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Only 50 miles away, York, Maine, boasts a taste of everything
By Emily Young
Greasy diners and high-end restaurants; kitschy gifts and collectible art; scenic strolls and action-packed arcades: The coastline town of York, Maine, offers a little something for every day tripper.
If you're looking for some organized fun, the village is right in the midst of the annual weeklong festivities known as York Days. Folks celebrated Christmas in July last Sunday when the Cape Neddick "Nubble" Lighthouse shone bright with white, twinkly lights. This coming Sunday, Short Sands Beach will be aglow with fireworks.
But there is fun to be had throughout the summer, and throughout the year, in York.
The town is home to three beautiful beaches: Short Sands, Long Sands and York Harbor. Even if you're not ready to brave Maine's icy waters, you can watch more daring souls in the form of a small but dedicated crew of surfers riding the waves.
Much of York has stayed the same for decades. You can still watch saltwater taffy being made at The Goldenrod after playing a few games at the honky-tonk Fun-O-Rama arcade. The commercial area, on the other hand, is going through a bit of a renaissance.
Recently restored is the 19th century Atlantic House, boasting upscale boutiques, condos and a hotel. It's also home to Blue Sky on York Beach, Boston chef Lydia Shire's sleek new restaurant featuring creative fare like lobster pizza and crisp skin salmon brushed with light miso and lime.
If you're looking for something a little more Down East, and a little less expensive, check out the Purple Palace, where the servings of omelettes and fresh toast are generous and delicious. Or try a lobster BLT with herb mayonnaise on brioche at Stonewall Kitchen's outdoor cafe.
If you feel like taking in some phenomenal ocean views while peeking into the backyards of a few jaw-dropping, waterfront homes, spend a half-hour on the scenic Cliff Walk. The dirt path is rugged and narrow at the York Harbor Beach entrance but quickly turns into a wider, paved path directly behind the first mammoth building.
For a longer stroll, try the gravel path of Fisherman's Walk, which starts near Varrell Lane. Views include commercial fishing boats in the harbor, as well as historically preserved Sayward-Wheeler House, built in 1718. Eventually, you'll cross the aptly named Wiggly Bridge before heading into the beautiful Steedman Woods.
Regardless of what you decide to do in York, you won't have to worry about blowing big bucks at the gas pump. The lovely little town is only about 50 miles away.
If You Go: York, Maine
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