What to do when you get here — An insider’s guide to interests and attractions in the area surrounding The Cliff House Resort & Spa.
FREE (and almost free) Things To Do - Part 2
Hiking & Bicycling
On your next visit to The Cliff House you just might want to pack your walking shoes, your camera and a pair of binoculars and take a trip to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Reserve, just a few miles away off Route 9 in Wells. The Carson Trail is a one-mile walk along an upland edge, offering broad vistas and close-up views of one of southern Maine’s most valuable ecosystems. I can’t decide if I am more fascinated by the wildlife or the trees and plants. One spring I saw a Piping Plover scurrying to distract me from her nest, a silly makeshift indentation in the sand. But, then again, her eggs are sand color — so who is sillier? The combination of marshlands, meadows, rocky coast and forest make this a most unusual place. This is not difficult terrain — you won’t need a Sherpa. You can download a map of the trails at www.fws.gov/northeast/rachelcarson/opportunities.html.
Would you like to explore a coastal forest? Mount Agamenticus is a stunning choice. It is about six and a half miles out Mountain Road, across from Flo’s Hot Dog Stand in York. Don’t be one of the daring bikers who peddle the dangerously curving Shore Road. No, no. Take your bike by car because 11,000 acres await you. Plan on being there twice as long as you imagined because the views are stop-right-here-gorgeous! And the sounds from symphonic to hushed! Directions and a trail map are offered at www.agamenticus.org showing uses permitted on each trail.
I chose Ring Trail and went around the loop twice; once for the joy of it and the second time to read the signs about the history and geology of this amazing place. I topped off my day of bike riding with a Swedish massage in the Cliff House Spa. And, after all that fresh air and exercise, I ordered a lobster for dinner.
There is something so restorative about a stroll when you are on vacation. I always take the Shoreline Trolley to Perkins Cove and walk the mile and a half on Marginal Way to Ogunquit Beach. It can be wildly crowded in summertime and that atmosphere is part of the fun. The views are spectacular, and the scent of the Rugosa beach roses wafts up on the wings of the wind. In late fall this path is pristine, and the view is mesmerizing.
On my most recent visit, however, I walked from Old York Village down toward the Marshall Store. I slipped into the woods just before the store and saw Wiggly Bridge. It is a charming bridge for walkers, suspended above the tidal flow of the York River. It is said to be the tiniest suspension bridge in the world!
There are a series of connected trails in York that provide an expansive view of the waterfront. A short loop trail through Steedman Woods Nature Preserve connects the John Hancock Wharf to Fishermen’s Walk, a scenic path along the harbor. The path hugs the shore past gardens cascading with flowers and shrubs, through the harbor settlement and into a public garden before becoming York’s answer to Newport’s famous Cliff Walk, carved into the rocky shore beneath a series of exquisite homes.
For me, strolls like these are like walking through a living history book. Now, it is time to return to The Cliff House; a favorite place of mine filled with wonderful memories. Being a plan-ahead-woman, I had scheduled a Blueberry Pedicure for 4 o’clock. I will choose a vibrant orange polish, the color of the sunrise.