We left Belfast hoping the heat wave would break soon, and headed down Penobscot Bay to Camden. This year is definitely the Year of the Maine Towns/Cities Cruise. We sensed when we headed Down East that this would happen, and we’re rolling with it.
On our way, with calm water and sunny skies, Bruce decided to play with the Tug a bit, and wound her up to 19 knots. Clean off the bottom, he said. OK! We don’t do this for long, but it is fun knowing you can do it when you want to. 3300 RPM, 19 gallons per hour. She’s thirsty at this speed, but like I said, you don’t do it for long.
Once in Camden we got ourselves settle at one of the Lyman-Morse (formerly Wayfarer Marine) floats in the inner harbor. We love being inside, where there is fun activity and we are close to the down docks for getting ashore. Also: Camden outer harbor is notoriously uncomfortable because it rolls constantly. If we couldn’t get a spot inside, we wouldn’t come.
The harbor was busy, but not overly so. We planned to have cocktails aboard with Cleave & Darcy from Skater, then dinner on the fly. It was fun to catch up with them (a beautiful flybridge evening), and we all went in to Fresh for dinner, where we had a very nice meal sitting at the bar together.
Like other destinations in Maine, the Camden waterfront has been through changes over the years. One of the big changes is that Lyman-Morse has taken over Wayfarer Marine. Although it is different, in many ways it’s better. Some of the same old faces are still there, which is refreshing. There is now a waterfront restaurant, the Rhumb Line, on the docks at Lyman-Morse. We have not tried it, but we understand it’s quite good.
Another big change: the American Boathouse, which is the old Cannel Payne & Page building at the head of the harbor, is being restored for use as a private residence and boathouse. It’s a big project. The boathouse was built in 1904 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was literally falling apart. We have been watching this property for years, curious (and concerned) about what would become of it. Now we know. It will be fun to watch the transformation.
It was still hot in Camden, but not quite as bad as it had been in Belfast. I was able to go for two lovely runs while we were there, out Bay View Street, all the way to Rockport, and back again. It’s a beautiful trip with very little traffic, along farmland, views of Penobscot Bay, and then through the charming village of Rockport.
The highlight of our visit was dinner in Rockland at Primo, one of our all-time favorite restaurants. We would normally go into Rockland by boat and walk to Primo, but the Maine Homes Boats & Harbors show was under way and we didn’t want to battle the congestion. Fortunately, as customers of Lyman-Morse we could use their loaner car, which we signed up for in advance, and we simply drove to Primo and back. Perfect! It was a lovely evening, and great food.
Also in Camden: Bruce went to his very favorite barber shop. One of the things we like about cruising is getting to know the places we visit from the local angle, and barbershops are one of those opportunities. Bruce has been going to these guys for years. They are about 90 years old and his greatest fear in visiting Camden is the possibility that they may no longer be there.
The second highlight of our visit was seeing our buddies Otis N Lucy, otherwise known as Bob & Julie, who we met several years ago aboard their Island Packet in Belfast. It was a fun rendezvous for breakfast at Boynton-McKay, short but sweet, with hopes that we will see them again in Florida this winter. They left us with a wonderful care package from their garden in Rockport: very special!
A lot of the shops and restaurants are the same as in years’ past, but some are different. The old Cappy’s has now become Sea Dog Brewing. The Owl & The Turtle Bookshop has moved twice, from Bay View Street to a large and comfortable space on Mechanic Street, and now back to a much smaller spot on Bay View, where it is a combination book shop & cafe. French & Brawn is still a focal point, and my new favorite shop is Sugar Tools on Bay View. For the first time, I saw a product at Sugar Tools that I have been following on line for a year or so, wooden utensils handmade in Maine by Karina Steele. She does exceptionally beautiful work, even more impressive in person than on-line. Wow-factor. Some day I will buy one of her pieces.
Lots to do right in town, and of course there’s always Mount Battie to climb, in Camden Hills State Park a short distance north of town on Route 1.
My big purchase in Camden was for Rody. We finally got him tricked out properly for a Maine cruise.