Destinations

The Perfect Weekend in Ogunquit, Maine

Where to stay, eat, and relax in one of New England’s most charming resort towns.
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There is something undeniably endearing about Ogunquit. The quaint seaside village in Maine—which is located about 45 minutes from Portland and two hours from Boston—has a population of under 1,000 people and a public transportation system that relies solely on trolleys. And then, of course, there’s the fact that its name translates to “beautiful place by the sea,” a moniker it received from the Native American tribe that settled there in the mid-17th Century.

For a village so seemingly small, there’s plenty to do—and while Ogunquit was once considered a summertime-only destination, it now has year-round appeal. I went for a weekend in September, and suddenly understood why people tend to become loyalists after just a few days. Since it was my first time visiting, I tapped into the expertise of American Express Travel to help plan my trip—the service sets you up with a lifestyle counselor who knows the area, and crafts a detailed itinerary for you featuring the best things to do and places to go.

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Below, a guide to everything Ogunquit has to offer.

STAY:

Among the many hotels in the region, few are as highly regarded as Cliff House. The property is something of an institution—it has been welcoming guests since 1872, and although the hotel was freshly renovated this year, the sense of history permeates throughout. Rooms are spacious and designed with chic nautical decor—be sure to book one that has a balcony overlooking the namesake cliffs. 

EAT:

Dining options in Ogunquit range from no-frills to upscale, with fresh seafood (of course) being at the forefront of most menus. For true local flavor, have lunch at Barnacle Billy's in Perkins Cove. The Ogunquit mainstay is known for its lobster, steamed clams, and prime location right on the water. Another solid option for casual cuisine is the Lobster Shack, also in Perkins Cove.

For a more sophisticated ambiance (and equally sophisticated menu), head to MC Perkins Cove. The chef-owned restaurant is absolutely breathtaking at sunset, and has an impressive wine list, as well as delicious cocktails. Other standout restaurant options in the area include The Tiller (located at the Cliff House), Northern Union, and Angelina's.

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If you have a sweet tooth, you'd be remiss is you didn't pop in to Rococo Ice Creamon Main Street. The shop is an outpost of Rococo's original location, and serves up unique flavors like Blueberry Chipotle and Sweet Avocado Cayenne. 

THINGS TO DO:

Walking Marginal Way is a must. The scenic, mile-long path promises a quintessential New England experience: waterfront mansions, craggy cliffs, lighthouses, and stunning beaches.

For a true sense of place, ride a local trolley through town, or head out on the water—Finestkind Cruises offers fishing boat tours, lobster boat tours, or sunset sails that leave directly from Perkins Cove.

If you're in the mood for a nightcap or a little evening entertainment, look no further than The Front Porch. The locals-favored piano bar is almost always buzzing with live music. (Be warned: during peak season, the line to enter occasionally wraps around the block, so you'll want to arrive early.)

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*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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