Camden Maine

To us, Camden Maine is the prettiest and our favorite town on the central Maine coast. Camden is also made for walking, and browsing. While relatively small, it is loaded with restaurants, interesting shops, galleries and docks with Windjammer sailing ships, including the Appledore II (on which we took a short cruise on a previous trip). It even has a millstream and a small waterfall that flows, through the middle of downtown, into the idyllic, pleasure craft harbor. Our only real disappointment is that the character of the old pharmacy, with its intricately-carved wooden cases, was so haphazardly converted into a café about five years ago—a diminishment we recall each time we are in town.

Camden townCamden waterfall in townCamden harbor

Just as important as the range of things to do are the places to stay. High Street is jammed with beautifully-restored former Ship Captain homes, most of which now serve as inns. Although we have certainly found some that we particularly enjoy, we tend to explore new ones on most of our trips.

Camden houses 02Camden houses 01

Since we have taken and retaken advantage of pretty much all of what the town has to offer, this trip’s stop was limited to taking one walk to see what is new (especially in its galleries), a few other leisurely strolls and meals at a two of its (not to speak of three other Rockland) restaurants.

We also used as a base for a couple of day trips.

Frye Mountain State Game Management Area

Located in Knox Maine, Fry Mountain has a number of hiking trails. We chose the section of the Frye Mountain trail that scales and crosses the 1,115-foot Hogback Mountain. While the hike was lovely, quiet and secluded, we searched in vain for the promised scenic views. Although we reached and crossed the top and followed clearings well off the established views, we were unable to find the viewpoint. The trail itself, however, was worth the drive (45 minutes inland from Camden) and the hike.

Frye Mountain State Park 01Frye Mountain State Park 02Frye Mountain State Park 05

Mohegan Island

We had time to make a return visit to the lovely, roughly one-square mile Mohegan Island (about nine miles off the Maine coast). While we wrote about our full, 2015 tour of the island, this visit provided a shorter, abbreviated update.

The trip began with a drive to the pretty port town of Port Clyde to catch the mail boat ferry to the island. From past mistakes, we purchased parking on pier in advance rather than risking a sure-to-get parking ticket.

Port Clyde 03_thumb

Upon landing, our first order of business was a very nice lunch at Island Inn (clam chowder, lobster slider and pan-fried haddock sandwich) Then came time for a lovely, roughly five-mile walking/hiking tour of some of the most rugged and scenic parts of the island. We began by taking the Blackhead trail to the untamed ups and downs of the rugged east coast between the twin-160-ft. Black Head and White Head, and to the 140-foot Burnt Head. We then returned to the flat, settled, lobstering/artsy and touristy western coast where we visited the few still open (just outside of season) galleries before catching our mail boat to the mainland. Beautiful island, great hike and a relaxing way to spend a day.


Camden Restaurants

  • Long Grain is a small, extremely popular Asian restaurant and market. The market carries an amazing selection of specialty products from across Asia, including a number that we have trouble finding in San Francisco. The restaurant, as the name suggests, tends to specialize in rice, noodle and other grain dishes, mushrooms, tofu and chicken. We began with a nice coconut sop with mushrooms and chicken, followed by two main courses: pad thai with chicken and ginger chicken with mixed mushrooms. Everything was very good. Hint: Make reservations in advance. While they do have some walk-ion space at the bar, it filled very quickly.

Long Grain 02Long Grain 01

  • Rhumb Line is a seafood focused restaurant with food more varied and interesting than we would expect from its standard (other than specials) menu. It also has a wonderful view on the waterfront.  Our very good dinner began with cornbread with honey, followed by main dishes of fried belly clams with fries and one of the daily fish specials; pan-seared scallops with butternut puree, rice and vegetables. All three were very good. The restaurant disappointed us in two ways however. First from what seemed like a store-bought pie. While we rarely get dessert, it sounded good, but was not. Second from a low-priced wine list that tries to offer one of everything but nothing very good. The restaurant, by the way, is located at a shipyard that caters to, and docks many of the city’s most luxurious sailing yachts. The restaurant’s patio overlooks these yachts, the harbor and beautiful downtown Camden.

Camden Hotel

We stayed at the Whitehall. This bed and breakfast is about a 10-15 walk outside the main part of town on High Street. The first room we were given had a bathroom the size of a postage stamp. We asked to be changed and the next room was much better. As this is an older renovated building, each room is slightly different. The new room was comfortable and the bathroom was much better. The breakfast is a little unusual with its food. All were small bites of various items. For example, avocado toast, some type of grain which changed daily, small bites of bite and  other interesting small bites. Very different from what one might expect but very good.

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