York, Maine Vacation
offers some of the best seaside vacation family fun in
Sands Beach, York Beach, Maine (photo by Eric H.)
by Eric H.
is living proof that you don't have to travel far up the Maine coast to
get a true feel of the famed Downeast lifestyle.
dinners, rocky shoreline, expansive ocean beaches, ice cream stands,
salt water taffy and refreshing salt air await you just minutes north
of the New Hampshire-Maine border. York has something fun for everyone:
the quiet, antique-friendly York Harbor and York Village, the beaches,
carousel and arcades at York Beach, and the rugged, rocky, more
secluded environs of Cape Neddick.
York, you can see the joy and relaxation in peoples' faces as more
smiling and "hellos" take place here than you can initially handle. The
key is to adapt. When you do, the health benefits are greater than any
wellness doctor could ever recommend.
starting with Long Sands beach where families saturate this wonderful
two-mile stretch where the water is cold, but the appeal of the area
isn't. Long Sands Beach is perfect
strolling, sunning, building a sandcastle, or just meeting friendly
people. If you don't mind the frigid waters, it is also perfect for
loop from Long Sands Beach to the stunning Nubble Lighthouse at Cape
Neddick. Generally recognized as one of the most photographed
lighthouses in the country, this is the perfect place to rest, get
hypnotized by the rough ocean waves and prototypical Maine rocky
coastline --it is a picture-perfect postcard come to life. Sometimes,
Mother Nature's fury can be viewed in the form of some spectacular
storms with biting high winds and crashing waves.
and I fell in love at Nubble Light, under the milky way sky. For years,
we have come back to our favorite New England travel destination
remembering that day when our lives changed in the most wonderful way
especially nice coming to Nubble Light at night to cool off, hear the
hypnotic waves and see the red beacon light shining in the pitch black,
seaside sky, landscaped with an endless and stunning array of stars and
galaxies. For others, it's fun trying to spot other lighthouses in the
far distance (on a clear night, you can see lighthouses as far as 30
miles away in Portland).
literally spend a day at Nubble Light, and not tire of one of New
corner is absolutely terrific ice cream at Brown's ice cream stand. We
strongly recommend the blueberry ice cream. And remember, it's OK to
eat blueberry ice cream without feeling guilty. Blueberries are loaded
with antioxidants, plus you're helping the Maine economy by purchasing
this tasty fruit. Regarding the ice cream, we'll just say you're
helping the Vermont economy. Foxes, which is closer to Nubble Light,
also serves Brown's Ice Cream at its ice cream stand and has a nice
dining area where you can sample top-notch Maine classics like lobster,
and clam chowder.
that eating, be prepared to walk about a mile until you reach York
Beach. Here, you will find Short Sands Beach, the midget cousin of Long
Sands Beach. The waves pack a wallop and so do the crowds. Short Sands
Beach is downtown, which means easier access to stores, restaurants,
arcades, Maine largest zoo (including the carousel) and, curiously, a
bowling alley, overlooking the ocean. It is a bit puzzling seeing
people favor the bowling alley over a pristine beach. Perhaps the salt
air produces better scores.
point to walk across the street to the landmark Goldenrod's, offering
nice lunches and loads of salt water taffy. They make the stuff here,
and at times, the machines viewed from the window draw more of a crowd
than a Britney Spears concert. Only here, you get more wholesome
York Beach, visitors can sample some nice arts, crafts and antique
stores, plus the obligatory t-shirt shops. Perhaps the best of these
shops is Joan's Beach House which has a nice array of gifts, including
some great Maine shirts, lighthouse lamps and throws. Some great candle
scents permeate the air.
and York Village are more subdued and New England-traditional than York
Beach. The shopping district has a quaint, relaxed feel -- some prefer
the quiet, understated feel with its small town feel, tree-lined side
streets, spectacular homes sporting many different types of
architecture, and meandering sidewalks leading to charming little
indepedently owned shops. A small ocean beach at York Harbor is just a
short walk away, as well as a fun cliff walk which requires walking
over lots of rocks, while enjoying sweeping views of the Atlantic ocean.
