Rockland and Camden, two lovely towns in the midcoast region of Maine, provide endless photographic opportunities, dozens of boutique shops, renowned museums, inns with exquisite architectural styling and the freshest possible seafood. Separated by only eight miles (12.87 km), visitors to the area have the convenience of two separate towns, each with delightful attractions. During a recent visit, I found seven places I loved and would recommend to others.
Lime Rock Inn in Rockland, Maine
Located on Lime Rock Street in Rockland, the Lime Rock Inn is a stunning example of Queen Anne architecture while providing comfortable guestrooms, beautifully-decorated common areas and a full, deliciously-prepared breakfast. Innkeepers Frank and PJ have given careful thought to every detail of their guests’ experience and have won numerous recognitions from area publications as a result. Lime Rock Inn is conveniently located within a comfortable walking distance of the Farnsworth Museum and great restaurants. During this stroll, you will be treated to the nearby natural scenery that accompanies Rockland’s coastal location.
Other amenities include complimentary refreshments in the guest pantry, free Wi-Fi, Egyptian cotton bedding, complimentary bottled waters and chocolates, private bathrooms and flat screen televisions with cable and DVD players. Some rooms feature whirlpool tubs, and one has a wood-burning fireplace. All guests are encouraged to enjoy the wraparound porch when the weather permits.
Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine
The Farnsworth Museum, at 16 Museum Street, specializes in American art. It houses over 15,000 works and has a special collection by sculptor, Louise Nevelson. The Wyeth Center inside Farnsworth is dedicated to the works of N.C., Andrew and James Wyeth, representing three generations of that famous family. The main museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays in the winter and on Mondays in the spring, but it is open daily from June 1 to October 31. The Museum Store is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. year-round. The website shares a full calendar of events offered by the museum.
Area visitors might also enjoy seeing the Maine Lighthouse Museum, located on the waterfront in downtown Rockland. It endeavors to educate the public about the important role of lighthouses, the lifesaving devices that have been used and the interesting stories of lighthouse keepers and their families.
Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light
The actual breakwater was built even before the lighthouse, between 1880 and 1889, to prevent future damage to waterfront businesses and to ships in the harbor from severe nor'easters. Nor'easter is a term used in this part of the United States to refer to a storm along the East Coast, which usually comes from the northeast and is characterized by heavy snow, rain or violent winds. This breakwater is 7/8-mile long (1.4 km) and is made of granite blocks. The lighthouse, which was built later, is actually an 18-foot (5.48 meters) square tower sitting atop a fog signal house. Visitors are encouraged to walk very carefully if they choose to go all the way to the end of the breakwater.
The Pearl, a restaurant on the wharf
The Pearl, located at the end of Rockland’s wharf in Harbor Park, reopened last year with Larry Reed as the new owner. For a brief time, it was known as the Oyster Bar at the Pearl, and oysters are featured heavily on the menu. The setting is perfect for diners who want to savor the waterfront and watch the boats coming in and out while eating fresh seafood. In addition to oysters, you are likely to find lobster, clams, crab, mussels, calamari, tuna, halibut, swordfish, scallops and shrimp on the list of selections for the day.
Archer's on the Pier
Sit on the large deck when the weather is nice and watch windjammers glide by or the ferry transporting visitors and locals while you look forward to a wonderful meal at Archer’s on the Pier on Ocean Street in Rockland. It is open every day except Sunday for lunch and dinner. Archer’s has steamed lobster as well as all of the expected Maine seafood items, plus haddock, a mild, tender white fish.
Lunch specials include sandwiches, wraps, burgers and fish tacos, while the dinner menu adds steaks and even several pasta choices.
As with The Pearl, the setting is superb, and the seafood is as fresh as it gets.
Boats and shops in Camden, Maine
It would be hard to find a more peaceful and beautiful cove than the one that anchors Camden, Maine. The back doors of shops along Main Street open up to the tranquil scene. The Experience Camden Maine website has an extensive list, but I particularly enjoyed finding treasures inside Once a Tree, Surroundings and The Smiling Cow. Turn the corner, and you’ll come to Bay View Street and even more temptations for your wallet.
But the water and the boats will draw you in, and you’ll find reasons to stroll past or find a bench for just watching and relaxing. Surprisingly, the small town of Camden has its own opera house and ski resort, so both outdoor enthusiasts as well as music lovers will find plenty to enjoy, depending on the season.
Take your camera to Camden. You’ll find subjects in every direction.
Marriner's in downtown Camden
Ask the locals to suggest the best place for lunch, and they will most likely name Marriner’s. And yes, the name does contain two r’s. It is located in the center of Main Street and is a family style restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Don’t wait too late, because it closes everyday at 2:00 p.m.
If you’re lucky, you can grab a table on the back porch that overlooks the water. The service is friendly and quick, and the breading on the fried seafood is light and flavorful, so much so that you can still enjoy the full taste of the fish. I could easily understand why Marriner’s is so popular.
These midcoast gems are sure to delight
Rockland and Camden provide some of the best examples of the most-anticipated attractions for visitors to the coast of Maine. Give this area a few days of your itinerary when you’re planning a trip. The natural beauty and the seafood are top reasons, but the hospitality, the art and culture, the history and the charm rank near the top also. Remember that peak season runs from Memorial Day to Columbus Day and go as soon as you can.
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