Rockland, Rockport + Camden in 48 Hours
Some of the best art and design in Maine can be found in these midcoast towns, but their coastal views, shopping, and dining make them a destination for any summer traveler.
Rockland Breakwater and lobster club
As a home base for a weekend in the midcoast, Samoset Resort in Rockport has a lot to offer, including views of Penobscot Bay, 178 guest rooms, a 200,000-gallon zero-entry pool, and an 18-hole golf course. After you arrive at the resort, walk down to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, which is next to the property. On the nearly one-mile walk to the lighthouse at the end of the structure, you’ll appreciate all 700,000 tons of granite used to build the breakwater in the late 1800s.
After some exercise, treat yourself to a cocktail on Enoteca Lounge’s large terrace with an expansive view of the bay. For dinner, get an outdoor table at Archer’s on the Pier, and enjoy a Maine summer night dining alfresco while watching the windjammers roam the harbor. Start with the crispy Caribbean coconut shrimp, served with a delicious chili dipping sauce. If there are kids in your party, make sure to get them the cheeseburger. The star of the show is the King of Clubs, a Throwdown with Bobby Flay winner. The tripledecker sandwich is packed with Maine lobster, crispy bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
Art, shopping, and outdoor dining
Eat into the day by ordering room service for breakfast. Your first stop out should be the Farnsworth Art Museum in downtown Rockland. The museum celebrates Maine’s role in American art with its extraordinary exhibitions and permanent collection, including one of the nation’s largest collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson. Through March 2022 the greatly anticipated exhibition Betsy’s Gift: The Works of N.C., Andrew, and Jamie Wyeth will be on display. You won’t want to miss works by the youngest Wyeth, including a portrait of his friend and fellow artist Andy Warhol and a painting that incorporates his wife’s crushed-up pearl necklace.
Walk across the street and grab coffee and macaroons at Atlantic Baking Company before continuing on to the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), which was designed by renowned architect Toshiko Mori. After you get your fill of stunning installations and contemporary artwork, swing by the Grasshopper Shop. The store is overflowing with fun gifts by local makers, toys, and clothes. Fashion aficionados, if there’s only one shop you visit, make it fourTWELVE in Rockland. Owner Beth Bowley has curated a collection of elegant but easy-to-wear garments that will be staples in your closet for years to come. Don’t miss Bowley’s Saarinen tulip dining table covered in design books, jeans, and cozy knits.
Located in a downtown Camden building from the 1800s, Thomas Michaels Designers showcases luxury contemporary jewelry designed by its owners. Be warned: you may leave contemplating how you will finance a diamond and gold bangle. Nearby, Wooden Alchemy, with a geodesic polyhedron rotating in the window, is filled with hand-carved creations that run the gamut from cribbage boards to a pitch-perfect French horn. A short walk down the street is Margo Moore Interiors. The first floor of owner Megan van der Kieft’s retail store and design studio is filled with dreamy home decor, while the second floor is packed with textiles by renowned designers like John Robshaw and Morris and Co. On the way back to Samoset Resort, stop by Bleecker and Greer in Rockport and pick up a smashed potato bowl for lunch and local beers to enjoy back at the hotel before dinner.
Enjoy dinner and live music outside by the fire at Cafe Miranda. Start with the fire-roasted kale that has been a Miranda classic for nearly 30 years and follow with the Chicken Jerry: panko-fried chicken breast over Asian slaw, blue cheese, and cilantro-lime jasmine rice. The strong flavors combine to make a fantastic meal. Share a blueberry crisp then linger over a nightcap.
Coffee, Mount Battie, and Owls Head
On your way to Camden Hills State Park, stop for coffee at Green Tree Coffee and Tea. The beans are roasted right in Lincolnville, and the cute little shop’s entrance is flanked by gas-burning lanterns. Once you’re caffeinated, drive or hike up to Mount Battie’s summit, where you’ll find a stone tower and photo-worthy view of the surrounding lakes, wooded hillsides, and downtown Camden.
For one last lighthouse, visit Owls Head State Park to see an 1852 beacon with views of Penobscot Bay. Before you head home, make a final stop at the Smiling Cow in Camden for homemade fudge, and a grab a sweatshirt or hat adorned with the original Maine flag as a keep-sake from your midcoast weekend.