Friday, January 15, 2010

Rockland, Maine - Gateway to Penobscot Bay

Rockland, Maine is the first town you will see when you want to tour Penobscot Bay. Aptly named, “Gateway to Penobscot Bay,” Rockland, Maine dates back to about 200 years when it was a thriving port that supplied lime rock to the cities of the United States. Today, lobster boats cheerfully bob on the waters, proudly rubbing elbows with sophisticated yachts and schooners.

Rockland, Maine is best enjoyed when you are strolling around downtown. Downtown Rockland is a compact place and every place can be reached on foot without getting tired. When you’re raring for a long walk, why don’t you head to the Rockland Breakwater which is about a mile long and visit the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. The views that this location offers will never leave you disappointed and during the summer months, you can learn all about this seaport town through their friendly tour guides.

Several parks line the harbor front such as the Snow Marine Park, the Harbor Park, and Marie H. Reed Memorial Park. Along these parks, you will also see the Rockland Fish Pier, the Coast Guard Pier and the Maine State Ferry Service Terminal. The North End wharves are also located in this area.

Souvenir and antique hunters will surely love the quaint shops that line Main Street. If the weather is not cooperative as Maine weather usually is, you can hole up in cozy bookstores such as the Reading Corner or the Breakwater Bookland. If you’d like to learn about the history of Rockland, Maine, Maine Lighthouse Museum is open to visitors and offers a cornucopia of Coast Guard and lighthouse paraphernalia.

Rockland, Maine is also the home to a collection of paintings from three generations of the famous Wyeth family in Maine including Andrew Wyeth, N.C. Wyeth and Jamie Wyeth. Their paintings are displayed in the Wyeth Center at the Farnsworth Art Museum located on main street in downtown Rockland. The Farnsworth Art Museum also has a number of collections from Fitz Henry Lane, Edward Hopper, and Rockwell Kent. You can also relive the past by visiting the Farnsworth Homestead, the Farnsworth Museum's very own historic house. The Farnsworth Homestead offers a taste of Greek Revival architecture and has been maintained as an authentic example of an upperclass family home from mid-nineteenth century Rockland. The Museum also maintains the Olson House which was the subject of numerous works of art by Andrew Wyeth, including his well-known 1948 painting Christina's World, owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. You can visit the Olson House in Cushing, Maine which offers a taste of a Maine saltwater farm.

If the weather permits, you can take a day sail aboard a windjammer cruise of Penobscot Bay or take the ferry from Rockland to Vinalhaven or North Haven. You can do some island touring because these are places to see. Working islands such as Vinalhaven and North Haven have their own unique charm and discovering them will surely make any day very special.

Rockland, Maine holds the title, “Lobster Capital of the World” and in celebration of its seafood industry, it hosts an annual Maine Lobster Festival in the first week in August. This allows tourists to enjoy a tasty meal of Maine lobster. Rockland, Maine also hosts the North Atlantic Blues Festival.

Historical inns such as the Berry Manor Inn, Capt. Lindsey House, and Limerock Inn offer rooms full of antiques and historical character that you can never find in modern hotels. Bountiful breakfasts are served every morning in these inns and you will feel like you are living the simple countryside life.

If you would like to sample Rockland, Maine’s fine cuisine, you should not miss In Good Company which is a trendy wine bar. Brick oven pizzas and fine pastas are also offered in Café Miranda and the Gallery Café at the Prism Glass. These restaurants offer food that will surely stay with you long before you leave Rockland, Maine.

There are many things to do for the regular visitor in Rockland, Maine. The 8,000-strong population are friendly and they treat all visitors to their thriving town with respect. That is why if you’d like a one-of-a-kind harbor town experience, Rockland, Maine is a good choice.


  1. Great story about Rockland. You hit all the great hot spots. One more lovely historic inn worth considering is the Granite Inn, overlooking Rockland's working Harbor and right across from the Ferry Terminal for easy access to the islands.

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