Explorations - Camden to Rockland
As you continue along Route 1 beyond Belfast, you will find some of the most spectacular views in this part of coastal Maine from the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park. The 800-foot summit is accessible by car; hikers may prefer the steep, but well-marked half mile trail to the top. Mount Megunticook, next to Battie, offers a challenging climb to its 1400-foot peak and rewards its hikers with outstanding views of Penobscot Bay, off-shore islands and the open ocean beyond. In all, the park encompasses over 6,000 acres and has nearly 25 miles of hiking trails.
The town of Camden is a popular summer destination. The harbor extends right into the downtown area so you're never far from the teeming scene of sailboats, skiffs, dinghies, powerboats, and one of Maine's most impressive fleets of windjammers. Many of them take passengers on 3 - 6 day cruises around Penobscot, but there are several that offer 2-hour to half-day trips. Whether you go aboard for an excursion or just admire them at the dock, they are a treat to behold.
Downtown Camden offers endless shopping opportunities. Strolling around the streets near the waterfront, you'll find gifts, souvenirs, antiques, clothing, art and handcrafts, gourmet food, jewelry - something for everyone.
As you might guess from the many window boxes and planters that grace the downtown streets, Camden takes gardening very seriously. Anyone interested in herbs, flowers and other natural plantings will enjoy a visit to the Camden Garden Theater 207-236-3440 on Main Street adjacent to the public library, and to the Camden Shore Front Park. The Children's Chapel Gardens at Vesper Hill, just outside of Rockport, features perennial gardens and sweeping views of Penobscot Bay. Of special interest is Merryspring 207-236-2239 just south of Camden on the Camden/Rockport line. This is a 66-acre nature park with walking trails, rose gardens, an arboretum, a lily garden, and an extensive herb garden featuring medicinal and culinary herbs. The arboretum is also a good spot for bird watchers.
The town of Rockland is the departure point for ferry service to several off-shore islands and its busy harbor is still home to a large fleet of lobster boats as well as a number of cruising windjammers. More recently it has become best known as home of the Farnsworth Art Museum 207-596-6457 which contains a superb collection of American Impressionist paintings, many of them Maine-related (Open 10 A.M.-5 P.M., Wednesdays 10 A.M.-8 P.M.). Across a sculpture garden from the museum is the new Wyeth Center devoted to works by N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. Also associated with the Museum is the Farnsworth Homestead 207-596-6457, the well-preserved Victorian mansion which was the home of Lucy Farnsworth who bequeathed her entire estate to build the original museum. Be sure to visit all five museum buildings, the Wyeth Center and the Homestead - it's a rewarding experience. (Open 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.)
At the tip of the peninsula just south of Rockland sits the Owls Head Transportation Museum 207-594-4418. This is an outstanding collection of vintage automobiles, airplanes, bicycles and motorcycles, all in working order. Special events featuring pieces from the collection are held nearly every weekend throughout the summer. (Open 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.)