Hardly Marginal in MaineAuthor: Domenic D
Date of Trip: July 2009
Hardly a marginal way in beautiful Maine
Whoever created the popular 2009 buzzword "staycation" certainly did not have the southern coast of Maine in mind. When it came time to decide on a 45th wedding anniversary present for my parents, my sister and I decided to take them away on a long over-due family trip. We were drawn to Maine after reading about its scenic wonders and natural beauty. Its breathtaking seascapes, pristine beaches and jagged coastline that emotes a rugged calmness didn't disappoint.
We stayed in the beachtown of Ogunquit, which is known by the Abenaki tribe as "beautiful place by the sea." They certainly knew of which they spoke. Ogunquit is all about jaw-dropping ocean views, crashing waves into granite cliffs, and a village bustling with restaurants, bars, boutiques, and galleries. Ogunquit owes much of its splendor to artists who helped turned the sleepy fishing village into one of the most enjoyable seaside resorts in all of New England.
Getting to Ogunquit from Philadelphia was a snap. We flew into Manchester, N.H. and rented a vehicle. A fortunate wrong turn off an exit landed us in Portsmouth, N.H., where we enjoyed lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery and strolled through the vibrant center of this cool college town.
Once we reached Ogunquit and settled into the Meadowmere Resort, which is a fine family hotel, we made our way to the jewel of Ogunquit, the Marginal Way. 1 1 1/4 mile footpath along rocky cliffs and Atlantic coastline and remarkably preserved by locals, we were amazed by assorted plant life, hanging trees over the cliffs and the crashing waves of the unforgiving Atlantic. A painter's waterside delight, there are more than 30 benches along the path to soak it all in.
If the Way's transcendent splendor doesn't grab you, then the food will. Forget lobster roll (if only for a moment), there is some serious cooking here. At Perkins' Cove, a fishing hamlet in theory, a wooden footbridge leads you to excellent seafood restaurants with million dollar views of the ocean and quirky shops that just seem to invite you in. Try the Christmas Dove for early decoration shopping. The downtown village is teeming with shoppers gathering gourmet items by day, diners indulging in expertly prepared seafood (I'd wrestle a cage full of lobsters for another plate of ravioli at Angelina's) by night and the party crowd getting their freak on at the many bars and clubs doting Main Street.
After a whirl through Kennebunkport, we spent our final day and night in the city of Portland, which is a hip place without even trying. Before heading to the airport the following morning, we ventured to the Cape Elizabeth Light, where the scenery is almost mystical and soothingly stark. Later, while rumbling down I-95, the Stones playing on satellite radio, my father asked when we could return. "Anytime you want, dad," I replied.
Written by Domenic DiPilla, who writes and lives in Philadelphia.
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