Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
Heidi Kirn, Art Director, Maine Home+Design magazine
Ogunquit holds a special place in my heart. When I was a kid, my family used to visit on summer vacations, but even though I now live close by, I haven’t spent much time in the coastal town. It’s mid-June, and when I head out, it’s pouring rain. I hear it is supposed to clear up, but either way, I am looking forward to some relaxing time alone to explore, reflect, and relax.
2:00 p.m. @ Manko Antiques and American Folk Art
This barn gallery, located just off Route 1, is open by appointment and owner Ken Manko is expecting me. The rain has stopped and the shingled antique barn is glistening as the sun tries to pry its way through the clouds. As Ken takes me inside, he tells me about their choice selection of nineteenth-century weathervanes, folk sculpture, and carvings.
2:30 p.m. @ Panache Gallery of Fine American Crafts
When I get into downtown Ogunquit, I decide to I continue my artistic exploring at Panache. There is so much eye candy at this glass gallery, which features unique hand-blown art and jewelry.
3:00 p.m. @ Spoiled Rotten
Just around the corner, on Beach Street, sits a quaint historic yellow house with a farmer’s porch. Inside await two floors packed with eclectic gifts and home decor. There’s a huge selection of Maine-made candles and tons of gourmet goodies. Great ideas for home decorating abound—I spy everything from lamps to tableware to napkins.
3:20 p.m. @ Backyard Coffeehouse and Eatery
This rustic-chic coffee house serves Bard coffee and boasts an extensive tea selection. For the hungry, they also have homemade baked goods, which include gluten-free and vegan options, and for lunch, they have lobster rolls and other sandwiches. There is outdoor seating, but I take my coffee with me, as I am anxious to see my hotel.
3:40 p.m. Cliff House Spa and Resort
Gerard Kiladjian, recently appointed general manager, offers to show me around. He tells me that the resort was recently purchased by Rockbridge, the same company that renovated the Eastland Hotel in Portland. This 70-acre resort sits high on Bald Head Cliff and the views are absolutely jaw-dropping. The resort has an amphitheater, a ballroom, a spa, an indoor lap pool, and a stunning outdoor vanishing-edge pool that over looks the ocean. The view from my room is simply amazing, and comes complete with a deck and Adirondack chairs to enjoy it. I love listening to the waves crash against the rugged Maine rocks.
6:00 p.m. @ Caffe Prego
It’s a chilly June night, but the heater on the outdoor patio keeps me warm as I peruse the menu. I’m impressed by the array of Italian options, including gluten-free brick-oven pizza, tasty paninis, pastas, and fresh salads. The Italian cafe’s convenient downtown location makes it the perfect place for people-watching.
8:00 p.m. @ Ogunquit Playhouse
Only in Ogunquit can you go from watching the sunset on a gorgeous beach to seeing big Broadway show within minutes. This historic theater has been producing shows (shows as good as those you’ll find in NYC) for over 80 years. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, so the performances feel grand and intimate at the same time. Grease is playing and the packed theater loves every note.
11:00 p.m. @ Ogunquit Memorial Library
This stone building is beautifully illuminated against the night sky. I have to pull over and snap a shot. The sign dates the building to 1897. I make a note to return and explore inside sometime soon.
8:30 a.m. @ Village Food Market
This local market has everything a vacationer might need, from a late-night pint of ice cream to a gourmet steak salad for lunch. It’s got pizza, soups, egg sandwiches, and salads galore to go or to eat on their outdoor tables. I grab some coffee, fruit, and nuts to take with me on my hike.
9:00 a.m. @ Mount Agamenticus Trail
The panoramic views make it worth the hike to the top of this former ski hill. You can see Mount Washington to the west, and the Atlantic to the east. There are trails of various levels and a learning lodge at the summit.
12:30 p.m. @ Ogunquit Camera Shop with Cricket Corner Toys
A toy store, a camera shop and an office away from home all in one? Yes, please! Don’t forget to buy a kite to fly at the beach while you’re here.
