We chose to get married in Camden and Rockport for many reasons - family history (the reception site was Caitlin’s paternal grandparents’ home), personal history (Amod proposed on top of Bald Mountain in the Camden Hills), and because it’s a beautiful and fun place to spend a summer weekend, offering everything from hiking and kayaking to schooner cruises to art museums and concerts at a restored opera house.  We hope you’ll have a chance to spend some time exploring the area - you might consider turning our wedding into a more extended getaway.  Here are just some of the attractions and activities in the area.  For additional ideas, stop by the Camden Chamber of Commerce office in the waterfront parking lot downtown, or check them out online.  They have a wealth of information on the area.
 
Restaurants
 
Cafe Miranda
A bit further out in Rockland, but well worth the trip; this is Caitlin and Amod’s favorite place to eat in the area.  Creative dishes with a lot of international influences, but not your typical bland “fusion” fare.  Their motto is “We do not serve the food of cowards,” and the primary flavors tend to be garlic and fire (they use a wood-fired oven).  Don’t worry, milder dishes are available.  Kid friendly, localvore friendly, informal, on the high end of mid-range in price.  Call ahead for reservations.
 
Primo's
Very high end cuisine to rival the best in Boston.  In an old house on the road to Owl’s Head, out of Rockland.  Ask for directions when you call for reservations, which may be hard to get.
 
Ephemere
On Bay View Street in Camden.  It started as a wine bar and still has an excellent selection, in addition to interesting,  mostly French, dishes.
    
Waterfront
Good mid-range restaurant right over the harbor in Camden.  To the left off Bay View Street.
 
Mariner’s  
Longtime favorite on Route 1 in the center of town in Camden, newly renovated with seating outside overlooking the harbor.  Breakfast and lunch.
 
Camden Deli
A few doors up from Mariner’s on the harbor side of Rte. 1: very good breakfast and sandwiches; it has a few seats on a deck overlooking the harbor.
 
Camden Cone
Ice cream!  Local Round Top ice cream on Bay View St. in Camden.
 
Road Food
If you’re driving up from Boston, you may wish to stop along the way at our favorite road food places:
  1. Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, which turns out legendary lobster rolls and very good fried dough and fried shrimp.  They also have something called a Puff Dog, which is a hot dog stuffed with cheese.  And bacon.  And battered and deep fried.  Lord help us.
  2. Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, a local institution, serves inexpensive plain Yankee fare, which may or may not be to everyone’s tastes - their pie, however, never disappoints.  We recommend the walnut pie and anything blueberry.
 
Lobster
You can get this in most local restaurants.  There is a good, simple lobster place right near the ferry pier in Lincolnville Beach.   If you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, or want to pack up some lobsters to take home, you can buy lobsters at French and Brawn, or (our favorite) Rockport Lobster.  The proprietor will help you, and her husband catches the lobsters.  From Ragged Mountain Road (the reception site), turn right on Barnestown Road, go down past the Snow Bowl and Hosmer Pond, then right on Wiley Road.  At the 4-way stop, turn right onto Park.  Rockport Lobster is a house nearby, on the right.  Phone: 207-236-6004.
 
 
Hiking
 
Hike up Bald Mountain
This is our favorite hike in the area - Amod proposed at the summit.  The top offers a lovely view of the surrounding mountains, bay, and town below.  We may organize a group hike for Sunday if people are interested!  The trailhead for Bald is near the reception site - go down Ragged Mountain Road and turn left on Barnestown.  After about half a mile there will be a small parking lot on your right; the trailhead is here.
 
Hike up Ragged Mountain
Another hike very close to the reception site, which is situated on the shoulder of Ragged Mountain.  It is about 500-600 vertical feet and 3/4 of a mile to the summit, which is bald and has a view of Penobscot Bay.  
 
A trailhead is located on the left up Barnestown Road, about a fifteen minute walk from the reception site.   If you come to the parking lot described above for the Bald Mountain trail, you have passed the trailhead.  You can park in this lot and follow the marked trail, which crosses the road.  This trail enables you to walk along the entire Ragged Mountain ridge.  Where the trail first reaches the ridge, there is also a trail coming up from the right, which you can follow towards Gillette Road.  If you go left you will reach the summit and towers; from here, there is another trail down to Rte. 17 and beyond.
 
You can return the way you came.  As an alternative, you can walk straight down to the top of the ski trail system about one hundred feet below, then follow the ski trails down to the Snow Bowl and intersect the slope trail.   Maps for this trail system are available at the parking lot.  
 
