Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Camden ME Vacation Spot - Merryspring Nature Center

Part of any vacation to Camden Maine ought to include a visit to the Merryspring Nature Center. The Merryspring Nature Center is a non-profit, privately-owned 66-acre preserve and education center located in both Camden and Rockport, Maine. Merryspring has a number of nature trails and lush gardens that makes for an interesting outdoor stroll. This nature center is operated by a non-profit organization which holds educational talks and workshops throughout the year.

The Merryspring Nature Center is open year round on a daily basis with free public access. The place is open from sunrise to sunset and you will be able to enjoy well-groomed trails and abundant wildlife without the crowds that are typically associated with some of the other more popular Camden attractions. Merryspring Nature Center has an open meadow where dogs can run free and dozens of trails waiting to be discovered. The gardens are well-kept as well. There is a garden especially made for children.

Merryspring Nature Center was founded by a horticulturist named Mary Ellen Ross in 1974. Mary Ellen Ross had a mail-order plant business and bought the land where the Merryspring Nature Center stands with the help of her friends. Today, it is a haven for nature lovers to learn about and enjoy plant life, the outdoors here in Maine, and the local natural habitat.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Vesper Hills Children's Chapel - Rockport, Maine

Vesper Hills Children's Chapel _ a Camden Mane VacationOne of the more interesting sights to see during your Camden Maine vacation is the Vesper Hills Children’s Chapel in Rockport Maine. It stands on top of a rocky ledge, a replica of a pine Swiss Chalet. This non-denominational outdoor chapel gives its visitors an impressive view of Penobscot Bay. The brainchild of Helene Bok, Vesper Hills Children’s Chapel was built on land she purchased in 1960. There is a dedication plaque in the chapel which reads as follows:

This chapel is built to the memory of all young people who have passed through this world and gained God by so doing. It stands for freedom of thought, prayer and action. It stands for holiness within the body, and for God in the heart each waking hour. May the Lord bless all young people who come here for spiritual and mental refreshment. — Helene Bok

The location of the chapel was once a summer estate and residence and subsequently a hotel called the Tamarack Lodge until it burnt down in 1954. The Vesper Hills Children’s Chapel is open to the public and its grounds, outdoor gardens, and outdoor chapel are used for many special occasions such as weddings, ceremonies, and other special events during the spring, summer and fall. Part of the original foundation from the old Tamarack Lodge has been artfully used as part of the scenic landscaping and the surrounding gardens. There is also an herb garden on the grounds and trees like birches, willows, and pines that serve to accentuate the beautiful landscaping. A carpet of green grass covers much of the grounds which makes this a perfect place for a romantic picnic or a casual outing with the family. Although a popular wedding destination, Vesper Hills Children’s Chapel offers the visitor some peace and quiet, away from the buzz of modern living from mid-April through October.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rockport Maine - Camden Vacation Itinerary

rockport harbor maineAs part of your Camden Maine vacation, you should plan on making time to visit nearby Rockport Maine, designated one of "America’s Prettiest Towns". Rockport is located just 3 miles south of Camden. In 2008, Forbes.com held a competition on where you can find America’s prettiest towns and Rockport, Maine emerged as the top winner. No one can dispute the beauty of this small village, quietly nestled along the western shores of scenic Penobscot Bay. Located between Rockland and Camden, Rockport was once home to a robust working class. Rockport’s harbor is home to some of the world’s most luxurious pleasure craft along with working fishing boats. Today Rockport is a popular harbor for boaters and lobster fishermen alike.

lobster boat in rockport harbor maineRockport had a thriving lime industry in the late 1800s. Even today, remnants of the lime kilns adorn the waterfront. Imagine these kilns lighting the coast with its glowing fires as kilnwooders unloaded spruce logs and loaded casks of lime going to Boston and New York. Trails of white lime can still be seen along the banks of Goose River and in Walker Park in Rockport. These lime tailings shine white, clues to Rockport's close ties with the lime industry.