from York Harbor on Route One is the famed Stonewall
Kitchen offering some truly amazing jams, syrups, salad
dressings and plenty of kitchen accessories. Don't leave without buying
the incredible blueberry jam.
side of town is Shore Road, which has more twists and turns than a
Hitchcock movie. Here in the Cape Neddick area, you'll experience a
more untouched part of the area as the ocean looks more lonesome and
wild, but no less charming. Shore Road leads to the delightful village
restaurants reside in York. Clay
Hill Farm is without a doubt the best restaurant in the area
and possibly in New England. Clay Hill Farm's lovely gardens and warm
intimate dining rooms in an old and elegant farmhouse set the tone for
the freshest food we've encountered in many years of dining. The
spinach salad is so alive with straight-from-the-garden tatste and just
the right amount of dressing. The lobster bisque jumps right at your
taste bud's joy center. The roast half duck and seafood scampi are
particularly amazing, so flavorful and memorable with all the right
seasonings and sauces. Deserts, largely of a chocolate theme, will
leave you breathless.
Neddick Inn (Rt. 1A) is also a superb dining establishment. A gracious
country atmosphere awaits you, along with fine service and an upscale
menu featuring creative seafood and steak dishes. During the summer, a
warm window breeze and the fine art on the wall lend a home-like
feeling. We really enjoyed the salads and schrod and pork dinners on
our first visit here.
restaurant recommendation is the Sand and Surf on Long Sands Beach.
What might first seem like a tourist haven turns out to be a fine
top-notch steak and seafood place. The seafood --particularly the
haddock -- is quite fresh and plentiful. The Sand and Surf has quite
possibly the best clam chowder and blueberry pie of any we've sampled
in New England. Plus, the perfect view of Long Sands Beach is reason
enough to visit.
fine places to stay in York.
The Katahdin Inn
might just be our favorite place to
stay now, and in the years to come. The innkeepers are down-to-earth
and welcoming, their 19th century Victorian inn charming, quaint and
convenient, the ocean views amazing, and the rates quite reasonable in
an area that has shown recent glimpses of becoming upscale. The
Katahdin Inn is really the perfect place to stay in York Beach, one of
New England's best vacation destinations.
former Inn at Long Sands is now the 123
Restaurant and Inn. We expect the quality to be as
wonderful as it was before, offering rooms with spectacular
ocean view porches of beautiful Long Sands Beach -- right across the
updates on the way for the
new inn and restaurant -- stay tuned!
Inn at York Harbor is a charming place
with refreshing sun-splashed views of the ocean. Many of the rooms are
spacious and full of character. Edward's is located where the harbor
meets the Atlantic Ocean and is within walking distance of the village
shops. Walking the dock at Edward's backyard or having breakfast
outdoors with fine views of the harbor creates one of the most
delightful experiences in New England lodging -- it's like making your
own great discovery.
The Dockside Guest
, near York Harbor, is located on the secluded Harris Island. The
Dockside consists of bed and breakfast-type rooms in the main house and
some very good modern, condo-style rooms featuring fireplaces and
porches with great harbor views. It is nestled in between dense wooded
area and the harbor, making it a peaceful and romantic place to stay. A
fine restaurant completes this excellent choice for lodging.
have the style of nearby Ogunquit, the opulence of Kennebunkport, the
Springsteen feel of Hampton
Beach, N.H., or the urban aura of Portland.
What it does have is heart and soul and a great family-oriented
atmosphere, inviting every walk of life to experience the seaside
experience in New England. York is simply made to enjoy. So, enjoy!
of York's businesses are seasonal, especially in the York Beach area.
For more information, visit the York Chamber
of Commerce Web site
here to read some reviews on
York area inns and motels
articles:Enjoying a picnic by Nubble Lighthouse at Sohier Park, Cape Neddick, Maine
Ten Reasons to
Visit York Beach
Maine spring fishing destinations
Visiting Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth
Spring magic at Short Sands Beach, York Beach
A Long Sands Beach walk
in the morning
Fun and fried food at Short Sands Beach
York Beach Maine vacation review
What it's like to be at Nubble Lighthouse, Cape Neddick
Ten reasons to visit York Beach Maine
A Marginal Way summer in Ogunquit