Photo by Nick Sarro
York, Maine, has been a popular summer resort destination for decades. It’s a beautiful coastal town, and there is no lack of things to do there in the summer. Of course, summer in York means in-season prices and crowds.
Why not avoid both and visit the city in the wintertime. You’ll enjoy the perks of off-season vacationing and get to see the city differently. Don’t worry. There are still plenty of things to do. You can start by adding these ten items to your itinerary of things to do in York, Maine, in winter.
1. Experience Mt. Agamenticus
Although Mt. Agamenticus is popular during the summer, it’s open year-round. During the winter, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy snowboarding, Nordic skiing, and snowshoeing. The views are striking against the snowy backdrop, even from the summit. Please be aware that severe weather can cause temporary road closures.
If you would like to hike to the top, remember that the mountain’s western side is a gradual slope with just a few rocky areas. The eastern side is steeper and more challenging.
2. Take a Walk on the Beach
In winter, you may not consider the beach when you think of things to do in York, Maine, but it’s truly an experience. Winter on the beach means no crowds and a fabulous opportunity to see coastal birds. While you should plan to bundle up, the weather on the coast is often milder than it is inland. Don’t forget your camera.
3. Eat at “When Pigs Fly”
When Pigs Fly is a bakery and pizzeria in Kittery, Maine, just a few minutes from York. Enjoy a pizza and beer. Later, check out the company store next door. That’s where they sell artisanal bread, jams, olive oils, and other treats. Pigs Fly is also the perfect place for a warm, carb-filled meal on a cold winter day.
4. See a Famous Lighthouse
The Nubble lighthouse may not be the largest or most famous lighthouse in New England. However, it’s the one to see in the winter. The Nubble has been guiding ships and keeping the coastline safe since 1879. However, during the winter holiday season, things take a festive turn. The Nubble is decked out for Christmas, and visitors enjoy Santa, live reindeer, and baked goods. Don’t worry. Navigating the friendly crowds is quite easy.
5. Take in Nature and Literature with the New Story Walk
Anyone who wants to experience Mt. Agamenticus with their child should consider the New Story Walk. This hiking outing takes families along the Ring Trail with children’s books posted along the way for reading. The hike is family-friendly, and the chosen books are always relevant to the season. Be aware that the hike could take up to an hour and a half for smaller children.
6. Go Ice Skating
When the weather is right, check out Mackey Skate park. Ice skating is free, but weather permitting. Call ahead to verify that the ice is fine. Make sure to bring your own skates. The park is maintained by volunteers and doesn’t offer rentals.
If you’re traveling and didn’t pack your own skates, check out the Labrie Family Skate at Puddle Dock Pond at Strawbery Banke – less than 20 minutes from York. They offer skate rentals for under $10 and a beautiful outdoor rink to fully take in the Winter scenery. For more up-to-date information, check out their Facebook page.
7. Visit a Local Farm
Harris Farm is a family-owned dairy farm selling locals and tourists farm-fresh eggs, cheese, honey, soups, pies, butter, and more. In the winter, they also offer a wide array of winter sporting activities. These include cross-country skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and fat biking. The farm is located in Dayton, ME – approximately 40 minutes from York.
Even closer, Sandy Hill Farm in Eliot, ME (approximately 20 minutes from York) offers what they call Winter Wonders – where they transform their 14 acres of beautiful, enchanted hardwood forest into a massive light show (with a scavenger hunt for kids). It is just over a mile on gentle, rolling terrain – providing fun for the whole family!
8. Explore the George Marshall Store Gallery
When the weather just doesn’t cooperate, there are plenty of indoor things to do in York, Maine, in winter. One of these is to spend some time exploring the exhibits at the George Marshall Store Gallery. This is a small space that features works from emerging and mid-career artists from New England. The exhibits change frequently, and there is always something compelling to see.
9. Take a Brewery Tour
There are several outstanding craft breweries in York and the surrounding areas. While it’s certainly possible to pick a few to tour on your own, why not hand the keys over to someone else. The folks at Granite State Growler Tours are happy to curate an amazing experience. This bus tour of local breweries takes beer fanatics to the best area breweries to learn, shop, and sample.
10. Go Antique Shopping
While the weather in Maine is great for winter sporting and outdoor enthusiasts, there is plenty to do indoors, as well. In fact, one of the most popular things to do in York, Maine, in winter is antique shopping. Anyone interested in picking up unique items has plenty of locally owned shops to choose from, all along the coast of Southern Maine.
Spend a day shopping and people watching. Don’t forget to stop for lunch and coffee at one of York’s locally owned restaurants. Many of these shops also feature handcrafted items and foods that neighborhood artisans make.
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