Photographs + stories by Maine + Maine Home+Design magazine staff
As we’re packing the car for our weekend away, I tell my boyfriend Sergio that I’ve never actually been to Ogunquit, one of Maine’s quintessential coastal villages. Sergio’s been before; in fact, it was a visit to Ogunquit in 2007 that convinced him to pull up stakes and move to Maine just one month later. I can’t wait to see what made him fall in love with this place.
5:00 p.m. Gazebo Inn Ogunquit
We recognize our turn immediately when we see the gazebo and find a spectacularly renovated 170-year-old farmhouse and barn. We’re given a tour of the property, which includes a spa, a great room, and an outdoor patio area complete with a pool and hot tub. Our room is exceptional—it’s clear that innkeepers Scott Osgood and Bruce Senecal considered every detail, and the list of amenities seems endless.
6:00 p.m. @ Ogunquit Village
We have some time before our dinner reservation, so Sergio and I drive around to learn the layout of the town. As we wind along Shore Road, we marvel at how many restaurants, hotels, and gift shops there are in this beach community. We drive by the distinctive Ogunquit Memorial Library, a beautiful stone building that’s included on the National Register of Historic Places.
7:30 p.m. @ The Velveteen Habit
I’ve been looking forward to this reservation for weeks as we’ve heard amazing things about this recently opened restaurant in the farmhouse that once housed Arrows. We have a seat at the bar and operations director Brent Bushong mixes us two perfect cocktails. Once seated in the dining room at a table overlooking the garden, we share the Cold Spring Ranch porterhouse for two. It’s the best steak I’ve ever had, and the exceptional service and beautiful surroundings make it that much better.
10:00 p.m. @ The Front Porch
An old friend of mine, Jason, has lived in Ogunquit for ten years, and he suggests we meet at the Front Porch for a nightcap. As we head upstairs to the piano bar, we hear jubilant singing from a crowd of show-tune enthusiasts. Jason introduces us to the owner, Wayne, and we hear about the recent renovations he’s completed between choruses of “Sweet Caroline.” This town knows how to have fun.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. @ Bread & Roses Bakery
Desperate for iced coffee, we stop in here. The display cases are filled with mouth-watering confections, including oatmeal cookies the size of my head and a huge selection of cake sold by the slice.
10:00 a.m. @ Ogunquit Museum of American Art
We’re drawn into the museum by the amazing DeWitt Hardy watercolor retrospective and quickly realize there’s as much to see outside as in. The grounds are wonderful to explore, with sculptures and installations tucked into the landscape in surprising ways.
11:00 a.m. @ Marginal Way
I’m ready to spend some time taking in the natural beauty that makes this ocean town so special. We start walking along the trail, which is immaculately maintained, and find ourselves stopping every few steps to take in the rocky outcroppings and beach roses in full bloom. Benches are placed by the trail at intervals, and each one is full of people soaking up the sun and view.
12:00 p.m. @ Barnacle Billy’s
The mile-long path ends just as our stomachs start to grumble, and we stop for lunch along Perkins Cove. Barnacle Billy’s is known for rum punch, and we gladly order two along with a pile of fried clams, fish chowder, and a burger. It feels like summer at its best and we linger for a while to enjoy the view.
1:30 p.m. @ Ogunquit Village
After lunch, we stop by Sea Glass Jewelry Studio to see the gorgeous handcrafted jewelry. The pieces remind me of summers spent beachcombing. We hop on an Ogunquit trolley, which makes a loop through the town every 20 minutes or so, and ride back to the center of the village. Our next stop is the thoughtfully stocked Ogunquit Village Food Market. It has a great selection of prepared meals, an on-site butcher, and an impressive bakery selection. I imagine this is the spot where locals exchange town gossip over morning coffee and muffins. Next, we swing into Stonehome Estate Jewelers and admire the tourmaline. Finally, we stop by the Lazy Daisy, which has a great selection of women’s clothing. I fall for a beautiful bubble trench coat and a wrap softer than silk.
3:00 p.m. @ Jamaican Jerk Center
With plenty of the afternoon ahead of us, we decide to explore Route One and come across a colorful roadside stand blasting reggae. Sergio makes a hard right turn into Jamaican Jerk Center and is beyond excited to see a pineapple soda he remembers from childhood offered here. We grab salted plantain chips and soak in the Bob Marley while we snack.
4:00 p.m. @ Gazebo Inn Ogunquit
My friend Jason warned us that we’d be out late tonight (Ogunquit is a true party town with a vibrant nightlife scene), so we stop at our room for a disco nap. There are freshly brewed iced teas and amazingly flaky raspberry white chocolate scones, and we’re feeling refreshed and ready to take on the night before too long.
5:00 p.m. @ Five-O Shore Road
We wanted to find a restaurant that would allow us to taste little bites of lots of things, and Five-O fits the bill. When the food comes out, our table is filled with small plates containing delicious cheeses—the Fiddlehead Tomme from New Hampshire’s Boggy Meadow Farm is a stand-out— charcuterie, cod fritters, veal meatballs, and truffled lobster en croute.
7:30 p.m. @ Rose Cove Restaurant
I’ve been denying myself ice cream for far too long, and my willpower finally breaks as we pass Rose Cove. We order a scoop of Totally Turtle and enjoy it on the roof deck with ocean views.
8:15 p.m. @ Ogunquit Playhouse
We reserved tickets to see Sister Act at the Ogunquit Playhouse when we planned our trip, and by coincidence Jason’s partner, Bradford T. Kenney, is the executive artistic director. We meet up before the show, and I learn about the playhouse’s 83-year history. The commitment to Broadway-level performances is evident— all sets and costumes are constructed on site and talent is recruited directly from Broadway. With our prosecco safely stored in souvenir sippy cups, we’re ushered to our seats for the performance. The show is fantastic: the entire crowd is grinning by intermission and erupts into cheers as the final curtain falls. We meet up with Bradford and Jason to get a tour behind the scenes after it’s over, and I can’t stop gushing about how much fun we just had.
11:00 p.m. @ MaineStreet Ogunquit
We have energy to burn after the electric performance at the Oqunquit Playhouse, and Jason suggests we head to Ogunquit’s largest dance club. We’ve just missed the Dueling Drag Divas, so we head to the rooftop bar and enjoy the summer night. Before too long, the thumping club music gets the better of us, and we hit the dance floor until last call. Sunday
9:00 a.m. @ Bintliff’s Ogunquit
I’ve been hearing how delicious chef Norm Hebert’s lobster Benedict is all weekend, so we head directly to Bintliff ’s after checkout. The rich hollandaise and perfectly grilled English muffin erase all the damage that our late night inflicted, and we get ready to head home full of love for this town. Ogunquit is full of the best parts of Maine: intense natural beauty, a community supportive of the arts, a commitment to local and sustainable eating, and friendly locals who make a home there year-round. I can see why one visit to Ogunquit would make someone eager to move to Maine permanently.