Rockport’s beauty was captured in celluloid in Mel Gibson’s “Man Without a Face” and the movie “In the Bedroom.” Its scenic location has also inspired photographers, artists and writers for several generations. Rockport hosts the International Maine Photographic Workshops.

andre the seal in rockport harbor maineRockport Harbor was home to Andre, the seal. Andre was adopted by Harry Goodridge, a local diver and tree surgeon who found the seal pup abandoned by his mother in the Spring of 1961. Goodridge trained the seal over the years and Andre became a local celebrity in Maine. Andre entertained tourists and visitors in Rockport’s picturesque harbor with evening shows during the summer months from the late 60s until his death in 1986 at the age of 26. A marble statue in honor of this energetic performer can be seen in the Rockport Harbor Marine Park. In 1994 Andre was the subject of a fun but mostly inaccurate Hollywood movie by the same name. Andre fans were disappointed that he was played by a California sea lion rather than a harbor seal, but his story lives on in three well received books on his life and times in Rockport.

Rockport has several parks where tourists can stroll to enjoy this harbor town. There’s the Mary Lea Park which was built to honor two of the most prominent citizens in Rockport, Maine, cultural philanthropist Mary Louise Curtis Bok and violinist Lea Luboshutz. Another park called Cramer Park was inspired by the zeal of Mary Meeker Cramer and Ambrose Cramer to preserve Rockport’s local history. Even the lime industry which boomed in the late 1800s was commemorated by the Lime Kiln Preservation Park.

belted galloways in rockport maineFor those who would like some novelty in their trip, head down to Aldermere Farms which houses the famous “Oreo Cookie” cows which are Belted Galloway cows imported from Southwest Scotland. These black and white cows are mainly bred for their meat. These cows located in Rockport which are known locally as “Belties” are renowned as one of the most excellent breeds of Belted Galloways in the world.

Aside from parks and farms, Rockport offers a multitude of activities for the tourist. Its rich cultural heritage started in the 1930s when Mary Louise Curtis Bok established the Curtis Institute of Music Summer Colony. World-renowned artists congregated in this beautiful town and concerts were staged in the Eells Boat Barn. It is around this time, too, when the Rockport High School’s Seaside Wonderland Carnival was held. In the 1970’s, the Bay Chamber Concerts relocated to the Rockport Opera House. The Bay Chamber Concerts were established by the Wolf brothers in an effort to revive the cultural legacy that Mary Louise Curtis left to Rockport in the thirties.

day sailing in rockport harbor maineThe 1990s saw a surge of artistic creativity in Rockport. The Maine Coast Artists was founded by Rockport artists and was renamed in 1999 as the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. Earlier, the Maine Photographic Workshop also opened its doors to photographers which later became Rockport College in 1996. Truly, cultural endeavors live on in Rockport, Maine and every year, musicians and artists come to be inspired by this town’s quintessential beauty.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Islesboro, Maine - Camden ME Vacation

Islesboro is a small island as well as an old-fashioned resort community that is located off of Lincolnville, Maine. A three-mile ferry ride from Lincolnville Beach, Islesboro is a quaint community of 600 which is one of the friendliest places in Maine. Access to this splendid island is mainly governed by the "Margaret Chase Smith," the Maine State island ferry that makes the three mile journey in about 30 minutes and runs daily from 8am to 4:30pm. However, locals warn that during the summer the ferry becomes congested and parking can be problematic. An alternative local water taxi service is also available but on an irregular basis. You will need to check the Lincolnville-to-Isleboro ferry schedule to confirm times and availability.

At about 13 miles in length and about one and a half miles across at its widest point, Islesboro has several parks - most notably Warren Island State Park - and picnic areas as well as a couple of general stores on the island. Islesboro's population grows three times during the summer. Visitors are in for a return to the old coastal life in Islesboro where there are only a few shops and dining options and accommodations are scarce. Islesboro is home to Dark Harbor House, an island bed and breakfast. It does not have telephones but the homey fireplaces are worth it. So, if you really want to get out of the intrusive modern world, you can head over to Islesboro for some quiet rest and relaxation that is truly well deserved.

