sunset bench dunes waterfront ogunquit tidal river

Top 5 Things to Do in Ogunquit in the Fall

August 30, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit by admin

There are lots of things to do in Ogunquit throughout the year, but many people think of the Maine coast as summer-only destination. While Ogunquit’s ocean waters are best enjoyed in the warm months of the year, there are plenty of other activities in and around the town to enjoy once the days start getting shorter. We’ve put together some of the best things to do in Ogunquit in the fall so you can have a full visit no matter when your vacation starts.
Sunset over Ogunquit Beach

Activity #1: Hit the Beach

“Hey,” you might be thinking. “Didn’t they just say the beaches were best in the summer?” While it’s true that you won’t get as much of a tan when you visit Ogunquit’s beaches in the fall, you can still enjoy many great outdoor activities on our sandy shores. Plus, the lack of crowds mean you’ll have an easier time getting around the beach and there’s plenty of space to play your favorite beach games (bocce, anyone?). Many people like to visit Ogunquit and the surrounding areas in the fall for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and even surfing, especially since Maine’s surf offers a good mix of thrill and accessibility. Fall is the perfect time to give these ocean water sports a try.

Activity #2: Catch a Show

The Ogunquit Playhouse is a cultural institution in our small seaside town, and it’s also a perfect fall activity for vacationers and families. The Playhouse puts on new productions until late into the fall, meaning you’ll always be able to catch a high-quality production right here in Ogunquit. Whether you’re into drama, comedy, or simply great acting and music, the Ogunquit Playhouse is one of the top things to do in Ogunquit in the fall.

Activity #3: Enjoy the Fall Colors

Maine’s leaves start to change colors in September or early October, when the thick northern forests provide quite a memorable show as they transition from green to shades of yellow, orange, red and brown. Many Maine tourists like to start in northern Maine and follow the changing leaves as they move south, and Ogunquit is a great location to take in some spectacular colors. Nearby nature reserves such as the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge are excellent places to see the unspoilt natural beauty of Maine’s changing seasons.

Activity #4: Enjoy Local Food

Fall is not only the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors in Ogunquit – it’s also the perfect time to enjoy local foods and flavors. Harvest season brings with it a bounty of farmers markets and fall foods like apples, pumpkins, and other vegetables. It’s also a good time to enjoy local seafood like fish and lobster – indeed, late summer and fall are prime lobster season in Maine. Take a walk around town to check out some of the great local Ogunquit restaurants. Plus, you won’t have to fight the crowds to get a seat!

Activity #5: Capriccio!

Cappricio festival For two weeks of every year, Ogunquit transforms from a summer beach town to a celebration of all things art and autumn. Capriccio is Ogunquit’s annual fall arts festival which includes poetry events, art gallery open houses, concerts, and the famous Ogunquit Kite Festival. During this event children and families can decorate and fly kites on Ogunquit Beach and even win prizes, all while watching professional kite flyers and their wind-powered wonders. This is one of the best things to do in Ogunquit for families, so be sure not to miss it.

Another great thing about these fall activities? They’re all right nearby our seaside Ogunquit cottages (which afford an incredible view of the Kite Festival) so you’ll be able to enjoy all of them at your leisure!

Lobster restaurant in Ogunquit - Barnacle Billy's

Best Restaurants in Ogunquit, ME for Any Time of the Day

August 27, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit by admin

Choosing our favorite restaurants in Ogunquit is no small feat. In fact, the list is so long that we couldn’t fit them all here. Instead, think of this as a guide to Ogunquit restaurants to get you started as you embark on your own culinary explorations.

Best for Breakfast

Breakfast restaurant in OgunquitYou can’t go wrong at The Egg & I — they’ve been dishing up hot meals in Ogunquit since the 1920s. A long-time favorite of guests of The Dunes (they’re right across the street), this pancake and waffle house has all the classics and plenty of creative variations for adventurous breakfasters. Whether you choose the tried-and-true flapjacks or the Lobster Benedict, your day will be off to a good start.

Anyone with a sweet tooth should know Bread and Roses Bakery. Fresh-baked pastries and breads (made with locally-sourced ingredients) are their specialty, so it’s a perfect match for the croissant-and-coffee types. Their breakfast menu is rounded out with an egg-on-croissant sandwich, quiche and oatmeal.

