48 Hours in York + Kittery

The southernmost towns in Maine, York and Kittery offer a charming welcome to our state with no shortage of beautiful sights.

A historic cottage and gingerbread pudding

The weather is overcast as I arrive at the York Harbor Inn. I check in at their beautiful and historic Chapman Cottage then wait for my sister, Sabrina, to join me for the weekend. Our room is spacious, comfortable, and the perfect place to call home for the next 48 hours. We explore the town, and take a nap in our room before heading to dinner.

For dinner, we decide on the inn’s 1637 Restaurant, which offers incredible ocean views. My sister and I order baked artichoke dip, seafood ravioli, and parmesan-crusted chicken pesto. Every bite of food is perfectly cooked, and we barely save room for dessert. Our waitress suggests the gingerbread pudding, a dessert so popular that the restaurant received over 100 emails asking for its return after the chef momentarily removed it. We are pleased it’s back.

Beaches and bagels

We’re up early and stop for breakfast at Bagel Basket. We each order a perfectly toasted bagel with cream cheese, and we split a coffee. After breakfast, we walk Long Sands Beach before heading to Cape Neddick Light, also known as Nubble Lighthouse. The rain and fog are thick, masking the beautiful views of the area, so we make a point to come back later. Our next stop is the York Flower Shop. Walking inside is nothing short of stepping into a dream, and I find myself wanting to smell the flowers forever.

All around Kittery

In Kittery we find Fort Foster on the southernmost point in Maine. We walk along the boardwalk before leaving for lunch. Back in town, we find Lil’s Cafe, a pastry and sandwich shop. My sister orders the tuna sandwich, and I have the turkey sandwich. Both are perfectly proportioned. We take our time and play a round of checkers before heading to the next adventure.

The famed Kittery Trading Post is an absolute maze. We browse the aisles before meeting Jackie Abramian at the Haley Art Gallery. We are greeted warmly and given a tour of the space. The gallery is bright and filled with art created by local, national, and international artists; the gallery’s shop is filled with gifts and accessories made by women in the United States and across the world as a way to help empower women and support their financial independence. In the same building is KK Remedies, a boutique spa focused on natural care products. Afterward, we head to Rococo Ice Cream for our first ice cream cones of the year. My sister tries a scoop of whoopie pie, and I settle on vanilla honey for a tasty midafternoon pick-me-up. Before we make our way back to the inn, we walk across York’s Wiggly Bridge, a suspension footbridge that leads to Steedman Woods.

Bread pudding, round two

As Saturday afternoon fades into night, we travel to Bistro 1828 at Pepperrell Cove for dinner. The staff is warm and attentive, and we are excited to be trying one of Kittery’s newest restaurants. My sister and I split a formaggio board, polenta fries, and carbonara. Every plate has its own incredible set of flavors. As the meal comes to an end, we ask about dessert then order the special: coconut bread pudding. It is the best thing I have eaten all year. So good, in fact, that we order a second one to take home.

Sunrise sky

We’re up before the sun to catch the sunrise at Nubble Lighthouse. The sky is saturated with vibrant pinks, blues, and yellows, and we see a handful of people who had the same idea. We sit and watch the rising sun cast colors across the lighthouse tower and sea. It’s not too cold, so we take our time and enjoy the moment.

After hearing several recommendations, we try Beach Pea Baking Company for breakfast. We both order the savory strata: a slice of focaccia baked with egg, cheese, mushrooms, onions, and asparagus and accompanied by a side salad. The bread is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside; we liken it to a delicious combination of quiche and French toast. After breakfast we set out to further explore Kittery. We discover Badger’s Island, a small island between Maine and New Hampshire that still maintains much of its working waterfront. We roam the docks and stop to take some pictures.

When we arrive at Fort McClary State Historic Site, the sun is shining, and the air is warm. We walk the grounds and read about the history of the property, which was acquired by shipbuilder William Pepperrell in 1689. When we finish exploring the fort, we head home, thankful for the adventure-filled weekend and already planning our return trip.