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Whether it's taking a daily ritual from expected to extraordinary or discovering the wonderment and beauty of anew travel destination, J.R. McCabe elevates the everyday with timeless taste and comfortable confidence.
Maine has a special place in my heart. The rocky beaches, fresh lobster, homemade ice cream, brilliant sunny days, endless cool nights filled with roaring camp fires. Maine is where I retreat to each year, in the last days of summer, for a respite that nourishes the soul.
A few years ago we decided to swap our usual B&B stays for glamping and we’ve never looked back. Now each year in late August we settle in under the shelter of the pines and spend ten days lost in a magical wonderland, enjoying the accommodations of a luxurious campground, our go-to tasty spots for culinary delights and treats, and our favorite local treasures.
Sandy Pines Campground
If you are looking for a unique Maine getaway Sandy Pines Campground is the perfect spot. Sandy Pines is a camping experience that elevates the Maine woods to an enchanted forest. From the moment you enter the site nostalgia hits you. You’re greeted at reception with a hearty welcome, as if you are a dear friend whose presence has been sorely missed. The general store, on the first floor of the grand lodge, is filled with all the sweet particulars that make camping so much fun — old-fashioned candy, treats, toys and games, camping food and fire essentials, gifts, and all those little necessities you forgot to pack. They’ve got you covered.
The gorgeous rustic landscaping and well-designed layout guide you on an easy and pleasant path through the spacious grounds that include RV and tent sites, cottages, wooden huts, and glamp tents.
The glamp tents are positioned on a wooden deck floor that extends to the exterior which gives them a homey feel. Each tent has a whimsical design and includes a King sized bed, comfy seating areas, cozy bedding and towels, as well as all the modern conveniences — lamps, mini refrigerator, A/C unit, fans, heater, picnic table, and large outdoor cooler. The bathrooms and showers are strategically situated on the grounds, just a few steps away from each site, and are sparkling (they clean them up to four times a day) with the best water pressure!
The best part is the individual fire pit that accompanies each site. We begin and end our days with a beautiful fire — enjoying tea and breakfast over the early morning crackle and snuggling into chairs watching the flames until right before bed. The general store sells bundles of wood but they’re also available up and down Mills Road from the locals.
Everything about Sandy Pines is five star. There is always a happy and helpful staff member cruising around on a golf cart at the ready for any request. There are immaculate laundry facilities on site in case you need to spruce up your wardrobe during your stay. The grounds are cradled by a salt marsh, quiet, well-lit, and just ten minutes from the beach and the center of Kennebunkport. Storybook living is alive and well at Sandy Pines, complete with the gregarious chipmunks that poke their tiny heads out in the early morning hours as you’re sipping your tea just to play their part in the fairy tale.
A quick 10 minute drive south on Route 9W and you’ve arrived in Kennebunkport, the quintessential New England coastal town. Quaint boutiques, seafood stands, old-school restaurants, and souvenir shops fill Dock Square — the four block radius that is the center of town. For a reliable and tasty meal you can’t go wrong with Allison’s, a family run restaurant that serves casual pub fare with great flavor. Our favorites off the menu are the house salad with creamy dill dressing, fish and chips, and the seafood risotto.
Grab your order to go and stroll east down Ocean Ave for about six minutes until you hit Silas Perkins Park on your right. The picnic tables in this sweet tucked away spot are set up so you can enjoy a picture perfect dock view as you eat.
For lovely New England treasures for yourself or another be sure to stop by Day Trip Society. They carry classic Maine brands like Sara Fitz and Brahms Mount. Dock Square Emporium and Beach Grass also have cute finds.
Cape Porpoise is a tiny fishing village just down the road from Sandy Pines where you can find the perfect Maine lobster dinner as well as pick up homemade culinary delights for breakfast at the camp site or lunch on the beach.
Nunan’s Lobster Hut serves lobster the traditional New England way — steamed with a side of melted butter. Everything on the menu is served in the same simple yet delicious manner — including their house salad with peppercorn dressing, clam chowder, and fluffy baked potatoes with sour cream.
Cape Porpoise Kitchen is a gourmet market with fresh and tasty homemade provisions. The Sergeant heads there at seven each morning to pick up gluten free BLTs for breakfast. Their version of this classic sandwich comes loaded with piles of bacon, green leaf lettuce, farm grown tomatoes, and garlic aioli. Crispy, crunchy, creamy scrumptious perfection!
There are no less than six beautiful beaches within a ten minute drive of Sandy Pines. Each one holds its own Maine coast charm. Mother’s, Gooch’s, Middle, and Kennebunk Beaches are nearby in Kennebunk. Goose Rocks is around the corner from the campground. My favorite though is Fortunes Rocks Beach. You’ve got to get there early to scoop up the limited parking spots but it’s well worth it. The beach is always quiet, with smooth sand, clear ocean, and breathtaking rock formations at either end that seem to cradle this secret gem.
Timber Point Trail
For the perfect after dinner stroll head to Timber Point Trail. Located ten minutes north of the campground in Biddeford, Timber Point was once the summer home to a prominent New York based family in the 1930s. The estate includes the historic buildings built by the owner and a beautiful trail that winds through calming woods leading you to gorgeous coastline vistas.
Goose Rocks Dairy
The sweetest treat of a stay at Sandy Pines is the incredible dairy located just across the road. Goose Rocks Dairy serves up homemade ice cream in huge portions and incredibly unique flavors. Choose from Graham Central Station, Campfire Smores, Salted Caramel Chocolate, or traditional New England Peppermint Stick. You can’t go wrong with any flavor. Enjoy! 🍦