NEVER ARE THE BREEZES so sweet in Camden Harbor as in June, when rosa rugosa bloom on the edges of the public lawns that slope gently to the ocean. Soft summer breezes begin to fill Penobscot Bay, and the magic of Maine pervades even the most jaded souls. The stately and historical Camden Public Library presides over the head of the harbor, with its gracious Amphitheatre, which is re ned proof that Camden is, indeed, a jewel by the sea. As an added touch, the shapely Mt. Battie rises behind the town, part of the extensive Camden Hills State Park — a popular hiking spot for incredible views of the coastline.
But it’s not just beauty and Down East charm that draw yachts to Penobscot Bay and the convenient transient moorings that dot Camden Harbor. The town is lively and fun, with excellent restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques, a farmer’s market, opera house, numerous book shops, and a friendly community that is both sophisticated and down-home in avor.
Camden sits in the middle of Maine’s vibrant Midcoast, a much-loved part of the northeast coastline that is alive with working waterfronts, the lobster industry, thriving boatyards, a summer rusticator tradition, and visitors with an a nity for outdoor adventure. Just a 10-minute walk from town is the newly reopened Whitehall Inn that dates back to 1834 with a wrap-around veranda, perfect for unwinding. During the summer, the Camden Public Library is host to a wide range of movies, concerts and performances in the Amphitheatre, which is a perfect way to unwind after a long day.
Penobscot Bay is famous for its cruising grounds, remote islands, and intriguing nooks and crannies. Right next door is Rockport, the sister community to Camden. The villages are separated by but a mile along a bucolic stretch of farmland that is home to the Aldermere Farm, a land trust whose elds are grazed by the famous black and white “Oreo” cows.
Just 10 minutes away by car lies Rockland, whose renaissance as an artists’ town is still underway, and which hosts the annual Maine Lobster Festival (Aug. 3-7).
Don’t wait to plot your course to Camden. You’ll have a great time there, and it is a place to which you will want to return.
Where to Dine
- Bagel Café (25 Mechanic St., 207-236-2661) is a friendly spot to get a cup of locally roasted coffee and excellent bagels and to have a chat with the locals.
- Francine (55 Chestnut St., 207-230-0083) is a cozy bistro just up from the harbor on Chestnut Street where chef-owner Brian Hill tends his famous kitchen. Organic, local produce, meats and cheeses are used creatively to produce meals to remember.
- Long Grain (31 Elm St., 207-236-9001) offers traditional Asian street food paired with local Maine ingredients.
- The Waterfront (40 Bay View St., 207-236-3747), with its deck overlooking Camden’s Inner Harbor, is a local favorite. Its relaxed ambience, hearty fare, and moderate prices draw folks for lunch and dinner.