York + Kittery
48 HOURS-January 2013
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Kate Gable, Mali Welch, + Sophie Nelson
Art Director Maine magazine
3:00 p.m. @ 75 Market Street
It’s time to head south to explore York and Kittery. My boyfriend, Joe, picks me up at the office and my colleague Sophie Nelson catches a ride. It’s an Indian summer kind of day. The sunroof is open, the ska music is on, and it’s a quick trip to York.
4:00 p.m. @ Atlantic Design
Center I’ve heard from designers in the trade that the Atlantic Design Center is a great local resource, and I’ve been meaning to check it out. I lose Joe in the maze of kitchen displays, and when I catch up with him he is deep in discussion with Mary Kavanagh, a design consultant at the showroom. The Center carries products that you would expect to find in showrooms in New York City or Boston, but it’s all right here, including service with a neighborhood feel.
5:00 p.m. @ York Harbor Inn
We arrive at Chapman Cottage, York Harbor Inn’s newest and most luxurious addition. When we check in we are greeted with exceptional warmth. It’s always a treat to walk into a well-designed hotel room. The white comforter and bright accent pillows pop against the dark gray walls and the clawfoot tub with decadent bath products is calling my name.
5:45 p.m. @ Dockside Restaurant We meet the rest of the Maine magazine crew at the Dockside for a drink. Sitting at the cozy bar, we watch the Weather Channel and the latest on Hurricane Sandy, which is approaching fast. We notice the moorings outside. Next time we will sail down from Portland.
6:30 p.m. @ Ship’s Cellar Pub
We’ve been told that we have to eat at the pub at York Harbor Inn because it is just like eating in a boat…and it’s true. The ceilings are even slightly arced as you might see in the saloon of a sailing yacht. We meet one of my best friends, Evangeline (better known in this town as Dr. Thibodeau), her husband Michael, and their adorable baby Scarlet. They recently moved to York when Evangeline accepted a job at York Hospital. The locals tell me the hospital serves lobster rolls to its patients? You can’t get more Maine than that. Locals Todd and his young daughter Haley stop by our table to take a peek at baby Scarlet. It turns out that their family moved to York around the same time as Michael and Evangeline and are loving it just as much. The food arrives and we are all amazed by the size of Michael’s baked stuffed lobster. It seems like he never stops cracking claws as he tells us about things to do in the area. Some of his favorite places include Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, Gerrish Island, and Fort Foster.
8:45 a.m. @ Chapman Cottage
We enjoy the breakfast buffet of fresh pastries, cereal, and fruit as we plan our day. I try some of chef Gerry Bonsey’s honey. This is the same honey that we found in a jar on our bedside table upon arrival.
9:45 a.m. @ Berger’s Bike Shop
+York Flower Shop What a cute downtown! I’m pleased to find a bike shop. Berger’s is not lacking in any department. I head next door to the York Flower Shop and am instantly relaxed by the aromatic candles and chirping of birds. The abundance of bright colored flowers makes me smile.
10:10a.m. @ Esse Studio
Joe needs a haircut and I could use some pampering so we make an appointment at Esse Studio right in York Village. Joe went to high school with Sonja Conant, who is the owner of this stylish salon. Bridget Caramihalis gives me a great manicure with a pumpkin-colored nail polish for fall. She is going to start offering facials and as she tells me about their sunless tanning with individually designed formulas. I take note for our 2013 Wedding issue.
11:30a.m. @ Mount Agamenticus
How is that I grew up in Maine and I have yet to hike Mt. A? That isn’t true for long. We head up the mountain and couldn’t have picked a better day to see views of Mt. Washington and the leaves changing colors.
1:30 p.m. @ Stonewall Kitchen
I’ve heard a lot about the factory store, so we make sure to stop in. This place is huge! I’ve never seen so many flavors of jellies, sauces, mustards, etc. How creative! We are envious of the cooking classes in session. That would be a fun gift…mental note.
2:30 p.m. @ Kittery Outlets
The Kittery Outlets are a must. Joe gets Smartwool socks at the Kittery Trading Post and we stop at Saucony for running gear, Bose to check out a new sound system, and Crate and Barrel to look for a new sofa.
