My Maine Top 10 ~ #4 Mid-Coast

Series Introduction:  After years of giving recommendations to friends visiting my home state of Maine, I decided to spend a little time compiling my favorites here. My Top 10. Some places are directly on the beaten path, others are not. I try to include something for every traveller but if you’re going to Maine, expect a lot of the great outdoors. If you must shop, do it at local stores and support Maine’s eclectic entrepreneurs.

I love Maine and the people who live there. All of the places I’m listing in the Top 10 I would recommend to my friends and family. If you have additional recommendations, please leave a note in the comments. I’d love to share as much of this great state as possible. Cheers! ~ Hannele

 

#10: Moosehead Lake Region (previously blogged)

#9: The Southern Beaches: Kennebunk & Ogunquit (previously blogged)

#8: Baxter State Park (previously blogged)

# 7 Reid State Park (previously blogged)

# 6 Portland (previously blogged)

#5 The Mountains (previously blogged)

We’re off to the coast – #4 is all about Maine’s Mid-Coast!

This region has a special place in my heart for so many reasons. Not only have I been exploring the rugged coastline here for as long as I can remember, but I was married in Spruce Head (just south of Rockland) at the beautiful Craignair Inn & Restaurant. Every time I come “home” I make a point to spend at least one day enjoying the people and beauty of this region.

 

Clark Island, Maine

 

It’s hard to wrap the whole Mid-Coast region into one post, but I’m going to try. When I think about this region I think of Camden, Rockport, Rockland and numerous islands speckled throughout the Penobscot Bay. Though, Mid-Coast can extend all the way to Boothbay Harbor (which is beautiful) and Belfast to the north. Belfast has undergone a renaissance over the last 10 years and is a wonderful place to eat and shop of unique gifts. I love Boothbay Harbor, it has galleries, great food and is a great spot to sail around. A visit to the Botanical Gardens in Boothbay is a good idea as well.

DISCOVER: Rockland’s downtown centers around the working harbor and the the Farnsworth Art Museum. There are wonderful little restaurants, shops and art galleries here. Whenever I’m in town a stop to Fiore is a must – artisan olive oils, balsamic vinegars and sea salts – perfect gifts for dog sitters! I always enjoy a walk out to the Rockland Breakwater Light  and a visit to the Thursday morning farmer’s market in town. Look for the Uproot Pie Company at the farmer’s markets in this area – best pizza I’ve ever had made by the sweetest lady you’d ever meet.

 

Rockland Breakwater

View from the Rockland Breakwater

Rockport is another great stop for art lovers, featuring the home the Maine Photographic Workshops and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. The harbor is also quintessentially Maine, during the summer you’ll see many plein air painters and photography/filmmaking students here.

Rockport Harbor

HEAL: If you’re interested in gardens and medicinal herbs, visit Avena Botanicals or look for products from Herbal Revolution which are made in nearby Lincolnville. There is a large yoga and massage community here, to book a massage or a yoga class, I highly recommend the following: Shiva Shakti School of Yoga and Healing Arts, Embody Massage & Yoga and Bliss Yoga and Healing Arts. They are all incredibly talented, wonderful people.

Rockport harbor with Jess, from Embody Yoga and Massage

 

PLAY: Nature lovers can be entertained by lots of hiking trails, swimming holes, kayak or bike rentals and sailing excursions. Bald Rock Mountain, Mount Battie and Maiden Cliff  trails are my personal favorites all of which can be found using the All Trails App/website. Camden Hills State Park offers camping, hiking trails and a lovely view of the Penobscot Bay.

 

Bald Rock Mountain trail

At the summit of Maiden Cliff

 

If you’re interested in getting out on the water there are ferries taking you to the large islands of Penobscot Bay or you could book guided sailing excursion. Most of these depart from Rockland or Camden. If you’d rather paddle your own boat, I highly recommend renting kayaks (with or without a guide) and exploring the harbors on your own. I did a tour with Port Clyde Kayaks a few years ago and it was fantastic.

Generally the ocean water here is pretty chilly, even in the summer, but there are several lakes that are great for swimming. Clark Island, in Spruce Head, has a cool old quarry that’s open to swimming with fun ledges to jump off. The kid inside me absolutely loves this place.

 

Dusk in Rockport Harbor

Kayaking along the Penobscot Bay

 

EAT: There are wonderful local eateries in the Mid-Coast region. Many change names and rotate in and out so I’m not going to get too specific. For the most part, look for places that serve eclectic, local fare and steer away from the obvious tourist traps. You can pretty much get a good lobster anywhere but as I’ve said before, the best places are down by the docks. I’ve heard great things about Miller’s Lobster Co. and I’ve enjoyed eating at the following establishments: Cafe Miranda (Rockland), Rock City Cafe (best coffee, Rockland), Shepherd’s Pie (Rockport), Craignair Inn & Restaurant (Spruce Head), and Comida Latin Kitchen (Camden).

 

Delicious pizza by the Uproot Pie Company

Perfect breakfast at the Craignair Inn

 

The Mid-Coast region covers a lot of area so even though it is a busy place during the summer months, you can still find a little slice of peace and tranquillity. Simply look for the places off the beaten track and breathe it in. It’s a special place….

 

Sunrise in Spruce Head, Maine

 

Did I miss something? Share your suggestions in the comments section!

Disclaimer: The recommendations I give in this post are personal, I’m not receiving any kick back from mentioning them. 

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