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A TANK AWAY | OGUNQUIT, MAINE

Shore leave has not been canceled

After the crowds of summer have gone, this beach town still has much to offer

Ogunquit Beach is a sandy barrier between the ocean and the Ogunquit River. Ogunquit Beach is a sandy barrier between the ocean and the Ogunquit River. (Kathleen Burge/Globe Staff)
By Kathleen Burge and Rich Barlow
Globe Staff | Globe Correspondent / October 13, 2010
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On a recent weekend in Ogunquit, we were startled to see references to the town’s 30th anniversary. Surely, we thought, a zero must be missing. But it turns out that Ogunquit is one of Maine’s newest towns, created in 1980 after village residents decided to separate from the town of Wells. Although this beach town is lovely in summer, its creeping traffic and expensive parking lots are not. As the weather cools, the streets become more navigable — and the pricey parking lots turn free. Some businesses, including many inns, shut down in the fall, but many remain open year-round.

STAY
Anchorage by the Sea (125 Shore Road, 207-646-9384, www.anchoragebythesea.com, $69-$329), open all year, occupies an ideal location: perched along a rocky stretch of the coast, bordering the famous Marginal Way and not far from the center of town. Accommodations range from cottages and two-bedroom condos to small rooms in a motel-like building. The Admiral’s Inn Resort (95 Main St., 207-646-7093, www.theadmiralsinn.com, $69-$299), open year-round, rents rooms in the original inn as well as newer (and larger) hotel rooms and suites. The three-acre resort is on Route 1 and is still a short walk to the town center. The Gazebo Inn (572 Main St., 207-646-3733, www.gazeboinnogt.com, $99-$499) is a more intimate space, with 15 rooms and suites inside a renovated farmhouse and barn. The 1,400-square-foot Hayloft Suite, on the top floor of the barn, includes private use of the library.

DINE
The view at MC Perkins Cove (111 Perkins Cove Road, 207-646-6263, www.mcperkinscove.com, dinner entrees $19-$32) would make for a wonderful dinner, even if the food weren’t stellar. The window-heavy restaurant is perched on the beach, and waves crash along the rocky shore as you eat. The restaurant is run by the duo behind Arrows, the acclaimed (and more formal) restaurant across town. The dinner menu runs from duck to rainbow trout, with the obligatory whole lobster. The bar menu includes fish tacos and burgers. Bread & Roses Bakery (246 Main St., 207-646-4227, www.breadandrosesbakery.com, prices start at $1) is packed with freshly made treats: muffins, scones, croissants, tarts, and to-die-for cinnamon rolls. The small bakery also serves sandwiches and pizza slices for lunch, and a coffee bar stretches along one wall. This time of year, find many pumpkin treats, including pumpkin muffins and pumpkin whoopie pies. Bintliff’s Restaurant (335 Main St., 207-646-3111, www.bintliffsogunquit.com, breakfast $6.99-$13.99) is a haven for picky eaters, with pancakes including chocolate chip macadamia and gingerbread with lemon sauce. French toast, eggs Benedict, omelets, and scrambled eggs also come in many forms, including the most intriguing: the spicy Korean garlic chili scramble.

DURING THE DAY
Marginal Way, stretching from the Oarweed Cove to Ogunquit Beach, leads you along the edges of cliffs on a paved path studded with benches to enjoy the view. The 1 1/4-mile path, created on land given to the town in 1925, was once called “the margin’’ for the way it clings to the edge between land and sea. Although the view is glorious during the day, the path is also lovely at dusk, especially if you happen to catch the moon rising over the water. Elementary-school children in town created “The Official Kids Guide to the Marginal Way’’ (www.ogunquit.org/documents/KidsGuide.pdf), a description of the area and creatures often found in local tide pools. A few miles from town, the Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region (The Big A Road, Cape Neddick, www.agamenticus.org) has miles of hiking trails through 10,000 acres of conservation land. Drive to the top of the mountain, home to a visitors center. Even though Mount A, as it’s known locally, is only 691 feet above sea level, the views are grand, stretching from the ocean to the White Mountains and beyond. Walk around the remnants of an old saltwater farm at Beach Plum Farm (610 Main St., 207-646-3604, www.gwrlt.org), where walking trails circle gardens and fields, passing a salt marsh where views stretch across the Ogunquit River to the ocean.

AFTER DARK
Ogunquit Playhouse (10 Main St., 207-646-5511, www.ogunquitplayhouse.org) first opened in 1933 and has been bringing shows to town ever since. During the summer, the playhouse puts on a few children’s productions. Although the shows stop during the off-season, “Chicago,’’ starring Sally Struthers as Mama, runs through Oct. 24. Jonathan’s Restaurant (92 Bourne Lane, 207-646-4777, www.jonathansrestaurant.com) brings musicians and comedians to perform in the lounge. Livingston Taylor is scheduled to play there Oct. 22; Nanci Griffith is slated to sing Dec. 3.

Kathleen Burge can be reached at kburge@globe.com.

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