York, Maine, settled in 1641, is Maine’s oldest town and the first chartered English city in North America. York is a year-round vacation destination and artists’ colony, and home to many scenic and historic attractions.
Cape Neddick (“Nubble”) Lighthouse: One of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, the Nubble Lighthouse was built in 1879 and is located north of Long Sands Beach. An active lighthouse, Nubble is set on a small island, at the point of a rocky outcrop. The 1879 keeper’s house and a 1902 oil house also still stand on the site. It opens for tours in the summer and offers lectures and special events throughout the year. (See live webcam of lighthouse here.)
Boon Island Lighthouse: Built in 1811, Boon Island Lighthouse is six miles east southeast of Cape Neddick. Boon Island is not open to the public and, while it can be seen distantly from shore, it is accessible only by boat and a difficult landing.
Historical Buildings: Visit OldYork.org for information on additional historical sites in York.
The Old Gaol: The present Old Gaol was built in 1719 with timbers salvaged from the original 1656 structure. The Old Gaol had cells and dungeons, and housed the gaolkeeper and his family. Serving as a prison for the entire province of Maine until 1760, became a county jail in 1820 for the next 40 years. The Gaol has served as a school, boarding house and warehouse; by 1895, it was abandoned and neglected. The Perkins family championed its restoration and festivities in 1900 heralding its restoration drew dignitaries that included Mark Twain. Today visitors will see the gaoler’s quarters circa 1789, dungeons and cells, and a gallery chronicling the building’s history.
The John Hancock Warehouse and George Marshall Store: The John Hancock Warehouse is the only remaining commercial Colonial era building in York. Dating back to the 1740s, the warehouse was likely also used as the Customs House. Over the years, the property came into the possession of several owners, including John Hancock in 1787 and George Marshall in 1867. In 1954, Marshall’s descendants donated the “Old Customs House” to the Newcomen Society in North America, who restored it and sold it to Old York in 1994. Amazingly, the majority of flooring and timbers are original. The upper floor houses exhibits on York’s maritime heritage and commerce, and the early 19th century Customs House has been faithfully restored on the ground floor. The George Marshall Store hosts changing exhibits and lecture space.
Lodgings in York: These four motels all boast ocean views and indoor and/or outdoor pools, and most offer getaway packages. (Visit this site for a comprehensive list of accommodations in York, Maine.)
Sea Latch Motor Inn: A family-friendly establishment, the York Beach’s seasonal Sea Latch Motor Inn offers motel units/suites, cottages, efficiencies and apartments. Within view of the Nubble Lighthouse, it is directly across from Long Sands Beach. Amenities include a Laundromat and Internet Caf© and small refrigerators. The efficiencies have kitchenettes and Jacuzzi tubs; the apartments and cottages have full kitchens. Towels, soap, paper products and coffee makers are not provided.
Grandview Inn and Cottages: Family-owned for decades, the oceanfront Grandview Inn and Cottages lives up to its name — every room has a spectacular view of the ocean, the Nubble Lighthouse and Boon Island. Guest rooms feature patios or balconies, free internet and cable TV. Other amenities include refrigerator, microwave, complimentary coffee and free local phone calls. The cottages feature full kitchens, living and dining area with table, fireplace and private yard.
Stage Neck Inn: Situated on a secluded peninsula bounded by ocean, harbor and river, the Stage Neck Inn touts itself as a “small boutique resort hotel.” Considered one of the better mid-range, year-round establishments in York, the Stage Neck amenities include a full service spa, clay-court tennis, fine dining restaurants and, in peak season, a terrace lounge. Other amenities include room service, free full breakfast, terry robes, free internet, refrigerators, VCRs and CD players.
York Harbor Motel and Cottages: Directly across the ocean, the seasonal York Harbor Motel features motel units, weekly cottage and apartment rentals. Amenities include free hot breakfast, internet and laundromat. Most rooms have coffee makers, microwaves and refrigerators. Cottages and apartments accommodate up to eight, and include full kitchens, basic utensils, dishes and bed linens.
Sources: Visit Maine.net; VisitMaine.com; York Chamber of Commerce; Southern Maine Coast.com