THE INSIDE SKINNY ON... Christmas Prelude!

I’m thrilled to introduce you to this week’s guest blogger Stephanie Stellwagen. After years in New York City’s corporate world, Stephanie and her family now feel fortunate to call Kennebunkport home. With a true appreciation for her town, and a discerning eye for what’s trendy and hip, Stephanie shares her favorite things to see, eat, and do during Christmas Prelude 2016…

2016 marks the 35th Annual Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, Maine. Every year the Kennebunkport Business Association hosts what has become one of the most talked about and beloved Christmas celebrations in the country - aren’t we lucky?? This year, Prelude lasts from December 2 - 11, so there is still plenty of time to join in the fun if you haven’t already!


According to our guest blogger, there is never a shortage of events during the Prelude celebration. Stephanie shares some highlights below. For a full schedule of Prelude events, click here!

1. The first night of Prelude kicked off the holiday season with two Christmas tree lightings - the Dock Square tree decorated with colorful buoys, and the lobster trap tree in Cape Porpoise adorned with big red bows. Crowds of family & friends gathered together to enjoy the sounds of Christmas from local musicians while the smell of roasted chestnuts wafted through street corners. 

2. One of my favorite things to do on Saturdays of Prelude is craft fair hopping, and there are a plethora of great fairs to choose from throughout this annual celebration. The Consolidated School holiday craft fair and Mainley Unique craft fairs are back next Saturday! Be sure to visit the homemade mitten maker in the gymnasium at the Consolidated School - best homemade mittens ever!


1. If you are like me and enjoy eating and drinking your way through Prelude, there are many great options in town. In addition to the popular Dock Square restaurants like Allison’s, Hurricane, Federal Jacks, The Pilot House and David’s, this weekend we saw Tia’s Topside transformed into a Tides Beach Club Pop-Up! On the menu were some of The Tide's signature bar nibbles, like the sweet and sour chicken wings with goat cheese, buffalo shrimp, and] my personal favorite cocktail, the El Diablo. 

2. If you’re looking for a brunch spot and a bloody mary you’ll be talking about for days, I would highly suggest a visit to The Salt & Honey. I could eat their lobster rolls (made with sriracha and honey) and hand cut french fries every day of the week.

3. Did someone say Donuts? The famous Earth at Hidden Pond donuts?? This popular Kennebunk restaurant will be ‘popping up’ at Tia’s Topside from 3:00 - 9:00 on Friday and Saturday of next week. In addition to donuts, Chef Justin Walker will serve up his wood fired meatballs, creative appetizers, and crafty cocktails. Earth is closed for the winter months so the taste of summer is coming back!!

4. The home-cooked meals at the Kennebunkport firehouses, like the Fish Chowder Supper, the Blueberry Pancake Breakfast, and the Firehouse Lobster Supper, are wonderful ways to fuel up during a busy weekend in Kennebunkport!


All over town, the shops have decked their halls with Christmas cheer. Wreath-adorned doors and festive shop windows make it an extra special treat to pop in and buy some holiday gifts while supporting our community…

1. If you’re searching for stocking stuffers, hop over to Daytrip Society in the heart of Dock Square. This unique gift shop carries top-quality Maine brands like Sea Bags and Brahms Mount, as well as books by local writers, unique cards, and cozy knit winter hats. A few doors down, you’ll find Daytrip’s sister shop, Daytrip Junior. At this sweet boutique, you will find a beautiful selection of products for all of the kids and babies in your life!

2. Looking for a trendy outfit to wear to your holiday party? Green Tangerine will have you looking festive and dazzled up with its selection of contemporary clothing!

3. Have you been to Farm + Table?? Calling a big red barn in Cape Porpoise Harbor home, Farm + Table offers a beautifully curated selection of farmhouse goods, including kitchen linens, artisanal goods, home décor and more! 

4. Spaces Kennebunkport is a tasteful, coastal, and girly gift shop just a short walk from the hustle and bustle of Dock Square. Spaces sells an abundant collection of the popular Maine-made “The Ropes” bracelets, which would make anyone happy at Christmas, don’t you think?? 

5. Holiday candles are an elegant holiday gift for anyone on your list. There is a bountiful selection at Hurlbutt Designs in the port - a petite space that also carries beautiful coastal home décor.


1. Next weekend will be just as spectacular as last, and I can’t wait for the Annual Fire and Ice event at the Nonantum Resort!

2. If you’re looking to do something active (to make up for all of the donuts:), join the fun on Saturday morning at the Seaside Santa Dash. Runners are encouraged to dress up as Santa and participate in a 5K or 10K along the scenic Kennebunk Beach, while kiddos join the one mile Elf Dash!

3. Sunday marks the last day of this year’s Christmas Prelude, so top off the fun by enjoying Breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Clause at the Nonantum! Wave to Santa, who will be arriving by fire engine in Cape Porpoise, and line up to watch pooches strut their stuff in the annual Pooch Parade

While summer in Maine is irresistible, there is something so special about being here at Christmas and experiencing the joys of Prelude. When I say magic happens at Prelude, I really do believe it does. It is exactly the way life should be and here, in this place, it’s just the way life is.  

Happy Prelude!

-Stephanie Stellwagen

***Be sure to follow Stephanie's GORGEOUS Instagram account, @stephstell!***

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