Family history in Kennebunkport, ME

Growing up in New England, you just know that Kennebunkport ME is a magical place. After all, it’s where the Bush family has a home right? So it has to be good! I have great memories of going to a family cookout or two up there, and driving by the beautiful wedding cake house! My mother, grandmother, and aunt all love Kennebunkport too. Day trips to walk around the shops, look out at the boats, get a lobster roll and ice cream…I mean what’s better than that?

My family has always been into genealogy and family history. On my mother’s side, the family history that I grew to be most familiar with was for the Milligans. My great great grandfather was Rev. Herbert Freeman Milligan. He married Effie Robbins in 1898 in MA and had 9 children with Effie over 21 years.  Being a clergyman, the family moved a lot as Rev. Milligan got different appointments in different churches. From 1912 on, their travels took them through various towns in Maine. My great grandmother, Alice, was the third born child in 1902 and she graduated high school when the family was in Waldoboro Maine.  Sometime between the mid 1920s and 1930s, the family moved to Kennebunk. The last son, Jonathan, was born in 1920 and went to Kennebunk’s high school. Effie passed away in 1940, and Rev. Milligan remarried in 1941 believing that a church man ought to be married. His new wife, Florence “Foddie” Weeks and him retired and lived for 19 years on Cat Mousam Road in Kennebunk.

Jonathan Milligan is where my family’s continued link to the area and some fun history lies. He married his high school sweetheart, Liz Perkins, in 1940. If you know the area at all, the name Perkins should sound familiar- yes, Perkins as in Perkins Cove! Liz’s father, Silas Henry Perkins, is the namesake of a park in Kennebunk as well. He was a great poet known for a poem about Kennebunkport. Jon and Liz were very active in the goings on in the Kennebunkport area. The couple bought the Sagamore Inn at Gooch’s Beach and ran it as the Sea Spray Motor Inn, which was sadly torn down in the 80s to become a private home. They had many business and real estate ventures together, including the Lands End Cottage community.

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Postcard for Sea Spray Motor Inn
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Other side of the Sea Spray Inn post card- hotel decor has come a long way huh?
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One side of post card for the Lands End Cottages- can’t find the other side 😦
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Map of the Kennebunk Region with stamps for “Jon Milligan Company Kennebunk Maine” and “Lands End Cottages on Cape Porpoise Harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine for your Family Vacation”

Jon and Liz started to develop this community on Lands End Road, which goes out to Cape Porpoise Harbor, in the 1950s, in the wake of the devastating fire of 1947.  The community began as vacation cottages for rent, and now is a lovely residential neighborhood. In the 80s, plots of land were offered to the family- the price range was $15K to $25k. Some members of the family jumped on the opportunity, my parents did not 😦 They were just starting out then and didn’t want to risk the investment- can’t blame them there. Now of course, houses in that  neighborhood are listed for $450K and up!!

Liz Milligan passed away on Valentine’s Day this past year at the age of 96!! Two of her daughters, Judy and Debbie are currently realtors for Andrews Milligan Real Estate Company.  My mother was in town for my baby shower this past weekend and we spent a day visiting with one of my fabulous great aunts up at her house in the Lands End neighborhood. It is beautiful there- always a nice breeze from the ocean. They started with a cabin on their lot and have built it into a beautiful 3 bedroom home with an outdoor shower and a great screened in porch. She has watched Kennebunkport evolve over the years into really what some might call the Nantucket of the north. From Lands End, you can take a right down to the village of Cape Porpoise, which really just consists of Bradbury’s, Cape Porpoise Kitchen, a church, and a fire dept. You can keep driving to get to the pier on Bickford Island which is the home of Cape Pier Chowder House, Cape Porpoise Lobster Co., and Pier 77 Restaurant/The Ramp Bar & Grill. There are beautiful views of the harbor and you can see the light house on Goat Island from there too!

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Buoys! Stairs are part of the Pier 77/Ramp Restaurant/Bar complex
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30 Weeks Pregnant!! 10 to go!
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Fishing/Lobster Boats in Cape Porpoise Harbor
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Lobster operation, most likely for Cape Porpoise Lobster Co. right off the pier!
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Goat Island Lighthouse!
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A little nautical art in the parking area- good use of old boats right?

