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Welcome to Kittery, York, the Berwicks & Ogunquit

Welcome to Maine! There’s no better place to start your adventure than off Exit 7. With beaches, lighthouses, scenic trails, historic summer theaters, art galleries and plenty of delightful places to stay and eat, the communities of York, Ogunquit, Kittery and the Berwicks are popular vacation spots.

 

1. York Beaches

With miles of sandy beaches, the Yorks—York Village, York Harbor and York Beach—are just the place to catch some sun and surf. Long Sands Beach, along Route 1, is more than a mile long, with Cape Neddick Light views, umbrella rentals and designated surfing areas. Short Sands Beach, though unsurprisingly a shorter beach, is surrounded by summer-day attractions, like the Fun-O-Rama arcade, The Goldenrod (taffy!) and York’s Animal Kingdom, an amusement park and zoo.

2. Cape Neddick Light

Cape Neddick Light (“Nubble Light”)

Nubble Light is one of the most photographed places in York County. Though its official name is now the Cape Neddick Light Station, the lighthouse, built in 1879, was originally known as Nubble Light. The Coast Guard renamed it in 1939. The town of York owns and maintains the property and buildings. The public is not allowed on the island, but relatively close-up views of the lighthouse and keeper’s house can be found at nearby Sohier Park, on Nubble Road off Route 1A in York. The site has parking for visitors as well as benches and restroom facilities. Fishing and scuba diving are allowed. A small gift shop is manned by volunteers through October with proceeds going toward maintenance of the park and lighthouse. Nearby, Fox’s Lobster House on Sohier Park Road has some tables with a view of the island light. (nubblelight.org)

3. The Goldenrod

The Goldenrod. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

Saltwater taffy has been pulled in plain view here every summer since 1896, when the Goldenrod was the first stop for visitors who came to the beach by train. More than a century later, the Goldenrod at 2 Railroad Road, York, sells 8 million pieces of taffy a year, not to mention other candies, sundaes and sandwiches. There’s an old-fashioned penny candy counter and an ice cream soda fountain with a menu serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. (thegoldenrod.com)

4. Flo’s Steamed Hot Dogs

It’s worth standing in line at the red hot dog shack at 1359 Route 1, Cape Neddick for steamed hot dogs with Flo’s famous onion-and-molasses relish, mayonnaise and a sprinkle of celery salt. No ketchup! The family business hasn’t changed much since 1959, other than branching into online sales of jarred relish. (Slather it on.) Open year-round 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., except Wednesdays. There are counter stools and a few picnic tables. (floshotdogs.com)

5. The Museums of Old York

One of the earliest English settlements in the country was at York, a maritime community that became the seat of government for the Province of Maine. The Museums of Old York offers tours of eight historic buildings going back to the colonial period, including the Old Gaol (Jail), the one-room York Corner Schoolhouse, the Old Burying Ground, the Elizabeth Perkins House and the Emerson-Wilcox House Museum. An all-day ticket is $15 ($10 for child under 16), or visit just one building for $8 ($5 for children). Watch for occasional history-focused dinners and spirit tastings at historic Jefferds Tavern. Summer hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1–5 p.m. (oldyork.org)

6. Marginal Way

Marginal Way

When they say the best things in life are free, they must have been referring to Marginal Way. This mile-long cliffside nature path in Ogunquit offers some of the most stunning ocean views to be found in New England. Marginal Way runs “on the margin” of the rocky coastline from the Sparhawk Resort to the docks of Perkins Cove. Claim one of the cliffside benches and savor the view.

7. Ogunquit Museum of American Art

The Ogunquit Museum of Modern Art. Photo by Amy Paradysz

The Ogunquit Museum of Art is closely tied to one of the earliest art colonies of the American modernist era. The museum honors founder Henry Strater’s vision to preserve and showcase American art by mounting innovative modern and contemporary exhibition programs from May through October. One of the featured exhibits this summer, The View from Narrow Cove, highlights Ogunquit’s influence as a major art colony during a decisive period in American art history. The museum overlooks Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean, where there’s a small sculpture garden. It’s at 543 Shore Road, a short walk from Perkins Cove. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students and free for kids 12 and under. (207–646–4909; ogunquitmuseum.org)

8. Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit Playhouse. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

The Ogunquit Playhouse carries on its legacy as “America’s Foremost Summer Theatre” with a full calendar of musicals. Jersey Boys runs through June 15, followed by 42nd Street (June 19–July 13), Cabaret (July 17–Aug. 10) and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (Aug. 14–31). The Children’s Theatre camps are presenting Cinderella, Kids (June 29 and 30); Disney’s Frozen, Jr. (July 27 and 28 and Aug. 3 and 4) and Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Jr. (Aug. 24–25). (ogunquitplayhouse.org)

9. Hackmatack Playhouse

Here’s a more rustic spin on summer theater tradition—the Hackmatack Playhouse, located at 538 School St. (Route 9) in Berwick, which the Guptill family founded on an historic farm in Berwick in 1972. The season starts June 14 with Always, Patsy Cline (through June 29), followed by The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (July 3–20), Mamma Mia (July 24–Aug. 10) and Peter and the Star Catcher (Aug. 14–31). Showtimes are 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday with Thursday matinees at 2 p.m. (207–698–1807; hackmatack.org)

10. South Berwick Strawberry Festival

Strawberry flags will be flying all over town on Saturday, June 29, when South Berwick hosts its annual Strawberry Festival, which draws about 20,000 strawberry lovers a year. With more than 250 cases of fresh strawberries, 70 gallons of whipped cream and 300 dozen biscuits, there’s a whole lot of strawberry shortcake going on. The one-day event includes a road race and fun run, craft vendors and musical entertainment. It all takes place on the Central School grounds (next to Dunkin’ Donuts) at 197 Main St., South Berwick. Parking is free around town (Marshwood Great Works School on Route 236, Community Center on Norton Street, Powder House Hill and Our Lady of the Angels Church), with trolley service to the festival. (southberwickstrawberryfestival.com)

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