Author: Lynn Ihlenfeld
Date of Trip: October 2007
During the Korean War, my Dad was stationed in Bangor, Maine, as an electronics/radio expert. He spoke fondly of Maine, especially the coastal towns. Just a few weeks ago, my husband and I finally embarked on a trip to Maine to experience what my Dad described.
My favorite town was Camden, where the mountains meet the sea. The town is compact, well-kept, and picturesque. We were fortunate to stay at the Camden Maine Stay owned by Bob and Juanita Topper. The inn was built in 1802 and truly sparkled with a relaxed, warm, and romantic atmosphere. There are eight rooms each with a private bath. We stayed in a wonderful room at the top of the kitchen stairs. It was spacious yet cozy and more than comfortable. Breakfast was served in either the dining room full of antiques or the cheerful sun porch set up with white wicker furniture. The food was delicious, and afternoon tea always came with a yummy baked treat.
It was just a short walk down beautiful tree-lined streets to the harbor, restaurants, and shops. We spent my birthday on a 57-foot traditional, historic schooner in Penobscot Bay. Our hosts at the Camden Maine Stay provided us with brochures of several different schooners that sailed out of the harbor. We chose to sail on the “Surprise” with Captain Jack and his wife, Barbara. The sailboat was immaculate and clearly loved. Captain Jack gave us an opportunity to hoist the sails, which I did! And there were plenty of slickers and jackets for those who needed them. And we did – it was a crystal clear day but very windy and cool. Perfect for sailing. Both Jack and Barbara took turns at the wheel and offered it to anyone wishing to sail themselves. We were out just over 2 hours, and it was a wonderful experience to see Camden and the surrounding area from the sea. There were lobster pot buoys all around, and we learned about the history of the area while under sail. We highly recommend this experience. Tickets can be purchased right at the dock.
We also enjoyed browsing through the downtown galleries and shops many of which offered Maine fine art, crafts, and food. For a fun, casual atmosphere and fresh seafood, we recommend Cappy’s Chowder House where we ate twice. For birthdays, Cappy’s serves an ice cream sundae with a sparkler and takes your picture! The luncheon at the Waterfront restaurant, a fresh lobster Caesar salad, was outstanding.
Camden Hills State Park is very close to the Camden Maine Stay bed and breakfast. There are trails to hike or you can drive to the top of Mount Battie for a tremendous view of the sea and surrounding area. In addition to Mount Battie, this 6500-acre park includes Mount Megunticook, one of the highest points on the Atlantic seaboard. If you’re not heading to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, this is a great stop for hiking and views. Also, we came across a lovely, local winery called the Cellar Door on Youngstown Road off of Highway 52 just a short ride from Camden. We arrived just in time for tasting and can say that it is well worth the stop.
We cannot say enough good things about our experience in Camden and will certainly return. My Dad was right!