With limited vacation time and funds, summer road tripping seems beyond reach for many New Yorkers. I’m lucky to have parents (who have cars) living in nearby Connecticut, and I borrowed some wheels for a weekend getaway to Maine.
I had only been to Maine for a quick day-trip while living in Boston during college, so this was my first real experience taking in the beautiful coastline. After swinging through Boston to pick up my trusty side kick Shannon, we stopped in Newburyport, MA and Portsmouth, NH to explore the sleepy, quaint main streets. While many of the shops were alike, the relaxation of strolling through a quiet town is something New Yorkers will never take for granted (cue sirens and honking horns outside, as I’m writing…). We had a picnic lunch along the water in Newburyport and sampled flavored salts at the Salt Cellar in Portsmouth. Then, back in the car for another twenty minutes to Maine.
We soon arrived at our cozy bed and breakfast called Yardarm Village Inn, nestled in the woods in Ogunquit. When we first pulled up, I was wondering how we would get around to restaurants and (more importantly) bars, since we were seemingly off the beaten path. To my surprise, we were just minutes from the shops and restaurants at Perkins Cove, and less than a mile from the “downtown” area of Ogunquit. Our hosts Bev and Scott were welcoming and gave us tips of what to do in the area. They greeted us each morning with homemade blueberry muffins that made our stay extra special.
The number one MUST DO in Ogunquit is the Marginal Walkway along the coastline. It a one mile paved path that curves along the coast with some truly breath taking views, dropping you off right in front of a four-mile long white sandy beach, and nearby shops/restaurants. Talk about perfection. After taking a hundred pictures, we headed for dinner at Barnacle Billy’s. At Bev’s recommendation, we sipped on extra large rum punch and I dug into a stuffed lobster. She was right, one drink was enough to knock a girl out. Thank goodness for the huge lobster to keep me grounded!
On day two, with cloudy skies keeping us from sailing on our Scott’s boat (next time… sigh) we hopped in the car for a quick drive to Kennebunkport. It’s another quaint seaside town, but what made it special was the #1-rated lobster roll in the country (according to Travel Channel’s “Food Wars”) at The Clam Shack. We saw the line from blocks away and knew it must be the place to get lunch. The fresh buttered rolls were topped with heaps of delicious lobster meat – unlike any lobster roll I’ve ever had before. We also drove along the water and spotted the Bush family compound, which is not too shabby.
We finished off our evening in a dive-y piano bar back in Ogunquit, where we were lovingly hijacked by flamboyant couple from Boston. It made for a perfectly outrageous evening that led to a well-plotted escape just past midnight.
I had a long trip home ahead of me the next day, but we made one final stop in York, Maine that is a beach town straight out of the 1950’s (Fun-O-Rama and all). Again, the views were breathtaking and the shops were, well, a lot of the same. Shannon and I came the conclusion that there are a few things you’ll never want for while in Maine: 1. pizza (random), 2. lobster, 3. candy, especially fudge, and 4. ice cream. Considering all major food groups are covered here, I was perfectly content.
I commented to Shan that it was strange I was standing along the beautiful coast of Maine at 12pm, and only six hours later I’d be back in my 500 square-foot apartment on the 36th floor in NY, NY. I guess that’s what is really special about the East Coast; there are so many great cities and beautiful landscapes nearby. The trick is to take advantage of it when you can.