While there are several harbors - notably Gilkey's and Dark Harbor - only the Warren Island State Park has public moorings. Boaters, however, can refuel at Dark Harbor or 700-Acre Island. Islesboro offers you some of the best sailing conditions in the United States. Cultural and musical shows abound during the summer to entertain the visitors. Because it is self-contained, Islesboro is a peaceful community where all the island residents are as friendly as you might expect in a small New England resort town. If you happen to visit Islesboro in the off-season, you can go over to the Mansion Schoolhouse or the gymnasium; there is always something to do in these centers of activity and you are guaranteed never to be bored.

Back before the 1930s, Islesboro, Maine lay untarnished by any modern automobile. Summer residents didn’t want to mar the natural beauty of the island and banned this modern contraption. However, after the 1930s, automobiles were allowed on the island for the convenience of its visitors and residents.

The coastline of Islesboro Maine is an area that is an explorer’s dream. Visit Ryder’s Cove and view the geological carvings of Turtlehead Point. The tranquility that Isleboro, Maine offers will give you the respite from the stressful lifestyle of modern life and will certainly leave you with a memorable experience from your vacation trip to Maine.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top Camden Maine Vacation Attractions

Because there are a myriad of things to do and see in Camden Maine, I have compiled a list of the most popular sightseeing attractions in the area. These are my personal favorites so I have written about each of these popular tourist spots from a more personal perspective. If you are planning a vacation trip to Camden Maine, then hopefully my insights about these local area attractions will give you some additional details to help you plan your Camden Maine vacation. Please keep in mind that this list represents my personal opinion and is just a fraction of the area's attractions. There are many other Camden Maine area activities, attractions and sightseeing opportunities.

For in-depth information about Camden, its surrounding towns and area attractions, I highly recommend visiting the TakeMe2 Camden Maine web site. This site provides visitors with a complete, objective informational resource for planning your Camden Maine vacation including area attractions, lodging accommodations, restaurants, shopping experiences, local area excursions and other points of interest.

For the latest information on things to do and see in Camden, Rockport and Lincolnville, I also recommend checking out the Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce website.

Finally, a good resource for information about Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head and Vinalhaven is the Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber website.

Here is my list of top Camden Maine area attractions:
  1. Camden, Maine
  2. Camden Hills State Park (Camden, Maine)
  3. Maidens Cliff (Camden, Maine)
  4. Camden Harbor and Camden Amphitheater
  5. Rockland, Maine
  6. Rockland Breakwater and Lighthouse (Rockland, Maine)
  7. Rockport, Maine
  8. Owls Head, Maine
  9. Owls Head State Park and Lighthouse
  10. Farnsworth Art Museum (Rockland, Maine)
  11. Owls Head Transportation Museum (Owls Head, Maine)
  12. Lincolnville Maine (Lincolnville, Maine)
  13. Islesboro, Maine
  14. Vesper Hills Children's Chapel (Rockport, Maine)
  15. Rockport Marine Park (Rockport, Maine)
  16. Vinalhaven, Maine
  17. Maine Lighthouse Museum (Rockland, Maine)
  18. Merryspring Nature Center (Rockport, Maine)
  19. Barrett's Cove Beach at Megunticook Lake (Camden Maine)
  20. Laite Memorial Beach (Camden Maine)
  21. Monhegan Island

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lincolnville Maine and Lincolnville Beach

Lincolnville MaineLincolnville, Maine is one of the many upscale harbor towns that comprise the Maine coastal areas. Lincolnville is just a short 6 mile drive north of the town of Camden directly on U.S. Route 1. With the enthralling mountains that stretch to the waters, Lincolnville attracts all kinds of folks, from CEO’s like Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe to famous artists, boatbuilders, and writers. Linconville's surrounding hills and terrain are part of the Camden Hills State Park and some of the park's trails so popular to hikers run through Lincolnville, Maine too.

