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A Side Trip to South Berwick

It’s tiny, it’s not on the tourist map, and it’s not on the coast, yet little South Berwick, Maine, provides a worthwhile detour back into Maine’s colonial—and literary—history. Think about taking a few hours to explore it if raindrops happen to be pelting York Beach and ruining your beach outing.

The two most important structures in town are the late-18th-century Hamilton House, 40 Vaughan’s Lane (tel. 207/384-2454)—a solid riverside home, with fine gardens and grounds—and its contemporary, the Sarah Orne Jewett House, 5 Portland Street (tel. 207/384-2454), a 1774 Georgian where the famous Maine author lived. Her desk overlooks the village’s main crossroads.

Both homes are open to the public from June through mid-October, on slightly different schedules. Hamilton House is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm, while the Jewett House is open Friday through Sunday (same hours); tours are offered on the hour at each property. It costs $10 per adult ($9 seniors, $5 students) to visit Hamilton House, and $8 per person ($7 seniors, $4. students) to tour the Jewett House.

 

If you’re looking for some nature, take the kids to Vaughan Woods State Park (tel. 207/384-5160), down Oldsfields Road just off Route 236 (a bit south of the South Berwick town center). Set along the quiet Salmon Falls River, the park features picnic areas and a hiking trail through groves of old-growth pine and hemlock. It’s open Memorial Day to Labor Day; the admission fee is $4 per non-Maine resident adult, $1 for seniors and children age 5 to 11.

For golfers, the outstanding The Links at Outlook golf course (www.outlookgolf.com; tel. 207/384-4653) on Route 4 is a fine, links-style track of bent grass fairways and greens. The greens fees for 18 holes will run you around $55 per person in high summer season; it’s cheaper on weekdays, afternoons, and in spring and fall. Carts cost extra.

 

From York, South Berwick is quickly reached via Route 91 (which shoots west off Route 1 just south of the Maine Turnpike interchange for York). It’s a ride of about 20 minutes.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.