The popularity of the town as a summer resort is epitomized by its motto, "Beautiful Place by the Sea" and attracts visitors from around the globe. As one of Maine’s most-visited resort towns, Ogunquit is both sophisticated and family-friendly. A world-class 3 1/2 mile sandy beach and magnificent coastline includes the historical trail known as Marginal Way which stretches one and one-half miles along the craggy coastline from Perkins Cove to Ogunquit Beach.
Artists discovered Ogunquit's inspirational scenery over a century ago. Ogunquit is a great spot to gallery-hop, especially at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, "the most beautiful small museum in the world". There are performing arts theaters including the famous Ogunquit Playhouse, a grand old summer-stock theater that features top-name entertainment.
Ogunquit has everything for every type of traveler. Lodging choices range from cozy B&B's to fine hotels, resorts and spas. Shoppers rave about the assortment of boutiques, gifts, and antique shops, and discriminating diners have an abundant selection of fine restaurants to satisfy nearly every taste—including lobster!
Recreation enthusiasts can enjoy deep-sea fishing, whale watching, sailing, sea kayaking, and hiking, or play a round of golf at some of New England's top-rated courses.
Ogunquit, which meant "coastal lagoon" to native Abenaki Indians, was first a village within Wells, which was settled in 1641, separating from Wells in 1980. It became a popular art colony and tourist area.
The first sawmill here was established in 1686, and shipbuilding developed along the tidal Ogunquit River. Besides constructing schooners and brigs, local shipwrights built the famous "Ogunquit dory." Particularly after 1898, when the Ogunquit Art Colony was established, it was not unusual to see artists and fishermen plying their respective trades around Perkins Cove. To accommodate summer crowds, several grand seaside hotels and inns were built.
Bald Head Cliff is Ogunquit's mountain cliff and climbs to 36 feet (10.97 meters) above sea level.
Originally a small fishing community, Perkins Cove is a quaint area that consists of shops, restaurants and scenic outlooks. Wind-whipped, wild, and breathtakingly scenic, the little village of Perkins Cove feels like it lies at the edge of the earth.
Located just east of Ogunquit in southern Maine, Perkins Cove is loaded with art galleries and gift shops that feature the works of locals. Main Streets of America, a special feature on the Travel Guide of America site, includes photos of interesting towns and cities in the United States, and includes Perkins Cove.
At what was then called Fish Cove, near the unnavigable Josias River, fishing was a major livelihood. But the cove was unprotected by a headland or breakwater from Atlantic storms, so fishermen had to protect their boats by hauling them ashore each night. Resolving to create a safe anchorage, they formed the Fish Cove Harbor Association, and dug a channel across land they purchased to connect Fish Cove with the Josias River.
When the trench was complete, in roared the ocean, its erosion helping to further widen the passage. The resulting tidewater basin is now called Perkins Cove. A manually-operated draw footbridge spans across the cove and is possibly one of the most photographed objects in Maine.
The Ogunquit Playhouse is one our country’s finest theatres and continues today as “America’s Foremost Summer Theatre.”
Broadway showman Walter Hartwig and his wife Maude brought heir Manhattan Theatre Colony to Ogunquit. Because Ogunquit was a renowned summer resort and art colony, Hartwig persuaded such theatre legends as Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore, and Laurette Taylor to star with the resident company. After such large success, Hartwig bought the old Weare Farm on Route 1, just south of town, and built the present-day Ogunquit Playhouse, which opened on July 17, 1937.
Walter Hartwig’s widow Maude stepped in after his death in 1941, his to carry on his legacy. A young actor named John Lane was hired in 1950 as general manager to help oversee production duties and a year later, acquired the theatre and land from Maude.
After a long and successful career for over forty years, Lane retired in 1994. Lane's legacy continues today and enthusiastic crowds visit the Ogunquit Playhouse year after year and enjoy it as a true regional theatre.
Ogunquit Beach: With soft white sand and warm surf, this beach is popular with families and is accessible by trolley. Ogunquit Beach is considered one of the prettiest 3.5 miles of peninsula beach in the country.
Footbridge Beach: Beachgoers walk over footbridge to get to this less crowded section of Ogunquit Beach.
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