Great Restaurants in Ogunquit for a Lobster Fix

It would be nearly impossible to pick just one amazing place to eat lobster in Ogunquit, but since you can’t try them all in just one trip (really), the Ogunquit Lobster Pound is a good place to start. Ordering your lobster is half the fun, and the process hasn’t changed since they opened in 1931: diners walk outside the restaurant to the “pound” (seawater-filled tanks holding the day’s catch) to choose their lobster. Lobster and steamers are boiled right there, in water that comes straight from the Ogunquit tidal river. Best of all, the Lobster Pound is just behind our grounds and is an easy walk from any waterfront cottage — especially handy after a seafood feast.

On the other side of town, Barnacle Billy’s is a great choice for a lobster lunch or dinner while you’re out and about. Their deck is prime real estate — it looks out over Perkins Cove for a great view of local fishing and sailboats. Their lobster stew is a specialty.

Lobster restaurant in Ogunquit - Barnacle Billy's

Barnacle Billy’s overlooks Perkins Cove. Photo: Barnacle Billy’s

Best for a Quick Bite

When there’s no time for lunch between beach time, shopping or just exploring the area, the Ogunquit Village Food Market is the place to go. Pick up provisions for a picnic — they have a long menu for sandwiches and salads — and you can get back to the rest of your day.

Clouds in Ogunquit Maine

Four Rainy Day Activities on the Maine Coast

July 30, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit, Family, Things to Do by admin

 Rainy Day Activities in Ogunquit Maine

Looking forward to a Maine beach vacation, it’s easy to forget that the wildflowers and lush greenery couldn’t grow without the occasional raindrop. Most visitors would certainly prefer that the rain conduct its business outside of their vacation time, but that can’t always be the case. Fear not, because even if the clouds roll in, there are plenty of rainy day activities on the Maine coast around Ogunquit that can complement the perfect beachside vacation.

Examine Fine Art in Ogunquit

Paintings, drawings, and a healthy percentage of sculptures are at least as adverse to rain as you are, so why not join them indoors at one of the nearby galleries or museums? The Ogunquit Museum of American Art houses over 2,000 works in its permanent collection, enough to hold your interest even through a deluge of Biblical proportions. If you’re partial to contemporary local artists, you can discover their work at the Barn Gallery. The artists who run it often host events like workshops, gallery talks, and panel discussions.

Sit Back and Enjoy the ShowRainy Day Activities on the Maine Coast

The sun might get stage fright once in a while, but professional actors are ready to perform for you in Ogunquit rain or shine. The Ogunquit Playhouse, with its full-scale productions of musicals musicals both classic and new, has been dazzling audiences for over 80 years. Actors from an original Broadway hit have been known to drop in to see the show’s latest incarnation, and the playhouse is one of former President George H.W. Bush’s favorite spots, too. You can also catch the latest flicks with popcorn in hand at the Leavitt Fine Arts Theatre, which has entertained Ogunquit since 1923 and retains much of its original style.

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Like the Postal Service, lobstermen and fishermen from the Maine coast are out working no matter what the weather. The eateries they provide for will still be serving all the fresh seafood you can imagine. Some even have covered porches, so you can bask in the fresh ocean air without getting wet. For a fine dinner suited for a couple or special occasion, look no further than the Old Village Inn on Main Street in Ogunquit. In the mood for something a little more casual? The Lobster Shack prides itself on hot chowder, cold beer, and a great time. Or, if your focus is more on the taproom than the food, you can tour Maine’s extensive network of craft breweries on the Maine Brew Bus.

Stay In and Play

Sometimes when the skies are gray, all you want to do is batten down the hatches and spend time with the family. This can be an especially great option if you’re in need of a rainy day activity for kids. Nothing brings people together quite like a board game or a few hands of cards in an Ogunquit cottage at the Dunes on the Waterfront. Just visit the office to borrow something from our game shelf.

Don’t forget to check outside every now and then because the sun will be back in no time!

