That was not always the nickname for the town of Wells.

Originally called Webhannet by the Abenaki Indians, it meant “at the clear stream.” In 1622 the land was awarded to Sir Ferdinando Gorges of England, who never actually visited the area, but put it in the hands of his cousin, Thomas Gorges. In 1641 the land was given by the younger Gorges to the Rev. John Wheelwright and other settlers from Massachusetts.

Wells was incorporated in 1653, the third town in Maine to do so, and it was named after Wells, England. Beginning in 1675 through the mid-1700s the town was beset by wars with the French and Indians. Well after things settled down, around 1840, some local businessmen “discovered” the attraction of its miles of beaches and Wells began a new life.

Today, it is a thriving resort town, nestled between Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, easily reached off exit 19 on I-95, offering many miles of clear sand beaches, with Wells Beach being the most well-known. And much more. There are antique shops along Route 1 and many fine places to eat, including Lord’s Harborside Restaurant (www.lordsharborside.com) and the Grey Gull Inn & Restaurant (www.thegreygullinn.com). There are trolleys running in the summer, concerts in the Wells Harbor Community Park (right next to the Lower Town Landing) as well as craft fairs, festivals, the Native American Pow Wow and a Chilifest in the fall.

Fishing on the beach and jetties is one of the town’s main attractions, and there are many cruises available to go fishing or whale watching at the town landing, such as Captain Satch & Sons (www.wellsharbor.com). And, blessed by Mother Nature, the area offers up many activities for those who love the outdoors.

So pack up the car, or take a bus or the train, and head down to Wells for a day of hiking, kayaking, shopping, dining or just having a lot of fun.

Rachel Carson National Refuge
321 Port Road
646-9226
www.fws.gov
There is so much more to this than can be written here. It has a one-mile loop trail for hikers, education programs, bird watching, wildlife observation photography, boating on several rivers that cross the refuge and so much more. 

Wells National Estuarine Reserve
342 Laudholm Farm Road
646-1555
www.wellsreserve.org
This is a unique reserve that hosts over 230 species of birds — a birdwatcher’s paradise. The reserve has walking trails that will take you through shrublands, mixed woodlands, salt marshes and eventually to the beach near Drakes Island Beach. Don’t miss it!

Lighthouse Depot
2178 Post Road
646-0608
www.lighthousedepot.com
You won’t want to visit Wells without a stop here. This is a gift and collectibles store that offers anything and everything that has to do with lighthouses. From lamps, to bedding, home décor, key rings, candy, cards and prints, just to name a few. For everyone who loves the sea and lighthouses.

Lower Town Landing
At the end of Harbor Road
This landing becomes very busy in the summer season, filling up with boats at moorings and local fishermen. The Harbor Master’s Shack sits at the landing and is near the Community Park, which is also a very busy place in the summer months. Book a ride on a sailboat or go fishing.

Drakes Island Beach
At the end of Wells Reserve
Take the hike down to this beach and enjoy the quieter side of Wells beaches. Hike down the trail, take a swim and get some sun, then head back.

Mike’s Clam Shack
1150 Post Road
646-5999
www.mikesclamshack.com
No longer the small shack of its humble beginnings, now a visit to Mike’s will offer you a great meal, and they have a bar and gift shop. When asked around town for a recommended place to eat, Mike’s was mentioned every time. Go see what all the talk is about!

Provence Cottage Antiques
752 Post Road
337-3931
This is not your usual antique shop. It also offers antique textiles and clothing, a garden shop, rare and used books, along with fine furniture, architectural elements and much more.

Janey Mullaney’s
694 Post Road
646-1209
This is a new women’s clothing shop that boasts “Fashion for the fun in every woman!” Ask the owner, Jane Glennan, about the history of the land the shop sits on when you stop in.

Bittersweet Home & Garden
648 Post Road
646-9222
This is a “unique shop that features decorative accessories and unusual treasures inspired by the garden and sea.” Open year-round for your own treasure hunts.


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