New England Road Trip – Camden, Maine

This posting is part of the series New England Road Trip.

After 5 days of ambling through New England states, sightseeing, visiting, eating and drinking, it was almost time to meet up with our daughter Margaret,  pack up her dorm room and bring her back home to Virginia.

First, however, we had one more stop, one more cousin to visit and one more gorgeous oceanside town in Maine…

The seaside town of Camden, Maine is about as quaint and charming as a town could possibly be!  Here on this quiet harbor we enjoyed lobster, Maine-brewed beer, and a visit with my cousin Bill (#5 if you’ve been following the whole trip.)

We drove from Portland to Camden on a perfect 70° sunny day.  We only had time for lunch but it promised to be a memorable one.

A brief lunch in a charming town and a chance for us to catch up with my cousin Billy.

My cousin Bill lives 50 miles to the north, in Bangor, but kindly agreed to drive down and meet us.  As kids “Billy” and I saw each other often, Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, etc.  Since then, he joined the Navy, became a doctor, married, had four children and moved to Bangor.  We had a lot of catching up to do!

The Atlantica Restaurant was our choice for lunch with its massive deck overlooking the water.

IMG_1347We picked a spot right on the water called Atlantica.  They have a huge beautiful deck on the water and it was like the set of a movie!

Since we were on vacation, the visit began with yet another superb Maine craft beer,  Baxter Brewing puts out a number of excellent beers and on this day it was a piney IPA with a citrus note.  We sat out on a deck overlooking the harbor watching double-masted sailboats come and go.  Beyond the harbor was the wide-open Atlantic Ocean.

There was one clear menu option for lunch and that was lobster.  Once we got inland it wasn’t going to be the same so I opted for a monster 2 lb beauty and it did not disappoint!

In May the shells are really hard and require some muscle to crack. The reward inside, however is well worth it. The claws alone on this 2 lb beauty were like a meal!

We sat and caught up about our families, our travels, and our lives and it was so rewarding to see what my younger cousin had built with his life.  We agreed that next year’s New England Road Trip would include a trip to Bangor and that a Washington, DC visit would be added to their family calendar.

From the deck, we dined on lobster, drank Maine craft beer and watched large sail boats come and go.

From the deck, we dined on lobster, drank Maine craft beer and watched large sail boats come and go.

After lunch we took a stroll around the harbor area.  On the far end is a park that serves as open lawn, amphitheater, and prime photo spot.  There we discovered a monument to poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Only the third woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry (1923) she was also an early feminist activist and a resident of the Maine coast, having been born in nearby Rockland and settling in Camden.

This monument to Maine native Edna St. Vincent Millay looks over Camden’s harbor and stands right next to its library.

The site is so idyllic, the water is so peaceful, the open park is such a beautiful vantage point–what an experience!

This open lawn serves as park, amphitheater and prime vantage point overlooking the town and its harbor.
This is the view from the amphitheater of the town and the harbor.

We stopped briefly at what looked like a gazebo.  It was actually more of a skylight.  Under the amphitheater, built partially in the ground is the Camden Public Library (with Edna St. Vincent Millay standing guard!).  Through this gazebo you could look down onto the stacks and kids checking out summer reading.

This “gazebo” is actually a window to the library partially below ground!

When we finally stepped away from the water and walked around the town a bit, we found it to be no less charming.  Cute shops, a New England tidiness, and lots of activity on the streets.



From here it would be on to Bates College to retrieve Margaret but the detour was a good one and Camden is a place to which I shall return.




  1. Tony –

    as a kid, my family camped in ME for a week each summer (which is how I found Bates) and Camden / Rockport was definitely a favorite area. I haven’t been in a long time so I think it’s time to consider a long weekend trip there.

  2. Hi Tony, I loved following your trip to Bates! I especially loved the posts on Maine and of course, The Lakes Region! I took a short term class about the architecture in Maine when I was at Bates. It was a great course and we took many road trips to Camden and Portland. I love all the history in both of those areas and just so “Maine”. Your pictures are beautiful and made me homesick for New England. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to offer such kind words Clare! The trip made me a little homesick for New England too! Also, the weird thing about road trips is that even though you’re constantly on the go, they pull you out of your regular life and so they make you slow down a bit. Camden and Portland are great places to escape like that!

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