Lincolnville Maine Specialty ShopLincolnville started from the Canaan and Ducktrap Plantations in Waldo County. It was named after a general of the revolution, Enoch Lincoln. Lincolnville shares with Camden the Fernald’s Neck Preserve. Blessed with a forest cover that is dense and rich, Fernald’s Neck Preserve harbors small and large mammals and a wetland that is the natural habitat for blue flag iris, sedges, rose begonia, and pitcher plant. Like neighboring Camden Maine, Lincolnville also boasts of impressive mountain ranges and hills that give a view of the ocean.

Cannon on Lincolnvile BeachThere is a slew of outdoor activities you can do by land and sea. Lincolnville offers three large ponds that can be peaceful areas for relaxing as you swim or ride a canoe. You can also try out sea kayaking or swimming in the ocean at Lincolnville Beach. Lincolnville Beach sits right off of U.S. Route 1 and offers a small sandy strip of beach head for swimming in the Atlantic. The State of Maine operates a ferry from Lincolnville Beach to Islesboro, one of the more popular islands in Penobscot Bay. Across from the beach, there are a number of local specialty and craft shops that offer uniquely Maine products and gifts. There are also several restaurants nearby including the Lincolnville Lobster Pound and the Whale's Tooth Pub.

Lincolnville is famous for Andy’s English Ale, which is locally brewed at the Whale’s Tooth Pub. You can drink this local brew in summer or winter and you’ll definitely taste one of the best ales in New England. Lincolnville, Maine offers the tourist some interesting points of diversion with its verdant forests and quaint seaside location.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Laite Memorial Beach in Camden Maine

Laite Memorial Beach Camden MaineThere are few accessible sandy beaches on this part of the Maine coast mostly because of the rocky shore line. If you are looking to take a refreshing dip in the cooling waters of Penobscot Bay during your vacation stay in Camden, then Laite Memorial Beach near downtown Camden along Bay View Street is a good choice. A small narrow pebble beach with free public access and somewhat limited parking, this is an active and thriving area where different activities are offered. You can view Camden Harbor from Laite Beach as well as the Camden Hills and Mount Battie in the background. With its everchanging beach width because of the tides, the beach provides a good venue for kids to explore the beach's shore line for sea shells, snails and crabs. During the summer, there is a swimming platform anchored a 100 feet offshore for those who do not mind swimming in the brisk cool waters of the Atlantic ocean.

Camden Maine Vacation at Laite Memorial BeachChildren will have the most fun in Laite Memorial Beach because of the welcoming grassy park area with swings. The Children’s Amphitheater also offers different activities for children during the summer. The park has bathroom facilities, picnic tables, and grills. Laite Beach is the perfect place for the whole family, especially after a hot summer's day of sightseeing and shopping in the local Camden area.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Barrett's Cove on Megunticook Lake in Camden, ME

camden me vacation barrett's coveIf you want to enjoy fresh water swimming in a pristine Maine lake with spectacular views of surrounding mountain cliffs minus the usual crowds in the summer, then Barrett’s Cove on Megunticook Lake is the perfect place. Barrett’s Cove Beach on Megunticook Lake is approximately three miles from downtown Camden Maine on Route 52 north towards Lincolnville Center. This town-owned lakeside beach gives you breathtaking views of the rock cliffs that rise from Megunticook Lake including the 800-foot Maiden's Cliff marked by a large white cross and the Camden Hills nearby.

camden me vacation barrett's cove cliffsBarrett's Cove Beach is free and parking is easy and accessible. The beach has a designated roped off swimming area and there is a diving float anchored a few hundred feet from the shore. There is also a large shallow swimming area for smaller children which allows them to play safely in the water. The beach has an adjacent grassy picnic area with grills and a playground with public restrooms which makes this an ideal spot for a family outing.

