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 popular places to find some sun and surf. Long Sands Beach, along U.S. Route 1, is more than a mile long, with views of Cape Neddick Light, 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, a cute little village with shops and restaurants and York’s Animal Kingdom, an amusement park and zoo.
2. Cape Neddick (Nubble) Light
Nubble Light is one of the most photographed places in York County. Though its official name has been the Cape Neddick Light Station since 1939, the lighthouse, built in 1879, was originally Nubble Light and the name has stuck. The town of York owns and maintains the property and buildings. The public is not allowed on the island, but close views of the lighthouse can be found at nearby Sohier Park, on Nubble Road off U.S. Route 1 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 run by volunteers through October with proceeds going toward maintenance of the park and lighthouse. Fox’s Lobster House and Dunne’s Ice Cream are nearby. (nubblelight.org)
3. The Goldenrod
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 U.S. 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 (well worth slathering 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
York was the site of one of the earliest English settlements in the country, and the maritime community here 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 per child under 16), or visit just one building for $8 ($5 per child). 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. York Days Craft Fair
More than 40 craft vendors will be at this two-day juried show, Aug. 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the York Beach Ball Field, just a short walk from the beach. Browse baskets, wreaths, quilts, photography, woodcrafts, pottery, jewelry and other handcrafted items. GPS yourself to 18 Railroad Ave., York Beach.
7. Marginal Way
When they say the best things in life are free, they could have been referring to Marginal Way. This mile-long cliffside nature path in Ogunquit has some of the most stunning ocean views 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.
8. Ogunquit Museum of American Art
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 showcase American art by mounting innovative modern and contemporary exhibition programs from May through October. One of this season’s featured exhibits, The View from Narrow Cove, highlights Ogunquit’s influence as a major art colony. Other summer exhibits include Eating Flowers: Sensations of Cig Harvey and Subject Matters: Sebastian Martorana in Sculpture. A small sculpture garden overlooks Narrow Cove and the Atlantic Ocean. The museum is at 543 Shore Road, a short walk from Perkins Cove. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ($10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students and free for kids 12 and under; 207–646–4909; ogunquitmuseum.org)
9. Ogunquit Playhouse
The Ogunquit Playhouse carries on its legacy as “America’s Foremost Summer Theatre” with a full calendar of musicals. Cabaret runs through Aug. 10, followed by Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (Aug. 14–31). Children’s Theatre camps are presenting Disney’s Frozen, Jr. (Aug. 3 and 4) and Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, Jr. (Aug. 24–25). (ogunquitplayhouse.org)
10. 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 a historic farm in Berwick in 1972. Mamma Mia runs through Aug. 10), followed by Peter and the Star Catcher (Aug. 14–31). Showtimes are Wednesday through Saturday evenings at 8 with a Thursday matinee at 2. During the Aug. 14, 15, 21 and 22 performances of Peter and the Star Catcher, kids who dress like pirates and adults who dress like Peter Pan will get a free hot dog or burger. (207–698–1807; hackmatack.org)