BIDDEFORD/SACO
The Biddeford Mills Museum offers programs and tours of the historic mill complex in season. Tours are often conducted by former mill workers, offering insight into the 150-year history of the Biddeford/Saco mills. Tours run from mid-May to June and September to mid-October. FMI 207-229-6387 or www.biddefordmillsmuseum.org/

 

A self-guided walking tour of Biddeford/Saco includes City Theater, Saco City Hall, the Masonic Block, several churches, the Saco mill district and many fine examples of 19th century architecture listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A walking map of Saco’s historic district is available at www.sacomaine.org/

 

KENNEBUNK

The Wedding Cake House

First Parish Unitarian-Universalist Church on Main Street is a beautiful example of New England architecture. Built in l772-73 the galleried church, features an Asher Benjamin-type steeple and Paul Revere bell, both of which were added in 1803-04. In l838 the interior was divided into two levels, with the church proper on the second floor and meeting rooms, library and kitchen on the main level. 207-985-3700

 

The Franciscan Monastery on Beach Avenue in Lower Village is a former private estate now owned and maintained by the Lithuanian Franciscan Fathers. It features a 30-acre park along the Kennebunk River designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Within the main building are art, antiques, a modern chapel and a gift shop. Open daily year-round. Free admission. 207-967-2011

 

The Wedding Cake House on Summer Street is one of the most photographed structures in the Kennebunks. This unique, Federal-style, brick house was built in l825 by shipbuilder George Bourne. He added the lavish, ornamental “frosting” about 25 years later. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wedding Cake House is a private home.

 

Walker's Point, Kennebunkport
 

KENNEBUNKPORT
South Congregational Church presides over tree-shaded Temple Street across from the Post Office near Dock Square. The classic New England church, built in l824, features a Christopher Wren-style cupola and belfry. Its two-story-high Roman Doric columns were added in l9l2. 207-967-2793

 

Parson’s Way is a parcel of land along Ocean Avenue that was donated to the town by Henry Parsons “so that everyone may enjoy its natural beauty.” It offers a paved walkway with panoramic views of the Kennebunk River, the ocean, Gooch’s Beach, Wells Beach and, on a clear day, Mt. Agamenticus in York. There are benches and picnic spots along the way.

 

White Columns (formerly called the Nott House), at 8 Maine Street, is an historic Greek Revival home built in 1853, with restored gardens and the Port of Call gift shop. It is owned and maintained by the Kennebunkport Historical Society. Open Wednesday through Saturday in the summer months; Saturday only in September and early October. Admission is $5 for adults; under age 18, free. 207-967-2751

 

St. Ann’s Episcopal Church is a small stone structure on a point of land on Ocean Avenue that juts out into the sea. The summer chapel is rich in both history and art. The interior has massive pine beams and walls made from large stones harvested from the sea. Members of the George Bush family often attend the church during their summer holiday here. A plaque in the entryway notes that the church organ is dedicated to the memory of Dorothy Walker Bush (George H. W. Bush’s mother). 207-967-8043

 

Walker’s Point, the family compound of former President George Herbert Walker Bush, can be viewed from Ocean Avenue. There is limited parking along the road; best viewing and easiest access is by foot or bicycle.

 

Blowing Cave, on Ocean Avenue just across the cove from Walker’s Point, attracts the fearless who like to feel the stinging ocean spray. The hollow, about eight feet from top to bottom, extends nearly l6 feet into the rock. It fills with the incoming tide, and when a big wave rushes in, the overflow gushes into the air with an explosive roar. An impressive sight at mid to high tide and awesome during a storm.

 

WELLS

Aerial view of the Wells Reserve

Division 9 Schoolhouse, a National Register landmark, was built in 1899, one of 17 one-room schools that served the town’s rural population through the late 1800s. Furnished with antique desks, slate blackboards and a wood stove, the schoolhouse is maintained by the town of Wells through the Historic Preservation Commission. Open Thursdays in July and August, North Berwick Road (Route 9). 207-646-7803

 

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve is located at Laudholm Farm on Laudhom Farm Road. The centerpiece is an historic saltwater farm on l600 acres along four miles of coastal barrier beaches, marsh and upland. There are seven miles of trails for recreational hiking and a visitor center. 207-646-l555 www.wellsreserve.org

 

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, on Route 9, is part of a Federal wetland acquisition program to preserve wildlife habitat. The one-mile, wheelchair-accessible nature trail winds through pines and along coastal marsh and an estuary. 207-646-9226

 

OGUNQUIT

Beach Plum Farm on Route 1 features the Roby Littlefield Museum and the farmhouse and barn of a traditional saltwater farm. It is the home of the Great Works Regional Land Trust.

 

Marginal Way is a one-mile paved walkway that follows the shore from Perkins Cove to Shore Road. With its scenic overlooks to the surf pounding against rocky outcroppings, this is a favorite spot for artists and photographers. Parking is available at Perkins Cove.

