The rustic charm of all points in the state of Maine are legendary. There is no better place in the world to enjoy a host of specialties that range from plump ripe blueberries from inland to robust fresh Lobster straight from the chilly waters off the rocky coast of New England. Wherever you find yourself in the state, be it a City like Portland , a Town like Bar Harbor, or a village like Ogunquit , the laidback sense of style and pace of life is consistent throughout.
Hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts are plentiful as are gift shops, restaurants, and bakeries. The Aspinquid & Seacastles Resort are two favorite places to stay. A must for great pastries and a serious jolt of java is Bread & Roses Bakery. Remember this is prepster country, so bring your J. Crew & Topsiders, but leave your Gucci bag at home.
Ogunquit is one of the most southern points in the State. Just north of York Beach (don't miss the Goldenrod Salt Water Taffy) on route 1, this ocean front village has charm and white sand beaches by the mile. The village has been a magnet to artists and writers for over a century. This led to the establishment of the Ogunquit Playhouse that has long been on the circuit of renowned actors and singers season after season. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art also showcases impressive artwork inspired by the local area.
This summer I enjoyed a new specialty that had just been added to the menu of one of the busiest casual dining spots in town. Mikes Clam shack in Wells (just up the road from Ogunquit) has grown from a tiny roadside stand into one of the largest restaurants in the state! New on the menu this season was Lobster Mac & Cheese!
The secret to this delicious twist on a seafood classic is the use of a mild white cheese. Prepare your favorite mac & cheese recipe substituting white cheese. Once the cheese and macaroni are ready, add your boiled lobster pieces and assemble in a baking dish. sprinkle a bread crumb crust on top and 5- 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven. You just want to brown the crust and marry the lobster and mac & cheese flavors.
If you are in Ogunquit and looking for a slightly more upscale dining experience, try The STEAKHOUSE ,also just North in Wells. This large converted barn has been a destination for steak lovers for several decades. It's not unusual to wait for one hour for a table. You can enjoy a cocktail as you wait. You might also catch a glimpse of members of the Bush family. The former first family compound is just up the road in Kennebunk, and the family are regulars at The Steakhouse. Regardless of your politics, there is something special about seeing a former U.S. President dining at the next table!
*One word to the wise about Maine. Enjoy the casual setting, but don't be surprised if your welcome is a bit understated. While everyone is pleasant and kind, this is high WASP country and folks are a little more reserved. They also like to stick to the rules, so if that store is closing and you just want to run in for one thing - forget it. They don't want to hear it. They are glad you came, but don't expect them to go out of their way to show it. But just like the French, you quickly learn it's nothing personal and just their way. * Also important to remember, many of the Ocean front towns and villages are best visited in the summer as many of the businesses close down after Columbus Day. I love visiting all year long - but call ahead if there is something in particular you want to see. If visiting in the Winter, don't forget a warm coat!
For larger images of the charming village of Ogunquit, click MAINE VACATION.