3:30 p.m. @ Bell Farm Antiques + Backyard Birds and Garden Frills On our way back we stop into Bell Farm Antiques. This old farmhouse is stocked with amazing antiques, jewelry, and home accents. We make our way to the back of the shop and find ourselves in Backyard Birds and Garden Frills. A green thumb or bird enthusiast can find lots of inspiration here.
4:00 p.m. @ York Corner Deli
and Ice Cream As we pull into York Corner Deli and Ice Cream, four dudes with sweet Harleys blasting Frank Sinatra arrive. Even after they turn their engines off, the men continue to snap, sing, and carry on. I love that.
4:30 p.m. @ Sun and Surf
Restaurant A ride down York Beach leads us to Sun and Surf Restaurant for an afternoon snack. This is a classic restaurant right on the beach. Hurricane Sandy is making itself known—the plastic enclosure begins to flap around the heated patio where we have a drink and watch the storm begin to roll in. I think about how great this spot must be after a day spent on the beach, at the arcade, and along the boardwalk.
7:40p.m. @ The Corner Pub
After heading back to the inn to freshen up, we meet Mali and Derek at the Corner Pub. I am pleasantly surprised to see that Maine magazine photographer Matt Cosby is also here with his girlfriend, Kelsey. Joe smokes Mali and Derek’s friend Justin in a quick game of pool. This is definitely a local hangout.
8:15 p.m. @ Tulsi Restaurant
We walk down the block to our reservation at Tulsi. The greeting we receive is as warm as the paprika-colored walls of the restaurant. Our waiter and front of the house manager, Dennis, offers each of us a couple of wines to taste before we select our bottle. I think he can sense that we want a bite of everything, so he brings out a sampling of appetizers, including a variety of pakoras, samosas, and mussels with curry. For a main course we have shrimp paneer followed by ginger martinis. This place is a gem and there is no doubt that we will make the drive from Portland to Kittery just for dinner. On our way out we meet chef Raj Mandekar and congratulate him and co-owner Janet Howe on their fabulous restaurant.
10:00a.m. @ York Harbor Inn
Before we head out of town we decide to go to brunch. The fireplace is roaring as we walk in and Joe and I pick a seat with an amazing view of the ocean. Joe gets a self-created special order of the corned beef hash on an English muffin and I get crab cakes and a Caesar salad. The perfect complement is a Bloody Mary. Looking out over the ocean we wish it wasn’t raining so that we could take the harbor walk to Evangeline and Michael’s. I think about how lucky they are to continue their careers and raise their family here in York.
My fiancé Derek and I truck south to York and Kittery to meet up with our longtime friends Kim Goodman and Justin Kelcourse for the weekend. Derek grew up in York and he is excited to get back to his old stomping grounds.
5:00 p.m. @ Dockside Restaurant
We make a pit stop down Derek’s memory lane to visit the Dockside Restaurant in York, where he worked summers during college. We pull up seats at the glossy varnished bar and order a couple of Redhooks. Derek seeks out the owner, Phil Lusty, whose family first opened the Dockside in the 1950s. Outside, staff is setting up the last wedding of the season on a grassy knoll overlooking the adjoining marina, and in the kitchen, chef Dennis LaPlante is preparing delectable dishes.
6:30p.m. @ Badgers Island
Marina East Justin is the Dockmaster here, and he is putting us up for the weekend on his sailboat. As a Keller Williams Real Estate agent, he doesn’t mess around when it comes to entertaining. He has set up a spread of hors d’oeuvres in the marina office and when we arrive a mini cocktail party sparks up with a few other seafaring couples. Kim pops a bottle of champagne, typically a gesture of celebration, but standard when we get together.
8:00 p.m. @ Buoy Gallery
We head down the street to Buoy where the band Unbunny is playing and run into Al Mead, one of the owners and also a friend from my days living in Portsmouth. Inside, we are surrounded by a glow of vibrant paintings and mellow music. There is a sense of community, a gathering of friends and family, and everyone is mingling and sipping cider. We are impressed by the aesthetic and note that the space can be rented for private parties.
9:00p.m. @ When Pigs Fly
On the north side of the Kittery outlets is a large building—half bakery, half restaurant—tastefully outfitted by juxtaposing industrial materials and country elements. Justin reports, “Hands down one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. I would back their crispy Korean chicken wings in a competition any time, any day.”
