Summer is not summer in my book unless you spend at least a few days in Maine, otherwise known as Vacationland USA. I had heard great things about Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport from several sources, so we booked a four night stay last month. Our travel agent (Hidden Pond is a Virtuoso property) secured us a one bedroom Bungalow, (number 43 or Shhhhh). Due to more people traveling domestically this summer, the reservation was slightly challenging to get. We decided to travel M-F rather than a weekend, which helped.
Hidden Pond is on 60 acres, so it is not in the center of Kennebunkport, but rather further afield. Upon arrival we felt as though we had entered a perfectly photogenic and sophisticated summer camp, artfully staged by a team of chic hipsters. Literally every angle and every tableau is set for an IG shot. I am not complaining, but be warned, this post is brimming with pics.
The “Lobby” was adorable and cozy. We were welcomed, and assisted, by a very young and enthusiastic staff. While not exactly polished, they were eager to please.
After outlining the amenities that were included with our rate, and we were given a folder with some more pertinent information (including a map of the property and list of the next few day’s activities).
Our Bungalow was circled on the map and we set off to go unpack before further exploration. Throughout our stay we experienced overcast and drizzly weather, but it didn’t deter us a bit. Our cottage was picture perfect, and came complete with two bikes to use during our stay.
Our accommodation was approximately 650 square feet, and was adorable. It was equipped with everything we needed for our stay, including a tiny kitchen set up, a screened in porch and an outdoor shower. It was fresh and clean, and the decorating was Maine-preppy.
After unpacking we set off on foot to take in our surroundings. Everything was appealing and woodsy. There was a good mix of couples and families at the resort. There were two separate pools on property, one for adults, and one for children. The family pool was full just about every time we walked by, whereas the adult pool was nice and very serene.
There was a bar area at the adult pool which was inviting, but I didn’t see it get any traffic during our stay.
Touring the rest of the property provided countless photo ops. It really was like walking onto the quintessential “Down East” movie set.
Hidden Pond has a widely acclaimed restaurant on property called Earth which is open to the public. We were advised upon booking that it fills up quickly, so we reserved for our first night there.
The restaurant takes pride in it’s “Farm to Fork” approach, taking advantage of all the local bounty that Maine provides- from vegetables to meat and seafood.
The interior of the restaurant is really lovely, again- crying out for an IG post and tag (which I happily did). Every seat was filled, and the servers were stretched a little thin. The universal staffing storage that we are all experiencing apparently has affected Maine as well.
Our starters were very tasty, with the winner being my Summer Garden Greens Salad. It was as delicious as it was beautiful. The Mushroom Flatbread was good, but a bit bland.
It was a set 4 course menu (there was a 3 course option as well), so we were able to enjoy a second course of Octopus and Wood-Fired Summer Squash followed by King Salmon and a half a Lobster.
The presentation was enticing, but the flavor may have been geared to a classic New Englander’s palate. It was all good, but bordering on bland.
The desserts (doughnuts and berries) were a sweet ending to the meal. We were glad we decided to dine at Earth, but satisfied that one night out of our four was sufficient. We were anxious to get to some of the real local Maine spots in and around Kennebunkport (detailed food of Maine post coming soon).
As we left, we came upon a very welcoming fire where we sat and chatted with some friendly folks.
We discovered the one glaring issue with Hidden Pond that next morning. From what I understand, breakfast used to be a highlight at the resort, but during Covid, they determined they had to suspend a communal morning meal. Rather than people gathering for breakfast in the restaurant, Hidden Pond drops coffee to your room at your preferred time, along with a pastry (a gluten free choice was available) and a sealed cup of fruit cocktail. This was sub-par, and depressing, to be honest. The pastries were invariable wet due to the morning dew, and completely unappealing. Guests are then invited to visit the food truck near the Main House /childrens pool to pay for more substantial choices. Having booked through Virtuoso, we did have a $60 credit each morning, but at $1,200 a night, this was a big misstep.
All in all we enjoyed our stay at Hidden Pond. It certainly checks all the boxes of a picturesque Maine Resort, though there were certainly areas that needed a bit of work. Surprisingly, there are not a lot of really high end properties in Southern Maine. The White Barn Inn is an old standby in Kennebunkport that we had stayed in years ago, before it was re-done by Auberge. It may be time for another visit!
The trip over-all was terrific though, with an endless parade of Maine favorites- lobster, steamers, ice cream, and more lobster. Vacationland never disappoints.
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We were looking for the lighthouse. If we knew of this place, we would have stayed a bit longer.