mrs. Bush lovingly waiting to greet him once he returned to land..
• Anchor to Windward, Ocean Avenue, overlooking Walker’s Point: In September of 2009, area residents purchased and dedicated an anchor monument in 41’s honor. It sits on Ocean Avenue directly across from the Bush Compound and greets many visitors every year. This symbolic anchor, taken from a WWII ship, symbolizes Kennebunkport’s role as the Bush family’s private retreat away from the storms of life and politics. An “anchor to windward” is defined as a final effort by a ship’s crew (to survive) when the hope of progress has been abandoned. Tip: Park in the marked parking lane to the right and pop out to read the dedication plaque near the anchor. You also have a great view of Walker’s Point from here—perfect for picture taking.
• Walker’s Point, Ocean Avenue: Catch a glimpse of the Bush family summer compound at Walker’s Point. Our 41st President George H. W. Bush, who purchased the estate from his uncle in 1977, spent much of his childhood at the Kennebunkport estate. As an adult, Bush, his wife Barbara, and their children George W., Jeb, Marvin, Neil, Dorothy, and Robin spent most summers at the estate. It’s oftentimes referred to as the "Summer White House" because the Bushes hosted world leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev for informal and private meetings. (Please note: Entry into Walker’s Point is prohibited.)
• Area businesses: Almost all of our businesses will tell you – the Bushes have supported our local shop and restaurant owners for decades. You’ll find a wall of presidential photos at H.B. Provisions on Western Avenue in Kennebunk (after all, the Bushes attended owners Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen’s wedding in 2013).
Barbara Bush, June 8, 1925 - April 17, 2018
Beloved First Lady of the Kennebunks and our country