History and a welcoming spirit define this lively community
Historic buildings, a beautiful coastline, well-regarded public schools, and a vibrant downtown: Yarmouth seems to have it all. Traveling along Main Street, where white church steeples rise next to well-kept homes, visitors may feel as if they’ve entered a Norman Rockwell painting. Depending on the season, kids may be riding their bikes to and from school, lining up outside the ice cream window at Handy’s Market and Cafe, or skating on Orland H. Blake Skating Pond in the center of town. Yarmouth has an impressive number of parkfs, trails, and open spaces, including Royal River Park, home to the annual Summer Arts Series, and Pratt’s Brook Park, which offers more than six miles of hiking and cross-country skiing trails. Sandy Point Beach on Cousins Island is a popular place for swimming and launching kayaks, while on neighboring Littlejohn Island, lobstermen bring their daily catch into the dock near classic Maine summer homes. Yarmouth also boasts a number of busy restaurants, with menus that range from pizza and comfort food to contemporary small plates. The popular Portland-based institutions Rosemont Market and Otto both have outposts in town, while a craft brewery is in the works.
Yarmouth’s long history is evident from its slogan: “Our Latchstring Always Out.” Leaving the latchstring out was a sign of welcome in Colonial times, when the way to open a home’s front door was by pulling a string that ran through a small hole and lifted the latch inside. To “lock” the door, the string could be pulled in. Latchstrings may have all but disappeared from even Yarmouth’s oldest homes, but a welcoming spirit continues to define this lively community nearly 12 miles north of Portland. Every July since 1965, that spirit extends to the thousands of visitors who come to Yarmouth for Clam Festival, a long weekend of family-friendly activities and fresh seafood that celebrates the heritage of the working waterfront. With broad local support, the annual event is a prime example of the pride residents take in this dynamic Maine town.