I was fortunate enough to escape the city and head North during this last heat wave. There’s something thrilling about trading the searing blacktop of NYC for the coastal breezes of Maine that just makes one feel decadent. The destination: Ogunquit, a small town in York County whose name translates to “beautiful place by the sea.” The name couldn’t be more fitting.
This is our second year in a row at this coastal retreat. Last year my husband and I attended a wedding and were utterly charmed by the town’s landscaped beauty, delectable food and white sandy beaches. From the picturesque inns to the many great established and emerging restaurants, the town is a delight for those seeking a peaceful and relaxing trip to the beach.
For those of you visiting for the first time, this is a true lobster town. Fishermen have been catching this delicacy since the 1600’s. It used to be so profuse that it was written into servant contracts that they could not be served lobster more than twice a week. Considered a poor man’s food, lobster didn’t always hold the place in our hearts it does now.
To find out more about the town and the lobster industry, take a cruise aboard the Finestkind, one of the many local ships. You’ll head out of Perkins Cove past fisherman bringing in their daily catch. Then you’ll head along the coast past a sea of buoys (each marked by its own signature color and each used to mark the presence of a lobster trap). If you have Pat Weare as a guide, you’ll certainly be in for a treat! My husband and I were fortunate enough to stay with the Weares this last trip and thanks to our friends, George and Taliesin, we were given the insider scoop on the ins and outs of Ogunquit. (Pictured below are the path to the beach and the beginning of Marginal Way- a 1 1/4 mile sojourn that takes vacationers on a picturesque walk to Perkins Cove)
(Below- on the right) Pat demonstrates how to differentiate between a male and a female lobster (both delicious by the way). Males have thick, hard swimmerets while females have softer and thinner ones.
As we were wrapping up our weekend, we were thoroughly spoiled with a full Lobster dinner by none other than one of the local lobster fishermen- Mike Weare. It doesn’t get fresher than this. He was up in the wee hours of the morning hauling in our dinner. As we greeted him after a relaxing day at the beach, he showed us a refrigerator full of lobsters. At dinner we learned the best way to crack these guys ourselves- from twisting off the tail, deveining it and savoring the favored meat to sucking the tender morsels from the legs. After we finished our first lobster we were even offered seconds!
For those of you not staying with a lobster fisherman- there is no lack of this local specialty to dine on. A trip to Maine really wouldn’t be complete without it. For a lobster pizza- check out Cornerstone, which makes delicious stone oven pizza. For a lobster tail check out Front Porch, and don’t miss the show upstairs. You may even be able to get some lobster tacos at Banditos the local Mexican joint (this may be a stretch- but they certainly have a great margarita :). The possibilities are endless but eating some lobster is mandatory.