I can clearly remember telling someone I grew up in York, Maine, and hearing a follow-up question that was something along the lines of, “York. Where the zoo is?” Yes, York is, in fact, where the zoo is. But York is so much more than the tourist-attracting zoo (AKA “the animal kingdom”), a lighthouse, and a salt water taffy shop. York is made up of York Village, York Harbor, York Beach, and Cape Neddick—all of which have different zip codes and decidedly different personalities. Of all the Yorks, York Harbor is my favorite. So next time you visit southern Maine, do yourself a favor and skip the popular York Beach. Check out York Harbor, and consider using this as your guide:
The Dockside Guest Quarters offers a traditional B&B stay in its Main House, or larger suites with kitchen amenities, additional living space, and bedrooms. The location is a bit off the beaten path, tucked away on Harris Island, behind a marina. The views of York Harbor are fantastic, and you will not be bothered by the plentiful beach traffic.
A trip to York Harbor is not complete without breakfast at the Bagel Basket. At lunch time, order up a classic lobster roll from Foster’s Clambake. For dinner, sit outside at Chapman Cottage, a beautifully restored inn located at the heart of York Harbor. (Happy hour is from 4-6pm!) Have a night-cap at the cellar pub of the York Harbor Inn.
Explore the Fisherman’s Walk, a beautiful path that follows the York River through the Harbor. Don’t miss the world’s smallest suspension bridge, lovingly referred to as “the wiggly bridge” by locals.
Yoga on York hosts beach yoga every Sunday morning, from 7-8:15am, at the York Harbor Beach. Or from the Dockside Inn, walk to the nearby town dock and try stand up paddle board yoga with Koan Wellness. You could skip exercise entirely and relax at the York Harbor Beach—just don’t tell anyone I told you to go there; this beach is mostly reserved for locals (who sit on the right side of the beach), but has become increasing popular since the addition of a bath house. Don’t leave the beach before strolling the Cliff Walk and visiting the Hartley Mason Reserve, a small seaside park.
Bring a bike, or rent one. York Harbor is walkable, but there is a lot to see, and the town is somewhat spread out. Cell phone service can be spotty, so do yourself a favor and let everyone know you are signing off for the weekend. You might be surprised at how good it feels! Also, say hi to my mom, Babs, who serves dinner at the Dockside Restaurant (next-door to the inn). Tell her you follow the Newburyport Daytripper and she might just give you a free chowder.