Monday, November 4, 2013

Marginal Way on a Cloudy Fall Day

Maine's a big place.  With a lot of ocean.  And try as I might, I rarely get beyond the confines of Casco Bay.  But when I do, it's worth the effort.  For several weeks, I've been wanting to get down to Marginal Way in Ogunquit.  The 1 1/4 mile path along the rocky coast is a place where development worked the way it should:  preserving public access to the coast. 

In 1925 (back when the rich were seriously rich) Josiah Chase Jr gave the first parcel of Marginal Way to the Town of Ogunquit.  Chase, a civil war veteran, Bates College graduate, and developer, was designing a subdivision in Ogunquit, and originally intended for the path to be common space for residents only.  His friend, Raymond Brewster, a local architect, had a larger vision though, and talked Chase into preserving the path for public access.  Other landowners followed suit, and today Marginal Way is a world-class destination for ocean lovers.

This weekend Damon and I headed down to Ogunquit to enjoy a Fall day.  We've been perched on the edge of winter for several days here in Maine, and Sunday seemed like it might be the season's opening salvo.  The day dawned grey and cold, although a weak sun was trying to fight its way through the gloom.  We love the Swedes' attitude about winter:  There's no bad weather, just bad clothing.  So we bundled up, piled into the car, and headed south.  My understanding was that dogs were persona non-grata on the path, so Dory stayed home to keep the couch warm (but don't tell her:  dogs are welcome after September 30).

Do NOT park here.

The foot drawbridge.
We parked for free in the Perkins Cove lot and spent some time poking around the waterfront and foot drawbridge.  I was sorely tempted to open the drawbridge, just for fun, but common sense got the better of me and I resisted the urge to push the "open" button.  After a stop to fill up on hot chocolate, we headed out along Marginal Way.

How could anyone not want to push it?
 Although I see the appeal of visiting places like this in the best of weather; there's something about a gloomy ocean that I find very appealing.  The waves crashed; the wind blew; the seabirds floated just outside the surf zone.  Behind us loomed mansions and cottages, all looking rather costly and manicured.  Despite the cool day, there were plenty of people out enjoying the walk.  I can imagine Marginal Way is a bit crowded in summer from the looks of it, so visiting during the lingering fall seemed like a good choice.

We walked into town and over to Ogunquit beach, with its miles of sand and surf.  On our way back, the sun came out and suddenly the waves looked friendlier.  We stripped off layers, strolled along Shore Road,  and decided it was time to get a bite to eat.  Unfortunately, Footbridge Lobster was closing at the end of the day, and had a menu limited to hot dogs and fried fish.  No lobster rolls.  Instead, we ate at MC Perkins Cove, with a lovely view but very few healthy vegetarian options for Sunday Brunch.  I ended up having three lettuce leaves with some croutons and crumbles of Parmesan.  Good, but not $11 bucks good . . . .  I think next time we'll visit the Beachmere Inn, since they seemed to welcome the public with menus posted at its gates along Marginal Way.

They looked at that gull for a very, very long time.

We had the beach to ourselves pretty much!

What?  No lobster?
 How to get there:  From US 1, take Shore Road south and follow signs to Perkins Cove.  Be prepared to pay for parking; even in November the free lot filled quickly and people were using the pay lot.  The path entrance is well marked at the northern end of Oarsweed Cove.  Alternatively, park at Ogunquit Beach and look for the Marginal Way sign on Shore Road.  In summer, trolleys run all along the southern coast of Maine, with a stops at Perkins Cove and Ogunquit, with several free parking options.

There were 21 commercial boats in this tiny cove.  Love the old school wooden ones.

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