York + Kittery
October 2014 Shawn McLaughlin, Account Manager
As I begin my ride to York where I’m meeting my dad (who will be accompanying me on this weekend adventure), I’m flooded with memories of childhood trips to the area with my sister, Erin, and my mom, who passed a few years ago. I am looking forward to revisiting old haunts and recalling days past. I pull off the highway with an almost nervous anticipation of the days to come—and the emotions that will surely come along with them.
Friday 4:00 p.m. @ Morning Glory Inn I pull into the Morning Glory Inn, where we will be staying. I am greeted warmly by both the wild garden growing on the property and by my dad, who is excited to be spending this weekend in such a special place. The weekend also happens to be his sixtieth birthday, to make it even more special. After checking into our beautiful room, we spend a few minutes talking to innkeepers Margie and Doug. I learn that they are from Somerville, Massachusetts—right next to Medford, where I grew up. We change and head out toward Kittery to grab something to eat and get the weekend started.
5:15 p.m. @ Just Us Chickens Gallery On our way into town, we pass this great art space and decide to pop in. It’s a great gift shop with some cool jewelry and paintings. I know it’s a place my mom would have loved.
6:00 p.m. @ Folk + The Black Birch Once we reach downtown Kittery, our first stop is Folk, a great little shop that reminds me of something that I would find in Boston. We notice a sizeable crowd outside of what we discover is the Black Birch, and we decide to check it out. My dad tries one of the amazing cocktails, and Ben shows us around the restaurant, which has a line out the door. Based on the dishes I see coming out of the kitchen, I think I know what all the fuss is about.
7:30 p.m. @ Robert’s Maine Grill For dinner we head to Robert’s, and by now we are both starving and ready for some Maine seafood. We order fried oysters, which I’ve never had before, and I immediately realize I’ve been missing out. For dinner, I get a fantastic salmon dish while my father has baked haddock (his favorite). We talk about the upcoming few days and plan our adventures to come.
8:30 p.m. @ Cape Neddick Inn We make a point to stop at the Cape Neddick Inn, as we were told the dessert here is a must. Turns out that’s an understatement. I devour a slice of carrot cake while admiring the ambiance and great service. I make a note to return for dinner next time I’m in the area.
9:45 p.m. @ Morning Glory Inn Returning to the inn tired and full, we are greeted by Margie’s homemade cookies, which I can’t resist. We sit on our private patio in the cool summer breeze and talk about what tomorrow will bring.
6:00 a.m. in York Harbor After last night’s dessert I want to burn some calories. I’m up early and off for a morning run and meditation. As I run, the beauty of this area overwhelms me. I stop and take some pictures of York Harbor and the morning sun as it shines off the water like a painting. I make it back unsure that I’ve evened the score from the night’s indulgence, but satisfied nonetheless.
8:30 a.m. @ Morning Glory Inn We decide to enjoy breakfast at the inn and it is a very good call. Doug serves us a feast of fruit and homemade granola, followed by a delicious main course of Margie’s making.
10:30 a.m. @ The Bagel Basket We grab a coffee and head out for a drive. The weather is perfect, so we take the top off my Jeep and cruise Long Sands and Short Sands beaches, my dad pointing out familiar spots and places that he visited with my mom.
12:00p.m. @ Long Sands Beach No trip to York is complete without some beach time! As soon as we arrive, I’m reminded of how much colder the water is in Maine than almost anywhere else. As we sit in the sun, I have a moment of peace. Looking around at the families I’m taken back to long-ago vacations on the same sands. I hope the kids realize how special those times are.
2:30 p.m. @ Fun-O-Rama, Chases Garage, Goldenrod + Foster’s Clambake and Catering After a quick shower it’s time for some fun. We hit the arcade and play a few games—just like old times. My dad searches for Pac Man and I promptly beat him at his own game. We stop by Chases Garage where we meet Cait and Atlas (her dog) and tour the beautiful gallery. We’re tempted by the candy at the Goldenrod, and cap it all off with bowls of clam chowder and lobster bisque at Foster’s before heading back to the inn for a nap.
6:00 p.m. @ the Chapman Cottage Feeling refreshed, we stop at the Chapman Cottage before dinner, and Megan makes my dad a cocktail while I chat up some other guests that are visiting from Boston. This place is beautiful and we snap a few pictures.
7:30p.m. @ Dockside Restaurant Dinner at the Dockside is just what we needed. I get a steak that’s cooked to perfection while Dad gets the Drunken Lobster, a scallop and lobster dish that is like nothing I’ve seen before. We decide to stop by the York Harbor Inn for a nightcap and we are so glad we did. This is just my kind of place— warm and inviting. The guitar player takes our request for James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” and we share a bread pudding that melts in your mouth. What a great way to end a great night.
9:00 a.m. @Morning Glory Inn It’s nice to sleep in a little bit and enjoy some coffee and fruit on the patio before we start our last day here. It’s beautiful outside once again, with a breeze that makes it feel like fall. It’s so peaceful here. We say goodbye to our wonderful hosts and thank them for their hospitality. I feel like I’m leaving a relative’s house. We hug and promise to visit again. Margie hands me a plate of cookies for the road. There will be none left when I get home.
10:30 a.m. in York Village We park in York Center and wander into Village Gallery, where we are warmly met by Gloria Gustafson. She gives us the tour of her wonderful space, which houses works from so many talented artists. One of her own paintings of Nubble Light catches my eye and we reminisce with her about our trips there in the past. At Rick’s All Seasons Restaurant I have the best blueberry pancakes I can remember in quite some time. It reminds me of my favorite no-frills bustling neighborhood breakfast spot in Boston.
12:00 p.m. @ When Pigs Fly Bakery After a walk and a few last pics with Dad, we head toward Kittery, where the last stop this weekend is at When Pigs Fly. We split a grilled pineapple pizza and stock up on several loaves of bread to take home.
1:00 p.m. on I-95 We jump on the highway; my dad heads south to Boston and I drive north toward home. I’m sad to leave him but as I drive, I am suddenly overcome with gratitude. For my life today, for this trip and everything it represents, and for Maine, both the state and the magazine. I head back home refreshed, blessed, grateful, and happy.