The journey continues along the coast of Maine, in the Mid-Coast region that hosts the Penobscot Bay created by the mouth of the river of the same name.
This bay, 64 km long and 32 km wide, boasts tiny villages and islands, some of which are uninhabited. Set off with me to discover picturesque locations where you can relax in the village streets, on the beach, in the bay, watch the boats in the marinas, appreciate the nature, the small white wooden churches with their pointed bell towers, taste lobsters, crabs and shrimp because shellfish are at home here.
The busiest seasons for tourists are summer, with temperatures ranging from not too hot to mild, and autumn, when the red, orange, ochre and yellow hues of the foliage create enchanting scenery. Winter, the least touristy season, has a cold climate with possible, scenic snowfall, while spring shows the awakening of nature with temperatures gradually rising.
Today I take you to the towns of Camden, Rockport and Lincolnville, about a couple of hours from the well-known tourist resort of Bar Harbor, Acadia National park, and equally from Portland, Maine’s largest city. About an hour away is Augusta, the state capital, and the city of Bangor with its historic buildings.
These three destinations are conveniently accessible from the airports of Boston in Massachusetts and Portland in Maine, but also from U.S. 1, which connects New Hampshire to the Canadian border and for a large part faces the Atlantic Ocean.
Camden Maine – A historical gem beloved of cinema
Continuing along the coast of Maine, we find Cadmen, a delightful town with historic buildings, where the mountains meet the sea, also known for its community of devoted holidaymakers, many of whom come from the Boston, Philadelphia and New York areas. And after visiting it, this is hardly surprising.
Camden was also not indifferent to the world of cinema, which chose her for several major productions including Captains Courageous, Peyton Place and Casper.
– Camden Downtown
Picturesque 19th-century town centre with numerous shops, restaurants and cafés within brick or wooden buildings with brightly coloured facades. Here one can shop and stroll in peace and quiet appreciating all that is around until one reaches the port area with a few minutes’ walk. Camden and its surroundings reach their peak of beauty during the autumn foliage period.
– Camden Harbor
It almost goes without saying that the harbour is home to yachts and boats and is a corner of interest. You can appreciate it in various ways: by scenic boat tour, walking along the waterfront, enjoying local specialities in a restaurant with a sea view, or highly recommended Camden Hill State Park. In this regard, I leave you with a couple of suggestions:
• Camden Harbor Cruises
With this company it is possible to tour around the coast, with different itineraries of different durations among which I suggest including Curtis Island to appreciate the scenic lighthouse of the same name. Children and four-legged friends are welcome.
• The Waterfront Restaurant
Open daily for lunch and dinner, this restaurant boasts a terrace overlooking the harbour. The dishes are made with local ingredients and on the menu are seafood specialities such as stewed lobster, fried shrimps and the typical lobster-stuffed sandwich, the Maine Lobster Roll, as well as fine Angus beef in a tasty burger or a tempting Caesar salad.
• Camden Hills State Park
This park, shared between Camden and Lincolnville, overlooks Penobscot Bay. It is definitely a must when visiting Camden and the surrounding area. The park’s most famous location is Mount Battie, from whose 238-metre peak you can enjoy views of Camden, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding islands. On clearer days, visitors can see Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, a beautiful area just to the west. With more time on your hands, you can take advantage of the trails and other panoramic views. But that’s not all because the park is also the habitat of wild animals: moose, deer, bears, foxes and red lynx as well as seasonal birds such as herons and cormorants. It is an excellent location to admire the autumn foliage.
• Camden Snow Bowl
Ski resort located on Ragged Mountain with scenic views of the Atlantic Ocean. This is the only coastal destination in Maine where you can also ski.
The Snow Bowl, with more than 300 metres of altitude difference and more than 20 recently expanded slopes, shines as a coastal ski resort. Nestled among picturesque harbours, charming inns and award-winning restaurants, Snow Bowl is also the only ski area on the east coast with an ocean view.
