Hidden Pond is the kind of property that makes me long for Cookie Magazine, where we got to write stories about properties that were 5 stars for being perfect for families. This place would have not just made the cut, but have been one of our favorite stories, and here's why: First of all, you get your own cottage, with lots of space around it--with plenty of trees and plantings grown in so it feels private. I think they're also spaced out enough that your kid could be having a meltdown, or you could be having an argument, and nobody would hear you. Which is good, since the other families staying at the property will become your friends pretty quickly. Although we arrived at about 8:30pm for check-in, we let Clara go for a late swim. Within 60 seconds, she had befriended Catherine, a girl the same age, and we were talking a mile a minute with her parents (we are still friends and visited them in Virginia over spring break). In the distance, there was a bonfire, with smores being cooked up by other families. Back in the cottage, which was a lovely two bedroom, the beds were perfect--great mattresses, great bedding. A screened in porch perfect for hearing the sounds of a summer night. A full kitchen so you can make your own coffee in the morning, or help yourself to wine whenever you like. We didn't cook in it, but it was nice to know we could if we wanted to. Every morning a light breakfast is delivered to the front porch--along with the newspaper. There's usually some fruit, yogurt, and a pastry/muffin. Now back to the macro reasons of why you would love this place: Technically, the property is in Kennebunkport (which all I knew about it was that the Bush family has a home there), but actually, it's on a quiet rural road, and is actually a 10 minute drive from "civilization". You feel like you have options if you leave--plenty of them--from exploring just in Kennebunkport town (just to park in the Honor System parking lot and to go to Daytrip Society, both adult and kid stores, and Anniebells--or to dinner at The Ramp), or to the Goose Rocks beach, which Hidden Pond is affiliated with, so you can have lunch on the beach and just sign it to your room. Or you could drive up to Portland and have lunch at Eventide, or dinner at Fore Street, and do some shopping in between (if it's a rainy day!). But you'll probably just want to sit tight, hang by the pool, and just relax. There's also the Tree Spa, the fantastic spa on site--where you can have a treatment in a treetop room, with products from Farmaesthetics (from Rhode Island). (I had an amazing therapist and treatment!) There are bikes for all sizes that you can use during your stay. And definitely have dinner at Earth, a special restaurant--it is definitely not casual dining, so you might want to spring for a sitter if you go. It's definitely one of my favorite properties I've ever been to (Clara still talks about it and is dying to go back) and it's just amazing that they could successfully create a proper 5 star property/experience, that you'd be happy to go to no matter where it is. But it's in Maine, so you get all the pluses of getting to explore the pine tree state at the same time.
Above: the family pool. Below: the adult pool.
Above two pictures: our cottage...flowers from the garden that were in the vase upon our arrival...
At Goose Rocks Beach
In Kennebunkport...Daytrip Society has such a wonderful edit of stuff in their kids store, Daytrip Society Jr.
The Ramp, a restaurant that has probably the best decor ever.