Besides swimming Barrett’s Cove provides a good location for putting in a canoe or kayak. Megunticook Lake provides plenty of sightseeing opportunities and exploration for boaters of all types. There is a nearby public boat access and launch for larger boats. If your family is feeling adventurous Barrett’s Cove in Camden, Maine also offers rock climbing facilities in this ideal cliff location.

Barrett’s Cove gives weary travelers a chance to rejuvenate with the family after a long hot summer's day of sightseeing and local attractions in Camden. Picnic tables, public restrooms, outdoor grills, and a quaint sandy fresh water beach make this a ideal and convenient spot for a family to spend a few hours as part of their Camden Maine vacation time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater

camden harbor park, camden maineCamden is a classic Maine coastal town with a lot of history. People who are interested in heritage tourism and historic landmarks can view the original designs (Camden Harbor Park and the Camden Amphitheater) of two of the most important landscape architects in American history, the Olmsted Brothers and Fletcher Steele. The Olmsted Brothers (sons of the renowned Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park in New York and Boston’s Emerald Necklace) designed Camden Harbor Park in Camden Maine. The Olmstead Brothers designed Camden Harbor Park to maximize its natural surroundings and waterfront location. Accordingly, Camden Harbor Park's gentle hillside slopes were landscaped to provide the best possible view of the harbor and all its activity.

camden amphitheater, camden maineThe adjacent Camden Amphitheater was formed through the skillful hands of Fletcher Steele, a noted landscape architect who is famous for creating elegant landscaping masterpieces for many private estates across the country including Naumkeag, Ancrum House, Whitney Allen House, Standish Backus House, Turner House and Lisborne Grange. These two skillful architects were commissioned by Mary Louise Curtis Bok Zimbalist in 1931. Mary Louise Bok donated two acres of prime real estate located adjacent to Camden Harbor. What she got were two harmonious locations that offered tourists and residents breathtaking views of the harbor.

camden harbor park 2, camden maineCamden Harbor Park’s gently sloping hills offer the best area for a glorious picnic. Shrubs and trees were skillfully planted by the Olmsted Brothers to screen out the working harbor. This open space complements the Amphitheater beside it which borrowed the views provided by this area. Steele on the other hand designed the Amphitheater in a horseshoe shape as an off-kilter space so that the people can stare out and see the navy blue waters of Penobscot Bay.

camden amphitheater 2, camden maineThis grand setting was once featured in the 1957 movie Peyton Place. It has seen endless rounds of festivals, picnics and graduations which resulted over the years in threadbare lawns and crumbled paths. However, in 2003, Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater got a much-needed restoration from Heritage Landscapes.

The dramatic designs of Olmsted Brothers and Steele were retained as the restoration tried to recapture the quaint beauty of these two Camden tourist spots. In the Amphitheater, dead trees were replaced and strawberry and sedum were replanted for step pockets which were Steele’s original intention. The landscape restoration team arranged the granite risers and fixed the drainage. Camden Harbor Park required more work as massive replantings were undertaken. A wheelchair-accessible entrance was also added.

Today, Camden Harbor Park and the Camden Amphitheater have been restored to their original elegant glory. The ground covers, trees, and shrubs have thrived and bloomed and tourists are now treated with a peaceful location in which to enjoy the panoramic views of Camden Harbor and the fleet of schooners, sailboats and private yachts docked nearby.

Soak up the sun and the breeze in Camden Harbor Park and Amphitheater and enjoy some of the best views that Camden has to offer. Remember, these areas are considered major works of the artistry of two of America’s most prominent landscape artists of all time. T2WPHJ4PB2RM

Monday, December 7, 2009

Maiden's Cliff, Camden Hills State Park

camden maine vacation maiden cliff 1Maiden's Cliff offers just one of many spectacular views in Camden Hills State Park. Maiden’s Cliff is a rock formation that juts out over an 800 foot sheer cliff that overlooks Megunticook lake and Ragged Mountain to the west and is one of the most popular hiking trail venues in Camden Hills State Park. However, for all its breathtaking beauty, its history belies a very tragic accident.