Mt. Agamenticus

Mount Agamenticus: Hard to Say, Fun to Explore

July 23, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit, Things to Do by admin

We talk a lot about outdoor activities in the Ogunquit area, but we have yet to talk much about one of the most fun and beautiful recreation spots in our neck of the woods: Mount Agamenticus. This seaside mountain is the perfect destination for any Maine vacationers who want to explore the beauty and natural wonder of Maine’s natural world, and it’s just a few miles from Ogunquit.
View from Mt. Agamenticus

Since its discovery and early exploration in the 1600′s, Mt. Agamenticus (or “Mt. A” as it’s known by locals) has been used for a variety of programs, projects, and activities. In colonial times, and up until the 1900s, the area was heavily farmed and used for its abundant timber resources. In the 1940s, Mt. A played host to the United States’ first radar tower due to its height and proximity to the ocean. Twenty years later the mountain was developed into a ski resort called “The Big A,” but the warm ocean breezes forced it out of business just nine years later. Now the mountain is well-known for its extensive hiking and mountain biking trail network and its stance toward wildlife and nature conservation.

With a summit altitude of approximately 691 feet, Mt. Agamenticus provides a good balance between accessibility and challenge. More than 40 miles of hiking, biking, and activity trails criss-cross the mountain, including three loop trails of varying difficulty. Surrounding the trails is more than 10,000 acres of conserved land, making it the largest undeveloped coastal forest between Acadia National Park and the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. You won’t be able to experience hiking or outdoor activity in Maine anywhere else as pristine.

Mt. A also features abundant wildlife, making it a great location for animal lovers to visit. Aquatic and amphibian life such as newts, turtles, and salamanders flock to the region in the spring and early summer, while the fall features the magnificent hawk migration. More than 4,000 raptors of various species migrate past Mt. A each year, giving the mountain trails an excellent reputation with bird watchers and nature lovers.

Mt. Agamenticus raptorsThe conservation area around Mt. Agamenticus is also the site of several vernal pools, unusual wetland features that fill with snow melt every spring only to dissipate over the year. These wetlands are surrounded by many kinds of forests filled with rare or uncommon plants and trees. In short, anyone with an appreciation for nature’s beauty will love this little corner of Maine.

Now, we’re coming to the best part of Mt. Agamenticus – the views. Its peak towers well above the surrounding area, and thanks as well as to its closeness to the ocean, Mt. A offers some of the most breathtaking views of southern Maine you’ll find. On clear days you can see from the ocean all the way to the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Nowhere else in the area can you get such a splendid look at the rolling hills and forests.

Whether you’re an ardent hiker, a keen-eyed animal enthusiast, or just someone who wants to spend a nice day among the trees, Mt. Agamenticus is one of the best places for you to visit. And since it’s only a short drive away from our Ogunquit beach cottages for rent, you’d be hard-pressed to think of a reason not to go.

Rowboats at The Dunes Ogunquit resort

How the Tides in Ogunquit Work

June 27, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit, The Dunes Insider, Uncategorized by admin

With its place on the ocean shore, Ogunquit, Maine is known for many things — fishing, beautiful beaches and dunes, and beautiful summer weather among the most notable. However, one thing many new people don’t often consider is a fundamental part of living next to or visiting the ocean: the tides.

Ogunquit Beach and River at low tide

At the end of the Ogunquit River. Credit: Tomwys [Wikimedia Commons. License]

Tides in Ogunquit are a simple phenomenon when you understand them, but many visitors have a hard time getting used to the daily rise and fall of the ocean. But once you understand the principal behind them, you’ll know why people say “as reliable as the tide.”

The source of the daily rise and fall of the tides is twofold: the sun and the moon. Both the sun and the moon exert a gravitational pull on the Earth – but the only part that really moves is the water. As the Earth goes around the sun, and the moon goes around the Earth, they both pull on the waters of the ocean, leading to its daily ebb and flow.

This motion is so regular and predictable, in fact, that the position of the tides can be calculated far into the future – the US Harbors website, for example, has charts of the exact timing and height of each high and low tide for the next year, for every harbor in the United States, including Perkins Cove. Knowing when the Ogunquit tides will change is essential to having a good day at the beach!

There are several good places to observe the tides at work in Ogunquit. The tidal Ogunquit River runs between the mainland and a small peninsula, and twice a day it fills and empties along with the ocean waters. The tide causes the river’s level to rise and fall by several feet, depending on the day and the strength of the tide. This also causes Maine’s famous Ogunquit Beach to sink almost entirely beneath the waves each day, only to reemerge a few hours later, ready to delight beachgoers again.

