Kittery, ME Luxury Real Estate
Luxury Homes and Lifestyle in Kittery, ME: Gateway to Vacationland
Kittery likes to go first: it’s the first town after the New Hampshire/Maine border, and it was also the state’s first incorporated town in 1647. Echoing its historic past, Kittery is full of antique charm and beauty that lends balance to a popular shopping district full of modern essentials. The town is ideal for those who want the pristine setting of an ocean-front home paired with the ease of an hour commute Portland or Boston.
The spell of the sea
Bordered by water on two sides, the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Piscataqua River to the west, Kittery brims with maritime history. The U.S. Navy’s first vessels were built here during the Revolution; and Fort McClary, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places, guarded the mouth of the Piscataqua through five wars.
Established in 1800, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, located on Kittery’s Fernald’s Island, was the first federal naval yard. Serving as an important source of local jobs, the shipyard repairs and rebuilds Navyships and submarines, including the USS Constitution. In 1905, the Treaty of Portsmouth was signed there, which formally ended the Russo-Japanese War.
The Memorial Bridge’s tribute panels, sculpted by Boston artist Miss Bashka Paeff in 1923, honor the fallen WWI sailors of Maine and New Hampshire, the two states it connects.
Plug into nature
In a world where kids and technology are often inseparable, the Kittery Recreation Department has created a program that immerses students in the outdoors while also educating their teachers and parents on the importance of unstructured time and the benefits of breaking away from screens. Throughout the summer and fall, students attend an outdoor classroom, where they make sculptures from natural objects, explore the Brave Boat Headwaters Preserve, and take time to absorb the beauty that surrounds them.
There are over 1,000 acres of protected wetlands, forests and islands in Kittery,including the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge, which protects salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds. The town is also home to many beautiful trails for walking, cross-country skiing, and enjoying the serenity of the woods.
Nearby Mount Agamenticus is one of the largest undeveloped forests in coastal New England, with trails
for hikers, cyclists and birdwatchers. A climb to the summit rewards with stunning views—on exceptionally clear days, you can see the Boston skyline in the distance.
Beaches provide R&R
Most visitors to Kittery focus on the high concentration of outlet malls; and locals are happy for the
distraction, as it keeps the town’s sandy beaches exclusive to those in the know. Along the rocky Kittery
shore, Fort Foster, an active fortress during WWII, is now a public recreation area with three small
adjacent beaches including Whaleback Beach. The area’s well-maintained trail system is dog friendly and
offers views of Portsmouth Harbor Light.
Crescent Beach, the "local" beach, is a tidal gem with little sand at high tide; the timing factor keeps it a treasured catch-as-catch-can adventure. Since there are few parking spaces,it’s a great quiet destination for bikers and walkers.
A shopper’s paradise
As you pass Kittery on I-95, there is little evidence of the magnificent coastal community brimming with history; but it’s hard not to detour off the highway for the 120 outlet stores along Rte. 1. From the eclectic mix of shops, visitors are known to stock the trunk with clothes, kitchen supplies, fishing equipment, luggage, shoes, furniture and gifts. The four-season shopping experience, especially around back-to-school and the holidays, keeps Kittery’s restaurants and hotels busy year-round.
Off the beaten path, the quaint cobblestoned downtown center, called Kittery Foreside, offers upscale restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and even a dance hall.
Kittery, ME real estate: Examples of Maine’s oldest architecture
Though many are over 200 years old, several striking examples of Kittery’s early architecture still stand,including the Bray House—the oldest surviving house in Maine. It is thought to date back to 1662, though some design features suggest closer to 1720. In 1998, singer Daryl Hall bought the home and
undertook restoration efforts. Another crown jewel of Maine real estate, Kittery’s First Congregational Church, was built in 1730, making it Maine’s oldest church building in continuous use.
As newer homes in Kittery, Maine were constructed, many kept the handsome features of Dutch Colonial influence. On Kittery Point, you’ll find spacious cottages with private beaches, manicured gardens, deep water access, and sweeping views of Portsmouth Harbor. Or for the next level of privacy and serenity, explore exclusive Gerrish Island.
East of Route One, you’ll find farm-style homes on large parcels of wooded land –perfect for those looking for a rural homestead within reach of in-town conveniences.
Closer to Kittery Foreside are charming neighborhoods with Dutch and Victorian cottage influence, English gardens kept lush by the sea air, and warm, friendly communities.
This is a town known for its shopping; but with its blend of breathtaking coastal beauty, charming maritime past, and convenience to Portland and Boston, the best purchase you make in Kittery might just be your next home.