Camden & Rockport

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In the heart of Maine’s Midcoast, the neighboring towns of Camden, Rockport, and Lincolnville draw visitors in every season to “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea”. Thanks to its recreation, shopping, historical interest, arts and culture, and dining and lodging, the region offers broad appeal as well as one-of-a-kind attractions.

In the heart of Maine’s Midcoast, the neighboring towns of Camden, Rockport, and Lincolnville draw visitors in every season to “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea”. Thanks to its recreation, shopping, historical interest, arts and culture, and dining and lodging, the region offers broad appeal as well as one-of-a-kind attractions.

Voted the prettiest town in Maine in 2009, Camden harbor’s mix of working and pleasure craft includes a fleet of windjammer schooners, which began operating tourist cruises in 1936. Two-hour daytrips and three- to five-day live-aboard cruises depart from the Public Landing. Camden and adjacent Rockport harbor moorings also welcome small and large private vessels, drawn by deep water, a well-stocked port, and several boatbuilders, marinas, and storage and repair facilities. Each September, a family-friendly Windjammer Festival keeps the area’s maritime traditions alive through schooner open houses, lobster crate races, a chowder cook-off, marine crafts demonstrations, and free live entertainment.

For more insight into this area’s history, pick up the Historic Downtown Camden walking-tour map, identifying buildings that began as boathouses, woolen mills, ship captain’s homes, and the former theater where  “Peyton Place”, filmed here in 1956, had its world premiere. In July and August, the Camden-Rockport Historical Society opens its 18th-century Conway Homestead and Cramer Museum.

Linger a while on the shady Village Green and view a classic New England scene: church spire, post office, and shopping bustle. Stroll to Harbor Park and its Amphitheatre, sit on the seawall to watch the harbor traffic and the Megunticook River waterfall, explore the gardens and trails at 66-acre Merryspring Nature Center, or wind along Bay View Street and Beauchamp Point, where shore views peek in and out, passing rambling cottages built by summer folk from Boston, New York, and Philadelphia during the age of steamboat travel.

This scenic coastline nestles into the Camden Hills, among them Mount Battie, part of Camden Hills State Park. From its 790-foot summit, reached by 26 miles of hiking trails and an auto road, the panorama stretches from Rockland and its islands to the Blue Hill peninsula. Camden resident and Pulizer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay immortalized this vista in her 1912 poem “Renascence”: “All I could see from where I stood was three long mountains and a wood. I turned and looked the other way and saw three islands in a bay.” On the shore side of U.S. Route 1, the park contains hiking trails and picnic areas.

Facing inland, Mount Battie’s stone tower offers dramatic views to Lake Megunticook–popular for summer boating, fishing, and swimming–and Ragged Mountain, site of the Camden Snow Bowl. This four-season recreation area offers tennis, mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and February’s annual national toboggan championships.

Shops in Camden’s compact downtown offer clothing, jewelry, gifts, art supplies, toys, home furnishings, and more–all within walking distance of the harbor, dining, and lodging. Many authors, musicians, and artists call this area home, so there are several bookstores and galleries, as well as the HarborArts show in July and October. Throughout the year, Victorian-era opera houses in Camden and Rockport schedule concerts, plays, dance events, the Maine Literary Festival, Camden International Film Festival, and thought-provoking gatherings such as PopTech! and The Camden Conference. See our Calendar of Events for details.

Event attendees, residents, and seasonal visitors have nurtured the towns’ growing lodging options, from oceanview cottages, motels, and resorts to gracious inns and bed-and-breakfast accommodations. Dining venues range from creative sandwich shops and dockside seafood spots to restaurants serving five-star international cuisine.

Rockport‘s snug harbor celebrates boats and boatbuilding, and its Marine Park attractions feature historic lime kilns and a granite statue of Andre the Seal, whose heartwarming story and performance antics over 20+ years still delight children through books and a movie. Rockport’s other notable animal residents are Aldermere Farm’s Belted Galloway “Oreo cookie” cows, who graze in meadows along bucolic Russell Avenue. Visit the nearby Children’s Chapel for its beautiful plantings and distant ocean views; this peaceful setting is also popular for outdoor weddings. Within the village and along Route 1, several shops, galleries, and restaurants complement the town’s laid-back mood. Schooner daytrips and kayak rentals pass nearby Indian Island lighthouse.

 

Information provided by Jewel of the Maine Coast, our local Chamber of Commerce.