Perkins Cove

Looking to get away? Perkins Cove is anything but, with stunning seaside views for both a lazy stroll or a revitalizing run. Let the path lead you from one sight and smell to the next, all with a breeze from the Atlantic at your side. Don’t forget the iconic view from the Cove’s famed footbridge as sailboats and fishing vessels pass underfoot.

DID YOU KNOW: In the early 20th century, another wave of art and culture came to the Cove with the arrival of two popular tea rooms known for theatrics: the Dancing Fan Tea House and the Whistling Oyster (originally built where Barnacle Billy’s now stands). Both fishermen and artists enjoyed the culture brought to Perkins Cove during this period. The Ice House, built by Hamilton Easter Field to store ice for the fisherman to use, was later converted to a music club and was very popular during the Prohibition Era.

Entrance to Perkins Cove circa 1920s

history lesson

traps shacks and studios
traps shacks and studios
The Modern Cove

A Modern Perkins Cove 

In 1942 Perkins Cove was dredged to make room for larger vessels, namely tuna boats, and this created the Cove as we see it today. Commercial fishing and tourism spurred the modernization of some parts of the Cove while leaving others, like the art schools, to become cherished parts of its past. Many of the original fish shacks are still standing but have been converted for residential and commercial use. Perkins Cove remains both a historic yet modern destination for tourists year-round.

artists at work 1930s
artists at work 1930s
Fisherman Era

The Cove’s First Fisherman

Perkins Cove, like many coastal villages in New England, made a name for itself early on as a center for lobster fishing. From small-frame buildings and shingled-shacks came the famous Ogunquit Dories, small vessels built to weather the rocky coast and strong tides. In these early days, the Josias River had not yet been dredged and remained a natural meandering stream.

Whistling Oyster
Whistling Oyster
Art Colony Era

Art Comes to the Cove

In the late 19th century, Perkins Cove was home to several art colonies. Hamilton Easter Field,  a well-known artist of the era, started the Ogunquit School of Painting and Sculpture, a building that still stands on the shores of the Cove today. Robert Laurent, who would later go on to teach sculpture at the school, was one of his friends and students. The surrounding natural scenery, including the lives and trappings of fishermen and their daily lives, were all subjects for the artists. Charles H. Woodbury, another marine painter contemporary, is the namesake of a studio on the south side of the Josias River and his work hangs in the Perkins Cove museum



cove gallery

Photos donated by:

Dawn Fuda/Ogunquit Resident