• Camden Windjammer Festival
If you’re in Camden over Labor Day weekend, the first weekend in September, join the celebration of maritime culture that includes a variety of activities including nautical performances, but also music, talent show-inspired performances, treasure hunts, fireworks and of course food. Many of them are held at Harbor Park.
• Christmas by the Sea
In this small town, the Christmas festivities are very heartfelt and joyful. Striking is the large illuminated star on the tower at the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park. It is lit on Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November. But that’s not all, a parade takes place in the village, the melodies of Christmas carols are heard, a reproduction of the Nativity is appreciated, photos are taken with Santa Claus, and when it snows, the magic of Christmas is complete. To warm up from the cold, there is nothing better than a good hot chocolate, perhaps with the addition of cinnamon, vanilla or cream.
Rockport, not just art
Adjacent to Camden, this village on the Maine coast boasts relaxing parks, a well-equipped harbour that hosts many boats, a beautiful shoreline with coastal views and the ancient Rockport Breakwater lighthouse at the apex of the breakwater. It is an ideal place for water activities, golfing as well as drawing artistic inspiration; in fact, the numerous galleries prove that Rockport is an inspiring location for those who enjoy creating works of art such as painting, photography and jewellery.
• Rockport Marine Park
In this park, one strolls in tranquillity and relaxes while enjoying the view of the harbour. This green area is equipped with a boat ramp, benches and picnic tables. Goodie’s Beach is perfect for swimming and families, but the real star is the statue of Andre, a seal with a history of neglect who was later adopted by Henry Goodridge, a man associated with many seaside activities.
• Aldermere Farm
Taking part in a tour of this year-round working farm means coming into contact with an active and sustainable agricultural reality, getting to know the farming world as well as the black and white cattle up close. Very interesting then, at the end of March, the cognitive tour on maple syrup production.
• Vesper Hill Children’s Chapel
Between the harbour and Aldermere Farm, I recommend a visit to this small church surrounded by greenery, perfect for a quiet moment, to picnic in the surrounding gardens and to celebrate events. This is also a favourite place of inspiration for artists.
• Rockport Donut Festival
It may sound strange, but this doughnut is so tasty and popular that it deserves a celebration that takes place in June, with music, a parade and, of course, plenty of refreshment places to enjoy it too.
Lincolnville Maine – for lovers of the outdoors
Small community with a relaxing atmosphere that I recommend to nature lovers. It owes its name to General Benjamin Lincoln, a great fighter at the time of the American War of Independence.
• Lincolnville Beach
Long strip of dog-friendly sand in which the waters where one can swim gradually descend. Fishing is practised here and it is pleasant to watch the boats in the harbour and on the open sea. In addition to gulls, herons and mallards, bald eagles and falcons can be seen circling in the sky.
• Megunticook Lake
A natural area shared with Camden and Hope where the largest lake by area and volume in Knox County is located, framed by Mount Megunticook. The waters of the lake are cold and crystal clear, with a maximum depth of 20 metres and a fish stock that includes trout, bass and a few salmon.
• Murray Preserve
Four hectares of fields, without footpaths, facing the sea with a rocky beach, where you can have a picnic.
• Maine Artisans
Along Atlantic Highway I recommend this shop selling handicrafts created by Maine artists, including jewellery, clothing, paintings and pottery.
• Lincolnville Center General Store
Along Maine street, in the tiny centre of the village, you can shop in this shop every day, especially gourmet food, among which I suggest pizza and bread baked in a wood-fired oven, but also delicious muffins, cookies and puffed rice.
Choosing what to visit
The options are many so sometimes it is difficult to choose, we have to deal with the time available to us and the days should be 48 hours!
How then? Choose from the heart, let a location, an attraction or a landscape inspire you and ‘call’ you. Before setting off, optimise your time well and plan ahead, also allowing some time to be surprised by what special and unexpected things you come across along the way. In this way you can get to know each other, have fun, be amazed, and create a precious and indelible memory.