Mount Agamenticus is the perfect mountain for people who don’t really like to hike. Each of the trails that connects to the summit from the outermost Ring Trail is short – like less-than-half-a-mile short – or you can make it even easier on yourself and just drive up to the top.
However you get there, 692-foot Mount A – as the locals call it – is worth a visit. No, the views aren’t breathtaking, but The Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region has done a great job providing picnic spots, a lookout tower, an outhouse and a big wooden events deck at the peak, which once upon a time was a ski area. The summit is one of the best spots around to see migrating hawks, osprey and falcons during the fall, according to the conservation group’s website.
Mount A and the surrounding trails on the conservation land are also a great starting point for a day trip to York.
LUNCH AT FLO’S
Less than 5 miles from Mount A, heading toward the coast, is a lunch spot most southern Mainers are familiar with. Flo’s Hot Dogs has been in business since 1959. Don’t expect any extras – no specialty drinks, no burgers, not even a restroom – just expect a waiting line and a darn good dog.
Flo’s steams dogs when you order them, and you’re expected to be ready to order when your turn arrives. There’s even a sign near the entrance that walks newbies through the ordering process.
A tip: Get the Flo’s relish. You can have regular, old green relish any time, but you can only get Flo’s reddish-brown version at the stand, online and in a couple of local shops.
A second tip: Order two.
About 3.5 miles closer to the water stands Nubble Light. It’s the prime attraction in Sohier Park and one of the prettier lighthouses you’ll see.
You can’t actually get to the lighthouse, where it sits atop a large rock just off the York coast, but you can do plenty of admiring from the rocks on the mainland. You only have to wait a few minutes to get some great photos of the white waves splashing on the rocks with the light in the background. Wait a while longer and you just might see a double-crested cormorant, a herring gull or a harbor seal.
Sohier Park offers plenty of free parking, so it’s a great place to stroll around, have a picnic or catch some sun. There are even restrooms, and the gift shop is open daily from mid-May through late October.
HITTING THE BEACH
York has two main beaches, and they couldn’t be more different.
Long Sands Beach runs for a mile along Long Sands Avenue. There’s plenty of beach to walk, play or relax, especially when the tide is out. Use the metered parking spots (as long as they’re working), and you won’t have to walk far to find the perfect spot on the sand. Public restrooms can be found at the halfway point.
If you’re looking for a little more activity, Short Sands Beach is the place to be. It’s tucked in between rocky cliffs in York Beach Village and is just a quarter-mile long. There’s paid parking here also, in a lot just behind the beach that also houses the restrooms.
When you settle onto the sand here, you’ll be within a short stroll of restaurants, shops and more candy stores than there should be in a two-block area.
A must-see is the taffy making in the window at the Goldenrod, which also has a huge candy selection, ice cream and an old-fashioned soda fountain. It’s been a York landmark since 1896.
There’s also the Candy Corner to serve your chocolate needs and Whispering Sands Gift Shop, which has its own sweets selection.
For more substantial food or drinks, try Inn on the Blues’ deck and view of the beach or Woody’s Brick Oven Pizza.
And if you just need a break from the sun and food or drinks don’t do it for you, step off the Short Sands dunes and into Surfside Bowling, where you can knock down some pins or play a round of indoor mini golf.
TREATS AND TASTING
On your way out of town, you’ll conveniently pass two spots for some snacking before you hit the highway.
If you’re still looking to satisfy that sweet tooth, check out Rossi’s Italian Bakery on Route 1. The business used to be downtown at the beach but moved into a strip mall area that’s a little more accessible for locals. You’ll find everything from cookies and cannolis to cupcakes and cheesecakes.
Your final stop for any trip to York should be Stonewall Kitchen’s flagship store. Not only does it have a huge showroom for the company’s many yummy products, there’s also a cafe, a test kitchen where classes and tastings are held, and aviewing room where you can see products being packaged.
The biggest draw, of course, are the shelves of products available to taste. You can try several flavors of Stonewall salsa, jam, mustard, marinades and dressings. It’s easy to lose track of time while checking out the food products and kitchen utensils. It’s even easier to be tempted into spending a lot more money than you planned.