Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Summer in Mid-coast Maine

With the arrival of Fall it’s time for us to leave Thomaston, Maine - the beautiful town rooted in history that we called home for the summer.  For many RVers, staying in one place for six months is way too long and they feel an urge to travel more frequently.  After nine years fulltime RVing, we have found staying put for extended periods of time fits our lifestyle and we like to settle into a town and hang for a while.

This was our second summer in Thomaston and we have really come to enjoy the area.  Thomaston was once home to three of the seven millionaires in the United States primarily due to the ship building industry and granite rock quarries.  Lovingly restored homes are clad in characteristic white paint dotted with black shutters, gardens are colorful and manicured, and the stars and stripes proudly wave in the wind.  The downtown brings a mix of old and new.  Buildings from the 1800’s house hipster eating and drinking establishments, galleries and salons all while retaining their external charm.  The waterfront is still graced with boats and shipbuilders that keep the harbor buzzing. 


Thomaston is a small mid-coast Maine town flanked by larger and more recognized towns like Camden and Rockland.  This area has a dramatic coastline dotted by offshore islands, quaint harbors with lobster boats safely tied to moorings, lighthouses that have majestic schooners sailing by, and lobster shacks that sit right on the water with the catch being hauled up as you order.  Additionally, mid-coast is called the “Arts Capital of Maine” with award winning art museums and landscapes that provided inspiration for the three-generations of the famed American artists, N. C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth.  Spend just a short time in the area and you will quickly see why this area brings so much artistic inspiration.


For me, it was the second summer working at Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery.  Savage Oakes is owned and operated by a couple who took over their family farm and turned it into a vineyard, winery and rock concert venue.  The job brought a diversity of work tasks for me.  I spent my days pouring and talking about wine for guests in the tasting room, working in the vineyard pruning vines and harvesting grapes, bottling wine and affixing labels and capsules on the bottles, and cooking for musicians, their bands and a thousand concert goers.  Yes, there was a little bit of everything…which is what I love. 



We parked the RV at Saltwater Farms Campground which was a small, quiet, adult campground with a sweeping view of the St. Georges River.  The ten-foot tides provided all the entertainment we sought on some days.  It was the kind of campground where you just enjoy being there and want to spend the whole day there not doing much more than swimming in the pool, reading a book and enjoying a campfire.  Most of the summer the park was pretty empty with only a dozen or so seasonal campers and, lucky for us, sometimes our neighbors were our RV friends.  Unfortunately, the campground owners are calling it quits and sold off some of the property and decided to finally retire after 25 years of campground ownership.  We are happy for them that they can finally retire and spend their summers traveling instead of hosting travelers.  The campground and the people we met there over the years will certainly be missed.


Staying in an area for a while means we really get to know the town and we discovered some of our favorite things to do and some things not to be missed if you visit the area.  There are past blogs that we have written on the area (click on "Maine" under the Labels tab for links) but here is another run-down of some of our favorites from the past summer.

A day exploring the St. George Peninsula starts with a beautiful hike thru the Ash Point Preserve.  In just a short walk you will find yourself on the rocky coast with sweeping ocean views.  Lunch at McLoons Lobster Shack is a must if you want fresh and delicious seafood with iconic Maine views.  When you order lobster, they walk over to the dock and haul it right out of the water and then put it right in the steamer.  Nothing fresher than that!



After lunch, pop into the Lobster Lane Book Store for an adventure through an old claustrophobic building lined with literary works that can be yours for just a few bucks.  Continue south down the peninsula to the town of Port Clyde where the old General Store has creaky floors and one of everything.  Upstairs is an art gallery featuring works by the Wyeth’s and if you are a true admirer of their art then book the Wyeth by Water boat tour for a two-hour excursion around the harbor and neighboring islands to see the places represented in so many of the Wyeth's works of art.  A “must” is a visit to the Marshall Point Lighthouse which has a great view and a nice museum with displays about the area’s history. 


First Friday Art Walk is a great way to experience the arts scene after hours.  The Farnsworth Art Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum are free on First Fridays and the local galleries fling their doors open beckoning you with beautiful art, music, and a glass of wine.  Book a table at In Good Company or North Beacon Oyster for a great meal before wandering around town.  Curious about the marijuana (which is legal in Maine)?  Stop in at the Scrimshaw Cannabis for a look at the diverse plants they are growing to support the medical marijuana needs.  And yes, they are open on First Fridays inviting you in to their view their “gallery” of living plants.  As you might imagine, they have free food too.

This summer we spent more time exploring Damariscotta.  The cute little town with a funny name that is just a hair off famed Rt. 1.  There are interesting boutiques, great restaurants (we recommend Que Rico and Racha Noodle Bar), the original Reny’s store (a Maine variety store), a wonderful restored theater, delightful cooking and specialty store (Weatherbird) and an amazing butcher store that will order and cut what you want.  Damariscotta is the “Oyster Capital of Maine.”  Years ago the plentiful oyster population was decimated when the shipping industry cut all the nearby trees and silt suffocated the bivalves.  Today, the industry is back and thriving with Maine oysters being sought after and shipped around the world.  These cold briny oysters are now plentiful along the banks of the Damariscotta River where oyster farms are thriving.   Our friends from the campground joined us one afternoon on an “oyster cruise” down the river where we were entertained by the captain and served delicious raw oysters and cold wine by the first mate.  I always thought finding a pearl when eating an oyster was good luck but after finding one between my teeth and subsequently buying a lottery ticket, I can attest it does not bring you closer to millions.


We had an amazing summer in Maine filled with friends, fun times and lots of memories.  Summer concerts at the winery, campfires watching the moon rise over the river, afternoons on the rocky coast admiring the ocean views, and plentiful lobster dinners at the picnic table are memories we will never forget.   


2 comments:

  1. Looks like a fine place to spend the summer.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have mastered where to find the best of the best food and wines with the best views.

    ReplyDelete

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