Old Orchard Beach
48 HOURS-July 2013
Photographs + stories by Maine magazine staff:
The Wednesday before we leave for our family trip to Old Orchard Beach, I take my daughter Alexus to get sand castle building materials. The beach is all she talks about for the next two days. My car is in need of new brakes, so I have to take it in Friday morning. Worrying it won’t be back from the mechanic in time, I look for other ways to get to Old Orchard Beach. Amtrak’s Downeaster leaves from Portland and drops passengers off two blocks from the oceanfront condo where we will be staying for the weekend. When I get the call letting me know my car is ready, I’m a little bummed. I’ll have to take the Downeaster next time.
4:00 p.m. @ Sea Star Oceanfront Condos
I arrive in Old Orchard Beach and meet one of the owners of the Sea Star, Ashley Kerr. She welcomes me with open arms. We take a tour of the two-story oceanfront condo—it’s beautiful. Ashley also tells me about the four other homes available for rent. They have been booked solid for the past ten summers.
4:30 p.m. @ Radley’s Shop ’n Save
Before my family arrives, I head over to the local grocery store to pick up some drinks and snacks. It is nice to see a privately owned supermarket, and to be treated with extra kindness and attention.
6:00 p.m. @ Old Orchard Beach
My wife Danielle and my daughters arrive, and the first thing my three-year-old daughter Alexus wants to do is head to the beach. I unload the truck and we walk out the front door to the water with Alexus smiling from ear to ear, eager to collect seashells and sand dollars.
7:00 p.m. @ Surf 6 Oceanfront Grille and Bar
Back from the beach, we clean up and head over to our favorite family restaurant in OOB. Surf 6 is owned by George Kerr, who is one of the nicest men I have ever met. We are in awe of all the seaworthy collectibles adorning the walls of the restaurant, most of which have been collected by George himself. Because we’re on the beach, we all order seafood. I highly recommend the baked scallops.
8:30 p.m. @ Palace Playland
Alexus is overwhelmed by all of the arcade and rides—she doesn’t know where to go first! Playing Skee-ball and skill cranes, she earns 590 points. That’s worth a paddleball and a Tootsie Roll. She couldn’t be happier.
9:30 p.m. @ Rinaldi’s Homemade Ice Cream We are greeted by the owner, who helps my girls choose great flavors. We are in love with the homemade ice cream and plan to come back and try even more.
10:00 p.m. @ Sea Star Oceanfront Condos
It’s getting late and my ten-month-old, Aubrey, is fighting to stay awake, so we head back to the condo. On the patio we pause for a minute to watch the moonlight glisten on waves. As I tuck Alexus in, she thanks me for bringing her to the beach and says, “Daddy, you are the best daddy ever.” That’s the first time I have heard that, and I feel like I could bust with joy.
6:30 a.m. @ Beach Bagels Cafe
I wake up to the sound of waves crashing on the beach in front of the condo. I have heard about the amazing bagels at Beach Bagels and decide we have to try them. The scent of fresh-baked bagels hits me when I walk in the door. I order a dozen to bring back to my family, along with their homemade scallion and bacon cream cheese. What a great way to start the day.
11:00 a.m. @ Alouette Sunrise Suites
Danielle takes the girls to her aunt’s house for the night, while I meet up with Fred, the owner of the new Alouette Sunrise Suites, the Neptune Beach Hotel and Suites, and the Beach Walk Oceanfront Inn. We meet in the lovely little breakfast nook at the Alouette and proceed to take a tour of this new oceanfront resort. The property is amazing—from the decadent soaking tubs to the sauna and private balconies overlooking the ocean.
12:00 p.m. @ (rE) Salon and Wellness Spa
We arrive at the salon for our appointments: I’m getting a haircut; Danielle is in for a mani-pedi. We’re greeted by Riley Faith and Toni Cinque, and leave feeling refreshed.
1:00 p.m. @ Dunegrass Golf Club
The entryway to Dunegrass is an amazing path of winding roads with evidence of new home construction all around. I’m tempted to play 18 holes, but not able to fit it in before the rain. I meet up with owner Dan Hourihan, who treats me to a golf-cart tour of the course and shows me an impressive setup for a wedding they are hosting.
