Most Maine vacationers visit in the steamy summer for an ocean get away from life’s moninity. The driving desire of the beach lures hundreds of families to the Ogunquit area, crowding restaurants and jamming roads to the brink. Their vision rests in the salty sand and beating globe of the mesmerizing sun. Flocks of seagulls dance among beach folding chairs, seeking quick tasty snacks from humans. Ocean waves rush in with a timely purpose, nipping at exposed ankles and cooling off hot swimming bodies.
Unlike most tourists, my husband and I prefer to stay away from Maine in the depths of summer. We wish to enjoy the scenery and venues without traffic and crowds. The last few years Tom and I venture to the coast in September, after Labor Day. Some traffic remains and you still have to plan and look at available restaurants, but it’s calmer and a little less crowded.It still feels like summer but with a hint of fall.
This trip we stayed in a simple motel called The Beaches in Wells, a little seaside town bordering Ogunquit. The room was small but all that we needed to sleep in. The first night after supper we sat by the little fire pit ( gas) and talked under the stars.
During our weekend visit we decided to go for a quiet nature walk in the woods in the Rachel Carson National Refuge in Wells. It started out in a pine wooded spot with picnic tables and a ranger station. The day was warm with a few bugs around but even so, it was a great walk! The trail was well taken care of and the views were pleasant. Every few feet there was a lookout point to sit or take photos. We could see wet marshy land leading to the ocean and smell the salty air. Herons stood still and erect, watching for fish in the water.
Following our walking adventure, the Footbridge Beach called our name. The beach is located in the neighboring coastal town of Ogunquit. It’s about five minutes from Wells. The temperature was in the 60’s with a partly cloudy sky. Seaweed piles lined the edge of the water, something we don’t always see. Even though it was cooler and the sun wasn’t scorching hot, it still felt nice to sit in the sand. I closed my eyes and listened to the peaceful flow of the tides, while Tom spotted sailboats with his trusty binoculars. Seagulls called while people laugh and talk. At one point we watched nearby Canadiens play a friendly game of volleyball.
We rested together in the sand for a few fleeting hours. It was summer’s last hurrah, a chance to load up on all the ocean’s beauty. We ate a lunch of carrots and hummus and Tom’s salami and Smartfood popcorn. Of course he fed the seagulls ( as he did when we brought the boys) and they approached with a fearless front. With each popcorn piece thrown, they edged closer and closer to my bare feet. Yikes! It was too close for comfort but pretty funny!
After sitting for a few hours, we decided to walk up the beach to Ogunquit Beach, where motels line its perimeter. We watched the rising river at high tide. It was fun to walk up the other side back to where we parked. It’s pretty navigable but you can tell people don’t venture there often. Teeny sandpipers scurried here and there and a few seagulls were looking for fish. I could tell we had walked a few miles as my legs stung! It was the exercise I needed that day after sitting.
The next day we visited the outlets at Kittery. The Kittery Trading post held a festival with a children’s band dressed as Revolutionary minutemen. They pounded their drums as visions of a new bow danced in Tom’s head. As he bought his bow and the helpful clerk adjusted it, I watched many other wives following their husbands around the hunting section. They were all jumping through the hoops like I was, with no particular interest in the sport, but a thrill for their husbands or boyfriends’ purchases. That bow brought quite a smile to my husband’s face and that made the trip to the store worth it.
If if you ever are up north on the coast of Maine, check out Wells and Ogunquit. We love the Footbride Beach in Ogunquit. You pay a $15 parking fee for all day. If you arrive early before the ticketman, you can get in an early beach walk free. We get our breakfast to go from Dunkin’ Donuts and eat and drink coffee on the beach.
I recommend going in September after Labor Day, unless you don’t mind lines and busy restaurants. It’s a wonderful beach get away with the beaches, shopping, hiking and delicious dining.
All My Best,
Heart and Soul 💜