1:00 p.m. @ Amore Breakfast
Just before you enter Perkins Cove, you’ll see Amore on the left with parking in the back. Delicious breakfast is served in a spacious dining room with black-and-white checkered floors and a soda pop counter. There is a to-go cafe with outdoor seating that serves coffee, sandwiches, and ice cream. I order a gluten-free egg sandwich, which tastes like heaven.
2:00 p.m. @ Perkins Cove
My Grandfather Mike used to take me to Perkins Cove almost every weekend in the summer to watch the lobster boats come in and unload their daily catch. I now think it really was to just an excuse to get an ice cream at Barnacle Billy’s. I am happy to see that the restaurant is still here. The outdoor deck is a great place to sit and enjoy a lobster roll or ice cream cone.
3:00 p.m. @ Sea Glass Jewelry Studio
I stop upstairs to see this collaborative studio full of gorgeous one-of-a-kind handcrafted pieces of jewelry.
3:30 p.m. @ Lobster Shack
It wouldn’t be a visit to Ogunquit without a lobster roll from the Lobster Shack.
4:30 p.m. @ Spa at the Cliff House
This is my first massage. My masseuse, Tessa, makes me feel right at ease as I enjoy the Cliff House Signature massage. I am hooked.
7:45 p.m. @ Ogunquit Beach
Sunset is my favorite time of day at the beach to take a walk. The tide is low and the beach seems to go on forever.
8:30 p.m. @ Cornerstone Artisanal Pizza and Craft Beer
Michael, the owner, greets me and finds me the perfect seat with a view. I love the open-air design, with loads of outdoor seating. I order the “sweet salad” with yellow beets over greens and a honey balsamic dressing.
10:00 p.m. @ Bread and Roses Bakery
Baked goods galore fill the window! I pop in to “just peek” at the baked goods but spy a flourless ganache cake. They box it up for me to take with me. The coffee smells so good.
10:30 p.m. @ Front Porch
Music is spilling out of the windows of this popular joint. It’s Saturday night and it is hopping. I definitely want to return soon for dinner and drinks—the locals tell me it is consistently good.
7:00 a.m. @ Fitness center at the Cliff House
A walk on the treadmills goes by quickly when you are in front of floor-to-ceiling glass walls with sweeping ocean views. After my workout, I spend a few minutes sweating in the steam room.
8:00 a.m. @ The Spa at the Cliff House
I enjoy the Cliff House Signature facial that includes a blueberry smoothie mask and warm beach stones. It’s such a relaxing experience, and a wonderful way to start my last day in Ogunquit.
11:00 a.m. @ Roost
It’s Father’s Day and my children, Lily and Charlie, want to take their dad, Neil, out for a great brunch. They meet me at the Roost, where David and Aldo, the owners, are waiting to say hello. We order pancakes and lobster omelets, which we devour almost immediately. There is a separate kitchen for gluten-free food, complete with separate fryers. Everything is delicious and we leave happy and full.
12:30 p.m. @ Marginal Way
We decide to walk off brunch along the paved mile-and-a-half trail that overlooks the ocean. Rugged rocky shore plus sea views equal pure Maine bliss. This is a must-visit.
1:30 p.m. Ogunquit Art Museum
The views and seaside gardens are reason enough alone to visit. There is an extensive collection of outdoor sculpture to enjoy. This museum is devoted exclusively to American art. I particularly like the Wyeth works from the collection of Linda L. Bean. This is the first time the collection has ever been shown in public. It is on view until October 31, so you still have time to catch it.
2:30 p.m. @ Cliff House Resort
I take some time to relax by the infinity pool overlooking the ocean while the kids swim.
5:00 p.m. @ So Zap
The outdoor deck draws me in to this newly opened Thai restaurant. I order a refreshing Thai iced tea, a tasty crunchy papaya salad, and flavorful pad thai. I chat with the server, who tells me that they serve food until 1:00 am on the weekends—crucial information for my next Ogunquit trip!