Couples who haven't yet discovered Maine may well find its dramatic scenery, expansive beaches, historic treasures, gentle attractions, and abundance of lobsters just right for a honeymoon or destination wedding.
You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that one of the state's prettiest and least touristy seaside resorts is very close: York in southern Maine (comprised of Old York, York Beach, York Harbor, and Cape Neddick) is only 55 miles north of Boston, 8 miles beyond Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and 45 minutes south of Portland.
What to See and Do
For 350 years the area's coast has been made all the more picturesque by the lighthouses that stand guard alongside it. Nubble Light, said by some to be the most beautiful one in America, separates the popular Short Sands and Long Sands beaches. (Beachgoers in search of greater seclusion can put towels down on Cape Neddick and Harbor Beaches.)
What else is there for visitors to do? After you've explored the area's other historical landmarks, stop in for "kisses" (salt water taffy) or mix-and-match a box of chocolate treats at the Goldenrod in sleepy seaside York Beach. If you're early enough for breakfast, have an old fashioned one in the 50-year-old Purple Palace.
Thus revived, check out the galleries and antiques stores or visit the vast Kittery Outlet Malls 10 minutes away. (We came away with a lightweight aspen wood walking stick (for him), Jones NY silk suit (for her), and thick canvas bags from G.H. Bass (shared). Outdoors there's whale-watching, canoeing, biking, and hiking adventures to pursue.
Where to Stay
Although York features a variety of lodgings, from campgrounds to family motels, there are several quiet, charming spots particularly suited to honeymooners. York Harbor Inn contains 33 rooms, some offering the luxuries of an ocean view deck, working fireplace, and/or oversize Jacuzzi tub. Each is decorated differently. (In case you want to have your wedding party here, there's also a private ballroom.)
We spent the night in the LLBean room, which couldn't have been cozier. After a superb dinner at the Inn's pretty, lace-curtained restaurant (Chef Bonsey's lobster special, overflowing with scallop stuffing and piquant with a creamy parmesan sauce, was the most delicious I'd ever tasted), we went outside for a stroll. We considered a dip in the outside hot tub (seats 8) and instead stole a kiss in the gazebo before heading back to our room.
From our second-story deck, we drank in the view overlooking the shore. Besides the inn itself, what made our stay here so enjoyable was the staff: Everyone we came into contact with (from the front-desk clerks to innkeepers Garry and Nancy Dominquez) was genuinely friendly and helpful without being obtrusive. If the York Harbor Inn is booked when you want to visit, consider the Victorian Inn at Harmon Park or The Willows.
Help in Planning a Local Wedding
If you're considering having your wedding in York, the unusual Clay Hill Farm, perched atop a hill, is certified by the National Wildlife Association as a wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary and makes an uncommon setting.