Aug 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM in Explore by
The unpredictability of the coast of Maine resulted in the construction of a flotilla of lighthouses, some of which are considered among the most historically significant in America. Consult both sides of the Camden-Rockland Discovery Map and start charting your tour. Wear good walking shoes to maximize your visiting. From the water, you can take a lighthouse tour with Monhegan Boat Line and Camden Harbor Cruises.
Monhegan Boat Line also offers puffin tours. For added info. on these cute little birds, go to the Project Puffin Visitor Center. You can do more bird watching as well as seal viewing, lobstering and sunset touring with the aforementioned Camden Harbor Cruises. Their narrated tours are conducted in a traditional wooden lobster boat.
If sailing is your preference, book an excursion with Schooner Olad or Cutter Owl, a reputable company that offers two sails daily. Looking to hoist the sails yourself? Take a class at The Apprentice Shop. Here you can even take a workshop in how to craft your own oars or learn how to do decorative knot work. One way or another, they’re sure to make a seaman out of you–or at least help you on your way.
Know that there are many other boat tours–in everything from a schooner to a sloop to a yacht–from which to choose. The main thing is to get out on the water in Penobscott Bay!
What about the bucolic interior of Camden and Rockland? Well, there’s much to explore there as well. Georges River Land Trust rates as an idyllic place to start. You can bike, hike, paddle or snowshoe within this scenic preserve. Experience wetlands, mountains, ponds, lakes, streams, salt water tidal estuaries and even blueberry barrens within this national treasure. (I’ll spare you from looking up the latter: Glaciers formed expansive stretches of sandy soil, perfect for raising blueberries. So go ahead and tell your friends you went to see some Maine blueberry barrens and you’ll sound like quite the tour guide.) Beech Hill Preserve, also a fun place to hang, offers spectacular views and lots of organic blueberry barrens.
Ever hear of a water trail? Check out the Maine Island Trail, a 375-mile water trail for small boats that passes through Maine, extending from the New Hampshire border up to Canada. It connects over two hundred wild islands and there are plenty of specially-designated places to stop at including sites open for day use or overnight camping–what fun!
If you’re looking to find out more about the wildlife in the area but don’t want to get dirty, go to the National Wildlife Refuge Center in Rockland. Make sure a stroll along the Rockland Harbor Boardwalk is worked into that program as well. It will take you almost as far as the Maine Lighthouse Museum, just a few blinks away from Middle Pier. The Rockland Breakwater Trail & Lighthouse also thrills, mostly because you’ll feel like you’re practically walking right out into the ocean. The views of the boats are pretty sweet here, too.
And what about the beaches? Well, if you take one look at the craggy coast, you know that most are rustic. And this being Maine, the water can be as cold as a lobster pot is hot. But they are wonderfully scenic and delightfully unspoiled, especially if you’re lucky enough to visit one outside of the busy summer season. Locals’ favorites include Shirt Tail Point in Camden, Laite Beach in Camden, Lincolnville Beach in Lincolnville, Glen Cove Beach in Rockport, Johnson Memorial Park in Rockland, and Lucia Beach/Birch Point State Beach in Rockland. Bring a bucket if you go at low tide to collect lots of shells, sea urchins, crabs and sand dollars.
Want to see some real Oreo-cookie cows? If yes, you must check out the belties at Aldermere Farm, a program of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. You can do this by attending one of the programs held at this historic farm including art workshops, their annual Art Show and Sale (held every August), a nature walk or even a moonlight ski tour, to name a handful. (Not sure if the cows are out at night in winter but if they are, I’m sure their white midsection–also known as belts of these black-and-white Galloway cows–makes them easy to spot.)
How about taking in one of the best views in Maine and working your body while you’re at it? You can hike Bald Rock Mountain year-round (OK, you might need snowshoes in the winter) and take in some spectacular vistas of this magnificent part of America. It’s about a three-mile-loop and fairly challenging as you summit but it’s worth it. For more unparalleled views of the the bay, islands and mountains, drive up to the top of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park.