 

The Ogunquit Playhouse

The Ogunquit Memorial Library was built in 1897 by Nannie Conarroe as a memorial to her late husband George Conarroe. The library, located on Shore Road, is a unique structure made of native fieldstone and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Ogunquit Playhouse, a landmark on Route 1 just south of the village, is an historic summer theater dating back to the 1930s. The playhouse, where many Broadway stars have appeared, was owned and operated by John Lane for more than 40 years. Now under the aegis of the Ogunquit Playhouse Foundation, the theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. See Summer Theater for show schedule. 207-646-5511

 

YORK
The town of York covers such a wide area with so many diverse neighborhoods – York Village, York Harbor, York Beach, York Corners and Cape Neddick, that it is commonly referred to as “the Yorks.”

 

The Cliff Walk, York
 

York’s Historic District comprises York Village, York Harbor and York Corners. The Old York Historical Society has eight historic museum buildings, including: a Colonial tavern, an old jail complete with dungeons and cells, a riverside estate filled with antiques and a warehouse that once belonged to patriot John Hancock. Also on the site are a nature preserve, museum shop, contemporary art gallery and restored gardens. The visitor center is located in Jefferds’ Tavern, Route 1A and Lindsay Road, in York Village. Open June through Columbus Day weekend, closed Sundays. 207-363-4974

 

The Old Gaol (Jail) in York Village, a highlight of the Old York Historical Society properties, dates back to 1719. It housed prisoners from 1719 to1860 and is one of the oldest British public buildings in America. A tour of the famous “Gaol” includes a visit to the gaoler’s quarters, the cells and dungeons.

 

The Nubble, known officially as Cape Neddick Light Station, was built in 1879 for $15,000 on a nub of land just off the shore, hence its nickname, the “Nubble.” Located on Nubble Road, York Beach, it is one of the most painted and photographed lighthouses in the world. The tower is 41 feet high and 88 feet above sea level. There is no public access to the island, but Sohier Park, which is located on the mainland, has ample parking and facilities for visitors.

 

Cliff Walk, which winds along the edge of rocky cliffs near York Harbor, offers dramatic views of the crashing surf. The walk begins at the public parking lot beside the Stage Neck Inn, just off Route 1A. A permit is required to park there; parking is also available along Route 1A. Wear rubber-soled shoes and watch your step; the path is narrow and rocky and there are places without a guardrail. Besides the ocean view the walk provides a look at some of York’s most beautiful estates. The path is about a mile long.

 
Biking on Mt. Agamenticus

 

Fisherman’s Walk and the Wiggly Bridge starts at the George Marshall Store on Lindsay Road near Hancock Wharf. The path goes into Stedman Woods Preserve to the Wiggly Bridge, a 75-foot-long mini-suspension bridge for pedestrians, and then across Route 103. The path goes in front of the Sayward-Wheeler House and comes out at Edward’s Harborside Inn, near the Stage Neck Inn, on Stage Neck Road.

 

Mount Agamenticus is acutally a large hill, often referred to as “The Big A.” At 692 feet, it is the highest hill on the Atlantic seaboard between Florida and Mount Desert in Acadia National Park. It offers panoramic views on a clear day up the coast of Maine, across New Hampshire to Mount Washington and south to Boston, plus a variety of trails for hikers and mountain bikers. The summit is a well-known site in the fall for watching migrating hawks, including peregrine falcons, bald eagles and osprey. The Big A can be reached from Mountain Road off Route 1.

 

KITTERY

Kittery Historical and Naval Museum displays items and artifacts that reflect Kittery’s rich historical and maritime past, including shipbuilding, toys, archaeological finds and household artifacts. Located near the intersection of routes 1 and 236 on Rogers Road extension, it is open from June to Columbus Day. 207-439-3080

 

Fort Foster Park, located on Gerrish Island (connected to the mainland), has several beach/swimming areas, picnic spots and bathroom facilities. The 88-acre park has roads and pathways for biking and hiking, and there are military structures and batteries dating back to the late 1800s. There is a park entry fee of $10 per vehicle, which includes all passengers for a full day. Season passes are available for town residents at $20 per household;  season passes for nonresidents are $80. Fort Foster Park permits dogs during all open hours, but they must be leashed, and pooper-scooper laws are always in effect. Exception: Dogs are prohibited from the east side of Pier Beach; watch for signs. FMI, call Kittery Town Hall at 207-439-0452.

 

 
Fort McClary, Kittery

Fort McClary is near the mouth of the Piscataqua River, where a fort has stood for more than 275 years. The fort is named for New Hampshire native Major Andrew McClary who died in the Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston during the Revolutionary War. The buildings at Fort McClary represent several different periods of construction as the fort was upgraded and modified to meet the area’s changing defensive needs. The site was manned during five wars – the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. Like most other Maine forts, it has seen little conflict. It is open from Memorial Day to September 30. There are picnic tables on the site. An entry fee is charged. 207-384-5160