Ogunquit’s more than three miles of sandy beach is not the closest Maine beach to Boston, but it is one of the most appealing, with a variety of activities within easy walking distance of the long golden-sands. The number and variety of places to stay and eat are also enticing.
Staying in Ogunquit
Ogunquit lodgings cover a wide range of styles and prices, and many of the larger resorts line Shore Road, a good choice because it’s within easy walking distance of the beach and downtown shops and restaurants. You can park your car at one of the inns, resorts or B&Bs on Shore Road and walk to almost everything.
In the mid-price range, the Colonial Inn has a good range of options for rooms. One of Ogunquit’s most historic hotels (it dates from the mid-1800s), it underwent a massive renovation and modernization throughout the winter of 2012-13. Rooms in the main inn (many with expansive ocean views) were rebuilt and enlarged, reducing their number from 44 to 26. More rooms are in three adjoining buildings and include suites ideal for families. Staying here means the car can stay parked, as it’s an easy walk to the beach, Marginal Way and downtown.
Another good choice on Shore Road is The Sparhawk. The Ogunquit Welcome Center (207-646-2939) helps visitors find resorts and inns in all ranges.
Breakfast in Ogunquit
Many inns include breakfast, but if they don’t – or for a change – the small downtown area where Shore Road and Beach Street meet Main Street (Route 1) has several options. For those whose lodging has a kitchenette, the Village Food Market at the intersection sells ingredients and ready-to-heat meals. It also has a counter where there is likely to be a line waiting for cooked-to-order breakfasts from a long menu of omelets, breakfast sandwiches and traditional bacon-and-eggs combos. Tables on the terrace provide seating. Farther up Main Street, Bread and Roses Bakery offers a tempting showcase of scones (raspberry-almond, blueberry-lemon are both delicious), palmiers, cinnamon twists, muffins and croissants along with fresh-baked pasties of all kinds. A good selection of coffees and teas go with them, and benches and tables are on the small wooden deck beside the store. Or walk three-quarters of a mile down Shore Road to Perkins Cove for breakfast at the Cove Café.
And then there’s lunch and dinner
For lunch try Café Prego on Shore Road, for interesting sandwich and pannini choices and great gelato. Service may be spotty, but the terrace overlooking Shore Road is a pleasant place to linger, as is the indoor (and air-conditioned) space, smartly decorated with Italian crafts and artwork. Go to the counter to pick gelato flavors (ask for samples before choosing) that can include luscious pistachio and unusual ones like blueberry pie, along with the expected fiori de latte and fruit flavors. Also on Shore Road, the restaurant Five-O is popular.
In the evening try Jonathan’s, on Bourne Road, particularly known for its entertainment, a full schedule that includes a number of top performers. The menu features local seafood, from fried clams to salmon marinated in Triple Sec. Begin by sharing a bountiful Caesar, skillfully prepared right at the table. Be patient, as service here can be slow.
Pioneers in sustainable dining, chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at Arrows Restaurant have made their own garden an integral part of the dining experience. Their deliciously imaginative menu and skillful preparation were nationally recognized when they were chosen by the James Beard Foundation as the 2012 “Best Chefs in the Northeast”. A prix fixe dinner option of appetizer, salad and entrée is $79. It is a fine dining restaurant where a jacket is preferred and shorts are not welcome. Arrive in time to walk through their vegetable and flower gardens, where you’ll see the ingredients for their splendid salads.
For those who love chocolate – and who doesn’t — next door to Bread and Roses Bakery is Harbor Candy Shop, deliciously cool on a hot afternoon. Their chocolates, fudge and other bonbons are created right there and you can watch them through a big glass window. Their almond butter crunch is especially good, but so are their dipped chocolates and truffles.
Getting to Ogunquit
Only an hour and a half drive from greater Boston, Ogunquit is close enough to drive there after work on Friday and return home Sunday night. Take I-95 north through New Hampshire and over the bridge onto the Maine Turnpike (toll $1). At exit 7 take Route 1 north; it becomes Main Street in Ogunquit.