Maine is a beautiful state nestled on the coast of New England. It kisses the chilly Atlantic Ocean while spreading its arms toward the Canadian Province, Quebec. It’s filled with natural majesty; all manners of rock formations, beaches, and snow sprinkled forests. On the southern tip of Maine, where land touches sea, a tiny town called Ogunquit springs to life as summer vacationers from a myriad of states and countries take much needed rest and relaxation. North American legends say that Ogunquit was named by the Abenaki tribe, because the word means “beautiful place by the sea”. Last summer I had the incredible opportunity to get to experience this natural and culturally rich town.
Packed inside our tiny rental car my mom, dad, brother, and I made our way up the East Coast. Outside the window radiant green pine trees and granite formations rushed by, soaking up the short summer’s warmth. We knew we were approaching our destination when we saw beachgoer’s strutting up and down rock walkways while families went in and out of sea cottage style buildings. Soon we reached our hotel where we finally put down our suitcases so we could hit the powder white Ogunquit Beach. At high tide the beach became an island surrounded by the lazy Ogunquit River, filled with shells and clams. Rocky stair paths led us down to the far below beach, separated with a cliff of golden and bronze boulders harboring the land. I basked on sun-bathed rocks before I decided to maneuver down, wade through the freezing river, and scramble onto the warm sand. From my view I observed the phenomenal sight of water reaching the cliffs, sending pearly white spray into the air. This town made me feel as near to nature as the sea is to the rocky coast, a hugging and empowering embrace.
In the mornings and evenings my family and I traveled along Marginal Way, a pathway atop the cliff from Perkin’s Cove to Ogunquit Beach. The path’s lush green vegetation was filled with bayberry, honeysuckle and bittersweet, gnarled shrubs of fragrant pink and white sea roses. It ends at Perkins Cove, an artistic community of shops and restaurants where the water curves to form a lifted cove filled with fishermen’s graceful moored sailboats. Shops and art galleries fill the streets, attempting to entice shoppers with open doors and colorful displays. As we admired street art, we shopped for the latest beach styled clothing, handmade Ogunquit art, and New England treats. One of the things that surprised me most while visiting Perkin’s Cove was the diversity of languages and cultures. While eating at the Oarweed Oceanside Restaurant I noticed that to my left sat a family of Spanish-speakers, in front of me sat an olive skinned family speaking a language I couldn’t recognize, and our waitress told us about her home in Slovakia. I soon began to notice this diversity more and more. Walking in Perkin’s Cove I saw the sea breeze flutter through a woman’s colorful hijab. On Marginal Way, an asian woman grinned while taking her picture by particularly vivid sea-roses. In addition, the streets of Ogunquit are frequented by vibrant rainbow flags, openly showing support for the LGBTQ community. It was a truly beneficial experience seeing so many different types of people getting along with each other. Many times during the vacation I wished I could share these moments with my friends and family at home. Someday I hope that I can return to Ogunquit and share this invaluable experience with them.
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