Spotlight on Travel – Mike Cohen

Known to the Abenaki tribe as “beautiful place by the sea,” Ogunquit (www.ogunquit.org) is a beautiful town of Maine featuring a world-class beach and magnificent coastline that attract visitors from around the globe.
Ogunquit has something for every type of traveler. Theatre lovers flock to the many playhouses for the summer stock performances. Shoppers rave about the assortment of galleries, boutiques and gift shops and discriminating diners have an abundant selection of fine restaurants to satisfy nearly every taste – including lobster! Sailing, sea kayaking and whale watching are popular activities as well as hiking nearby Mount Agamenticus or the Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm.

Located just South of Ogunquit Village at 42 Main Street, surrounded by pastoral fields and scenic woods, the historic Ogunquit Playhouse (ogunquitplayhouse.org) continues to create some of the most vibrant and exciting summer theatre in the country.

One of the few remaining summer stock theatres of the legendary straw hat circuit, the Playhouse continues its 76-year tradition of bringing the biggest and best shows of Broadway to the beach. Each summer the Playhouse produces a five show subscription series along with its unique and growing Children’s Theatre Program.

The 2009 roster featured A Chorus Line, Shout! The Mod Musical, Guys and Dolls, Singin’ in the Rain and the Elvis Presley filled All Shook Up. We had the good fortune of seeing Guys and Dolls, starring Tony award winner Christian Hoff and Richard Kind of TV’s Spin City fame. It was a fabulous show, with great sets and a real professional look. There is free parking, book your tickets in advance and arrive at least 15 minutes before show time.

Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays, from Memorial to Columbus Day weekends. Main Stage ticket prices range from $39 to $58 per show. You may purchase tickets on-line or through the box office at 207-646-5511.
If you are looking to catch a quick dinner before the show, then make a stop at the Old Village Inn (www.theoldvillageinn.net) at 250 Maine Street. The varied menu offers a blend of creative and traditional American and Continental selections, all prepared to order. You can choose one of their many delicious entrees or go to the pub menu for something quick and convenient. We arrived less than two hours before show time and our waitress assured us we would be served in plenty of time and could certainly choose from among their more popular dishes. That is what our party did, from the lazy man’s lobster, to some grilled shrimp served with pasta and an outstanding and crispy roasted half duck. For dessert we saved room for the chocolate lava cake, made with warm melted pudding and some vanilla ice cream.

York’s Wild Kingdom – Zoo and theme park (www.yorkzoo.com) is located in York Beach and features hundreds of exotic animals from around the world. We spent an enjoyable day there and would highly recommend it. Especially fun was the butterfly exhibit and the elephant show where we met Lydia, the 59 year old 9,000 pound elephant who can actually paint and play the harmonica. The family of lemurs was so entertaining to observe that we didn’t want to leave. A look at the lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and zebras was a thrill. And who does not enjoy walking through a sea of beautiful deer who just want you to pet and feed them. There is also a small amusement park, featuring different rides and an arcade.

In the town of Wells, just on the border with Ogunquit right on Route 1, you will find the Wonder Mountain Family Fun Centre and Mini-Golf. This spot is a blast! On the night we went, customers were lined up knee deep to try their luck on one of the two 18 hole courses. This is an extremely well run facility. When they ran out of putters I figured we were in for a long evening, but things moved along a nice pace and even the wait at each hole was not too long. The people in line with us, many from Montreal, were so friendly that it was actually fun to chat between putts.

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca.
Log on to his travel advice column at www.sandboxworld.com/travel

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