Climbing Mount Battie
You can drive up Mount Battie on the Toll Road.  However, there is a lovely trail that avoids all of the traffic and brings you directly to the Edna St. Vincent Millay monument on the top (The view from the summit inspired her poem Renascence), as well as a castle turret-like old stone firetower.   It starts from the end of Megunticook Street in downtown Camden.  Part of the trail requires some scrambling on steep pitches of  bare rock.
 
Climbing Mount Megunticook
You can climb Megunticook directly from the parking lot at the base of the Mt. Battie Toll Road, or pick up the trail part way up the toll road.  You can also climb the back side (the Maiden Cliffs Trail) by parking off Route 52.  This gives an immediate view over Lake Megunticook.  
 
Fernald Neck Preserve
A good network of hiking trails on some beautiful terrain projecting out into Lake Megunticook.  Take Molyneaux Road to the end, turn left on route 52.  Follow this to the Youngstown Inn, where you bear left.  The road to the preserve is on your left after .2  miles.  Follow this .9 miles until you see the sign for the Preserve.  Park at the entrance.  There is usually a trail map available.  If you work your way over to the shore, you will find some very steep drop offs and a lower rocky ledge where you can dangle your legs in the lake.
 
Beech Hill
This is a favorite easy walk with a spectacular 360 degree view and a restored Beech Nut House on the top.  The easiest directions are to go south on Route 1 and turn right onto Beech Road when Hoboken Gardens is on your left.  Go maybe 1-2 miles, and the parking lot will be on your left.  We hear there are ticks, so do a check afterwards.  It is worth it.  
 
Rockland Breakwater
This is about a mile long walk over granite blocks, with views of Rockland and the sea.  It ends at the lighthouse, which is sometimes open. To get there, go south on Route 1 into Rockland.  Pass the Walmart shopping plaza on your left.  Go about another 1/4 - 1/2 mile and turn left onto Waldo.  There is a small sign that says “Lighthouse”.  Follow the signs.
 
Mount Desert/Acadia National Park
A great day trip.  This is about a ninety minute drive.   Wonderful hiking, also good bicycle riding on the Carriage Trails.  Best to go early in the morning, hike or explore, then stay in Northeast Harbor or Bar Harbor for dinner.  This way you avoid the afternoon and evening traffic jams.
 
 
Other Outdoor Activites
Rockport Harbor Drive
This is an absolutely stunning drive, and you may wish to walk parts of it.
 
Follow Bay View Street south out of Camden along the harbor.  You will pass a number of lovely homes, then bend to the right, passing the town cemetery on your left.  At the stop sign, turn left and keep going.  Soon you will reach Aldermere Farm, with its famous herd of Belted Galloway cows.  Follow the road to the right after the farmhouse, then take the first left.  This continues past the farm, then across a small private golf course, with a tee set up over Penobscot Bay.  Follow this road until you come to a "Private" sign (again, you will see the bay on your left).  Bear right here and keep going.  The road turns to a dirt track as it comes out over Rockport Harbor.  Follow the track, and you will get lovely views of Rockport Harbor before coming out in downtown Rockport.  Here, you can visit the town landing where André the Seal once lived.  The rock ledges overlooking the harbor midway down the dirt road are conservation land and a good place for a picnic.
 
Swimming
For freshwater swimming, there is a town beach on Lake Megunticook off of Rte. 52.  Take Molyneaux Road to the end, turn left, then look for the road down to the beach just as you pass the very steep cliffs (Maiden Cliffs) on the back of Mount Megunticook.
 
Laite Beach (salt water) off Bay View Street as you leave downtown Camden headed for Rockport.  For those of you who have not been to the Maine Coast before, be warned that the ocean water temperature rarely gets much above 60 degrees, even in July and August.
 
Another fun rocky beach is Ducktrap in Lincolnville.  On Route 1 North, pass Lincolnville Beach, then turn right just before the bridge, onto Howe’s Point Road.
 
Boat Trips
A number of schooners (see “Windjammers” under Shopping and Around Town) run day trips out of Camden, Rockport and Rockland Harbors.  There are ticket booths located at the edge of the parking lot in downtown Camden.
 
