York + Kittery
48HRS – January 2014
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Susan Grisanti, Editor-in-Chief
Susan Grisanti, Editor-in-Cheif
There’s a certain type of Mainer (we could call them salty) who draw our state’s borders a bit differently than those on a map. I’m not sure where the real Maine begins for them, but I’m pretty certain that York and Kittery fall south of that place. I’ve always wrinkled my nose at these types of proclamations. But I must admit, when I make a trip to Kittery with friends for my birthday dinner at the Black Birch, things feel different, maybe even a little foreign. It isn’t just that the restaurant is jam-packed late into the evening, despite the summer season having long passed—it’s with whom it was packed. I keep saying, “Who are all of these good-looking people in knitwear? I feel like I’m in Sweden.” In conversation with folks, I learn that several are from New Hampshire, out for dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. Maybe there’s some truth to those blurred state lines after all. This weekend I enjoy a true getaway with its own distinctive vibe all within my home state.
4:00 p.m. @ William Ross Design
My first stop is on Maine Home+Design business: a visit to architect William Ross to scout some of his projects for feature stories in MH+D. I’m blown away by his signature traditional shingle-style new construction designs as well as the gorgeous reconstruction projects of several stately old homes.
6:00 p.m. @ the Tavern at Chapman Cottage at the York Harbor Inn
The evening begins with happy hour at the York Harbor Inn where I meet my best buddy Krista. We’re planning to fit in at least one more stop before dinner so we order fennel seared scallops and house honey-roasted nuts to tide us over and to enjoy with our Maine Smokehouse Manhattans. We cozy up on a comfy couch and enjoy live local music.
7:15 p.m. @ Anneke Jans
The place is hopping with a full restaurant and packed bar. We grab a corner and enjoy a glass of wine and take note of all the delicious-looking plates.
8:00 p.m. @ Tulsi
Krista and I both really love Indian food—and it just doesn’t get any better that the scrumptious cuisine at Tulsi. Tonight they’re offering a special three-course menu, which we split and then supplement with a few favorite items from the regular menu. We feast on tandoori shrimp, fish in curry sauce, roasted cauliflower, and light and fluffy stuffed breads, all with delicious, savory dipping sauces and chutneys.
9:00 a.m. @ York Village
After waking up early and having coffee at the Chapman Cottage we set out on foot towards the village. We stop at Rick’s All Season Restaurant, a local favorite, for breakfast. I notice three dads out to breakfast with their kids. It’s the kind of place where comforting memories are made. Just across the street we stop into the York Flower Shop where we linger over a wide variety of succulent plants and mossy hanging cones filled with orchids. At Berger’s Bike Shop I get the lowdown on road bikes, a purchase that’s on my wish list. Neither Krista nor I show the same restraint at boutiques Tayla Mac and Daisy Jane’s, where we find some special items including a pair of delicate knit wool fingerless gloves.
10:30 a.m. @ York Coast
We head out by car to get the lay of the land. We travel along Long Sands and Short Sands beaches, taking in the change from the grand coastal homes on rolling green lawns in York Village to the fun, beachy atmosphere of York Beach where houses along the coast are lined up side by side just a boardwalk away from the bowling alley and Fun-O-Rama beachfront arcade. Along the way we wander down roads and discover Nubble Light, the prettiest little lighthouse sitting on a large rock island a few hundred feet off shore.
11:00 a.m. @ Chases Garage
As we follow our noses we see a sign: Artist Studios and Gallery, Printmaking and Ceramic shop. Cue screeching brakes sound. We enter what I’m certain will be a regular stop for me—a lovely gallery filled with the exquisite work of owners and artists Cait Giunta and Ned Roche as well as several in-house studio artists and a rotating schedule of artist exhibits and open studios.
12:00 p.m. @ Pie in the Sky Bakery
On our way to lunch I stop in to get a pie to have with my kids when I return from my trip. In business for 33 years, Pie in the Sky’s pies have reached legendary status. I fret over what flavor to choose, from wild Maine blueberry to chocolate fudge, coconut custard to blue raspberry ricotta crumb. In the end, my kids via text are unanimous in their choice: good old apple pie.
12:30 p.m. @ Loco Coco’s Tacos
After growing up and spending most of my life in California, something I truly love is authentic, fresh Mexican food. At Loco Coco’s I feel home again. After I wolf down my three tacos, Krista kindly offers me the rest of her grilled shrimp taco with cole slaw, pickled onion, and avocado—my favorite of the bunch.
2:00 p.m. @ St. Joe’s Coffee
Krista needs to get back home. After dropping her back at the inn and before heading to the outlet mall to do some holiday shopping, I think it’s time for a coffee. High on the list of recommendations from friends and Facebook fans alike: homemade beignets at St. Joe’s—puffy squares of fried dough covered in powdered sugar. I decide a café mocha is the perfect complement; both are decadent and delicious.
2:20 p.m. @ Backyard Birds and Garden Frills
I’m a sucker for antique shops and York and Kittery are full of them. This weekend doesn’t allow the time I’d like to get lost treasure hunting, but I decide to fit one stop in along the way. Largely a garden store filled with plants, accessories, and garden statues, the center of this big red barn is dedicated to antique furniture and vintage accessories. I’m especially partial to a perfectly maintained four-drawer chest circa 1860—just about the same age as my house.
3:00 p.m. @ the Kittery Outlets
I make stops at Lululemon Athletica, J. Crew, the Barbour Warehouse Store, and Crate and Barrel and make a serious dent in my holiday shopping list along the way.
5:00 p.m. @ Chapman Cottage
It’s high time for me to enjoy my room at the Inn. I light both gas fireplaces—one in the room, the other in the bathroom. I dim the lights and take a long, hot soak in the tub.
6:30 p.m. @ The Tavern at Chapman Cottage
My friend Brewster has come to join me for dinner and drinks. The Tavern is still the spot to be and we each grab a seat to hear local musician Pete Peterson belting out favorites while we enjoy yummy drinks and snacks.
7:30 p.m. @ Robert’s Maine Grill
Another spot high on the recommendation list, we stop for a drink and appetizers before dinner at this local favorite. We try a little of everything: chowder, fried oyster slider, steamers, and of course oysters: Bagaduce, Glidden, Fat Dogs, and Salt Dogs—all of them perfectly paired with a muddled cucumber cocktail.
8:30 p.m. @ The Black Birch and Buoy
I have a new favorite restaurant and it’s the Black Birch. I love the atmosphere, I love the people (we shared a table with the most wonderful folks), and I love the food. And there’s an amazing art gallery adjacent to the restaurant that’s open to wander while you wait for your table—and wait you will at this popular spot that doesn’t take reservations. Some things are simply worth it.
8:00 a.m. @ Cliff Path
After coffee, fruit, and a muffin at the inn I head out to walk the Cliff Path, a rocky path that snakes between the gorgeous rambling mansions and the rocky coast of York Beach—a totally spectacular way to spend a chilly morning.
12:00 p.m. @ Beach Pea Baking Co.
After passing a few hours exploring Fort Foster, Fort McClary, the beautiful Kittery Point beaches, and the stunning views from Mount Agamenticus, a girl works up an appetite. I fill up on soup and salad and grab a loaf of freshly baked bread for dinner tonight before I head home, clear from a weekend in a very fresh part of our state.