Camden (population 5,300) was settled in 1769. It is a picturesque New England seacoast community on the south shore of Penobscot Bay. Its well-protected harbor, tucked securely into the coastline, has several small islands standing guard as you approach from the sea. Its skyline features white church steeples, framed by the distant foliage and pine stands on the mountainsides. The downtown section features small stores, galleries, and shops, all within a short walk from its working harbor.
The coast of Maine has seemingly always brought out the finest in artistic works – in paintings, writings, clay, handcrafts, and other forms of artistic expression. That tradition lives on in this section of Midcoast Maine — Rockland (population 7,650), Rockport (population 3,250), Camden, Lincolnville (population 2,100), and Belfast (population 6,700).
There are many creative and talented artisans living and working to perpetuate the skills needed for such crafts as blacksmithing, woodcarving, furniture making, pottery, and sculpture. Others present dance, plays and musicals year round. There are dozens of galleries in the area, excellent museums, and there is a wide variety of music, including jazz, blues, string quartets, chamber music, and opera.
The events calendar is chocked full of activities, including a number of celebrations and festivals of every kind. Included is an agricultural fair, the annual Mid-Coast Maine Soap Box Derby race, arts and crafts shows, antique shows, the annual Maine Lobster Festival, Christmas and holiday events, National Toboggan Championships, St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and on and on it goes. There are many inns, B&Bs and hotels, and a good number of dining choices, including family fare, fine dining or fast food.
If you want to explore the outdoors, Maine offers wonderful opportunities with 30 state parks consisting of 600,000 acres of lands. There is hiking, biking, canoeing, boating, and fishing (including fly fishing), hunting, camping, skiing, snowshoeing, and more.
The fall foliage in Maine is spectacular, especially when viewed from a mountain perch, or a vantage point out on water. Penobscot Bay is an outstanding area for sailing, fishing, or taking a windjammer cruise. It is not surprising that Camden has been cited in a prominent national publication as being among the top places in the U.S. to retire.
It is a thriving community with an abundance of amenities and a friendly atmosphere.
Arts & Culture
Camden Opera House is a newly renovated 500-seat theater with a horseshoe shaped balcony and four loge boxes. It hosts a wide variety events and entertainers, including concerts, opera, jazz, comedians, plays, musicals, and lecturers.
The Rockport Opera House on Rockport Harbor is a 400-seat facility that was renovated in the early 1990s at a cost of $1,000,000. It is host to wide variety of events, including music, dance, theater, poetry, and comedy. Its Bay Chamber Concert Series draws world-class performers.
Strom Auditorium at Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport is a state-of-the-art facility with 826 seats.
Camden Civic Theatre presents a full calendar of productions, including comedies, dramas, and a children’s series. Performances are at the Camden Opera House.
Belfast Maskers Theater is a community theater that offers a season series with comedies, classics, musicals, and new works. www.belfastmaskers.com
Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport produces classical, jazz and world music concerts. It has a performing arts series and summer concerts. www.baychamberconcerts.org
Atlantic Ballet Company in Camden has a regular performance series and teaches ballet and jazz. www.AtlanticBalletCompany.org
Maine Grand Opera in Camden offers opera year-round.
Windjammer Barbershop Chorus – (207) 236-2159 North Atlantic Blues Festival is a two-day event in July that is held at Harbor Park in Rockland, overlooking the harbor. The festival attracts world-famous musicians. www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com
Union Fair is an agricultural fair featuring locally raised crops and livestock. The fair and the Maine Wild Blueberry Festival are held for one week in August. www.unionfair.org Camden Public Library
Rockport Public Library
Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport
Conway Homestead – Cramer Museum in Rockport is an 18th century restored farmhouse, barn, and maple sugarhouse.
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center in Rockland is a collection of American art from all eras. www.farnsworthmuseum.org
Maine Maritime Museum in Bath (51 miles) features ship models, art and artifacts from the celebrated maritime history of the state. www.mainemaritimemuseum.org
Fort Edgecomb, a state historic site in Edgecomb, is on Davis Island in the Sheepscott River. The fort dates to the early 19th century. Its blockhouse was built in 1809 and is one of the nation’s best-preserved forts from the period.
