With easy transportation access via train, plane and bus, Southern Maine and the Greater Portland area have become a go-to destination not only for vacation but for year-round living. Starting at the “Gateway to Maine” just across the bridge from Portsmouth, New Hampshire is Kittery. This historic town is home to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The many outlet stores attract tourists and bargain hunters but head over to the peninsula of Kittery Point where you’ll be transferred to a quaint fishing village offering seaside homes and incredible harbor and ocean views.
Next stop up the coast is “The Yorks.” The communities of Cape Neddick, York Harbor, York Village and York Beach formed one government to create a very unique and diverse town, York. With long sandy beaches and family-friendly surroundings, and the proximity to Boston and New York City, The Yorks are a most sought-after place to not only visit but to make a year-round home. A must stop is Nubble Lighthouse, considered to be one of the most photographed lighthouses. And you have to take a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen, home to many award-winning specialty foods.
Continuing on, Ogunquit offers great theater at the Ogunquit Playhouse, beautiful sand beaches and restaurants with many recognized chefs . The Marginal Way is a paved, public shoreline footpath that connects Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach. Spanning a little more than a mile, this is a spectacular walkway with dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean. Exiting Ogunquit, Wells is home to the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve, 2,250 acres of protected land, and the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, 5,400 acres named for environmentalist and author Rachel Carson.
The Kennebunks (Kennebunk and Kennebunkport) are one of the primary destinations on the Maine coast. Steep in seaside history, the Kennebunks are abundant with arts, architecture, boating and shopping. The year-round events, such as Christmas Prelude, bring visitors world-wide, many who have come to make this area home. The drive around Ocean Avenue to Walker’s Point, summer home of President George Bush, is a breathtaking example of the splendid rocky Atlantic coastline.
Traveling along coastal Route 9 through Cape Porpoise you’ll get to Goose Rocks Beach, Timber Point, and Fortunes’ Rocks. These areas are more laid back with stretches of beach that seem empty even in the height of summer. These beaches are also surfing meccas. Biddeford Pool sits on a peninsula with incredible views especially from the Abenakee Golf Club. Saco and Old Orchard Beach sit inside Saco Bay with 7 miles of one of the best beaches in Maine. The northern part of Old Orchard Beach brings you to Pine Point, part of Scarborough.
Greater Portland begins with Scarborough, a growing community just 15 minutes out of the city of Portland. With great schools, state parks and beaches, Scarborough is a popular area for visitors and year-round residents. Jutting off of Scarborough is Prouts Neck, home to the Winslow Homer Studio where famed artist Winslow Homer lived and was inspired. This enclave of generational cottages, many designed by noted architect John Calvin Stevens, present an interesting view of a bygone era. Famous families, such as the Rockefeller’s and descendants of Thomas M. Carnegie, spend quiet summers at Prouts Neck.
Cape Elizabeth is proud to have the Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race headed by Women’s Olympic Marathon Winner Joan Benoit Samuelson. The race starts at Crescent Beach State Park and ends at Portland Head Light (another infamous lighthouse of Maine) and draws runners from all parts of the U.S. as well as elite athletes from around the world. Cape Elizabeth, with its craggy shoreline and sandy beaches, marks the entrance to Casco Bay. The “Cape” is convenient to Portland, offers exceptional schools and is a rural community with a mixture of farms, great neighborhoods and oceanfront estates.
The city of Portland is a bustling working waterfront with fishing boats, restaurants and local businesses. Catch the ferry to Peaks or Great Diamond Island in the summer for Maine island flavor or meander through the “Old Port” perusing local wares. Portland has been long recognized as a destination for the discriminating palate with award winning chefs and the fine art of craft beer. A flourishing and diverse city, Portland provides a wide range of employment opportunities, art and cultural events, and sports with minor league baseball, an NBA development team and a minor league hockey team. With its international airport and a train direct to Boston, you can get here from anywhere!
As you leave Portland and head up the coast, travel along Route 88/Foreside Road and you’ll be on a tree-lined scenic road that connects Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth. The stately homes along “The Foreside” hug the waterfront of Casco Bay. Falmouth provides one of the largest anchorages in Maine. The town is home to three private golf clubs and the Portland Yacht Club. Cumberland is home to The Cumberland Fair, one of the state's larger agricultural fairs that has been held yearly since 1868. Yarmouth Clam Festival, a 3-day event in July to celebrate the scrumptious Maine clam and to assist over 40 non-profit organizations, draws 120,000+ people from far and wide. Not only are there beautiful waterfront homes, “The Foreside” has historic homes, Gentleman’s farms and top-notch schools.
On the cusp of the Southern Maine Region and the Midcoast Region is Freeport. Home to the L.L. Bean flagship store, Freeport has become known for its world class outlet and boutique shopping. But, a 5-minute drive towards the coast will bring you to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, 200+ acres of varied ecosystems along the rocky shorelines of Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River. Just 20 minutes out of Portland, Freeport is a great town to visit and reside.
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