Kittery was named after Kittery Court in Devon, England, when the Shapleigh and Champernowne families arrived from Kittery Court and founded a new settlement at the mouth of the Piscataqua River in 1623. Kittery became incorporated as a town in approximately 1647.
Before the arrival of Europeans, this area was known to Native Americans as Amiciskeag, which in the Algonquin dialect translated roughly into “fishing point.”
Maine’s oldest and southernmost town, Kittery is bordered by York and Eliot, includes several of the offshore Isles of Shoals, and is just across the river from historic Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It currently boasts approximately 5,000 residents.
In 1800 the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard opened on Seavey’s Island in the Piscataqua River. Some of the original vessels of the U.S. Navy were built here during the Revolution, including the Ranger, built for John Paul Jones. The Navy's oldest continually operating shipyard, Named for the city of Portsmouth, NH, across the river, but officially located in Kittery, PNS is one of the largest employers in the area. On Kittery Point, Fort McClary was officially established in 1808, followed by Fort Foster in 1901. Forts McClary and Foster are now public parks with beaches and trails. To learn more of Kittery’s long, rich naval history, one can visit the Kittery Historical and Naval Museum.
Kittery has three schools: Mitchell Primary School, Shapleigh School, and high school at Traip Academy. Kids and adults alike are kept busy throughout the seasons by participating in one of the many community events and celebrations. An all-time family favorite is June's Kittery Block Party, a joyous celebration of local art, culture and food with a great neighborhood atmosphere.
The shopping in Kittery is renowned, whether it’s the national name brand outlet malls on U.S. Route 1, or jewelry, art, and weavings by local artisans at Wallingford Square in the revitalized downtown known as Kittery Foreside. Kittery also has a 72-acre forest and two ocean beaches, both of which are backed by marshes and provide excellent bird watching sites.
The arts are alive and well here. The Star Theater at the Kittery Community Center has year-round productions, as does the Kittery Dance Hall. From sea shanties at a tavern to outdoor concerts in the summer, music is always in the air in Kittery. The creative visual arts are well represented by The Kittery Art Association.
No description of this town would be complete without a nod to its blossoming dining scene, especially in Kittery Foreside or down "Gourmet Alley". Whether the desire is for authentic Indian cuisine at Tulsi, or craft beer and gourmet flatbread pizza at When Pigs Fly, the food shouldn’t be missed. Want to know where the locals go? Try Bob’s Clam Hut, serving some of the best fried seafood in the area since 1956.
Kittery is a great place to live, and we'd love to show you around. Click on the Kittery town link below to browse homes for sale in Maine's first town, then give us a call at 1-207-351-8188 and let's talk real estate!
Williams Realty Partners of Keller Williams Coastal and Lakes & Mountains is the #1 Keller Williams Team in Maine. We strive to provide an exceptional experience to all our clients, whether they are buying, selling, or investing in real estate. The team can be reached at 1-207-351-8188.