In May of 1864, an 11-year-old girl named Elenora French fell off the steep cliff. She came to Maiden’s Cliff with her sister and a teacher and some other friends. Her sister recounted the horrible accident in the Camden Herald, the local newspaper, in 1915. The sister recounted how some members of her family, including Elenora hiked up to the steep outcropping of rocks to witness the spectacular views from the top of the cliff. Elenora’s sister told of how Elenora was traipsing along with them when her hat was blown off. She chased after her hat and was putting it on her head when a strong gust of wind pushed her off the edge of the cliff. They heard a scream and poor Elenora was seen at the base of the cliff. Elenora suffered from internal wounds and died a day after the fall.

camden maine vacation maiden cliff 2In memory of the little girl who perished in this beautiful but treacherous spot, a man named Joseph B. Steams erected a white cross on Maiden’s Cliff. Years later, when the cross was beaten by the elements, a new one was erected to commemorate Elenora’s life which was tragically cut short by this accident.

The white cross was replaced four times before the Air National Guard helped in raising a 600-pound cross on the rocky outcropping. It measured 12 feet by 24 feet and looked formidable. In 1986, a monument was erected as well to commemorate Elenora French’s death. Roy Brown and Sam Dyer rode in two all-terrain vehicles to carry the supplies for the monument. Piled with tools, cement, and water, the two labored to install a granite monument for the little girl Elenora. They traveled through the rocky paths and through woods towards the white cross. Drilling the rock, they installed the monument right at the base of the white cross. However, in 1988, vandals managed to topple over the cross. The Camden Fire Department Rescue team righted the cross and it stood proudly once again on Maiden’s Cliff in Camden, Maine.

camden maine vacation maiden cliff 3When the elements weathered the cross, it was replaced by a steel one. On Memorial Day of 1992, a steel cross reinforced by equally strong steel cables was erected for Elenora French. It was weather-proofed by epoxy paint and was tested for all kinds of weather conditions. And there it stands now, a testament to a throng of caring people who were determined that the young life curtailed by Maiden’s Cliff will always be remembered.

Today, the white cross can still be seen by the thousands of visitors who come to marvel at the view from Maiden’s Cliff. Some of them combine the Maiden Cliff Trail with other trails offered by the Camden Hills State Park. The trail leading to Maiden’s Cliff is one of the most popular trails in the network of trails provided by the Camden Hills State Park. Its steep and rocky paths may be difficult for beginner hikers. Be forewarned that this trail may be demanding for some. However, the difficult hike will be well worth it because the view from the 800 foot elevation is impressive to say the least. You can see Lake Megunticook and the Atlantic ocean from Maiden’s Cliff in Camden, Maine. That’s why most hikers brave the steep trail to see this unequaled view of the Maine countryside. It is a beauty wrought from a tragic death mingled by nature’s quiet splendor.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sightseeing in Camden Hills State Park

Camden ME Mount Battie trailWhen planning your trip to Camden Maine, a must-see item on your travel itinerary should be Camden Hills State Park. Camden Hills State Park is a 5,500 acre paradise for hikers, campers and outdoor enthusiasts and is the leading sightseeing attraction in Camden Maine. It is an ideal destination for hikers with all levels of experience. With trails that stretch to nearly 30 miles, you will find yourself with endless hiking possibilities. Camden Hills offers five major trail heads. These lead to various sites such as mountains and ponds that will leave you with a sense of awe given the natural scenic landscapes. First-time hikers will love the moderate trails that wind through the mountains and hills of the park. The trails are well-maintained and marked well. However, visitors are encouraged to take a map with them so as not to get lost. Each trail is around 3 to 4 miles long. For more experienced hikers, linking two or three trails together may make the hikes more challenging.