Fort Knox is Maine’s largest historic fort. It was constructed from 1844 to 1864 of granite. It is located on the narrows of the Penobscot River to protect the river valley from a naval attack.
Fort Popham State Historic Site is located 15 miles from Bath, and two miles from Popham Beach State Park. It is a semi-circular fort built in 1861 for use in the Civil War.
The Whaleback Shell Midden is a site on the upper Damariscotta River, famous for its enormous oyster shell heaps, also called middens. The middens were created by Native Americans over a period of about 1,000 years.
Camden Hills State Park is just two miles north of Camden. Within the park, Mt. Battle offers beautiful sweeping views of Camden, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding islands. Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park is visible on very clear days.
It features 30 miles of hiking trails, and a 107-site camping area, complete with all facilities, a picnic area, and access to the rocky shoreline.
Goose River Golf Course in Rockport is an 18-hole layout that is open to the public. http://www.gooserivergolf.com/
MidCoast Recreation Center in Rockport is an ice arena and tennis facility with a full-sized rink, four tennis courts, dance and aerobics rooms, child care, and more.
Camden Snow Bowl is located right along the coast with views of Penobscot Bay. It has one double chair lift and two T-bar lifts. There are 11 trails with seven miles of slopes. It is open for tubing and nightskiing. It also has a 400-foot toboggan chute. http://camdensnowbowl.com/
Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad offers two-hour scenic train trips, including lunch, aboard its vintage rail cars. It is located in Belfast. (800-392-5500)
Birch Point State Park in Bangor offers scenic views of Penobscot Bay, swimming, fishing, and picnicking.
Damariscotta Lake State Park in Jefferson is a short distance from Augusta. This large freshwater lake has a sand beach and picnic areas. It is one of the most popular parks in the state.
Dodge Point Public Park, Farmington, has 8,000 feet of frontage on the Damariscotta River with sand and pebble beaches, freshwater ponds and streams that flow through deep ravines. Activities include hiking, cross-country skiing, skating, swimming, and fishing. Visitors arrive by boat from the public landing, or by car from Newcastle.
Fort Point State Historic Site is on the seashore in Stockton Springs. It offers fishing, boating and access to a scenic bicycling trip.
Popham Beach State Park borders the south side of the mouth of the Kennebec River. It features a long sand beach and visitors can walk to Fox Island at low tide. The beach is popular for swimmers, surfers, and even shell collectors.
Moose Point State Park, Searsport, is an ocean-side park offering picnic areas, trail walks, and beautiful ocean views.
Reid State Park in Georgetown offers wide sand ocean beaches, picnic areas, grills and bathhouses.
Swan Lake State Park, in the town of Swanville, offers, picnic sites and walking trails.
There are no colleges in or near Camden. However, there are a great many classes and art workshops available, including digital photography, watercolor painting, colored pencil art, and more.
Camden Library Services for Senior Citizens includes access to computers, audio books, large print books, assisted living devices, and tax help for seniors. There is also a list of suggested Web sites for further assistance.
Penobscot Bay Medical Center is a 109-bed full service hospital located in Rockport. The hospital offers inpatient and outpatient care and a full range of specialty services.
Bangor International Airport (about 53 miles) – http://www.flybangor.com/
Portland International Jetport (about 85 miles) – http://www.portlandjetport.org/
Knox Country Regional Airport in Owls Head is 3 miles from Rockland. It has a 5,000-foot and a 4,000-foot runway, and offers regional executive service and on-demand service to destinations around the Penobscot Bay area.
The seasonal average temperatures for January (as recorded at Waterville) are a high of 30 degrees and low of 10 degrees. The average temperatures for July are a high of 81 degrees and a low of 44 degrees.
The Camden Herald
Chamber of Commerce
Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce – http://www.camdenme.org/
Rockport – 2.2 miles
Lincolnville – 5.8 miles
Rockland – 8.2 miles
Belfast – 18 miles
Searsport – 24 miles
Augusta – 41 miles
Boothbay Harbor – 49 miles
Bangor – 53 miles
Brunswick – 60 miles
Orono – 64 miles
Portland – 85 miles
Boston, MA – 190 miles