2:30 p.m. @ The Dunegrass Restaurant
I head upstairs to meet with head chef Jim O’Brien. The restaurant offers great views of the course. Their menu is amazing. I could eat here every day.
3:30 p.m. @ The Pier
I meet back up with Danielle and we head to the Pier for the Chowder Festival. We couldn’t pick one chowder we liked best, they were all so good. All proceeds benefit Community Animal Watch, an organization that helps strays in the community.
3:45 p.m. @ Surf 6 Oceanfront Grille and Bar
The official summer kick-off party features music by Stream Reggae, lobster rolls, and an amazing Greek olive tapenade made by Cynthia Kerr. We notice everyone is wearing colorful bracelets, made from traditional marine materials, and decide we need our own. Luckily, we happen to run into The Ropes designer Shana Aldrich Ready, who is kind enough to fit me for my own extra-large bracelet. I can’t wait to pick it up! We also meet up with Nick Estes who owns Estes Custom Builders and a few other friends for a great afternoon of dancing and margaritas. I’m excited to come back next year for the 2014 summer kick-off party.
4:30 p.m. @ Beachology
We stroll down the main drag before dinner, stopping by Beachology. They have an awesome selection of Sea Bags. Danielle falls in love with a beautiful bracelet made by Chart Metalworks. I will have to come back and buy it for her birthday. Shh! It’s a surprise.
5:30 p.m. @ Jimmy the Greek’s + The Captain’s Galley + Tequilla Frogs
It wouldn’t be an evening out in OOB without a tour of the bar scene, so we take a tour to try each restaurant’s specialty cocktail: the Rum Jimmy Rum at Jimmy the Greek’s, cosmos at the Captain’s Galley, and margaritas at Tequila Frogs.
8:00 p.m. @ Mr. Goodbar
I enter to a full house and the sounds of the band Grassroot. I stay traditional and order a Captain and Coke that is made by owner Gina Martinez. I had a blast; this spot has got it all. This should be a definite stop on anyone’s trip.
10:00 p.m. @ Lisa’s Pizza
I stop by Lisa’s to try some of their famous pizza, which Danielle and I enjoy on the beach.
9:00 a.m. @ Joseph’s by the Sea + Yellowfin’s Restaurant
Joseph’s is full, but my friend Tom Urban suggested Yellowfin’s so we check it out. David Dunton, the chef/owner, has prepared a wonderful buffet and on our way out the hostess hands Danielle a rose for Mother’s Day. With a brunch so good, I wonder what dinner is like.
11:30 a.m. @ Laugh Lines
I meet up with brothers Brian and Jason who co-own this Life is Good shop. I buy a few things for my daughters and a coffee mug. A wall in the store is devoted to pictures of their loyal visitors from year to year.
12:00 p.m. @ Myst Oceanside Restaurant and Lounge
Matt, the general manager, recommends the mussels accompanied by a Sam Adams Summer Ale. The portion is so generous I can’t come close to finishing it. I’ve had my fill of specialty drinks, but I can’t help but notice the 20 varieties of martinis on the menu, including the Frozen Watermelon.
1:00 p.m. @ in downtown Old Orchard Beach
I walk into Dy-No-Mite looking for something to bring back to my girls, and find matching OOB sweatshirts. At Christina’s Classic Cookies, I am amazed by the quality and variety that they offer. At Groovy Judes I meet Judy Hall Patterson, who is putting the final touches on her store in preparation for its grand opening. They will carry everything from clothing to home decor, and a private line called Groovy Judes. At the Old Country Store and La Chance Chocolates they have everything from chocolates to candles, wine, and Old Orchard Beach memorabilia. I can’t ignore the amazing smells coming from Roma Pizza. I walk in and meet the owner, Luca, who urges me to try the white slice. It was amazing.
5:00 p.m. @ Madden Beverage
We decide to make dinner at the condo, so I head over to Madden Beverage for wine to go along with our homemade meal and find some of my Cellardoor Winery favorites.
6:30 p.m. @ Sea Star Oceanfront Condos
We take a final walk through the condo to make sure we didn’t forget anything and stand out front, soaking in the ocean mist and the view of the pier. Good bye for now, OOB. We will be back soon.