Camden ME Vacation Mount Battie trailThe mountains in Camden Hills State Park may have modest heights and may only be considered as mere hills, however the way they rise out from the sea and surrounding coastline make them more impressive. Camden Hills’ main attraction is the view from the nearly 1000 foot summit of Mount Battie. The best place to get a spectacular view is from a top Mount Battie because of its open rock summit formation. If you don’t feel like hiking, you can always take the auto road to the summit. Mount Battie overlooks Camden, Camden Harbor, and Penobscot Bay. If you’re lucky, you can even see Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor when it’s clear. You can also hike to Mount Megunticook, the highest part of Camden Hills. Even though its summit cannot contend with Mount Battie’s, it offers an excellent view nevertheless. Another popular hiking trail in the park is Maiden's Cliff Trail which takes the hiker to spectacular views of Megunticook Lake and the surrounding mixed forest.

Camden Hills State Park offers you a way to experience the Maine outdoors without foregoing life’s conveniences. The park's 112-site campground offers full-service bathrooms equipped with showers. However, there are no water services or electricity in this area. Both tents and campers are welcome in the campground. The Camden Hills State Park accepts reservations for visitors to stay in the campground. Campers love that the campground is designed so that you can have a little privacy, but still see neighboring campers nearby. Assembled in a series of loops, the park campground is well maintained.

Aside from the campgrounds, Camden Hills State Park offers a picnic area, ocean side playground and a recreation field. Take a walk along the rocky shoreline and you will marvel at the scenic beauty of Penobscot Bay and all the surrounding islands.

Camden Hills State Park gives the chance for its visitors to experience the Camden Maine area in all its spectacular natural beauty. Be it from a top Mount Battie or amidst the hiking trails, you will know for sure why Camden Hills State Park is one of the most visited state parks in Maine. A visit to Camden Hills State Park is what makes a Camden Maine vacation a truly memorable travel experience.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Camden Maine Vacation - Camden Maine

Welcome to my little Camden Maine vacation blog. I created this blog to help my fellow travelers get access to the kind of quality information they need in order to make the right decisions when planning a trip to the Camden Maine area. As such, I will try and give you a local's perspective of things to see and do when you are visiting the Camden area. Hopefully, this little travel guide will give you some additional insight into the local area activities, sightseeing, lodging, shopping, dining, and attractions both before you plan your trip to Camden Maine and during your visit here.

Main Street, Camden MaineAlthough Camden Maine is one of the most stylish and affluent communities in Maine, it still retains its small town New England ambiance and character that belies its 4000 population. Set between low lying mountains and a crystal clear blue sea, Camden is a classic Maine coastal town and is one of the major tourist destinations in the state of Maine. Its upscale and friendly atmosphere will whisk you away to a Camden Maine vacation you will not soon forget. Camden is a sort of a quintessential New England coastal community, with winding rivers and hills, lakes and ocean, estates and cottages, and woodlands and farms. It also has an eclectic downtown of renovated industrial buildings, distinctive storefronts, and even a modern opera house, all set along a pristine and busy harbor. Camden’s motto “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” aptly encapsulates what Camden has to offer to the tourist. The breathtaking landscapes that the Camden Hills form as they run inland from the sea are unique and provide panoramic views of the surrounding terrain and island-studded Penobscot Bay. Camden's sophisticated beauty is what draws tourists in by the droves every summer and what makes a vacation trip to Camden Maine a memorable travel experience.

Camden is an upscale coastal community. The reason for Camden’s seemingly luxurious atmosphere is attributed to the beautiful mansions and estates that dot the coastline of this small seaside community. Accordingly, Camden is home to some of the wealthiest individuals in Maine. Affluent families built their “summer homes” in Camden because it was one of the most exquisite travel locations in New England. These families were generous enough to gift the community with a beautiful public library and a spectacular amphitheater. These families also contributed to the building of Camden’s major tourist attractions such as the Village Green, the Camden Opera House, the Camden Yacht Club, and Harbor Park. The Village Green, the Camden Amphitheater, and the Camden Harbor Park are historic landscaped spaces that have been fully restored to emanate a beauty that withstands the test of time. People who may be interested in heritage tourism can view the original designs of landscape architecture masters such as Olmsted Brothers and Fletcher Steele.

