(Above) © Dave Clough Photography
Rockland, Maine’s historic Main Street, oozes old New England charm. The street’s Historic District, established in 1978, is lined with century-old-or-older brick buildings, many of which were built after a fire devastated the town in 1853. Today, a diverse mix of restaurants, coffee shops, organic markets, and other boutiques make this bustling nerve center of Midcoast Maine a natural spot to spend a day exploring.
Home Kitchen Cafe [650 Main Street]
Essentially the all-American diner depicted in popular culture (the type of place where you’re likely to be called “dear” by the wait staff), this warm and cozy café specializes in comfort food, with a touch of Southwest flavor. You can’t go wrong ordering one of their “homelets,” like the Pigs Boogie (applewood smoked bacon, roasted red peppers, and Cooper cheese), or Migas (handmade tortilla strips scrambled with eggs, sauteed onions, roasted peppers, and pepper jack cheese, served with sour cream and salsa).
Strand Theatre [345 Main Street]
While it underwent a major renovation in 2005, the Strand Theatre – registered as a historic landmark and a rare example of Egyptian Revival architecture – retains all the nostalgic charm that its 97 years would suggest. The theater, offering a more intimate viewing experience than the megaplex you may frequent, regularly screens independent and mainstream movies, hosts musical concerts and comedy shows, and features other special events on the stage and screen. Check its calendar for details.
Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars [503 Main Street]
Your biggest problem when you visit this lovely little shop? Settling on what to buy. Specializing in a wide selection of extra virgin olive oil from around the world and aged balsamic vinegar from Modena, Italy, the shop boasts a knowledgeable staff and provides the opportunity to sample everything at your own pace – so don’t be surprised if you find yourself moving between the blood orange olive oil and the Paradiso fig balsamic vinegar before deciding to simply purchase both. You’ll also leave with a refined palate and a better understanding of all the ways you can use the vinegars and oils to enhance your favorite dishes at home.
Farnsworth Art Museum [16 Museum Street]
While this nationally recognized museum’s address is technically not Main Street, it might as well be, as it’s located right on the corner of Museum and Main. Dedicated specifically to Maine and American art and artists, the landmark features more than 15,000 pieces by American artists – including famed creators like Georgia O’Keefe, Rockwell Kent, and Fitz Henry Lane – that date from the eighteenth century to present day. Seasonal exhibits, like Jane Wyeth’s The Kennedy Studies, rotate in every few months.
Primo [2 Main Street]
Executive Chef Melissa Kelly refers to her establishment as a “full-circle kitchen.” Others call it farm to table. Whichever you prefer, Primo (reopening for the season in May) embodies the idea of a restaurant embracing sustainable agriculture with produce grown in the restaurant’s garden and animals raised on-property. The harvest each day includes honey, fruit, vegetables, eggs, fresh chicken, and house-cured and smoked meats – and what isn’t grown at the restaurant is brought in from other sustainable farms in the area. The result? Satisfied diners who savor the restaurant’s cozy ambience and delicious dishes like the pork chop, grilled swordfish, and backyard chicken and dumplings.
Where to Stay Samoset Resort