This is one of my favorite places to stop for a bit while I’m in Maine. It’s so wonderful, that I really wanted to share with you a little about it so if you’re ever in the neighborhood, you’ll know to swing in… but if not, you’ll still get a glimpse of this great place.
St. Ann’s is an Episcopal church that sits right on the rocky coast of Maine at the mouth of the Kennebunk river in the lovely town of Kennebunkport.
The church itself is a gorgeous stone structure with copper roof detail. Next to that is the ‘parsonage’… Yep!! That amazing house and setting is where the pastor for this church resides. Wow! That’s gotta be one of the best gigs in the Episcopal church circuit for pastors, right?
The green benches you see in the foreground of this picture are my favorite part of this amazing ground, however.
That’s because they are the outdoor worship area:
This outdoor worship area is beautifully located directly on the rocks, with a rock wall built to divide the space from the cliff.
One Sunday service, I snuck a quick picture, just to give you a glimpse of what that’s like.
OK, for those of you that aren’t familiar with this area of Maine… it just happens to be a short walk (or boat ride) to Walker’s Point from here… you know the summer home to President George Bush’s family… and yes, this is the church they attend… and yes, we’ve gone to church with them… and yes, someone in my family wanted me to take their picture, (ah-hem, you know who you are!…) but I didn’t feel comfortable invading not only their privacy like that, but it felt kind of sinful doing it during the worship service…So this is the closest you’re going to get of a picture of the Bush’s worshiping ‘with us’.
and yes, they have no idea who we are, ha ha…
OK, well mostly…
Except for a slight chance of the secret service being alerted by, that same ‘family member’ of mine that wanted me to take a picture of the Bush’s during church, actually getting a little too close for comfort to Laura Bush when she was out on an evening stroll with one of her daughters…
A few years back, we were driving along the beautiful Ocean Ave. in Kennebunkport that goes along the coast here by St. Ann’s on past Walker’s Point. When I noticed Laura Bush and her daughter walking along on the sidewalk next to me. I exclaimed, ‘There’s Laura Bush!’ My ‘family member’ that was driving, quickly pulled up a few yards in front of where they were walking and parked, telling me to take her picture. Uh… no… I won’t do that…
Next best thing then, apparently to my ‘family member’ was to jump out of the car and stand on the oceanside of the sidewalk, as if he was mesmerized by the ocean scene… (and as if Laura Bush and daughter, and the 2 Secret Service men following a few yards behind them, wouldn’t have noticed him leaping onto the sidewalk to take his ‘mesmerizing position’ staring out to sea a few seconds prior.)
Ok, so that was kind of weird, but I think it was mostly the ‘overtly-nonchalant-spin-and-greet’, at the exact moment she and her daughter passed behind him that may have sounded some silent alarms. The “Good evening, Mrs. Bush” that uttered from his mouth in an almost foreign, deeper than normal voice, completely unexpected and out of the blue, put it over the edge for me. If you can imagine that guy that narrates ‘The Grinch who Stole Christmas’… that’s the voice that I was hearing from my husband’s… err… ‘family member’s’ mouth! and only mere inches from Laura Bush’s face!
In fact, as I witnessed the whole thing transpire a few feet in front of me, I was convinced that the Secret Service would be pulling their weapons out and possibly shooting my ‘family member’ or at least arresting him, who, for some crazy reason was momentarily possessed with the thought that greeting Laura Bush that way was a good idea.
Just to be sure, I quickly got out of the way of any possible stray bullets that would be flying out of their guns at any moment, quickly getting out the way of crossfire. My best defense I decided was to act like my ‘family member’ was a complete stranger to me… (as if they also wouldn’t have noticed that we actually got out of the same vehicle just moments ago)
I’m happy to say no guns were drawn and no arrests were made that evening… but it has been a wonderfully fun story to share with others… especially the deep voiced “Good evening, Mrs. Bush”!
Also I just want to add, Laura Bush, my favorite First Lady, is a very beautiful woman, and I greatly admire her and President George W Bush, (my favorite president too)! I’m so thankful for their devotion and service to our country.
Now back to St. Ann’s…
Besides Sundays, the church grounds are open during the day every day.
The antique stone church building is open for visitors as well. I didn’t take any pictures of the inside, again, I didn’t want to be disrespectful… and based on the formality of the Episcopal worship service, I thought it best not to photograph the church interiors. But there is plenty outside to see…
The outdoor worship area is welcome for visitors to visit, sit, pray, reflect, watch boats etc.
In fact, this sailboat I see almost every time I go here in the evening. It’s just heading back home, to moor up the Kennebunk river.
I’ve enjoyed all those activities at St. Ann’s outdoor worship area. I sometimes even have brought my dinner to eat here. I’m usually the sole soul there during dinner time, except for an occasional visitor walking through and leaving in a few minutes. But for the most part is very quiet and a beautiful place to connect with our maker, the creator of this beauty.
Although typically the church closes the gates in the evening before dark, Independence Day is a different story. The church graciously opens the grounds on the 4th of July for people to have a perfect seat across the river, where Kennebunk shoots off the fireworks on Gooch’s Beach.
We arrived by dusk and watch boats anchor around the the cape in preparation for the upcoming noisy show.
It was certainly not a let down…
Something so fun for this Midwestern gal to watch fireworks celebrating our nations freedom and birth in New England where it all began those hundreds of years ago… and on the Atlantic Ocean no less. I gotta say, it can almost feel surreal sometimes…
Something else that we find really fascinating here is the tidal change.
Again, being from the Midwest, we’ve had a lot of fun learning about the tides here. The tide amounts vary slightly depending on different factors like land formation and the moon etc. but they’re around 9 feet in this area.
That’s actually an incredible amount of water that has to find a home at high tide… The water rises up 9 feet, that is a lot of horizontal space it spreads across!
Here is the coast by the church at low tide:
It’s a little difficult to make out the details and actual drop off of the rocks, but that black stuff exposed in the low tide is seaweed clinging to super jagged rocks that are quite a bit lower than the rock wall next to the benches.
and here it is at high tide:
The jagged rocks are mostly covered up and the waves crash up to the sea wall surround the church grounds.
I’ve taken so many pictures during my many visits at St. Ann’s church.
The church building is gorgeous. The parsonage is amazing. The coastal views are stunning. So many things to take in… as much as it is hard to take a bad picture here, it is also impossible to capture the essence of this spot too… You just need to come see it for yourself!
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