Camden is another quintessential Maine town that we just can't seem to drive by without stopping for a visit. Oh sure, we have been here countless times but it's powerful charm lures us in every time we are heading up the Maine coast. The harbor is chocked full of boats (many of which are gorgeous old schooners), the downtown is lined with alluring boutiques, galleries, and the best wine and cheese shop in Maine, and the plethora of parks, preserves, lakes and scenic views makes this a dream city. At least an irresistible one for us.
This year, we booked four nights at Camden Hills State Park and absolutely loved it! We called to make sure they were open for the season and planned our visit according to their opening. In the past, we stayed at private parks but really wanted to stay here because of the peaceful setting, miles and miles of hiking trails, and the close proximity to downtown Camden. Hiking right from our campsite is a dream for us and Spirit. Needless to say, many hours were filled exploring the pine laden woods which offered some of the most fabulous views of the downtown harbor and surrounding islands.
|Hiking Mt. Megunticook is not easy but well worth the soaring views.|
The most prominent attraction in the park is Mt. Battie Auto Tour Road that ascends 800 feet providing breathtaking views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. It is just a short drive to the top or you can choose to hike a trail to the top and experience gorgeous woods on the way up. I chose to do both.
The National Park Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps created the park in the 1930s and the well-planned trails and public use areas are evidence of the thoughtfulness that went into the park's development. With everything this 5,700-acre park has to offer it is easy to see why it has been one of Maine’s most popular attractions.
Camden is a great location to explore some of Maine’s other beautiful coastal towns like Rockland, Rockport, Owl's Head, Lincolnville, and Belfast – all of which are just a short drive away. The nearby town of Rockport is home to one of our favorite restaurants – Shepherds Pie – which never disappoints. On our way to the restaurant I insisted we drive by Aldemere Farm to admire the Oreo-colored Belted Galloway cows that quietly mow the lush green pasture. While I was hoping to see some of the new born calves, it seemed they were already in the barn for the night.
|Now that's a cute cow!|
Rockland, the busier of the towns, is a working waterfront with some surprisingly great museums and attractions including the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Lighthouse Museum, the Project Puffin Visitor Center and the Rockland Breakwater Light. One museum we had never been to before was the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum. This informative little museum provides a hands-on and informative way to learn about the areas maritime past and historically significant sailing, power and steam drivel vessels. Our visit started with a warm greeting from Jim Sharp the founder of the museum. He proudly introduced us to the museum and set us up with a portable DVD to guide us around the exhibits. The DVD was very well narrated and we loved that we could explore the museum at our own pace pausing at times to read or poke around the artifacts. The $5 suggested donation was worth it and we were enlightened about a subject we knew next to nothing about.
When our five days was up we wrestled with the idea of staying an extra few days. There was lots more to do, see and eat and the time flew by too fast. But alas, there is never a shortage of the previously mentioned trifecta anywhere along the Maine coast. So now we'll migrate up to Bar Harbor where we will chock the tires for three months. Our work camping stint begins on June 1st so we want some time to play in one of our other favorite towns before we become working girls again. Have you noticed that all the towns in Maine seem to be a “favorite?”