The Kennebunkport area has been flooded lately with social media influencers. I have seen bloggers/instagrammers working with Cape Arundel Inn, the Cabot Cove Cottages, Hidden Pond Cottages, Kennebunkport Inn, The Tides Beach Club, and most recently the new glamp sites at the Sandy Pines Campground. Now, when this subject came up with my great aunt, Tim Harrington’s name came up. I didn’t know this, but all of the accommodations listed above besides the campground are a part of his resort collection, and the locals joke that every time a piece of land in the area goes up for sale, Tim can’t be far. See more about the Kennebunkport Resort Collection and Tim Harrington here. Abby Capalbo has a nice travel guide on her blog with reviews of many of KRC lodging and dining locations as well as others here.  Also following Jackie Greaney and PJ Havel will give you many images of the area to drool over 🙂

Anyways, I apologize, this post got a wee bit long. There are so many coastal vacation spots in New England, but definitely Kennebunkport is close to my heart. I hope that you all had a great weekend! Where are your family vacation spots?? Let me know in the comments!

Edit/Correction: While Sandy Pines is not listed on the KRC website as of now, it is actually a Tim Harrington property along with Debra Lennon!

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Seven Years with Mizpah the Dalmatian

This past May marked Mizpah’s seventh birthday! We have been through so much together. I held Mizpah on my lap from Fall River MA to my house in Lancaster MA when she was just 10 weeks old. My ex-husband was actually the driving force behind getting a dalmatian, something I will always be thankful for. She cried and screamed bloody murder the entire way. While she is an absolutely stunning dog, I’ll be honest, she was a very needy demanding puppy. She destroyed a beautiful pair of turquoise patent leather flats, ate a stick of body glide out of my triathlon bag, and even ate an entire aloe plant once- roots and all. She had deemadex mites on her adorable little paws once, then there was the ringworm on the top of her little head, and then we can’t forget all the numerous upset stomachs and scrapes.

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Puppy Mizpah!
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Sometimes I forget she was every this small.
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Short little legs!

Many people stop to say hi to her when we are out and about and make comments about how you never see dalmatians anymore, or how they had never actually seen a dalmatian. They marvel at her friendliness and talk about a mean dalmatian a neighbor or family member had or recant some story about a mean and vicious dalmatian. We have heard it all- that dalmatians don’t even growl before they bite, that dalmatians attack when you turn your back on them….I could go on and on. We do run into dalmatian fans who have had good experiences every once in a while.

Dalmatians were certainly overbred when they were a popular pet due to the 101Dalmatians movies. Overbreeding is bad for any breed. There is deafness in the dalmatian gene pool. All puppies should be BAER tested to determine their level of hearing. In Mizpah’s litter they were all bilateral except one unilateral. Dalmatians are high energy dogs, capable of running for hours without tiring. They were bred to be carriage dogs, running alongside horsedrawn carriages clearing crowds and protecting whatever what in the carriage. This is how they ended up as mascots for firehouses and for Budweiser. They are suitable only for families who do dog friendly activities. Dalmatians will destroy your house and not let you sleep if they don’t get attention and exercise.

Looking back, the two keys to happiness for Mizpah and her family have been socialization & exercise.

Socialization

We started taking Mizpah to puppy socials at the local Petco as soon as she finished her shots. It was $10 dollars for an hour in a big exercise pen with other puppies, toys, and a trainer. The trainer would act as referee, encourage play and sharing of toys/water.  Honestly this might have been the best investment I made for Mizpah. Mizpah had a little referee in her as well. When puppies started to play rough, she would get in between them and bark. I also noticed Mizpah’s flexibility with other dogs. If they were more dominant, she laid down and played the more submissive dog. If they were nervous and submissive, she approached slowly with a toy and let them take control.

