Although 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.
Camden 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 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.