Kittey and Kittery Point are home to great outlet shopping as well as historical landmarks. Incorporated in 1652, Kittery is situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the Piscataqua River just north of the New Hampshire border. Named after Kittery Court in England,Kittery was settled in 1632 by the British, and is Maine’s oldest settlement. Many of the state’s oldest homes are located here, and diverse examples of fine architecture abound. Shipbuilding began in Kittery in the 17th century, and the first ship commissioned by the U.S. Navy was launched from here in 1777.
The coastal town of Kittery has long been a gathering place for summer tourists, and in the 1800s it was the getaway of choice for a number of famous artists and writers. Kittery’s sandy beaches and stunning ocean views still draw visitors by the thousands. Juxtaposed with the cobblestone streets, quaint pubs, and antique shops of old Kittery are the more than 120 stores of the Kittery Outlets, located on coastal Route 1. Shoppers can find everything—from outdoor gear to fine china—on this mile-long strip of brand name shops.
Kittery Point is located just outside Kittery and is home to notable residents such as musician Daryl Hall and Boston Newscaster, Randy Price. State Historic Site Fort McClary and Fort Foster Park on Gerrish Island are historical highlights. Cutts Island is home to Seapoint Beach, Brave Boat Harbor and a Division of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.
First settled as early as 1623, the southern part of Kittery was once called Champernowne's after Sir Francis Champernowne, a prominent merchant adventurer and cousin of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the prime mover behind settlement north of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Nicholas Shapleigh built the first house in the area, and Edward Godfrey established a trading post in 1632. Early professions included fishermen, hunters and trappers. Others harvested the region's abundant timber, which was shipped to England or the West Indies.
The First Congregational Church located on Route 103 in Kittery Point, circa 1730, is Maine’s oldest remaining house of worship. Cutts Island, also located in Kittery Point, is home to Seapoint Beach and the Brave Boat Harbor Division of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.
The Pepperrells were a distinguished Kittery Point family who established fisheries to supply the London market. William Pepperrell Sr. had arrived from Devonshire as a lowly fisherman's apprentice at the Isles of Shoals in New Hampshire. He went on to build a mercantile empire, which his son Sir William Pepperrell inherited and expanded. He became the first baronet in New England for commanding a militia which defeated the French in 1745 at the Siege of Louisbourg. His gambrel mansion of 1733 remains a landmark at Pepperrell Cove on the Piscataqua River. In 1760, his widow built The Lady Pepperrell House, a noted Georgian building formerly owned by Historic New England.
Pepperrell himself built an elaborate wooden house called the Sparhawk Mansion at Kittery Point as a gift to his daughter on her marriage to Nathaniel Sparhawk in 1750. Crowned with an elegant cupola, the house contained finely-carved panelling in its 19 rooms. Sadly, over two centuries later, in 1967 the Sparhawk Mansion was demolished, just as preservation efforts in the area were gathering steam.
More fortunate is the John Bray House, built by a shipwright in 1662 and considered the oldest surviving house in Maine. Recently threatened with redevelopment because of its desirable view of Pepperrell Cove and Portsmouth Harbor, the building has instead been restored. Some speculate that the Bray House was the birthplace of the mother of Sir William Pepperrell, whose father William Pepperrell Sr. married John Bray's daughter Margery, but it is more likely that she was born in England.
Seapoint and Crescent Beaches
The Seapoint and Crescent Beach area is a tiny piece of land between two curved beaches that juts out into the Atlantic, separated by a grassy area. At high tide there is little area and rocky.
The point at Sea Point was given by the Hubbard Family in memory of Rosamond Thaxter (1895 – 1989). Many will know her as the grand daughter of poet Celia Thaxter and the author of the biography "Sandpiper". Rosamond lived into her nineties and was among the only summer inhabitants of Smuttynose Island at the Isles of Shoals. Her cottage there still survives.
Frisbee's 1828 Supermarket
As the nation's oldest family owned and run agency liquor store and grocery store, Frisbee's was founded in 1828 by Frank C. Frisbee I and his brothers. The store is located on route 103 in Kittery Point, just minutes from Historic Fort McClary and Fort Foster. The store hosts many different home grown products and collectables.
Fort McClary State Historic Site
Located in Kittery Point, Fort McClary was built on land once owned by Sir William Pepperrell and is opposite to Fort William and Mary in New Hampshire. Today Fort McClary State Historic Site and features a blockhouse dating from 1844 and in 1969, it was listed on the National Register of HIstoric Places.
Fort Foster Park
Located on Gerrish Island, Fort Foster is named for a NH Civil War general whose picture is hanging in the state capitol in Concord.
"Curse you, Red Baron!!!"