Lockdown Again, A Last Minute Walk on Marginal Way

Can you believe it? Just a few short weeks after our celebratory trip to Maine to hike Mount Agamenticus, we were heading into a weekend with a plan for a local hike. It had been a long week of work for all of us, and a long drive for a hike wasn’t something we were up for. Lo and behold, at 4:15 pm Friday afternoon, I saw a tweet that the Maine border was closing to MA residents beginning at 12:01 am the following Monday morning. A few quick texts to the group and our plans for the next morning had changed. We were heading to Ogunquit, Maine again, to walk the Marginal Way.

So for posterity and anyone reading this blog years from now, this is how it was during the COVID-19 Pandemic. You didn’t get out much, you didn’t have many options for things to do (if you were trying to stay healthy) and some states blocked other state’s residents from crossing into their state with a mandatory 10 – 14 day quarantine, or proof of a clear COVID test within 72 hours. If you were found to have come into the state without quarantining, or returned to your home state (at least in MA) without quarantining upon your return, you could get fined up to $500 a day!

My 3 hiking companions dresses in warm layers, all in the same blue as the ocean
Obviously ocean blue was the color of the day

But really, we we just wanted to hike and maybe grab lunch. Who knew when the border would open again, and we didn’t want to have to pay a fine later. So we decided to change our plans. For perspective as the lockdown tightens, as of today, 12/4, the only state we can travel to from MA and return without needing to quarantine is Hawaii… sounds like a lovely option, but not really working with our budget, or work schedule! Alas.

One of My Favorite Spots in Maine

Well, we’d just been to Maine a few weeks ago and visited Stonewall Kitchens (and yes, we went back again, who can resist pink grapefruit jam and home décor on sale?). We also visited our favorite Beachfire Grill. So where would we go this time? One of my absolute favorite spots up there is the walk on Marginal Way out of Perkins Cove. Very few restaurants would have outdoor seating this time. It was going to be a blustery winter-style day. But Marginal Way is open year-round, and an easy 2.5 mile walk roundtrip. We headed out at 7 the next morning, planning to meet between 8 and 8:30 to start our walk.

From Marginal Way back to the parking lot

There’s History Here for Me, Good and Bad

I have a history with this location in Maine. My aunt and uncle had a summer place just south in York. Many summers in my teens and 20s I’d spend days and nights wandering through the shops, enjoying the beach, and trying out every little unique restaurant and bar there was! One of my favorites for years now has been M.C. Perkins Cove. We went up there for a beach day in 2019 and had the absolute best beach day of our lives, AND lovely cold house-infused blood orange martinis on the roof deck. Definitely the perfect finale to a perfect day.

I also took a blind date there one eventful Sunday afternoon about 20 years ago. I met her online, and she lived down near DC. We’d chatted back and forth for a day or two and then she suddenly asked what I was doing that coming Sunday. I played coy and came back with “nothing, wanna do lunch?” Well, she did! She flew up and we met for the first time (with a close friend as a chaperone) and drove to Maine for lunch.

Did I Date an Axe Murderer?

Friends were a bit skeptical about my meeting someone who was flying in just for lunch. Maybe she was an axe murderer, or had some evil plans. But in my mind, security would be checking her out upon arrival. There’ll be no chainsaw or ax allowed. How many dates have you been on where TSA checks out what your date is carrying before you meet them? Seemed like a safe bet to me. And where did we go? M.C. Perkins Cove, although at that point it was called Hurricanes. I’ve also been there for New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day Brunch. If you’re in the area, you have to try it!

TSA would never let you get away with an axe, right? Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Unfortunately for us, on this trip they were only seating indoors… even though the roof deck was open. It was pretty windy and wet from the storm the night before, and while the hostess said okay, the bar manager said no. So no M.C.s. Most of the other restaurants in Perkins Cove were closed for the season. But we’ll be back… once the borders open and the vaccine has done its work. Can’t wait!

Walking the Way

Marginal Way is a very popular place. For one, it’s beautiful. You’ll walk along the rocks looking out over Oarweed Cove, from Barnacle Billy’s (where there is a small parking lot, free at this time of year), passing Israels Head (a great diving location), Little Beach, the Beachmere Inn (which on this day had outdoor seating and gas firepits to keep people warm during brunch, ending at the Sparhawk Oceanfront Resort. But it’s also one of the best places in a crowded little village, to see uninterrupted views of the ocean. On the day we hiked, it was cold, but a gorgeous day. Definitely one perfect for taking photos of our favorite place to be.

We were not alone on the Marginal Way

We took our time, greeting puppies and children on the trail walking down the steps to collect smooth beach stones on a small beach, and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. We have plans of starting a “rock project” with painted rocks placed at different locations where we hike! I’ll definitely announce where and when once we’ve kicked it off during the snowier weekends coming soon. Our walk north on the path was windy and cold and we were glad for our layers. The walk back was warm, and into the sun, and we started peeling off those layers as we walked!

Towers of stone on a larger stone on Little Beach
On Little Beach

A Sandy Start

Once upon a time, Marginal Way was not paved, and it was a rambling sort of sand and stone trail. Now it’s paved, with nice bridges over the dips and exactly 39 benches placed along the path for unobstructed viewing. If you’re thinking of walking in winter, just be aware that no one clears the trail. And since there is water running off from the cliffs, you may hit icy sections. Or in cases of deep snow, when the wind and salt water haven’t naturally removed the snow for you, you may be traipsing through knee deep snow! Still, it’s a beautiful place and so peaceful in winter at the few hotels, B&Bs and resorts that stay open through winter.

Firepits at Beachmere were almost ready for brunch service
Waves rolling in
On the right you can see a surfer riding the waves to Sparkhawk Resort
My walking buddies taking a break
Taking a break at two of the benches
This view never gets old – Oarweed Cove

Some pointers on Marginal Way

  • Bicycles are not allowed on Marginal Way
  • Dogs are only allowed 10/1 – 4/1
  • Strollers and Wheelchairs are welcome on Marginal Way, and according to their website, the local Ogunquit Fire Department has a wheelchair available for use if you’ve got someone who knows ahead of time they won’t be able to make the full route.
  • This is a great place for a wedding, and the Town Clerk can assist with paperwork.

When we got back to our cars, we heard the call of Beachfire once again, so we headed a bit north for a repeat of our yummy lunch from a few weeks ago. This time we came prepared with towels to dry off the benches, and we enjoyed chili, wings, and even half-price burgers since it was Saturday!

If you’re in Maine or planning a trip, definitely plan to stop in Ogunquit. Winter, Summer, Spring, or Fall, the area is beautiful and almost always provides a perfect experience if you love the ocean as I do.

If you enjoyed this post and are looking for things to do in a specific area, I hope you’ll follow me!

Wondering where else I’ve been and what I do in my non-hiking time? Check out these past posts:

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