11:00p.m. @ Badgers Island
Marina East We head down the pier to our lodging for the weekend, Justin’s Sabre 28 sailboat Lib, where he has made us a cozy bed in the saloon. He makes me a kava tea nightcap and we doze off to the sound of the Piscataqua River’s current spinning past the hull.
9:30a.m. @ Beach Pea Baking Co.
After bustling around the marina, we head over to Gourmet Alley, which is a short stretch of Route 1 offering European-style shopping, with individual specialty markets side-by-side. Here we find Carl’s Meat Market for meat, deli salads, and beer; Golden Harvest for produce, cheeses, and wine; Terra Cotta Pasta Co. for pastas and sauces; and Beach Pea for breads, desserts, tea, and coffee. All are within walking distance of each other and offer excellent groceries to provision your pantry (or galley). We hit Beach Pea where we pack a breakfast picnic.
10:00 a.m. @ Fort McClary
We begin our day by exploring historic Fort McClary in Kittery Point. The grounds are tidy and well kept and they are permeated by an eerie sense of history. We eat breakfast then romp through the old buildings, envisioning how we would remodel them as a residence.
11:30a.m. @ Long Sand Beach
We stop on the sandy, crescent-shaped beach to admire the thick bank of fog swallowing Nubble Light. The hard-packed sand is a perfect surface for Kim to etch “48HRS Maine,” allowing us to leave a mark for others to wonder about.
12:00p.m. @ The Goldenrod + Union Bluff Hotel
We stroll through the Short Sands shopping area and discover that the Goldenrod is closed for the season. When open, the old-fashioned candy counter and busy diner truly feel like the 1950s. In the summers, people line up outside to watch saltwater taffy being made right in the window. We walk around the corner and head up to the inn that towers over a corner of the beach. Inside, the tavern is filled with locals chatting and laughing. We slide into a booth for a snack.
1:00 p.m. @ Cape Neddick Lobster Pound
The Cape Neddick Lobster Pound is tucked into the edge of a small cove, overlooking the wooden remnants of an old bridge. A shingled shack stands at the top of the pier, covered in lobster pots. Above the door is a paddle that reads “Best Little Oar House in Maine.”
1:30 p.m. @ Eldredge Lumber
Hardware stores offer my favorite kind of shopping. We stop in so I can buy some eyelet screws for hanging a project I’ve been working on. As usual, I get sucked in to the possibilities at my fingertips, imagining the things I could build with this endless supply of parts.
3:00 p.m. @ Flo’s Hot Dogs
Derek and Justin always do a little extra bonding when a meat product is in the mix, and they agree that Flo’s is a rite of passage when visiting York. There are two items on the menu: Flo’s House Special and Flo’s Loaded. Derek says, “It’s all about the snap of the natural casing dog and the tang of Flo’s secret-recipe relish.” We advise you to order as is; don’t try to reinvent these proven recipes by modifying. Trust Flo!
4:00 p.m. @ Fort Foster
We park at the gate and walk the leaf-laden road to historic Fort Foster. A cute couple passes us, dragging a lobster trap they found on the beach. We make our way down the long pier to get a good view of Whaleback Light.
4:45 p.m. @ Golden Harvest
We swing in for champagne mixers: pomegranate juice and cider. I get a twinge of jealousy whenever I’m at this market; I wish I lived next door! Back at the marina, Kim and I make drinks for happy hour. We play a dice game called Bones, which she whips me at.
6:00 p.m. Jefferds’ Tavern
We go to a performance of the “Ghost of Smuttynose,” put on by student actors, a spooky reenactment of the late-1800s murders on Smuttynose Island. Derek’s dad joins us as we move our way through the creepy old building watching local kids act out this gory tale. We spot Derek’s cousin Corina in one of the scenes and it cracks us up because she is dressed like an old man drinking in the pub.
7:30p.m. The Corner Pub
We put our names in at the Black Birch, where the seats are few and coveted, and head across the street to the Corner Pub to shoot some pool while we wait. Here we meet up with Kate, Joe, photographer Matt Cosby and his girlfriend, Kelsey.
