To me, wellness is about getting outside and being active, learning from intelligent health professionals, indulging in local wholesome meals, and enjoying the scenery along the way. I am heading to the midcoast, a destination that is becoming a hub for health and wellness.
2:30 p.m. @ Route 295
I leave our Portland office and head north on Interstate 295, a drive that is quite familiar to me since I commute from the midcoast to Portland. I enjoy passing through towns, over bridges and onward up the coast.
4:30 p.m. @ the Hawthorn Inn
Located near downtown Camden is a welcoming Queen Anne Victorian-style bed and breakfast. Owner Ted Weiss greets me and shows me to my room in the inn’s carriage house. The room is luxurious, with a large four-poster bed, balcony, gas fireplace, and Jacuzzi. I could spend all 48 hours in this suite, but there is so much to explore in the area.
5:30 p.m. @ Rockland’s Main Street
I meet Jonathan Laurence, creative director for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. We breeze around the First Friday Art Walk, enjoying the galleries on a busy Main Street evening.
8:00 p.m. @ Primo
The restaurant’s cozy glow is welcoming and I’m excited to enjoy a meal at this highly recommended eatery in Rockland. Jonathan and I sit at the counter bar, where we can see the chef crafting our dishes. I order a few small plates, including a local wild mushroom dish, which quickly becomes my new favorite. We chat about what brought each of us back to Maine. We share a love for the state’s wild beauty and how it never fails to inspire creativity. We are presented with a dessert I enjoy without guilt because to me wellness is all about balance.
8:00 a.m. @ the Hawthorn Inn
At the main house I meet Lisa, who is seating guests for breakfast. She and her husband Ted own the inn, which they purchased in 2014. I sit at a table tucked into bay windows. Lisa introduces the two-course breakfast, including a fresh fruit parfait and vegetable egg soufflé. The inn takes extra care to learn about each guest’s dietary needs and will accommodate allergies or preferences. The sun streams in, my pot of peppermint tea is hot, and I enjoy a quiet moment by myself.
11:00 a.m. @ Synergy Massage and Bodywork
In the heart of Rockland is an oasis focused on stress reduction and health. I meet Synergy co-owners Hanna DeHoff and Kristy Beverage, and they explain their goal of providing a respite from daily chaos. I feel that calm as Kristy and I speak about her integrative, client- focused practice. I receive a deep-tissue therapeutic massage from Kristy, who is booked months out. It’s clear that this is a place focused on long-term care and healing, not just short- term solutions.
12:30 p.m. @ Synergy Massage and Bodywork
I hydrate and rest before being introduced to Erika Manning, who will be giving me a private yoga class. We walk upstairs to the studio, which is set up for our session. Erika is incredibly attentive in creating a customized class. We focus on mat work and she pays close attention to my posture and movements during our one-hour, one- on-one session. I take away important modifications to fundamental poses, which will surely improve my practice.
1:45 p.m. @ Cafe Miranda
Just up the street I find a cozy corner at Cafe Miranda, where I enjoy a comforting bowl of white bean and kale soup. The restaurant is colorful and the staff friendly.
2:30 p.m. @ Rock City Cafe
I’m excited to get a coffee with Kea Tesseyman, founder and director of Kinetic Energy Alive Productions, a dance studio and performance company in Camden. More than 14 years of experience in the movement arts led her to offer the practice of healing through dance on the midcoast. The studio’s mission is to provide dance for mental and physical release and healing. She vows to get me in a class, and we promise to connect again.
3:00 p.m. @ Rheal Day Spa
Entering another oasis, I’m shown to a robe, cucumber-infused water, and a heated table in preparation for treatment. I receive an essential European facial and leave completely relaxed and slightly glowing.
7:00 p.m. @ Natalie’s at Camden Harbour Inn
My brother Ben and friend Sara meet me for dinner at this chic hilltop inn. I relax into one of the soft crimson-red chairs and order from the vegetarian prix fixe tasting menu. Our meal is an exquisite experience from start to finish and being with two of my favorite people makes it that much better.
6:00 a.m. @ Beech Hill Preserve
A Camden resident and local hiking expert, Jonathan Laurence agrees to show me some of the best ways to get outdoors and active around the midcoast. We drive to Beech Hill Preserve and go on a brisk walk to the top of the hill, where we are rewarded with a vibrant sunrise over Rockport Harbor. Exercise and a view—this is a great way to start the day.
7:30 a.m. @ Marriner’s Restaurant
We’re hungry, so we stop into Marriner’s Restaurant. It has a waterfront view and has been serving up Maine classics since 1942. I opt for poached eggs and treat myself to a grilled muffin.
9:00 a.m. on the road through the midcoast
The fabric of the midcoast is made of many small towns, each with its own unique, raw beauty. We get in the car and take a scenic drive, stopping at roadside trails, landmarks, and ponds. First, we go to Rockport and venture out on to the rocks at Beauchamp Point Preserve. Next, we walk up to Vesper Hill Children’s Chapel, where we take in the incredible view of Penobscot Bay. Then we head to Camden to find the Curtis Island Lighthouse and its red roof. We leave the coast and head inland to Appleton Ridge Road and discover blueberry fields and rolling hills, and wind our way through Union and Warren. We land in Owls Head, walk the picturesque Crescent Beach, and reflect on our incredible, unfiltered tour of the area.
12:00 p.m. @ Midcoast Recreation Center
Midcoast Recreation Center has a variety of sports and fitness programs, including tennis, skating, and dance. The ice arena manager Jesse Simko welcomes me to Rockport’s community center focused on healthy living. We get on the ice at public skate hour, and my private lesson is done before I know it. Jesse is such a kind teacher and obviously a huge part of why the rink is full of families enjoying time together.
2:00 p.m. @ Camden Whole Health
I could not think of a better way to warm up than a sauna session. I head over to Camden’s new center for integrated wellness, Camden Whole Health. Dr. Barb MacDonald and Steve Moskowitz welcome me and offer me a tour of the facility, which houses a number of wellness practitioners in fields from nutrition to acupuncture to massage therapy. There is even a lab facility on site allowing for full-service family health care. Founder Dr. Deb Moskowitz has arranged for me to have an infrared sauna therapy session. The special sauna has more deeply detoxifying benefits than traditional Swedish saunas.
5:00 p.m. on Route 1
As I drive south, I reflect on the weekend. There’s a strong driving force in the midcoast towards building a wellness community. There are so many people in this area who want to be their best selves, or help others to find theirs. I have no doubt this is a destination I will continue to seek for wellness in my own life.