You know those movies and episodes of television shows set in little seaside enclaves, filled with beach rentals, sand sculptures, clam bakes and ice cream stands, right? Places like Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Myrtle Beach and Old Orchard. The idea is such an archetypal part of a classic American summer.
I’m sure it’s not just an east-coast-thing, many lakes, the Gulf of Mexico, and the west coast are probably similar, but different. It’s regionally specific, but a human thing all over the world.
A place to go to get away…
Right now I’m traveling, and online time is at a minimum, because family comes first and we’re finally getting to be with ours! On the way to being with them we got to experience a little piece of classic American heaven…the beachside town of York, Maine. It has become “our place”, our stopping point on the way to Canada and to us it’s the most spectacular picturesque spot.
I just want to share a little tour and a few tidbits of our much too short visit. It was our third time there, but we’re already looking forward to the next.
A full day of traveling is never relaxing, but we know if all goes fairly as planned we can leave at 6 am and get to York by 6 pm. However, all does not usually go as planned…but we weren’t too far off.
Arriving in York is a sensory delight! The sound and smell of the ocean, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea…especially in marshy areas. But good, clean ocean air is intoxicating. I can’t get enough into my lungs.
We booked an ocean-facing room, weeks ahead of time, so we knew York was our destination, one way or the other. The evening view from our room was dreamy (the morning was going to be a treat). After checking, in we went downtown York to eat.
On the way we passed still populated beaches, musicians in the town gazebo, the bowling alley and the Fun-O-Rama. The crowded restaurants alive with music, like “Guac-and-Roll” and “Panda & Sakura”. We ended up at “The Goldenrod”, known for their homemade ice cream and salt water taffy – Goldenrod Kisses.
We, of course, had clam chowder and a lobster roll…it was perfect. But the pièce de résistance was the “Fudge- Caramel Split”…oh…my…so indulgent. Smooth as silk, and there was, after all, a banana in there…I think.
We walked around afterwards, and popped into Joan’s Gift Shop for a memento, I collect not-too-cheesy place name magnets, my husband looks for a nice tee shirt. Success, third time in York was a charm and I found a cool York magnet.
And yes, he found a very satisfactory tee shirt with help from the chatty, cute, young tee shirt girl and her slightly effervescent (pushy) sales tactics. We don’t have to tell him she’s paid to pounce on tourists (men) and most likely gets a commission, haha.
I only say that because there was also a chatty, handsome young male pitching to some lady tourists, too…hey, whatever works, and this apparently does! *Wink wink
All jokes aside, you will doubtfully be accosted by over-zealous summer kitsch pan-handlers like in some tourist destinations, and Joan’sis a very classy place with a little bit of everything to keep your York, ocean and summer memories alive once you’re back home.
Now upon your initial time awaking at the ocean, first thing you must do is look out your window to the sea. That first glance is akin to seeing what Santa left you on Christmas morning.
Sure the weather plays a role, but even fog is mysterious and romantic. A rainy morning is kind of a bummer. But a sun-rise and sun on the water is truly a gift.
Early morning enthusiasts bobbed in the water wearing wet suits, clinging to their boards. Fantastic sight!
The second thing you must do is drag your tired, half-awake -self outside to smell, hear and absorb the environment. You don’t want to miss a second.
Then you’d be missing out if you neglected to try the Lob-stah Benedict (lobster) for breakfast at the “Lobster Cove” restaurant with their super friendly staff and views of the Atlantic. It’s pretty much to die for, in the good way. It will melt in your mouth.
While you’re there grab one of those cool walking maps and scope out all the delights York and York Beach have to offer. Grab a couple, if you like to save mementos.
And no visit is complete without a stop at the Nubble Light House in Sohier Park. Maine light houses are famous for their New England charm and this one is no exception.
There’s a gift shop inside a lovely building that was the proud work of the Friends of the Light House. While we were there we saw wedding photos being taken, and were able to purchase a print of an original painting of the Nubble from the artist himself and the money went straight to the Friends group.
Last but not least, for me no visit is complete without popping into Pie in the Sky bakery on River Road for a blueberry muffin, Maine blueberries, of course. Yes, they’re pricey…yes, they’re usually still warm…and yes, they’re worth it. Superb!
The thing I just adore most about York is that it reminds me of a seaside town in the south of England (or how I imagine one to be), circa the 1930s-1960s. Much of it rests up on a cliff-side type waterfront. There is still some gorgeous Victorian architecture in the classic sea farer homes, and in the fog especially, it is so British looking.
This seemed to pair well with a title taken from a well-known beach song staple by a little-known UK Invasion one-hit-wonder – Beach Baby
Goodbye until next time York, Maine…we’ll miss you!
Raina K Morton July 22, 2014