8:30 p.m. @ The Black Birch
We are seated at a communal high-top that spans the center of the restaurant. We order drinks and dive right into the menu. We ask the owner, Gavin Beaudry, what he recommends and he says to “share, share, share,” so we do just that. We start ordering and passing dishes around the table. From the first bite we are hooked by the creative yet approachable flavors. Deviled eggs then pickled ’shrooms. The poutine is a favorite, then gets one-upped by the bacon bleu cheese mac. Next it’s deep-fried short ribs, Allagash-battered fish and chips and finally a braised pork shank that Derek loves so much that I think he might get it tattooed on his arm. We take our time with the plates, savoring our bites and the escalating laughter that comes only with good friends. After dinner, I take a little walk around the space. Along the back of the building, a hallway connects Buoy with the Black Birch. Al from Buoy is working the bar tonight and he shows me the handcrafted all-wood record player that is providing the night’s soundtrack.
11:30p.m. @ Badgers Island
Marina East We continue the party back on Lib, with a box of hot Black Birch doughnuts that Gavin insisted we take. Matt, Kelsey, Kate, and Joe join us and we all cozy up on Lib for dessert, champagne, and conversation.
11:00a.m. @ Loco Coco’s Tacos
No trip to Kittery is complete without a meal at Loco Coco. Our friends Martha and Danny meet us at the marina and we head to this roadhouse-style taco joint. I order the Chicken Tinga Tostada. As we finish up the weekend, I think how grateful I am to have friends and family to visit often in York and Kittery, and how lucky Maine is to include these awesome towns within its borders.
4:00 p.m. @ Atlantic Design
Center My colleague Kate Gable and her beau Joe Seremeth—a multi-talented designer and woodworker, respectively—lead me into the design center, and this renter gets an education in home design. The showroom is connected to Kittery Ace Hardware and is a stone’s throw from Eldredge Lumber, making this section of Kittery a convenient antidote to less personal big-box stores.
4:45 p.m. @ Edwards’ Harborside Inn
Kate and Joe drop me off at the classic bed-and-breakfast set at the junction of harbor and ocean. Lauren Maiola, the incredibly kind assistant innkeeper, is there to greet me, along with my good friend Sammie Francis, who will join me for the weekend. Through the entryway’s many windows Sammie and I admire the sun setting over the boat-filled harbor. Lauren shows us up to our room, which is outfitted in antiques and features a distant view of the nearby beach and the Atlantic beyond.
5:30 p.m. @ Dockside Restaurant
After clinking glasses with the 48 Hours crew, the weekend feels officially underway. Sammie and I discuss our tentative plans for the weekend, and enjoy the company of friendly bartender Mike Menard.
6:30 p.m. @ Jefferds’ Tavern
Sammie and I join a group of diners in black attire making their way toward the tavern and the special “Twas a Dark and Stormy Tavern Dinner” event put on by the Museums of Old York. A rag-clad woman with a stooped shoulder and a blackened mouth introduces herself as Irene Lewis. (Later we learn that Irene Lewis was a famous pickpocket from the mid-eighteenth century, when little York Village was home to 17 taverns.) Sammie and I wander through the candlelit rooms and finally take a seat at a table with two other couples, Phil and Lynn Casciotti, and Gus and Gloria Gustafson. Gloria Gustafson is a local painter, and we make plans to visit her in the Village Gallery the next day. Following a wonderful dinner cooked on the hearth and in a beehive oven, we’re treated to a reading of Hawthorne’s short story “The Minister’s Black Veil.” I love listening to the speaker’s deep and steady voice move across the tightly wound sentences. The next tavern dinner (they take place about every other month through the winter) is on January 25, and Sammie and I hope to be there.
8:45 a.m. @ Edwards’ Harborside Inn
Sammie and I find seats at a round table by the windows and are soon joined by a couple from eastern Massachusetts, up to Maine for a mini vacation. We dig into a lovely fruit strata—still warm from the oven—and get to talking about books. Michael Palmer is the bestselling author of 17, soon to be 18, medical thrillers (and an MD to boot) and offers us some advice on writing and life.
9:45 a.m. @ Cliff Walk
We had every intention of dropping in on a 9:30 a.m. yoga class at Yoga on York, but lose track of time chatting. I’m bummed—we heard great things about the studio and the instructor Jeff in particular—but the sky is blue and the air is crisp and a walk along the cliff’s edge suits us just fine. The pathway leads us beneath canopies of bramble and up stone steps to incredible lookouts.
11:00 a.m. @ Daisy Jane’s
This shop is full of beautiful women’s clothes and accessories—not to mention shoppers. I try on and secretly pine for a black sweater with a faux fur collar that reminds me of my actress grandmother.
