Rockland, Rockport, and Camden are known for their classic coastal scenes, but follow our guide for the most scenic hikes, local bites, and where they hide a movie-worthy schooner.
Although the three share similar characteristics – salty characters, weathered historic homes, and dozens of lighthouses – these three Penobscot Bay towns have their own personalities. Sample Rockland’s theatrical pursuits, Rockport’s rugged coastal beauty, and Camden’s high-end shopping just blocks from the harbor. So where to start? We’ve combed the area for the best weekend away quick hits for resorts with activities.
Rockport’s Schooner Heron is just one of the area’s classic sailboat tours, but choose this 65-foot classic wooden schooner to learn how it starred alongside Johnny Depp in the 2011 movie The Rum Diary. You’ll hear all about what it was like filming in the US Virgin Islands on a three-hour tour navigating around Penobscot Bay tour that includes a lobster roll lunch and sites like Indian Island Lighthouse.
The 1923 Rockland Strand Theater splits its evenings showing movies, plays, concerts, and musical acts. But the show isn’t the only act; gaze up to inspect the art deco–styled restoration work, including the stamped tin ceiling, which brought this local landmark out of disrepair in 2005.
Held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays from May to October, the Camden Farmers’ Market serves as the meeting place for all things local, including mixed heirloom tomatoes from Bahner Farm in Belmot, boxes of fresh wild mushrooms from Oyster Creek Mushroom Company in Damariscotta, and folk and fiddle music.
Wine & Dine
In the afternoon, explore food-and-wine pairings at Lincolnville’s Cellardoor Winery. This 200-year-old farm with a restored 1790s barn offers tours, as well as exclusive tastings from local celebrity chefs, like Lani Temple of Megunticook Market. It’s here you can test Temple’s decadent raspberry-chocolate brownies alongside the winery’s blueberry wine, Treasure, infused with maple syrup.
Rockland’s Rock City Coffee Roasters is a live-music venue as much as it is a used bookstore and coffee shop. With an extensive list of brews (some sustainable and organic), it’s the best spot to relax for an afternoon. Catch an acoustic act or admire the sky-high walls covered in eclectic local art. A short walk up the street, Archipelago is more than a gift shop. Spilling over with wares made from coastal Maine crafters, it’s a mini-art gallery. Before you go, pick up gifts for home with selections of cheerful Ellen Hutcheson watercolors and hand-hooked rugs by Mary Michola.
An early-morning trip to Rockland’s 295-acre Beech Hill Preserve offers up two easy one-mile hikes (Woods Loop and Summit Road trails) with unobstructed coastal scenes and views of Chickawaukie Pond and the peaks of Acadia National Park across the bay. Both end at the 533-foot summit, home to the historic 1930s Beech Nut Hut, which is rumored to have been a German spy house during WWII.
Before heading out of the area, stop at Camden’s Once A Tree – a vast array of fine woodworking from local artists. Everything inside has been sculpted from wood, from the maple and cherry jewelry boxes to oak hanging chairs. It’s quintessential Maine without the kitsch.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort