Last Updated on March 22, 2023

Welcoming smiles, waves, environmentally aware communities, and a salt-of-the-earth approach to life describe the Maine I discovered during my visit. The attraction is so warm and inviting that the possibility of return trips or an annual pilgrimage to a summer home in one of the quaint villages becomes a constant daydream.

Whether visiting in late Spring when the air is brisk, during the summer heat, or enjoying the fall foliage along the coast, a visit to Maine is a true getaway and relaxing escape. Sail coastal waters on windjammers, enjoy the freshest seafood around, hike rocky trails, explore museums, participate in local art and historic festivals.

Before the end of your first visit, do not be surprised if plans are already underway for your return.

Explore Main Streets

Main Street - Rockland Maine
©Roxie LeFever

Rockland and Camden, Maine are coastal towns along Penobscot Bay, about 11-miles apart. Windjammers and cruises are available from either.

Both offer main streets filled with restaurants, museums, souvenir shops, and pubs. Whether it’s festival time or not, Mainers are always up for a good time and good food.

Camden Harbor

This scene is so peaceful, you will melt into tranquility.

Sit and relax as you watch the sailing crews and boat owners. Read a good book while sitting on one of several benches on the hill. Ignore social media, disconnect from day-to-day hassles. Reconnect with yourself.

If you do not have a good book, turn around and find the local library to browse for a good read.

Lobster & Lighthouse Cruise

Camden Harbor Cruises is a great way to see the waters around Camden. Captain Doug and First Mate Burke will show you the sites, tell you the stories behind the lighthouses and teach you all about lobster traps.

Do you know how to measure the size of a lobster to see whether it should be thrown back? Or how to reset the trap and the right bait to use to attract lobsters? Did you know some are right-handed and others left-handed?

Not just anyone can catch lobsters – licenses are required. You’ll have fun getting to know these two and hearing their stories.

Explore Rockland Islands by Ferry

Explore the islands off Rockland. The Ferry from Rockland’s Harbor services Matinicus, North Haven, and Vinalhaven. Check their schedule at Maine State Ferry Service. Pedestrian, cycle, and auto passengers are accommodated.

It will be a 1-to-2-hour ride before you can explore the quaint towns of each island. Explore online – Vinalhaven ME, North Haven, ME, Matinicus Isle, ME.

Try Rockland Libations

Explore places like Sea Dog Brewing Company in downtown Camden. Take a break, enjoy some seafood and brews to wet the palette. Sea Dog also offers lots of creative souvenirs that can be purchased online if you know a dog lover.

Tell Keith from Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery that we said, “hi.” Not only will you get to sample unusual items like Blueberry and Maple Smash (our favorites), but there’s wine, whisky, and other items to tickle your taste buds.

Sweetgrass has a beautiful facility in the country. It is great for picnics or a sunset drink on the patio. Adults and kids alike will be interested in the outdoor train track. Bring all conductors.

Sail the Coast

Sail the Coast on a Windjammer Cruise
©Roxie LeFever

Maine Windjammer Sailing Cruises offers nine windjammers and dozens of cruise options based on the type of cruise/vessel. Sail on the 150-year-old schooner, Stephen Taber (like we did). It is beautifully maintained with live music, chef-made meals, and an amazing crew. Aboard any of the vessels; you cannot go wrong.

Nothing clears out the stay-at-home doldrums better than fresh sea air, exploring 2,200 islands off the coast of Maine, and spending time with sailing professionals. No need to know how to sail yourself, but they happily accept those who volunteer to help.

They sail out of both Rockland and Camden ports for 4-to-7-day cruises. I highly recommend it to novice or seasoned sailors.

Penobscot Bay from Mount Battie

North of Camden, on Route 1, is Camden Hills State Park, where for a small fee, visitors can hike miles of trails and climb the tower at the top. The website has a complete map of all trails.

If you are short on time or not into hiking, drive to the top. With a short walk, you will reach the view and World War I Memorial tower erected in 1921.

Take a Drive on the Coast

No matter which direction you head, the scenery is breathtaking. From covered bridges to fields of flowers, beautiful homes with awe-inspiring views of the ocean or bay.

Parks with trails to walk, picnic areas, and the occasional sandy beach. We even came across an abandoned rail station at City Point.

Explore Stephen King’s Home

Stephen King's Home
©Roxie LeFever

Reading a Stephen King novel might forewarn visitors that his homestead would be different too. From the spider cobweb and bat wrought iron gates, the gargoyles, or the wooden sculpture in his yard representing characters from various books, it seems quite fitting.

Born in Maine, King lived for years in this rather distinctive mansion close to downtown Bangor. He also purchased the house next door (now 39 and 47 West Broadway), where the 3.27 acres will become a writer’s retreat.

It is a couple of hours drive from Rockland. However, devotees to the horror writer will want to make the trek. Check tour availability and book online HERE.

The Freshest Seafood Ever

Seafood - Rockland Maine
©Roxie LeFever
  • In Rockland, check out the award-winning ClawsBest of the Best Lobster – for the best lobster rolls and truffle fries ever. It is casual and long lines are expected – but so worth it.
  • In Camden, I would recommend heading down to Peter Ott’s on the Water. They offer outdoor seating along the waterfront or indoor dining and drinks.
  • Try the “all you can eat seafood” at the Rockland Café, which is quaint and exactly what you’d expect for a small-town diner – simply great food.
  • If you’d like a sports club environment, check out Trackside Station, located a block off Main Street in the historic train station. The station has been remodeled for both indoor and outdoor seating – lunch or dinner.
  • If you are not into seafood, do not worry. These restaurants offer plenty of other local favorites.

Support the Puffin

While the Puffin Center was closed early in the season, you can access products and information online and watch for it to reopen. Also, make sure to watch for when tours of the puffins start again for a unique experience.

More information is available on their site at Audubon Project Puffin.

Farnsworth Art Museum

The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates local and nationally recognized arts. It started from a family endowment of a local merchant, Williams Farnsworth. It has grown and expanded to over 20,000-square feet of gallery space across multiple buildings.

Check for shows and current information at Farnsworth Art Museum.

Drive to Port Clyde

The coastal drive down to Port Clyde is breathtaking causing all to stop for scenic shots along the way. Port Clyde is a quaint coastal town that also serves as the port for three daily ferries to Monhegan Island.

If you want to get away from the world, take the one-hour ferry to a rocky square-mile island. Here hiking, food, small BNBs, and a peaceful vibe are offered. Great for a 3-hour turnaround or a weekend getaway.

Do not miss the Port Clyde General Store to grab a meal, browse for road trip necessities, and purchase old-time products that are only available in a store like this. Take a moment to chat with the happy employees for a taste of Americana that is hard to find these days.

Be Like Forrest Gump & Run to the Lighthouse

Lighthouse - Rockland Maine
©Roxie LeFever

Yes – this is the one in the movie.

The lighthouse that Forrest Gump famously ran across the country towards, briefly stopped running (to contemplate), turned around, and started running again. It is better known as the Marshall Point Lighthouse, and signs will point the way as you drive down the St. George Peninsula towards Port Clyde.

Built in the 1880s, this beautiful property marks the entrance to St. George Bay and Port Clyde Harbor. Enjoy the view, explore the Keeper’s House, and walk the grounds.

Details are available at Marshall Point Lighthouse & Museum.

Shuck Some Oysters

Damariscotta Oysters – New England’s Finest – Glidden Point Oyster Farms is the perfect place to shuck a dozen oysters under the trees and try the wild blueberry sparkling wine.

If you have never done your own shucking, no worries, they will give you the tools and a brief tutorial. However, if you want to pick up a “grow your own oysters” kit and have more shipped home, this is the place.

Sunsets from a Ship or Rooftop

Maine offers amazing sunsets across the waters. The above photo is from aboard a windjammer, but a sunset cruise onboard Camden Harbor Cruises or having drinks on the Maine Boutique Hotel | 250 Main Hotel | Rockland Maine Hotels rooftop in Rockland are also excellent options.

Select a drink in the bar on the first floor and ride the elevator to the top, where patio furniture offers comfortable viewing. Wind down your day or weekend and unwind with the sunset before dinner.

Author

  • Roxie LaFever

    Based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, Roxie LaFever likes her town but knows she needs to explore the world and search out her own truth. Without creating even an “unofficial bucket list,” she’s been to all 7 continents, seen all 7 Wonders of the World and over 40 countries. With each trip – she tries to identify a way to step out of her comfort zone – and grow. Whether she’s jumping off a mountain in Rio to hang-glide down to the beach, exploring the world’s largest waterfalls by ultra-lite or zodiac, hiking at high altitudes in Bhutan and Peru, or doing the “Walk of Faith” on the world’s longest glass bridge in China, you’ll want to travel along.