Going Ashore

The main commercial part of Kittery (no, not the Outlets, the town) is a slightly inconvenient and not particularly inspiring walk from either mooring area -- about a mile and a half from the KPYY and just over two miles from Pepperrell Cove.. If you do get to town, you'll find dining options from a bistro serving locally-focused American cuisine, to pizza.

Right at the town landing in Pepperrell Cove there is Captain and Patty's, a sit-down restaurant with a predominantly seafood menu. Next door is Enoteca, a new Italian-themed market and deli in the old Frisbee's building.

But you're here on a boat. In Maine. So pull a chilled bottle or two of Sauvignon Blanc from the icebox and take your dinghy up Chauncy Creek to the Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier. It's a perfect old-school New England waterfront seafood shack offering lobsters, shellfish, and all the classic sides on their BYOB deck.

Kittery's other primary waterfront attraction is Fort McClary, whose pre-Civil War hexagonal blockhouse stands above the anchorage at the northwest corner of Pepperrell Cove. Fortification fans can climb around caponiers, bastions and magazines built at various periods in the 19th century. A short walking trail meanders through the woods behind the fort; a picnic area sits in the woods across the street. And from the fort grounds there are wide views across the harbor entrance out to the Isles of Shoals.

The largest feature on the Kittery waterfront is the Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard, occupying all of Seavey Island. The yard was formed in 1800, and it built one of the Navy's earliest ships-of-the-line, the 74 gun Washington launched in 1815. Since the period leading up to WWII it has specialized in building, and now maintaining, submarines. The yard is not open to the public.

classic storefront
Geoff Rand
Frisbee's market was family owned from its founding in 1828 until 2010, when family and economic setbacks forced the Frisbees to sell.
waterfront dining deck
Geoff Rand
Looking up Chauncy Creek from the floats at the Lobster Pier.

One Hour Ashore

Fort McClary is an easy half-mile walk from either the landing in Pepperrell Cove or from the KPYY. There's an admission fee of a few dollars, but for an interesting and quick trip ashore it's easily worthwhile.

Maritime History

In May of 1939 the newly launched submarine U.S.S. Squalus sank during a test dive in over 240 feet of water off the Piscataqua. Thirty-three of her fifty-nine man crew were saved in what has been called "the greatest submarine rescue in history".

Rainy Day

Indoor offerings are pretty thin in Kittery and not particularly convenient to the harbors. If you are looking for diversions in bad weather, you're much better off on the Portsmouth side of the river.

Facilities

  • Launch
  • Dinghy
  • Showers
  • Restrooms
  • Trash

The Portsmouth Yacht Club launch serves their moorings in Pepperrell Cove, but it's a long enough trip that you won't want to do it very often. On the Kittery side there's no launch service for either mooring area, but there is room to land dinghies at both the town wharf and the KPYY. The William Pepperrell looks like a launch, but it's a harbor tour boat.

There is a restroom but no shower at the town landing, plus a solid-looking outhouse at Fort McClary. The Portsmouth Yacht Club and the Kittery Point Yacht Yard have showers for their mooring customers.