Vacation Like a President
Celebrate the Bushes’ legacy, right here in the Kennebunks., by taking in some of the sights and areas they love best, as well as the places where they 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, with more to come in honor of Mrs. Bush’s 90th.
• 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 for taking pics too!).
*Take your pooch for a stroll along the beach, another of Mrs. Bush’s favorite pastimes in the Kennebunks. (Be sure to obey local laws!)
• St. Ann’s Church, 167 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport, Maine: During the summer, George and Barbara Bush attend 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 fun-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.
• 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 support our local shop and restaurant owners! You’ll find everything from 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) to George W. Bush’s helmet and mountain bike at Kennebunkport Bicycle on Arundel Road, to pictures and autographs and Bush “favorites” all over the community. Keep your eyes peeled!
• Local playhouses: Both the Ogunquit Playhouse (10 Main St., Ogunquit) and Vinegar Hill Music Theatre (53 Old Post Road, Arundel) play host to the Bushes at least once during each show’s run. Take in a show at one of these wonderful summer theaters.
Ogunquit Playhouse: (207) 646-5511, ogunquitplayhouse.org
Vinegar Hill Music Theatre: (207) 604-5177, vinegarhillmusictheatre.com