While I was in the Boston area on business, I planned to pop into the great state of Maine for an afternoon, since 1) it’s a state I hadn’t been to yet, and 2) it was sooo close to my meeting in Andover, MA. Also, I wanted a killer lobster roll. “Oh, you should go to Ogunquit. It’s a really fabulous resort town on the coast,” my colleague said after our meeting had concluded. I’d read about this town in a recent travel article, but didn’t think much of it. Now, I was intrigued. Back in my rental car, I punched it into my GPS.
Only an hour away! Let’s go.
At a rest stop just up I-95, I shed my dress shirt and skirt for comfy capris and t-shirt, and was back on the road. My rumbling stomach demanded the bag of potato chips it spotted in the rest stop snack machine, for it knew that it should be (fairly) patient and wait for the mothership: a meal that included lobster in some form.
As I rolled into town from the south, the Ogunquit Playhouse was one of the first prominent structures that greeted me. This is a lazy, resort town of under 1,000 residents. But on a sunny summer Wednesday, there were plenty of tourists and other local vacationers wandering about, and I had trouble finding a parking spot near Perkins Cove where I wanted to explore and get some lunch.
A Beautiful Stroll
So I drove a few blocks north, meandering the residential streets along the coast line until I came upon a tiny lighthouse at the end of a block. There was (free!) parking here along the street. Past the lighthouse I discovered a delightful paved path that followed the coastline, so decided to take a stroll. It turns out I had stumbled upon the famous Marginal Way. This spectacular footpath took me through breathtaking views of the Atlantic, pristine homes with immaculate lawns, rocky beaches and down to Perkins Cove.
An Epic Lunch
At M.C. Perkins I got my culinary wish: A toasted lobster roll crammed to the brim with sautéed lobster pieces, accompanied by kettle chips, a side of slaw and a tasty IPA to wash it all down. I never imagined that seafood on a simple piece of toasted bread could taste so spectacular. So fresh and flavorful, the lobster meat melted in my mouth.
After lunch, I stopped in gift shop to buy my husband a Perkins Cove t-shirt. At the checkout counter, I asked if this was the high tourist season for them. “It’s more crowded than usual today. Lots of French-Canadians down here on holiday.” Indeed, I did hear quite a bit of French conversation going on around me.
And because I’m a silly girl sometimes, I decided to do some comparison tasting and try another lobster roll at The Lobster Shack, a tiny food stand at the tail end of the Cove. This roll consisted of untoasted white bread, but the butter-drizzled, thick lobster chucks made up for it the lack of crunch.
A Near Miss
After taking the first couple of bites of my second lobster roll, I decided to slow down and find somewhere to sit to enjoy the rest of it. As I reached the end of land, I circled back and found myself suddenly surrounded by a parade of fancy cars, and an official-looking man standing watch in front of one of the resort houses. With lobster roll basket in hand, I casually weaved through the idling cars to find a spot to sit, as another man behind the wheel of one of the cars eyed me warily.
Ah, a bench! I took an empty spot next to a family of four. No sooner did I sit down, then the parade of cars left, and the father of the group casually mentioned to his kids. “There’s George W. Bush’s motorcade, kids.” “Wow, cool!” they responded.
At the time I thought he was joking, but as I found out later that day, the former President was indeed in town (a favorite Bush family vacation spot), and I missed him by mere seconds. That’s okay, my lobster roll was more important.
Where to Stay: Rockmere Lodge Bed & Breakfast