Situated on the Penobscot Bay with its colorful, clapboard Main Street and harbor hazy with fog, Camden, Maine is my first love of New England summers (to be continued on the North Fork of Long Island). I love a place that keeps sweater weather year round, where the northern air is still crisp and imbued with a distinct scent of salinity and seaweed. Shop the boutiques filled with handcrafted Windsor chairs and wool blankets shorn from sheep on a nearby island, and tromp through wildflowers on the surrounding hills. When you're good and tired, settle in with a cocktail and a steaming hot lobster fresh from the rocky bay outside.
Hartstone Inn- We selected this charming bed and breakfast for our weekend stay in Camden, because the location is perfect. A stone's throw away from Main Street and the harbor, Hartstone Inn has cozy bedrooms that give off that quaint "New England B&B" vibe without crossing the line into doily town. http://www.hartstoneinn.com/
Whitehall- Described as "Maine's Summer Place," Whitehall was recently selected as one of the top hotels in New England in 2017 by Condé Nast Traveler. Set slightly back from town in a historic white house, this place is beautiful setting for your stay and Instagram photos. Each room is decorated in vibrant colors with a modern spin on coastal chic. Walk downstairs to the onsite restaurant Pig + Poet for a cocktail. We stopped by for a spontaneous clam bake and drinks and it didn't disappoint. Full disclosure: if we were to do this trip again, I'd definitely stay here. https://www.whitehallmaine.com/
eat and drink
Boynton-McKay Food Co.- Those who know me are aware of my penchant for all-day breakfast spots. Boynton-McKay is just that- serving up "remedies to 'fix what ails ya' since 1893." You may want to explore Camden and beyond, but first, coffee. http://boynton-mckay.com/
Waterfront- Perched right on the edge of Camden's harbor, you can't beat the fresh seafood. Request a table on the porch for stunning views of the Penobscot bay and docks. Order the just-caught, steamed Maine lobster. You're welcome. https://waterfrontcamden.com/
Pig + Poet- Check out this hip restaurant bar onsite at Whitehall. Embracing modern flair, the menu features creative dishes with simple ingredients sourced from Maine's waters, gardens, and farmlands. Time it right, and you may stumble upon a spontaneous clam bake as we did. https://www.pigandpoetmaine.com/
Long Grain- Espousing "honest food," (locally sourced, seasonal ingredients) Long Grain dishes up incredible pan-Asian cuisine in the heart of Camden. Inspired by Thai and Vietnamese street food, the menu will have you racked with indecision. Be sure to make a reservation- this place has been discovered and hailed by some of the best food pubs in the business. https://www.longgraincamden.com/
Shepherd's Pie- Skip over to Rockport to try the simple, real fare at James Beard Award-nominated Shepherd's Pie. This place is not trendy- it's more of a public house vibe that proudly features local farmers on its deliciously rustic menu. http://www.shepherdspierockport.com/
Primo- Award-winning Chef Melissa Kelly describes her restaurant as the "Full Circle Kitchen," rather, the ultimate farm to table experience. Located on a four-acre sustainable farm in Rockland, this place is not simply restaurant, rather a movement. Make a reservation here to celebrate a special occasion. http://primorestaurant.com/
see and do
Camden Hills State Park- Hike up to Mt. Battie, right outside of town, where you will find sweeping views of Camden and the Penobscot Bay. Go in the morning to watch the dense harbor fog burn off to reveal the scenery.
Take a Schooner Trip- There is no better way to see the beautiful, rocky landscape of coastal Maine than from the water. Book a schooner trip- a picnic lunch or a cocktail cruise- on one of these fabulous boats with names like Appledore and Surprise, for a spectacular time and view. www.maineschooners.com
Shop along Main Street- Camden is full of lovely art galleries, craftsmen studios, and boutiques. Shop for handcrafted Windsor chairs, or handwoven wool blankets. My favorite shop is Surroundings which had a lovely selection of home decor pieces.
Dinner Cruise to North Haven Island- Hands down my favorite part of our trip to Maine was our visit to North Haven Island. If you don't have time for a stay, reserve a spot on a dinner cruise to the award-winning restaurant at Nebo Lodge. Not only is the food amazing, but you'll have fantastic views from the ferry. http://www.nebolodge.com/
Visit the L.L. Bean Flagship Store- To call it a "store" is an understatement. It's more like a campus. Anything you've ever dreamed of from L.L. Bean can be found at the flagship location in Freeport. Plus, there's a fantastic giant Bean boot outside that is the perfect photo opp...but you're not supposed to sit on it...but it's there, and it's the perfect photo opp. Wink, wink.
Explore Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor- It's a bit of a drive, but make your way up the coast to explore Acadia. It was quite foggy when we went, so our morning view from Cadillac Mountain was a little lackluster. That said, by the time we finished an exhilarating hike up Beehive Mountain, the sun had climbed overhead and burned away the clouds. It was the perfect reward after our uphill scramble. On the way back to Camden, stop in Bar Harbor for a beer and a walk. We found it to be enormously touristy, but I'm sure there are some spots that are more authentic than others. https://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm