Try explaining to the baby boomer sipping a rooibos tea in Monument Square the spectacle that occurs on a daily basis at Old Orchard Beach.
The town is a national marvel of surf, tacky rides and young’uns ready to spend the day as fun sponges. On the way to the newly renovated lovers’ perch, Lindbergh’s Landing, I find a lucky parking spot, and, low on quarters, pop into the nearest swag shop to see if the guy’s willing to bail out the latest sap short of coinage.
With club music at an absurd volume, the guy, after the requisite once-over, says “Yiah. I could do that.” He finishes panini-pressing “Old Orchard Beach” on the rear of some teeny-weeny white shorts and drops four clammy coins in my palm.
OOB — from the pomade in this dude’s hair to the sea gulls swiping fried clams over folks’ shoulders — is a banquet for the senses, and its nerve center is the massive Pier that divides the beach scene and the rides scene.
Walk down the Pier, feel the warm wood underfoot, and hear the cries of mirthful kiddos and starving sky-rats alike.
There are options for pizza, Dippin’ Dots, sea jewelry and tattoos.
Plenty of humanity of all shapes and sizes.
At the end of the Pier, up a winding staircase, is the ultimate eagle’s aerie for punchy people-watching: Lindbergh’s Landing.
Amid palm fronds and sinking in a cushy corner chair, I sip a dangerous delight called Pier Punch.
If I were Charles Lindbergh, and up in my plane I was jonesing for a daiquiri, I’d want to close the deal on the roof of this building. I don’t know what it is about the blend of citrus vodka, peach, melon and banana liqueurs and tropical fruit juice that comprises this cup of seduction, but it’s really tying the room together.
It’s hard to not keep hammering home the view because it alone is worth it, but there’s a lot more at the Landing to keep you interested.
On a perfect performance space, the Landing welcomes bands, DJs and comedy acts to keep the OOB legend at full tilt.
What’s more, they can accommodate your salty hunger with fresh seafood, cheeseburgers and jugs upon jugs of delicious, cool Budweiser.
If there are complaints to be lodged, I haven’t figured them out yet.
First I have to get over the miracle of peering through the deck floorboards and seeing rolling aquamarine.
Mike Olcott is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.