The usual disclaimer, prices and info are vintage 1999...your mileage may vary...
On our swing through the northeast, Maine served as a chance to rest & recharge our batteries in between the more hectic pace of America’s large cities. This trip brought us downeast...to Wells and Ogunquit.
Public transportation here is pretty much nonexistent so a rental car is in order. I had a Ford Contour reserved, which would probably suit our needs fine, but I let the Hertz agent talk us into upgrading to a Ford Explorer for a few dollars more. As roomy as it looks, the Explorer is really a pretty poor choice for someone in a wheelchair. Oh well, time to move on.
Southwest, again the choice for wheelchair users on a budget, brought us within an hour of our destination from Los Angeles for a mere $99 each way. To get this rate, go to Southwest’s web site and sign up for their e-mail internet fares which frequently have coast-to-coast $99 deals.
We stayed at Village by the Sea, a condo complex near the Atlantic shore. In the fall, a huge 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo will set you back only $85 a night. Minus one bedroom and bathroom, the price is only $65 per night (the cost is about double in 2011 - Ed). The unit we chose was wheelchair accessible but did not have a roll in shower. The master bathroom had grab bars and a shower head on a hose.
There’s not a lot of action here in Southern Maine for those of you who live for the nightlife, but the scenery is spectacular. Ogunquit is your typical little Maine fishing village. Many boats depart from its little Perkins Cove to set traps for lobsters each day in the season.
To the north of Wells, the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge offers another accessible hiking trail through a mile of its woods providing breathtaking views along with the chance to get up close and personal with the area’s animals.
Diners head to Maine for another reason, its lobster. You can get lobster here...in season (spring through early fall)...in many ways. Lobster rolls, stew, chowder, pie, etc. It’s plentiful and cheap. On a tip from the hotel staff, we checked out the Sundog.
The Sundog is a local eatery here in Wells that has kind of an incongruous Alaska motif but serving good food at good prices in a slightly sterile atmosphere. It’s a bit of a shocker for those of us out-of-towners used to seing lobster as the expensive star of a menu. Here, it’s the cheapest thing. Lobster dinner - $8.95. Want 2? $14.95. A chicken dinner was $12.95 and steak was $15.95. The lobster here was sweet, delicious, and local. The service here the best of the trip. (The Sundog may no longer be in business, I can't find any listing for it - Ed)
Other dinners were had at the Shore Café and Barnacle Billy’s in Oganquit. The Shore Café served up some great food and decent service. Barnacle Billy’s was a bit mediocre, good service, a bit overpriced but came with million dollar views of Perkins Cove.
Another, even better, place to eat is Jackie's Too, on the wharf at Perkin's Cove. Along with the fresh caught lobster, they have the best burgers we'd find in Maine.
Since we were there in mid October, the fall colors were spectacular and at their peak. It is not without justification that New England is the most popular place for leaf peepers to visit each fall...although if you time it right the color is slightly more spectacular in the Blue Ridge mountains down south.
The weather was chilly and some towns, such as Old Orchard Beach, were completely shut down due to summer being over.
To sum up, spectacular scenery, a very relaxing pace, beautiful countryside scenery, and delicious seafood is what Maine has in store for the wheelchair traveler.
Copyright 1999 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved