Last week, I was in Ogunquit, Maine.As my Instagram feed would have shared, I was on vacation with my family. Never heard of Ogunquit, Maine? That’s okay, neither had I but now, I will never forget this quiet, quaint coastal town. It’s the perfect east coast beach getaway and what I happily refer to as Xanax for my soul. It’s the first time in years that I’ve gone on vacation and actually come home feeling relaxed.
The Big Guy was headed to Maine for business and, as we sometimes do during the summer months, we tagged along and made it a family affair. I’d always wanted to visit the Eastern Coast and play on its beaches so I looked for a hotel by the sea. At the suggestion of a friend, I found the Anchorage Resort by the Sea. Just the name itself conjures up images of waves crashing into the shore and families building sandcastles.
After a 15-hour road trip with children, sanity still in tact, we arrived at our destination and it did not disappoint. Upon first glance, it was everything I imagined it to be. Bluish-gray siding and white shutters just like in the pictures. The staff was friendly, well-versed in their small town and attentive. The rooms, while not huge, were clean and comfy. We stretched our legs, changed our clothes and immediately started exploring.
Our first introduction to the small town of Ogunquit was our walk down the Marginal way to Perkins Cove for dinner at Barnacle Billy’s. It was at dusk. The tide was low and families were still frolicking on the beach as we walked the mile or so down the path serenaded by waves crashing as day slowly metamorphosed into night. This was only the second time our girls have been to the ocean and the scene mesmerized them.
Once we made it to Perkins Cove, after several stops for photo ops along the way, we made it to Barnacle Billy’s a local institution. Barnacle Billy’s is located right in Perkins Cove near the footbridge; you can watch all the boats come in to dock as you enjoy your dinner. It was quite pretty. Many people opted for the hour plus wait for a seat on the patio but we were starving and sat inside.
Quick tip: If you opt for sitting inside, you will be seated immediately, you can enjoy the scenery completely and you avoid the smell of “fish”. We sampled the crab cakes (which were amazing), the lobster roll ( which for the coast was a bit pricey but absolutely delicious), the fish and chips ( which were also delicious and some of the cleanest tasting I’ve ever had) and of course, the chicken tenders ( kid tested and approved.) They also offer an assortment of local beers and are known for their Rum Punch, I would not endorse the punch however. It was very strong, so if your goal is to be drunk, go for it but overall, it didn’t taste very well.
If you were ever a fan of The Gilmore Girls, Ogunquit is the Stars Hollow of coastal Maine and it is absolutely endearing nothing like the bustling cities we normally visit.
Day 2: The girls and I wandered down the shop-lined Shore Drive to the Ogunquit Beach, which was a 5-minute stroll from our room. Now, the beach in Ogunquit was different than any beach I have ever been to before in that the tide came in further and further back the shoreline about 20 feet every 20 minutes, so what started out as a huge beach at 11 a.m. ended up being about a 20 foot deep shoreline by the time high tide rolled around at 3:30 p.m. It was our first time, so we learned this the hard way by moving all of our belonging 4 times. Life lesson learned: invest the $25 in one of those little chairs to sit on the beach ( much easier to move than wet, sand filled towels). We also learned the hard way that you should always double check the SPF on your sunscreen and reapply frequently while spending the day on the beach.
We had a lot of fun on Tuesday but learned a lot of hard lessons. For instance, if you build a sandcastle on a moving shore, you will have to build it several times and children and sunburn don’t mix well. I also learned what “Jimmies” were. Ever heard this term before? Apparently, in that part of the country, it means sprinkles on ice cream. Where I’m from, it means condoms so imagine my confusion when the girl at the counter asked me if I wanted “jimmies “on my ice cream cone?
That night, after what we thought was stupendous day at the beach, the family had dinner at another local establishment called Jonathans. The restaurant is in what used to be the owners childhood home. The décor is quaint, the setting is intimate and the service was excellent. The customer service was so phenomenal, in fact, that when I originally called to make the reservation (before succumbing to open table for reservations) no one answered the phone. Due to my impatience, after 3 rings I went online. While I was doing that, the manager called my phone to apologize for missing the call and left a message telling me that there were tables available. Who does that? I was impressed.
Once at Jonathans we ordered the lobster bisque (phenomenal), the Calamari Rhode Island style (which was supposed to be spicy but it was not, but it was very good) and I had the Seafood pasta with clams, lobster and shrimp (it was warm buttery goodness). The Big Guy had the Italian pasta which was also very good but the portion was very generous so, if you plan to have it, come hungry. I also tried the Bloody Orange Martini, which was absolutely delectable. I could have drunk those all night long. Also, we tried the chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese, again, kid tested and approved. Then, we all strolled back to the room with full bellies and happy hearts.
There were lots more we experienced in this amazing little beach town in Maine but I will break this into two posts, as it is getting pretty long.