Wells is a town in York County, Maine, founded in 1643. It is the third-oldest town in Maine. The Abenaki Indians called the area Webhannet, meaning “at the clear stream”, a reference to the Webhannet River. In 1653, Wells was incorporated, the third town in Maine to do so, and named after Wells, England, a small cathedral city in the county of Somerset. The town developed as a farming community, producing hay and vegetables. Other industries included shipbuilding and fisheries. In the 19th century, with the arrival of the railroad, the town’s beautiful beaches attracted tourists. There are 7 miles of beaches with public parking areas: Drakes Island Beach, East Shore Beach, and Wells Beach, as well as the privately held Moody Beach. The “Antiques Mile” is dozens of antiques vendors lining Post Road between Wells Corner and the Wells/Kennebunk town line.
First settled in 1621, the town developed as a trading and, later, shipbuilding and shipping center with light manufacturing. It was part of the town of Wells until 1820, when it incorporated as a separate town. To the Abenaki Indians, Kennebunk meant “the long cut bank,” presumably the long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. One of the things worth seeing is the Wedding Cake House, a Federal-style dwelling extensively decorated with scroll Gothic trim. This was added to the house for his wife of many years by George Washington Bourne late in his life, and not as legend has it by a ship captain for a young bride lost at sea.
If you are traveling up RT 95 on turnpike, this is your first Rest area on the Highway that you come to. The next one is in Gardner and that is about 50 miles north. Something to remember, when leaving or heading south on RT 95 is the southbound rest area has Lobsters packed to travel, so if you want to take some home, stop in the rest area. Kennebunkport was first incorporated in 1663 as Cape Porpus, subject to the government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony (Maine was admitted to the Union in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise). Due to Indian depredations, the town was depopulated by 1689, and not resettled by Europeans again until the early 18th century. The town was renamed Arundel, and the town center located inland at Burbank Hill. In 1821 the town was renamed again, this time to Kennebunkport in reflection to its economy becoming one of shipbuilding and trade along the Kennebunk River. The Great Fires of 1947, which devastated much of York County, affected Kennebunkport and especially the area near Goose Rocks Beach. Much of the housing near Goose Rocks Beach was destroyed by the fire, but the area has since recovered and been rebuilt. Kennebunkport is also the summer home of former U.S. President George H. W. Bush, father of former U.S. President George W. Bush. First built by Bush’s maternal grandfather George Herbert Walker, it has been a family home ever since, and has been owned by Bush since shortly the early 1980s. The Bushes’ ancestry is distinct from the Walker family that settled York County, Maine. Some of this family’s Walker relatives are buried in the Kennebunkport area ancient cemeteries. During his presidency, Bush often invited world leaders, from Margaret Thatcher to Mikhail Gorbachev to Kennebunkport. In 2007, his son George W. Bush invited Vladimir Putin and Nicolas Sarkozy. The Bush compound is on Walkers Point, called Point Vesuvius prior to the Walker family’s acquisition. Goat Island Lighthouse and can been seen from Cape Porpoise Harbor, just off of Route 9