The year 1896 held some noteworthy events in history. In January the first demonstration of an x-ray machine in New York City NY took place. April saw the first modern Olympic Games begin in Athens, Greece. The American transcontinental railroad was completed in May, and in June Guglielmo Marconi patented the radio. It was also the year in which Edward and Mattie Talpey established “The Goldenrod” at Short Sands Beach in York Maine.
The year after the Goldenrod opened, electric trains began running from Portsmouth to Kittery and finally York, which enabled word to spread of the fine foods and candies offered by the Talpeys. The tradition continues to this day, and the fourth generation of candy-makers proudly ships their famous kisses state wide, country wide, and even world-wide.
Anyone who has visited York Beach has probably peered into the corner windows of the Goldenrod to watch the candy machines stretch and pull the saltwater taffy that is to become the famous “Goldenrod Kisses”. The smell of salt water from Short Sands Beach just steps away certainly gives credence to the term “salt water taffy”, but actually watching it being made is unique. Crowds gather on the corner, and parents and children alike are mesmerized by the fascinating start to finish process. Read more about it here.
As kids, we looked forward to Memorial Day Weekend when we could once again watch the candy making process with mouthwatering anticipation of biting into the first candy kisses of the year. (The Goldenrod is a seasonal business, as are many in York Beach.) Saltwater taffy can be found in many places across the United States, but as everyone in southern Maine knows, only the Goldenrod makes a real candy kiss.
The Goldenrod is not just a candy store, although to this day you can still buy penny candy for a penny there. Beyond the candy counter is an old fashioned marble soda fountain offering home made ice cream and sherbets, frappes and floats, and a hot fudge sauce that you will not soon forget. Order from a large selection of freshly made sandwiches for a quick lunch and don’t forget a fresh fruit orange or a fresh lime Rickey. You will find the long list of home made ice cream flavors difficult to choose from, but well worth the experience.
If you prefer a table rather than sitting at the soda fountain, click here to see the massive rustic stone fireplace in the dining area. If you like to people watch, ask to sit out on the glassed in porch with views of the center of town. The breakfast menu is varied and includes not only the usual breakfast items, but fresh bakery foods not the least of which is a home made blueberry strudel.
The lunch and dinner menu is as informal as the setting, consisting mostly of soups, sandwiches, and “Feature Luncheons”, but the sandwiches, especially the clubs, are meals in themselves. A word of caution. The Goldenrod does not serve French fries, or any deep fried foods for that matter. For those who may think this is some sort of statement on their part in support of health food extremists, let it be known that to my knowledge, they never have served deep fried foods, and it’s a candy/ice cream parlor, my friends, so if you’re watching your weight, stay home.
But if you’re looking for a unique experience while vacationing in southern Maine next summer, gather up the kids and visit the Goldenrod at Short Sands Beach in York Beach Maine. Don’t go in right away, though. Stand on the corner and watch the best candy kisses in the world being made. If you can’t make it, watch a short history of the Goldenrod here and have a box mailed to you.