11:15 a.m. @ The Village Gallery
I’m in awe of Gloria Gustafson’s oil paintings, but find her watercolors especially moving. The piece Shore Path, featured in the hardcover book Gloria Gustafson: Maine Artist, Sunrise to Sunset, is so delicate and lovingly made, I’m not surprised to learn that it was purchased by a director of the Museum of Modern Art. Gloria once owned this gallery, and can often still be found inside at work on a painting, surrounded by her own work and that of many talented Maine artists.
12:00p.m. @ York Village
At the shop Beyond the Sea, we chat with co-owner Doug Taylor and admire the varied collection of flowers, artwork, and accessories. The nearby Rick’s All Seasons Restaurant comes highly recommended, as does Fat Tomato Grill, where I decide to make a stop. Sammie and I sit on a sun-soaked stoop like a couple of kids, dipping fried sweet potatoes and green beans into mysterious sauces.
1:30 p.m. @ Bob’s Clam Hut
I’ve wanted to come to this Route 1 landmark since I watched Guy Fieri stop by on an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Apparently a lot of people feel the same way—the parking lot is packed and the lines are long. The fresh battered and fried clams with homemade tartar sauce are well worth the wait, but I’m only able to make a small dent in the sizable pile atop the buttered bun. On the way back to York Village we pass Robert’s Maine Grill—another restaurant that came highly recommended and is apparently owned by the same folks.
2:30 p.m. @ The Yarn Sellar + St. Joe’s Coffee
On our way to Cape Neddick, we make a couple stops. The Yarn Sellar is stocked with yarns of all colors and textures and other knitting supplies. Hot coffees from St. Joe’s power us up for what’s left of the afternoon.
3:45 p.m. @ Clay Hill Farm
Originally I added this place to my itinerary because my best friend, who now lives in Boston, is getting married about a year from now. Like a good Maine maid of honor, I wanted to see what the southern part of our state has to offer in the way of wedding venues. She ended up choosing a place in Massachusetts, but Sammie and I decide to stop by Clay Hill Farm anyway. We roll through Cape Neddick, making note of the countless antique shops on the way to the farm. A wedding is underway at the farm, and we meander around the lush, sprawling property, out of sight of the wedding party.
4:30 p.m. @ Pie in the Sky Bakery
When Sammie and I step out of the car, we are nearly knocked over by the sweet, buttery smell emanating from the tiny bakery. We meet Nancy Stern, who is celebrating the bakery’s 31st year in business, and leave with a great big hunk of chocolate chip cookie.
6:00 p.m. @ Edwards’ Harborside Inn + York Harbor Inn
After showering and changing for dinner, I find Sammie in the inn’s common room, playing the grand piano. I take a seat beside the fireplace and spend the next half hour or so admiring her beautiful voice and dark-edged profile against the dimly lit room. Our sweethearts, both named Max, arrive, and the four of us walk under a nearly full moon to the York Harbor Inn for a pre-dinner drink.
8:00 p.m. @ Anneke Jans
I’m excited to experience the Kittery bistro I’ve heard so much about, and what unfolds from the moment we walk through the door to the last sip of wine is as fine a dinner as I’ve ever had. We enjoy a bottle of pinot noir and mouthwatering salads and entrees, our collective favorites being the beef Stroganoff and mussel dishes.
9:00 a.m. @ The Wiggly Bridge
We say goodbye to the inn and walk along the water’s edge to the Wiggly Bridge—rumored to be the world’s smallest suspension bridge—and the tidal pond beyond it. We had intended to take this walk in the evening with the Maxes and some provisions from the Clown, a well-loved shop, but darkness fell fast and there was a piano for the playing.
10:00a.m. @ Bagel Basket
We sit by a cafe window to write a Daisy Jane’s card to our good friend Tasha. Yummy bagels and coffees suit us just fine today, but on another occasion we’ll have to try the award-winning Stolen Menu Cafe we’ve heard so much about.
11:15 a.m. @ Long Sands Beach + Nubble Light
The Nubble is sweet, but my favorite view is of the View Point inn to the north—the waves break whitely on the rocky shore and seagulls swoop and scream. The whole scene is wonderfully dramatic and a fitting conclusion to a beautiful weekend.