Kayaking & Canoeing
There are several services in town that will rent kayaks and give sea kayaking lessons.  There are also many nice places to canoe in the area, including Fernald’s Neck Preserve (described in the Hiking section). Check with the local chamber of commerce or stop at Maine Sport on Rte. 1 for rentals and advice.
 
Ferry to Islesboro
Leaves from Lincolnville Beach, directly off of Route 1 a few miles north of Camden.  Call 207-789-5611 or 207-624-7777 for information.
 
Ferry to Monhegan
A great day adventure, particularly midweek.  Bring a picnic lunch or eat at an inn or restaurant. This is the site of some famous Rockwell Kent paintings, and Jamie Wyeth lived and painted here.  Excellent local museum.  Do not miss the walk over to the cliffs on the side of the island opposite the town.  Ferry leaves from Port Clyde, about one hour's drive from the house.  Call 207-372-8848  for schedule and reservations.  Marshall Point Lighthouse, outside Port Clyde, has a beautiful view and some excellent shore side rocks for exploring.  Another ferry leaves from Boothbay Harbor..
 
Ferries to Vinalhaven, North Haven
These leave from downtown Rockland.  Call 207-596-2203 or 207-624-7777 for information.  You cannot do a circle trip.  There is no auto ferry between the two adjoining islands.  Complete schedules for the ferry services are available on-line at www.state.me.us/mdot/opt/ferry/ferry.htm
 
Museums and Culture
 
Maine Museum of Contemporary Art - Rockport
Much modern Maine art is still representational, so the shows here tend to be a little less abstract than those in New York.  Located in a large white building in downtown Rockport, just around the corner from the Opera House (site of the Chamber Concerts)
 
Farnsworth Art Museum - Rockland
Contains an extraordinary collection of Maine painters, including all three generations of Wyeths and Fairfield Porter.  Often has special transitory exhibits as well.  A “no miss” outing for a rainy day. There is a great lunch place across the street and many other art galleries nearby.
 
Bay Chamber Concerts - Rockport and Rockland
High quality classical music program through much of the summer.  Concerts are held in the Opera House in downtown Rockport, with receptions at the Museum of Contemporary Art. They also play at the Strand Theater in Rockland.  Call for ticket information: 236-2823.
 
Monhegan
Art buffs who aren’t afraid to venture outside a warm gallery should consider a day trip to Monhegan, the famous island artists’ colony.  There’s a nice local museum.  Details on ferry trips to the island are other “Other Outdoor Activities.”
 
Strand Theater - Rockland
Shows great movies and is one of the venues for the Saturday afternoon at the Met - a live satellite broadcast with close-ups and backstage interviews.  Better than being there!  You can also have a little drink in the balcony, if you are over 21.
 
Shopping and Around Town
 
Owl and Turtle - Camden
A landmark for years.  Excellent local book store.  Particularly good nautical collection.  Located in the Knox Mill building  just up Mechanic Street.
 
Maine Sport
This is located on Route 1 on the Camden/Rockport line.  They have equipment for just about any local sport.  You can get a fishing license here, rent bikes, or arrange for sea kayaking lessons and rentals.  The staff are very knowledgeable and can be a great resource for planning an outing.
 
Windjammers
In summer, the fleet of "dude schooners" sails from Camden, Rockport, and Rockland Harbors on a variety of schedules.  While some are replicas, others were working cargo carriers at the end of the 19th century.  They are tied up downtown over the weekend.  It can be fun to sit on the hill in the park in downtown Camden overlooking the harbor and watch them maneuver in the narrow passages.  Most do not have engines, and where they cannot sail, each is pushed by a powered "yawl" boat strapped to its stern.  Many offer short (two hour or so) rides, including sunset cruises.  We like the Olad.
 
Playgrounds
There are two playgrounds in the area, if you’re bringing your kids and you want them to run off a little steam:
 
  1. Elm Street School in downtown Camden, at the junction of Rte. 1 and Union Street.
  2. A playground in Rockport off of Sea Street on the edge of the town.  This is a lovely site right above the water with a view of the ospreys nesting on the harbor markers.
 
Camden Public Library
This building, both old and new sections, is architecturally striking.  It is located right at the northern end of Camden's "downtown," up a small rise above Harbor View Park.  A good place to read or do a little local research on a rainy day.  Has an excellent children's room and a delightful children’s garden, with benches held up by stone books by Maine authors.  They have internet computers for public use.  The back of the library opens up onto a beautiful outdoor ampitheater with a view of the ocean.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Around Camden & Rockport