Rockland Maine

The lobster and yachting capital of the Maine Coast, Rockland Maine has a pretty main street with a few very nice galleries. But the one museum we like the best is the Farnsworth Museum.

Farnsworth Museum

The Farnsworth Museum is a multi-building museum with an annex dedicated to work of three local artists from the Wyeth family, N.C., Andrew and Jamie. The main museum had four exhibitions during our recent trip:

  • Andrew Wyeth: Rockland Watercolors, Temperas and Studies (1940-1988) with a number of lovely works, a number of which traced their lineage through preliminary drawings;

Wyeth 03Wyeth 01Wyeth 02

  • Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals, Zodiac heads: Gold. This exhibit consisted of size gilded bronze heads of the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac. The animals were modeled upon bronze sculptures in a royal complex that were looted during the Opium Wars, the period of China’s greatest shame, when it was forced to bow to the demands of the Western powers;

Weiwei circle of animals 03Weiwei circle of animals 02

  • On a Mountain in Maine, consisting of a number of paintings intended to represent the spiritual and cultural landscape of the state’s mountains and the inspiration that mountains provide;
  • Sprinchorn Loggers Cabin by the StreamCodman Pirates Retreat
  • The Maine Collection, something of a retrospective of the museum’s 70-year history through pictures from its collection. Represented artists included Winslow Homer, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent and Edward Hopper, all of whom spend considerable time in Maine and painted in the state and represented Maine subjects, as well as others including Robert Indiana, Louise Nevelson and many more.

Hopper Haunted HouseBellows The Teamster

The Wyeth Center displayed a number of N.C.’s paintings that interpreted American poems that represented the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and WWI periods. Another exhibit was dedicated to works of N.C., Andrew, Jamie, and Henriette (Andrew’s sister) and some works of their friends. These included portraits that Jamie and Andy Warhol created of each other.

NC Wyeth PAul RevereNC Wyeth --Captain my CaptainNC Wyeth Washington Reviewing his troopsHenriette Wyeth Hurd Death and the ChildJames Wyeth Portrait of Andy Warhol

Rockland is also home of more than a dozen galleries, including two of our favorites (Dowling-Walsh and Harbor Square), the Project Puffin Center (which focused on preserving the lovely seabirds and a number of the area’s better restaurants. We ate at three of them

Rockland Restaurants

  • Primo, our primary mid-coast go-to restaurant which is Chef Melissa Kelly’s ode to fresh, local ingredients. After a tour of Kelly’s renowned herb and vegetable gardens, her chicken coop and duck pond (her 16 pigs have been moved to a separate part of the property), we struggled to select from among the interesting dishes. After an amuse bouche of spicy heirloom tomato and lobster bisque and splitting a somewhat disappointing Campanelle pasta carbonara (with Primi’s own prosciutto, broccoli and rock shrimp), we proceeded to the delicious grilled Moutard duck breast (purchased, since unlike their chickens, they use their ducks only for their eggs) basted with honey, on a bed of Tuscan black rice with corn sauce and sautéed chanterelles. Joyce had somewhat less luck with llher pan-roasted halibut. Since the preparation and accompaniments (summer squash, mussels, heirloom tomatoes, marjoram and sweet basil) sounded and tasted so good, she accepted the local Atlantic halibut. This is despite her very strong preference for Pacific (and especially Alaskan) halibut over Atlantic. Wine was a nice 2015 Willamette pinot from St. Innocent’s Momtazi Vineyard.
  • North Beacon Oyster, a relatively new, casual, seafood-focused restaurant at which we had littleneck clams steamed in dashi, miso, scallions and a bit too much ginger for our tastes, rather tasteless fried oysters and a nice naked lobster sandwich on brioche bun. For wine, we discovered a rather basic, but refreshing 2017 French Dominica Picpoul, produced in the Languadoc and made from Folle Blanche, a hybrid initially produced in the Cognac region and sometimes used in some cognacs.
  • Rockland Café, a casual spot at which we shared a lunch of quite acceptable order of fried belly clams with onion rings (both of which we ordered lightly fried, in contrast to the much heavier fry we saw from most of the other fired dishes we saw).

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