“To escape and sit quietly on the beach – that’s my idea of paradise.” ~ Emilia Wickstead
Rediscovering places of old
They say every ending has a beginning and every beginning has an ending so it was fitting that I began and ended summer in the same place: Ogunquit, Maine. I had visited Ogunquit as a child, and again when I was just beginning to adult, but it didn’t really register until now. Perhaps it is because I can savor things more firmly entrenched in adulthood, or perhaps being a travel blogger has helped me notice and observe places more. It also helps I now have documentation in the form of pictures that I never had when I was a teenager and even in my early twenties (If you didn’t know, I use to hate pictures!) Whatever it is, I feel like this summer was spent equally discovering new places just as much as it was spent RE-discovering old and falling in love with them.
Ogunquit which in Abnaki means “beautiful place by the sea” is one of Maine’s premiere beaches and has been named the top coastal town in the US several times in the last decade. It was established in 1641, but actually did not become its own municipal town until 1980 when it finally separated from neighboring Wells, Maine. Ogunquit is uniquely situated, as the beach actually forms a barrier between the Atlantic Ocean, Ogunquit River, and the town. During high tide, the beach all but disappears, and at low tide you can swim in the ocean or go to the side closest to the town and swim in the river.
The beach is connected to the main land by various bridges which are also walkable. Ogunquit is a hub for the arts, as well as a welcoming community for all people. It is a bustling town during the summer, and the food scene is one of the best in Maine. One of the tings I love about Ogunquit is that it is a huge walking town. You can literally park your car for the duration of your stay and walk every where.
In an effort to protect boats, a channel was built in a cove at the tip of Ogunquit to form a tidal basin. Due to erosion that tidal basin grew larger and Perkin’s Cove was born. Perkin’s Cove is a unique conglomerate of fishing as well as being an artistic hub. It is filled with boutiques and shops featuring many local artisans.
Perkin’s Cove just might be my favorite place in Maine. It is definitely one of the most photogenic, with docks, beautiful yet quaint store fronts, and even a foot bridge that crosses the river. It will lift up to allow larger boats through the cove, but also offers gorgeous views of the cove as well as the Atlantic Ocean out yonder. While it is a bustling little peninsula, it is also a peaceful one and I always have to visit when I am in the vicinity.
Ogunquit is known for its Cliff walk. Named for the margin between land and sea, Marginal Way is a two and a half mile round trip scenic trail along the Maine Coast bridging Ogunquit to Perkin’s Cove. You can get to it from either end, parking your car and walking. In May I parked at Perkin’s Cove, which has several parking lots, though they are timed, and walked to Ogunquit and back. This past Tuesday I parked on the Ogunquit end and did the reverse. I actually parked at the Main Beach parking lot and walked over the bridge to pick it up by the Anchorage Resort just off of Shore Road.
There is a parking lot closer the Main Beach, but if you are going to go to the beach afterwards, it is more economical to park at Main Beach and walk from that side and back. It is about three and a half or so depending if you want to explore Perkin’s Cove and walk the footbridge there.Because it is so scenic, it doesn’t feel like you are walking for miles and it isn’t strenuous at all. There are also several small beaches with stairs so you can visit and hang out if you want too, or like I did and have a photo shoot.
Beginning of Summer
When I went at the beginning of summer, social distancing, and masking were still a thing, there also were not as many people and not as much was open as it was the beginning of the season. I got prime parking at the municipal lot at Perkin’s Cove and walked the Cliff Walk from that end. Since it was so early in the season, the beach roses were just starting to bloom, and it was slightly chilly, especially as the day went on.
I had visited Nubble Light House prior to going to Perkin’s Cove and before I made my way to Main Beach which was actually free since it was during the week. Score! I enjoyed the peacefulness, before beach season really kicked into gear, and as the weather was moody that day, I had the beach which was mostly at low tide to myself which was nice to walk, before I decided to head home.
End of Summer
In contrast, while I visited on the last day of summer and the season was winding down instead of up, it was still bustling, with beach goers soaking up every last drop of summer. I parked at Main Beach, so I wouldn’t have to pay twice. During the busy season it is twenty dollars, which wasn’t bad, especially since it is for the day and they do have bathrooms that are super clean there.
I decided to walk Marginal Way first which was a good thing as it was busy and got busier as the day went on! I was still able to snag pictures on one of the beaches and also catch some pretty excited waves. After strolling around Perkin’s Cove, I made my way back to Main Beach. As it was high tide there was only a slip of beach, but I was able to snag an Adirondack chair overlooking the beach where I sat for awhile, relaxing, reading, and editing pictures, until I began to get chilly as the wind picked up. Thankfully the tide was going out so I made my way down to the beach, this time with a blanket!
The cool thing about Ogunquit is that when the beach goes out, it goes out quickly. And there is a ton of space to spread out over the sand. I ate lunch and enjoyed the “last” beach day of summer. I grabbed coffee at one of the local coffee shops, before going for a walk and then finally saying adieu to Ogunquit and summer and heading home. It was literally the perfect day (expect for my GPS took me the long way home!) and the best way to end summer, especially as it was how I began it.
Have you been to Ogunquit, done the Cliff Walk or explored Perkin’s Cove? How did you close out summer?