A Special Place by Sharon O’Donnell
The past few weeks have been hectic but fun. First, my middle son and I accompanied my oldest son to Charlottesville, VA for an orientation meeting for grad students in his Masters of Accounting program. I absolutley LOVED traveling with my two oldest sons and reveling in the kind of young men they have become — from their character to their senses of humor. It was just fun being with them. Charlottesville is wonderful too, and my son will be living within walking distance of campus as well as the downtown pedestrian mall area. He will have a lot of fun there, I know (he will after all be living in an apartment complex on top of a World of Beer taproom).
Then it was home for the three of us to pack and leave with the rest of the family to travel by car to York Beach, Maine; this is a beautiful beach town on the southern tip of Maine that we have visited regularly ever since my husband’s Great Aunt Kay used to live there (she was a wonderful lady). The road in front of the cottages along Long Sands Beach is dotted with ice cream stands, just across from the rocks leading down to the Atlantic Ocean. About a mile out to the left is picturesque Cape Neddick Lighthouse standing high up on the rocks. It’s more commonly called Nubble Light, and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world, and with good reason.
Just down from that is Foxes’ restaurant with million dollar views and delicious seafood, particularly of course, the lobster. The air smells fresh, and the sea breeze is cool, especially at night. There are only mom and pop type of restaurants and stores — no McDonald’s or other retail chains here. If you follow the shore road around the bend past the turn-off to the lighthouse, you reach Short Sands Beach complete with a downtown area of shops and even a small amusement park and zoo. The Union Bluff hotel stands tall and proud above it all, looking like a throw-back to the turn of the century — 1900 not 2000. The Golden Rod restaurant is a tradition for us to eat at with its sandwiches and ice cream and famous taffy, which is made in the front of the store and can be observed through a huge glass window.
The cottages across from Long Sands beach are all old, some renovated and some still rustic; the houses up on the cliffs near the lighthouse are multi-million dollar homes with spectacular sea views. We had our dog with us, so we stayed in one of the more rustic — okay the most rustic-looking cottage — because it was dog-friendly — the only place we could find that was oceanfront and allowed dogs. The place was a little dark, and the floors upstairs were, shall we say, not quite level — but the views from the front porches were fantastic.
York is a special place because of the memories it brings back. Even though I was there with my sons, now ages 23, 20, and 14, I could still
hear their young little boy voices as they raced across the sand. I could still picture things we did there when they were toddlers. It has become a
very dear place to all of my boys. And it’s a real perk that it’s only an hour and 15 minutes from Boston — so since they are huge Boston fans,
we made the trip into the city for a game. Even though the season has been a rough one for the Red Sox, it was still great fun.
It was a wonderful trip, excluding the horrendous traffic delays outside of Washington, DC. York Beach is a special place — but it is not just the geographic location and its beauty; it is the place it holds in our memories, the role it has played in our lives, and as my sons get older, we all realize how blessed we were to have had these summer vacations that will always have a place in our hearts.