by Veronique McAree | Photograpyh Sarah Beard Buckley
What do you get when two music industry execs (and native Mainers) flee the Big Apple for their home town of Kennebunkport? A pair of delightful shops with gifts, kids stuff, guides, and gear devoted to travel and the great outdoors. Happy trails…
To say Jessica Jenkins and Andy West had a lot going on during their years at Island Def Jam Music would be an understatement. She was a high-profile music video producer; he designed album covers (and continues to do so). The young couple lived in New York City, the epicenter of culture and style, yet one very important thing was missing: nature.
With a special spot in their hearts for nature and exploration, they spent most of their free time hopping onto trains and subways, and into Zipcars, to escape the city and get off the beaten path.
Their shop, Daytrip Society, located in the heart of Dock Square, is a mash-up of urban chic with love of the natural world and travel. It has become the go-to shopping spot for everyone from locals to magazine editors, bloggers, and tourists.
The clean, open space feels like a spread in a style magazine— carefully curated, meticulously styled, with a mix of utilitarian and design items with an earthy twist. Jenkins and West gravitate toward eco-friendly, recycled, and locally made products. Favorites include those made right in Maine, like Sea Bags totes, made out of recycled sails, Chart Metalworks custom map jewelry, and blankets from Swans Island and Brahms Mount. If a day at the beach is on your itinerary, check out the selection of Native water shoes, which have become an addiction for some customers. Of course, travelers will find plenty of daypacks— including the Maine-made Fan Si Pan.
What sets Daytrip Society apart is Jenkins and West’s approach to displays. “We always try to tell ‘stories’ with our product vignettes—from a sunset sailboat ride to a ’70s ski chalet theme,” says Jenkins. “We want visitors to imagine themselves in these nostalgic, always well-loved settings.” Each display is also curated with attention to color choices, and many include wonderful books that underscore the themes.
In 2011 Jenkins and West expanded, adding Daytrip Jr., an adorable shop just around the corner, for all the half-pints in your life. Little explorers will find heirloom toys, organic clothing, and classic books, among other treasures. There’s even a vintage whale kiddie ride; small summer visitors love to pop in their quarters year after year. The proceeds from the ride are donated to Save the Whales.
enkins and West firmly believe that without conservation efforts there would be few lovely daytrips, so Daytrip Society donates a portion of profits to local conservation partners and helps raise awareness for the many nature preserves in its own backyard.
From opening day, Jenkins and West have always wanted their shops to be accessible spots where visitors can find a wide range of products, prices, styles, and colors. What’s more, the couple insists on being as welcoming as can be. Pets and strollers, come on in! Holding coffee or ice cream? No problem. And the shop is open year-round, except on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Daytrip society’s 4 ideas for brining the outside in:
1. KEEP IT NATURAL & SUSTAINABLE.
Whenever possible, bring items into your home that are made from all- natural, environmentally friendly materials, like certified-sustainable wood. Not only is it better for our environment, but textures and colors found in nature will instantly warm up a space.
2. PICK AN ENVIRONMENT.
Love being by the sea? Set your dinner table with nautical-inspired dishware and decorate it with pieces of driftwood. Love roughing it in the wilderness? A few vintage-style tin lanterns on your porch will make you feel like you’re back at the campsite. Focusing on one of your favorite outdoor environments when decorating a space will give you an easy theme to follow.
3. BRING IT HOME WITH YOU.
Put together a homemade bouquet using wildflowers and ferns from your backyard. With a little creativity, treasures found outside become centerpieces for your life indoors!
4. CREATE A “WINDOW” TO YOUR FAVORITE PLACE.
We have a section of our store that we wallpapered with an enlarged photograph we took of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells. It’s like having a window to our favorite walking trail! If you can’t dedicate a whole wall, hang an oversized framed print or a series of photographs of the same location. That way you can easily “visit” your favorite outdoor place anytime you’d like!