Mother & daughter admire the view from the OMAA by Perkins Cove

New England doesn’t get enough credit as a utopian summer seaside destination. With lush gardens and sprawling beaches, the scenes are nothing short of idyllic.

I got the chance to visit Ogunquit, where artist, Henry Strater, (BFFs with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald) constructed an art museum dedicated to sharing his passion with the world!

Enjoying a view of the seaside

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a hidden treasure nestled along the shoreline by Perkins Cove, a scenic and historic viewpoint, where one could easily spend hours on any of the benches situated within the vibrant gardens and look out at the water; we were blown away.

Sprawling seascape from Perkins Cove

Still, we had much more to see…


Our next stop, The Marginal Way, got some serious hype from, which (eloquently) claimed it to be  “a paved footpath atop the cliffs, meandering through bayberry and bittersweet bushes, gnarled shrubs of fragrant sea roses, shaded alcoves, and expansive views of the Atlantic with all its varying moods. There is no better place to unwind and be overwhelmed by the immensity and vastness of nature, then come away feeling humbled and contented yet remarkably uplifted and refreshed.” I’m not one to argue; this hilariously poetic description does hold true.

View from along the Marginlal Way
View from along the Marginal Way

Perhaps justified by the landscape in the photo above, the Marginal Way was a vastly crowded tourist attraction. While the view is awe-inspiring, you will most certainly find yourself caught up in throngs of families visiting for summer vacation. Be mindful of screaming children. Also follow them into Perkins Cove Candies for some penuche fudge; you won’t regret it.

Shops in Perkins Cove
Perkins Cove Candies

From here, we drove to Portland. While the town, itself, had the charm of a historic small city, we were drawn to the coast, where the entire city awaited the arrival of the Iberdrola USA Tall Ships, a flotilla including “the USCG barque Eagle, the barque Picton Castle from the Cook Islands, the galleon El Galeón Andalucía from Spain, the full-rigged ship Oliver Hazard Perry from the USA, and Maine’s own schooner Bowdoin.”

If you’re in the area, check out the restaurant, Grace, a space converted from a church to an elegant dining area. Though it felt sacrilege to have a bar in an (ex) place of worship, it’s certainly a unique arrangement. The food was experimental, but the view of the stained glass windows was magnificent.

A popular destination near Portland is Peaks Island, accessible by ferry (a boat ride? Cool!). While the weather was foggy, we were nevertheless enthralled with the view.

The view from the Casco Bay Islands Ferry
The view from the Casco Bay Islands Ferry

Even through the fog we were able to get a glimpse of the passing ships and a great view of the islands in Casco Bay. Once we arrived on Peaks Island, we explored the area around the harbor, only to find a golf cart rental stand–how could we pass up this exciting opportunity?

Luckily, we had a pizza delivery boy in our midst, who effortlessly handled the golf cart, and with minimal shrieking on behalf of our grandmother, we were able to enjoy the coastline view from Peaks Island, a well-kept-secret from the likes of tourists on the Marginal Way; we almost had the path to ourselves.

Riding in a golf cart on Peaks Island
Riding in a golf cart on Peaks Island

As the Tall Ships were beginning to arrive in the port, we caught a glimpse of the Spanish Flag, and what Dan informed us was the marking of a coast guard: a large red stripe across the bow.

Peaks Island View
Peaks Island View

As if the water view wasn’t enough, I got to stare at THIS throughout the entire ride:

From the back of the golf cart; Peaks Island
From the back of the golf cart; Peaks Island
Rose bushes along the coast of Casco Bay on Peaks Island

We boarded back onto the ferry, where, from the water, we really could see the ships! On the shore of Portland, crowds had collected to welcome the sailors from their journey overseas.

Up-close view of a Spanish ship
A flag can be seen from one of the tall ships
An American flag can be seen from one of the tall ships
Admiring the view

It was a perfect note on which to end our vacation.

Annie Rubin

Annie proudly knows all the lyrics to Joni Mitchell's album Blue. When she's not writing, you can find her reading about intersectionality, drinking Lorelai-Gilmore-levels of coffee, and exploring the world.

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