Sunday, July 30, 2006

Waiting and Wading in Maine

I love the beach at Ogunquit, no more so than this past Saturday. This despite the more than two hours it took to make a one-hour journey. (Thanks, once again, to the state of New Hampshire for creating that wonderful backup at the Hampton tollbooths so you can collect ONE DOLLAR from me. This does NOT make me bullish on New Hampshire tourism. On the other hand, thanks to the nice town employee who helped us get the last available parking space in the public lot near the the little Ogunquit River bridge. That's civil service.)

When we finally hit our patch of sand, we were only about an hour from high tide. Fortunately, my observant hubby picked a patch of ground a little beyond the last visible high-tide mark--up near the rocks. It was so hot, and the water was SO COLD--colder than during our last visit, in late June. (It must be an ocean current thing.) The water was so frigid it actually hurt to stand in, yet the sun was beating down so hard that everyone was forced to choose between sun, water, sun, water. I chose sitting in a chair, reading a book (in which much of the action, coincidentally, takes place in a Maine summer colony), and occasionally dipping in the cold before retreating again, where I threw a towel over my legs to keep from becoming one of New England's last freshly made Krispy Kremes.

When the tide starting coming in, it came in fast. I looked up from my book and realized that the water was mere feet away. We pulled our blanket, shoes, and chairs back a couple of feet, then did the same for some sand-neighbors who had gone off for a swim. This continued for more than an hour, as the water got closer and closer to the rocks against the cement wall in front of the parking lot.

With a motto of "if you can't beat it, retreat from it," the multitudes took flight. Well, they moved their stuff. It was comical to see hundreds of bathers madly pulling their gear back, until we were all crowded into a long, narrow strip of unsoaked sand, leaving barely room to walk among the blankets, umbrellas, chairs, coolers, towels, and baby gear.

My husband and I strolled along the shoreline, trying to find if their were warmer pockets of water (nope) and if everyone was making the mad scramble for dry patches of sand (yup). Up and down the beach, a sort of cameraderie grew as we all waited for the turning of the tide, sharing space, making jokes, shaking our heads at wet towels and soaked shoes.

One group of kids decided they'd had enough and went on the offensive. Their battlement, made of a sandwall high enough (and far enough back) to fend off the encroaching waves stood, proudly, emblazoned with "Big Dig 2006."

Time and tide wait for no man. Instead, they make memories for all of us.


Blogger David said...

We went up to Ogunquit a couple weeks ago. The water was fairly warm (for New England) while we were there. We stayed two nights at The Norseman motel which sits right in the sand. We had a balcony overlooking the beach. That balcony sure came in handy during high tides! We got lucky on our visit though because the high tides were around 3:00 PM. Now that I know how the beach shrinks I won't go back there without checking a tide chart first!

10:27 AM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Every time we go, my husband says that the Norseman has one of the best locations of any summer hotel anywhere. :-)

Maybe you can help me out here, since you're a recent visitor. There are two snackbars at that location. One sells grilled hot dogs, the other steamed. I've only had the grilled. So my question is this: are the steamed ones any good?

12:35 PM  
Blogger David said...

Good question...I'm not sure though. I bought my daughter a steamed hot dog which she gobbled up. She loves all hot dogs no matter what though...and we never had a grilled dog for comparison.

Normally I like grilled hot dogs much better, but there's an exception: Flo's Dogs on Rte 1 between York and Ogunquit. I guess it's really their special relish I ...uh...relish though. This place is amazing. You walk through the screen door and are immediately asked "How many?". They only serve steamed dogs, so that's what they're asking about. You tell 'em how many, and they start to steam them. Only later when they're almost done heating do they ask what you want on them. (Get The Works). If you buy a jar of the relish, don't forget to also sprinkle on some celery salt just like they do it there.

10:34 AM  
Blogger Alison Rose said...

Thanks, David. You know, we've driven past Flo's many times--but always at the wrong time. Either it's too early for lunch, or we've already eaten, or we have other plans. And every time, we say to one another, "You know, we have GOT to go to Flo's some time!"

Now I know we REALLY have to go there!

7:52 PM  
Blogger Maine Stay Inn said...

Flo's dogs are good, but I've never understood their cult status. I once stood at another Maine hot dog stand and said to the man behing me in line, "I guess the only way you can get a hot dog in Maine is to have it steamed." His response, "how else would you cook it?"
For me, grill the dog and grill the bun. Top the dog off with the works.
Wells now has a Flo's. I haven't tried it yet.
Happy eating.

7:16 PM  

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