Ogunquit Maine is my favorite New England vacation spot. I have been every summer since I discovered the quaint beach town 20 years ago. I love the walkability of the town and I park my car when I arrive and do not get back in until I reluctantly have to leave. While the water is cold, even in the middle of the summer, it can be so refreshing. During low tide the flat beach becomes ideal for relaxing, people watching, exploring tidepools or playing games (just make sure not to play between the ropes in the no play area). The beach spans miles and I love to walk for miles with my feet in the water.
This year in the spirit of 2020 I decided to do something different and visit in the fall. Since the weather is definitely cooler I was not going for a swim in the ocean (although I did see people swimming in wetsuits) but there was still plenty I wanted to do. Since I was traveling with my 3 year old daughter I can’t do as much as I would do by myself but some activities on my list included walking and relaxing on the beach, swimming in the pool, eating at my favorite restaurant, and walking the Marginal Way.
But first in the world of COVID-19 I had to check out the updated hotel policies. It is very important to me that they have enhanced cleaning protocols and mask mandates for all employees and guests in common areas. I called 3 of my favorite hotels in the area and all indicated that they had very well thought out COVID policies. I decided to stay at the Meadowmere Resort due to the fact that they had indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs open with capacity limits, a free pre-packaged breakfast, and a great price.
Upon arriving in Ogunquit on Sunday afternoon we checked in. Check in was very quick and very socially distanced. The resort was decorated for a fall theme featuring pumpkins (check out the pics) and while very different than during the summer it was equally as beautiful. After sanitizing the room as a precaution, quickly unpacking and spending 15 minutes convincing my 3 year old that it was important to try using the bathroom before we left (why do they have to argue about that every time!) we left to walk to the beach. Even with a 3 year old walking and checking out every flower and leaf on the ground it only took us about 20 minutes to reach the beach. Walking on the bridge (over the saltwater Ogunquit River) we reached the beach and I immediately felt myself relax.
The tide was coming in so we set up our chairs away from the water because when it comes in it comes fast (and can even sneak up behind you). We ran down to the waterline and put our feet in the water but it was chilly! We filled up some buckets with water and my daughter built sandcastles while I read a book and relaxed. We also walked down the beach along the water line and found more seashells than normal since there were not as many people as usual competing to find them. Finally, we settled down in our chairs to have a picnic on the beach. It did not end up being as relaxing as expected since the temperature started to drop quickly in the 5:00 hour. We packed up and hurried back to the hotel to finish our evening in the indoor pool and Roman Spa (a large lukewarm hot tub with waterfalls).
The next day we started out the cool morning in the Roman Spa again. My daughter had quickly decided that she preferred the warm waters of the spa to the cooler waters of the pool. In both the pool and spa there was plenty of social distancing and I always felt comfortable with the number of people in the room even though no masks were worn. The Roman Spa is huge with 2 waterfalls. I sat and relaxed while my daughter splashed, played with the waterfalls and chased the bubbles.
By midday we headed out of the house to explore the Marginal Way. The Marginal Way is a 1 ¼ mile long paved walkway along the ocean. There are infinite gorgeous views of the ocean, flowers and beach houses along the way (see pictures). Visitors can discover secluded beaches, explore the rocky outcroppings, or sit on one of the 39 benches along the way relax around beautiful scenery and crashing waves. We walked very slowly exploring all the beautiful flowers, finding seashells on the beaches, and sitting and watching the waves crash below us. Upon arriving in Perkins Cove we quickly checked out a few of the shops but my 3 year old did not have much attention span for shopping.
At that point we were hungry for a late lunch/early dinner and decided to head downtown to head to our favorite restaurant the Rose Cove Café. I go to the Rose Cove Café every time I visit Ogunquit for their lobster roll on freshly baked bread as well as their famous broccoli salad. I like to go for lunch because the bread is even fresher. Additionally I wanted to go to lunch because the weather was beautiful for eating outside and during COVID I feel much more comfortable eating outside. However, upon arriving at the Café I learned that it was not open for lunch. Since it was a weekday and the number of visitors was very light it was definitely logical but I was very disappointed. In looking around, most of the restaurants were closed for lunch. So instead we picked up some food from the market and brought it back to the hotel to eat.
After our meal, my daughter really wanted to do mini golf (her new favorite activity that she discovered this summer) however, upon investigation of the mini golf courses in Maine we discovered that they were all closed. So in true preschooler fashion, we headed to the school playground and played there for an hour before heading back to the hotel to crash early that night.
The next morning I thought we would head to the beach for one last time playing in the sand but my daughter had other expectations. So we ended up in the Roman Spa one more time before packing up to check out and leave. On the way home we stopped at Kimball Farm in Massachusetts to play mini golf (since she would not stop asking for it) and I had one happy 3 year old.
My first visit to Ogunquit in the fall showed me a new side of Ogunquit. There are certainly pros and cons verses coming in the summer. Pros included the lack of crowds, cheaper hotel rooms, and being able to walk the Marginal Way without being hot. Cons were that restaurants were closed for lunch (number 1 for me because I did not get to go to my favorite restaurant), too cold for swimming in the beach or outdoor pools, and some activities were closed. All in all it was a pretty fun, relaxing time in Ogunquit.