Rowboats at The Dunes Ogunquit resort

The ever-changing Ogunquit River is a constant part of life at The Dunes. When full, it reflects the memorable sunrises and sunsets, while at other times, beach goers can walk along the sandy riverbed, finding seashells and clams. The river is also our connection to Ogunquit Beach: guests can take out one of our rowboats at high tide or cross on foot at low tide. Wherever you stay — in one of our Ogunquit cottages or a guest room — the river and sandy dunes are always within sight.

Another wonderful place to observe the local tides is nearby Perkins Cove, less than a mile to the south of downtown Ogunquit. Originally, Perkins Cove was well-known for sheltering area fishermen when seas were rough. It’s also known for its manually-operated draw-footbridge that connects the southern peninsula to the mainland, the picturesque boats anchored on the water, and the tourist-friendly shops that sell penny candy and fresh Maine lobster.

Sunrise at The Dunes Ogunquit hotel

Sunrise, seen over the Ogunquit River from The Dunes on the Waterfront


Deep sea fishing boat tour

Ogunquit Fishing Boat and Lobster Boat Tours

June 16, 2014 in Explore Ogunquit, Things to Do, Uncategorized by admin

Life in Maine is hard to imagine without including some aspect of its seafaring culture. Along with the classic image of whales breaching off the coast, we picture salt-sprayed fishermen battling the elements to bring home their hard-won catch. If you’re the sort of traveler that enjoys a little adventure on your vacation, you can live that fantasy with an Ogunquit fishing boat or lobster boat tour.

Fishing Boat Tours

Ogunquit has a long history of fishing. The area of Perkins Cove was originally known as Fish Cove, and it was a popular spot for both shallow-water and deep-sea fishermen to harbor and bring in their catch. Today you can re-create that excitement with a fishing boat tour.

One option for fishing tours in Ogunquit is Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing, which lets guests catch and keep a variety of deep sea fish from the Maine coast. Fishers aboard the Bunny Clark have caught Atlantic cod, pollock, halibut, haddock and more. Even better, the experienced crew of the ship will help passengers land and gaff the fish, and they can even clean and fillet it for you if you like. The cost of your ticket also includes the use of custom fishing rods, jigging sticks, and other deep sea gear. Bunny Clark offers both newcomers and budding deep-sea fishers a combination of authentic experience and helpful assistance, making it a perfect fishing boat tour for families and enthusiasts alike. Deep sea fishing boat tour

Another nearby fishing tour is Captain’s Catch, which sails out of Wells Harbor. With two boats offering a variety of tours and trips, you’ll find the perfect service for you and yours. With trips ranging from two-hour inshore “discovery” cruises to a full day 10-hour offshore adventure, we’re confident that you’ll find something here to enjoy. Inshore trips are perfect for those looking for smaller, easy-to-land fish like mackerel and stripers; they are a good match for families and less-experienced anglers. Offshore trips run longer and focus on big catches like cod, haddock, and even sharks, giving even seasoned fishermen a challenge. In other words, these Ogunquit fishing trips offer the perfect fun and adventure for everyone.

Lobster Boat Tours

Maine and lobster go together like… well, like lobster and butter. Lobstering is one of our most popular, and most revered, traditions. And while lobster fishermen are generally known for being hardworking and no-nonsense, they’re also glad to share their profession with outsiders. If you’re less of an angler and more of a trapper, you might consider a lobster boat tour for you and your friends or family.

The first option for a lobstering tour is from Finest Kind Cruises in Perkins Cove. Alongside their more relaxing cruises, their lobster boat tour takes guests on an authentic lobster trapping run off the coast of Ogunquit. These tours are good fun for families and children, as they combine the experience of lobster fishing with a guided tour of the region. The boat guide will explain the lobstering process and the fishery, and will also point out other scenery and points of interest along the way. You’ll also get to see the lobster traps, or “pots,” being pulled firsthand, and watch as the lobsters are sorted and banded on the boat.

The Atlantic isn’t the only destination for lobstering — you can also take a lobstering tour up the Kennebunk River with Rugosa Lobster Tours in Kennebunkport, just a short drive from Ogunquit. These tours last between one and two hours and allow guests to either sit back and watch or join in on the lobstering process. You’ll also get a scenic tour of the Kennebuck River coastline, allowing for plenty of photo opportunities and learning.

No matter what you choose to catch, you can enjoy your haul at the end of the day in your cottage at The Dunes on the Waterfront. Many of our beachside cottages have private kitchens, making them perfect for grilling up your cod or having a family lobster boil.