We got back last night from a wonderful mini vacation up in Ogunquit, Maine. Ogunquit means "beautiful place by the sea" in some Native American language, and that's exactly what it is. Although it's become very crowded in the last few decades, it's still lovely and charming. The key was that the weather was perfect: sunny, warm, and breezy every single day. We could have probably found some way to occupy our time if it had rained, but we didn't even have to think about it.
We drove up on Sunday and stopped off in nearby Kittery to explore the many outlet stores there (Crate and Barrel! Eddie Bauer! Old Navy! etc.) and then to do some real damage at Bob's Clam Hut, which looks like a tourist trap but is in fact the real deal. They do just about the best fried clams and lobster rolls anywhere.
Then we drove into Oguqnuit to the Juniper Hill Inn, which is where Andy and I had stayed last time we went up. We had two adjoining rooms, and the kids immediately went for a dip in the pool. We walked around a bit in town and had a delicious dinner at Frills (no website, so no link). We ate outside, and everyone ordered off the regular menu, and I really felt as though we'd finally made it as a family—no one eating chicken nuggets, no one worried about staying up too late, everyone just out and enjoying ourselves.
The next day Pete and I slept in a bit while Andy and the girls explored Bread & Roses, the amazing bakery that would be seeing a lot of us over the next few days. We spent the morning playing mini golf, which was really a lot of fun (and I came in second!). Then we drove in to Perkins Cove to have the requisite lobster rolls at Barnacle Billy's, which are always excellent. Afterward we sat out on the rocks overlooking the water, and Pete showed Julie how to skim stones.
Then we hit the beach, finally! The tides in Ogunquit are crazy, so if you go at high tide, everyone is squashed into a strip of about 10 feet of sand (really, no exaggeration!). It was low tide when we went, so we had a huge expanse of beach. The water is always beyond frigid, but they all went in anyhow (not me, don't be silly).
That evening I went and picked up pizza for the kids to have in the room, and Andy and I went back to MC Perkins Cove for a lovely dinner date. The kids were told they could walk into town after their dinner to get decadent dessert treats at Bread & Roses.
On Tuesday we poked around in the little shops all morning and again spent the afternoon at the beach. For dinner we found a place called the BeachFire Bar & Grille, where we ate outside near a cozy fire pit.
Yesterday was our last day, so we hit the beach in the morning despite the high tide. Then, after lunch, we spent some time walking along the Marginal Way, which is a mile-long path along the rocky coast. Every 5 feet you can stop and say, "THIS is the most spectacular view ever." "No, THIS is." "Wait, THIS one." Just gorgeous. Then ice cream at Barnacle Billy's, and off we went home.
As you may have noticed over the years, we don't go away much, so our kids are about as far from jaded as can be. They really enjoyed every part of staying in a hotel, from the miniature shampoo bottles to the continental breakfast to the footpath down to the beach. They were flexible and game for anything and really just such a delight.