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A Summer Week in York Beach, Maine - nhpeacenik
A Summer Week in York Beach, Maine
Short Sands at York Beach Early Moring
Last week, my wife's family celebrated their annual family reunion in York Beach, Maine instead of Cape Cod, where they have celebrated in past years. The celebration has been an annual feature of our lives since Denise's mother turned 89, and I was thankful that the logistics of getting to and from York were easier than those of getting to and from the Cape. I have always been a great lover of York as a place: it seems like a place I spent happy times in during another lifetime, while.

York has a long history that has molded it into a quaint, asymmetrical Victorian seaside resort. In the late 18th and early 19th century, people got into the habit of paying local farmers for the privilege of pitching tents on the Long Sands each Summer, and numerous poems and novels were written about the wilderness adventures and love affairs that blossomed there. In 1887, a permanent full-gauge railway link from Portsmouth NH made it possible for Boston's in-crowd to hop in a parlor car to York with their voluminous luggage and stay at one of the tourist hotels, cottages and boarding houses that had been springing up. The railroad is gone, but its ghost maintains the pattern of winding crooked streets which make it very hard to figure out what to do with cars and provide the local police department with ample opportunities for fine revenue, while giving the village a social walkability that would be the envy of many a 21st-century resort. Once an important seaport, though never as important as nearby Portsmouth, the historic Nubble Lighthouse stands as a monument to the days of sailing trade.

A croquet game posed challenges for the family, which had had little experience with the game since childhood, but after setting up the pitch and practicing for a while (as shown in the video below), they managed a credible if somewhat surrealistic game. I kept expecting the flamingos to unbend and walk away. One nephew decided to "go rogue", using his turns to hit other people's balls aggressively rather than to try to make progress through the wickets himself. I wonder if that really is in the rules? :)

My brother-in-law Elias played his bouzouki one night ,and the background music of this video is from that improvisational event.

Denise got up each morning before dawn and walked to the beach. I confess that I slept late more often than she, but one morning we managed a rendezvous at Long Sands. (see Denise's Journal for more)

I got to see the zoo finally! Even though it is surrounded by acres of old-time crass carnival stalls and rides, it really is a gem. I'll write more about it when I have put together a coherent video.

Another major must-see in York is the Goldenrod Kisses store, possibly the site of the invention of salt-water taffy, where strolling tourists can watch the candy being made on historic machinery in the storefront window. I didn't get a good video of the process so the video below is from another YouTuber. Apart from the reality of the store, I love the name, for the hint that affectionate kisses can have the flavor of a specific flower. I have experienced lavender and violet kisses, but never goldenrod :)

Goldenrod Kisses, York Beach Maine

Here are some pictures of Nico and Tibbie. It was a delight to see and talk with them in person!

Nico & Tibbie 1
Nico & Tibbie 2

Current Location: Greenville, NH, USA
Current Music: The Weavers - Kisses Sweeter Than Wine | Powered by Last.fm

1 comment or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: July 31st, 2010 10:26 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad your York has winding streets - ours does too!

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