As she grew, weekend mornings turned from Petco socials to time at off leash parks with lots of dogs to play with. I ventured away from my leashed walks/runs in my neighborhood to run on trails with her. One of the most important things I learned about Mizpah was her drive to move forward on a trail. Not every meeting between Mizpah and other dogs OR other people has gone well, but with Mizpah the quickest way to get her out of a scrape was not to get in the middle of it, but just enthusiastically move forward like nothing happened and call her along. She has always out run anything trying to get at her. Figuring this out has made it so we can always remove her from any situation on the trails….which has definitely been helpful MANY times.

Anywhere Mizpah could go, she has gone. She has gone to many family member homes, she goes to many towns/cities just to walk around and socialize, she goes to Lowes with us, she runs in road races with us, she goes to dog friendly beaches, campgrounds, hotels, & cabins, and she goes to horse shows with me. Being with my husband and I is her greatest reward in life, so we take her everywhere we can. We drove down to Florida to spend a week with my parents with Mizpah in the back. When we do have to leave her behind for a night, she goes to a boarding place that doesn’t use kennels or crates. She is welcomed there as a part of a pack/family which only increases her social well being.

Exercise

Mizpah as a puppy needed multiple walks in order to have quiet nap times. Walks turned into runs, and runs on the road turned into off leash runs in the woods. My husband and I are both trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers. Mizpah will happily run alongside a mountain bike. She is a stellar trail dog and has climbed I think 39 of the 48 New Hampshire 4000 footers.

I learned early on that there would be very few days off with Mizpah as my personal trainer. Hungover…sick….busy….depressed….none of that matters to Mizpah. Spring and fall are the worst- the whining and crying, pure desperation to go out and run. It can be a lot. I have never looked back and said oh man, I wish I hadn’t gone out with Miz though. I am always happy that I exercised with Mizpah. Being out on the trails with her makes me feel centered and calm, no matter what is going on in my life.

Things that don’t work with Mizpah? She is NOT a yard dog. Roaming around our fenced in yard is nice for hanging out with us or just going to the bathroom, but she does NOT consider that to be exercise. Now leash walks are only cool if its a recovery day. Long runs on leash are ok, but just a walk around the block will not do it. Girlfriend also loooooves swimming. If we can combine running with swimming, then we have really nailed the workout routine for Mizpah that day. Even now at six months pregnant, Jon and I have to work together to make sure Mizpah gets her exercise. I am so fortunate that I am still able to go out with her, no medical issues yet, knock on wood!

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Hiking Mt. Pierce, out first 4000 footer back in 2013. The Mizpah Spring Hut is on this mountain!
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Mt. Moosilauke, 2014
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Mt. Monroe/Mt. Eisenhower Hike, 2014
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Mt. Jefferson Hike, 2015

Our Next Chapter

Mizpah will soon have to share our attention with a newborn! Jon and I have already discussed the importance of still tending to Mizpah’s needs. We have found some nice off leash areas that are really close to the house. We plan on doing leash walks with the stroller, and we are getting a great jogging stroller to run with baby and Mizpah. We have a k’tan wrap & an ergo baby carrier coming too so that we will be able to do family walks on the trails. Thankfully Mizpah is 7 now, and less demanding about her exercise regimen. She spends more time lounging as she’s getting older. She even laid down while we were at Groton House Farm’s summer horse trials this past week!

The first breeder of dalmatians in America was actually George Washington! His coach dog was a dal named Madame Moose. He paid 12 shillings to import her in 1786, and the pup was quite a companion for George and his wife Martha. Washington imported a male to breed with her the following August and actually wrote in his diary: “A new coach dog [arrived] for the benefit of Madame Moose; her amorous fits should therefore be attended to.”  My husband and I fell in love with this quote because at the end of the day, Mizpah is extremely affectionate and just happy to be with her people. We joke about Mizpah’s amorous fits often.

Dalmatians are beautiful dogs, but they aren’t for everyone. I never sugar coat it with people that ask. She is beautiful and friendly, but very high energy and in need of exercise. As I write this, she is laying on the couch next to me but I know its in everyone’s best interest to take her to run somewhere today. Maintaining a happy Mizpah keeps everyone in the house happy.

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Snugglepup

Any other dog lovers out there? What do you do with your dog? What works and what doesn’t? Let me know in the comments!

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