CView of Camden Maine from Mt Battie in Camden Hills State Parkamden Maine offers its visitors several options to enjoy its natural splendor. Camden Harbor and Penosbcot Bay are best viewed after a drive up or a hike to Mount Battie’s summit in Camden Hills State Park. From the summit of Mount Battie, you can view the inland rivers and lakes and the shores of Penobscot Bay that wind along Camden’s landscape. Camden Hills State Park also has a campground with saltwater and freshwater beaches nearby. In Camden Harbor, rent a powerboat or take a day trip on a sailboat and visit the islands that dot its waters around Penobscot Bay. Outdoor activities are endless in Camden. You can fish, swim, hike, golf, boat, and bike in the area. Sightseeing and antiquing are also fun activities to do in Camden. The nearby coastal towns of Rockport, Lincolnvile, and Rockland show much promise for antique collectors as well.

Camden Harbor, Camden MaineCamden has always been known as a yachting town. H.M. Bean Yard launched the largest schooner with its four grand masts along Camden’s shores. The George W. Wells, the first six-master ever built also sailed from Camden Maine. Historically, large private yachts filled the harbor with their magnificence. In the early 1900s, Camden Harbor was the summer homeport for one of the largest private yachts in the United States, the Lydonia, owned by Cyrus H Curtis, a Philadelphia publisher, who maintained a summer home in nearby Rockport Maine. In the 1940’s, Captain Frank Swift started the cruise schooner business and today, you can visit the Windjammer fleet docked on weekends in downtown Camden Harbor. Visit the Windjammers from June to October and enjoy the harbor activities especially designed to captivate tourists.

Camden has a rich history that dates back to when Captain John Smith described “the high mountains of the Penobscot, against whose feet the sea doth beat.” Its first settler, James Richards, built his log cabin in 1769. After the American Revolution, the place was named after Charles Pratt, the Earl of Camden, who sympathized with the American Revolutionaries. Camden’s first 100 years showed a thriving economy of lime harvesting, anchor production, and ship building. These were located in Goose River, which is now Rockport. Camden suffered a huge blow when the industries of Goose River separated from the town and became Rockport. This deprived the town from benefiting from the industries that sprouted along the river. A fire in Camden’s business district in 1892 further devastated the town. However, Camden residents built their lives from the ashes and constructed brick buildings which give the present Camden its quintessential beauty.

Aside from sightseeing and outdoor adventures, Summer and Fall always find this pleasant harbor town abuzz with arts and crafts fairs and other cultural activities. Camden surely is no newcomer when it comes to the arts. The arts in the Camden area are interspersed throughout the local community, from local craft shops and crafts fairs to independent art galleries, opera halls, and nationally recognized museums. Carlos Salzedo established the Summer Harp Colony in Camden. Shakespeare was played in the Amphitheatre and the Bay Chamber Concerts are frequently staged at the Camden and Rockport Opera Houses. Camden bore Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay who was a native and movies such as the 1957 film Peyton Place were filmed in this picturesque town. Camden is still considered as a top choice in Maine as a movie location for Hollywood and the rich cultural heritage still continues.

Today, Camden vies with Kennebunkport and Bar Harbor as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maine. The elaborate mansions of the well-to-do still dominate the shady side streets (many have been converted into bed-and-breakfasts), and the continued presence of wealthy New Englanders has given Camden a grace and sophistication that eludes most of Maine's other coastal towns. Finally, for additional information on Camden Maine, I highly recommend visiting the TakeMe2 Camden Maine web site. This site provides visitors with a complete, objective informational resource about the Camden Maine area including area attractions, lodging accommodations, restaurants, shopping experiences, local area excursions and other points of interest. A Camden Maine vacation is truly an unique travel experience.