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A Sunday Drive, Seaside in Southern Maine

Since we were teenagers, my husband and I have enjoyed Sunday drives.

Back then, it was thrilling to be free to go wherever we chose, as far as daylight took us, exploring new places in Maine, on our time table.

We listen to good music, have meaningful conversations, and open the windows for fresh Maine air in warm weather. We’ve always carried our camera and have snapped so many photos that bring us right back to the places we’ve explored, to that particular day, in that part of our journey.

We drive Southern Maine in winter. Because these seaside towns become overrun with tourists in summer, we steer clear then. But in winter, we’re mostly alone and can meander and enjoy the coast in serenity.

This past Sunday, we decided to take the straight shot south via the Maine turnpike to Stonewall Kitchen in York for lunch. How we love that store and all of their products! After moseying around and picking up gray dish towels that will match our new kitchen, some tiny utensils, and a gorgeous white platter that will be perfect for this week’s dinner party, we stashed our treasures at one of the bistro tables in the café and had the most delicious lunch – a cobb salad with avocado for me and a Maine classic, fried haddock sandwich on a brioche roll, for Frank.

With coffee to go, we hopped back in the car and began our way north on Route 1, taking a quick right onto Old Post Road. Our drive brought us to lighthouse #1 of the day – Nubble Light. I’m guessing it’s in the top 10 photographed lighthouses in Maine, sitting just offshore on a tiny island. My Instagram feed holds many captures of this light.

Continuing on, we drove past York Beach and on toward Cape Neddick, along Shore Road with mansions, crashing waves, rock walls, and a winding way. Agamenticus is a beautiful side road of historic homes with sweeping verandas and stone foundations.

We passed the adorable St. Peter’s Episcopal stone church beside the drive to the Cliff House and then into Ogunquit. We took the right to go down into Perkins Cove, walked the tiny footbridge where the winter wind off the ocean blew forcefully.

Still driving the back roads, we passed the long white sands at Ogunquit Beach and promised to return in the summer. We’ll get there early to get a parking space because we know this lot must fill up every sunny summer day.

River Road took us to lighthouse numbers 2 & 3.

Boon Island Light, 9 miles off shore from York Beach, is an inhospitable place without vegetation or soil, an outcropping of jagged rocks with one of the tallest lighthouses at 137 feet. There’s a story of cannibalism back in 1710 when the Nottinham Galley ran aground and the survivors were unable to get to shore.

In Cape Porpoise Harbor, Goat Island Light can be seen from the lobster company docks. In summer, you could get a lobster roll at the restaurant there, but in winter, only squawking gulls joined us there at the end of the road.

Route 9 took us to Shore Road in Kennebunkport, past Walker’s Point and the Bush compound. Some days, we get a bowl of clam chowder at Alice’s Restaurant or grilled burger at Federal Jack’s.

In winter, the ocean is a deep blue, more navy than it looks in summer. It can be wind-swept with whitecaps. It’s barren of the boats which grace our shores in our warmer seasons. We can look far out to sea glimpsing only water and the glint of sunshine on the waves.

Southern Maine in summer – a vacationer’s dream, lots of people-watching.

Southern Maine in winter – enjoyed by Mainers, beautiful in its own way, and viewed in between periods warming up in the car, enjoying a hot cup of coffee and conversation.

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