Summer by the Sea
David Harvey of Sarasota Florida say's he's been coming to Ogunquit for years, and looks forward to the day when he can share the experience with his grandchildren.
But unlike the tourists of a hundred years ago, who arrived to the area by train, the Harveys and almost all the other visitors who come to Ogunquit arrive by car.
The cars are coming and going from the a popular spot called Perkins cove, where seaside shops and restaurants share space with working lobstermen and deep sea fishing charter boats. To get to Perkins cove, you have to drive by the house Charles Littlefield Seaman's grandfather built around the turn of the century.
Seaman is a descendant of the Littlefield family, which has roots in Ogunquit dating back to the 1600's. From his front porch Seaman points to several old barns across the street that now house shops and galleries.
A mason by trade, Seaman says he doesn't take issue with the tourism dependent businesses that now surround his home:
Some other locals are more reluctant to complain aloud about the tourist onslaught. One lobsterman, who refused to be interviewed, grumbled that trying to get around town in Ogunquit during the summer is, to put it euphemistically, a pain in the behind. Even those who fully support the tourism industry acknowledge that traffic congestion can be a major frustration. After all, the town is only about four square miles in size and its population explodes from only about a thousand in the winter.
Elinor Vadnais, executive director of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, says that based on all indictors, this summer well prove to be a good one for area businesses.
To gear up for the summer season, businesses like the Lobster Shack restaurant start preparations around the end of March, with some basic maintenance. By the first week of April, owner Jason Evans says he's put on a few fresh coats of paint, been in touch with his vendors, and is hopefully ready to open the doors by tax day. The major problem this year, says Evans, is the labor shortage:
That means Evans himself will crack open the lobster shells to collect meat for stew and lobster rolls while his father John Evans, a retired school teacher, mans a broom.
But the work can pay off. The Lobster Shack has only 12 tables, but on a busy day can handle as many as 300 customers. The major summer tourist season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but the Evans, and many of their colleagues in Ogunquit, will keep their doors open until Columbus Day in October.
For The Savvy Traveler, this is Keith Shortall in Ogunquit, Maine.
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