Oh, Maine. How excited I've been to meet you my whole life. Back in August, my friend Emily and I took a birthday drive up from Boston with our sweet little Noodle, and ended up in Camden, Maine. I'd never heard of any towns past Portland until the legendary Camden Harbour Inn offered us a very special birthday overnight to celebrate Emily's twenty-fifth, and we immediately decided to take them up on their generosity.
We were welcomed into a very personalized guest space—a dog bed and food bowls for Noodle, customized menus at our seven-course meal, and the friendliest staff around every corner.
Summer in New England is sweet. A breeze on the marina, a sailboat leaving the docks every ten minutes, and lobster rolls abound—the day we explored was unapologetically hot. As soon as I realized I was craving a lemonade, it was the only thing on my mind. A local dockside restaurant came through, with cooling winds blowing in from the seaside and a refreshing lobster roll on cold, crisp lettuce.
Although we spent the day exploring all the town of Camden has to offer, most of our time was spent relaxing at the Inn. Between our five-course meal at their award-winning restaurant, Natalie's, and our champagne breakfast the next morning, I think it's safe to say we were spoiled. My favorite part about our meal was the customized butter palette for our bread—we got four pats of butter, and chose four different salts to flavor them with! My favorite, of course, was the spicy salt.
Even outside of summer, Camden Harbour Inn is the epicenter of Camden tourism in any season. Fall activities at Camden Harbour Inn include:
- Leaf peeping & hiking Mount Battie – Camden Hills State Park offers over 30 miles of hiking trails, including a glorious hike up to the summit of Mount Battie. Once you reach the summit, look out over the emerging fall colors in the leaves against the crisp blue of Penobscot Bay below, dotted with evergreen islands. Climb the spiral staircase to the top of the Stone Tower at the summit for an even better view of your surroundings. Back at Camden Harbour Inn, warm up with one of Mixologist Trevin Hutchin’s signature hot toddys, made with Papas Pilar Dark Rum, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, birdseye chili, slice of fresh ginger, star anise, bar spoon honey, juice from half a lemon and hot water.
- Wine Tasting at Cellardoor Winery – Visit Cellardoor Winery to taste the only wines made from grapes grown completely in Maine – the vendange 2012 estate-grown brut sparkling rose and the just-released blanc de blanc. Cellardoor Winery also produces a number of additional varietals and blends using grapes grown in California and New York and blended on-site at the winery in Lincolnville, ME.
- Shopping around Camden – cute independent shops include Owl & Turtle Bookshop & Café, a 45-year old local, independent book shop; Swans Island; Long Grain restaurant and the Stonewall Kitchen shop.
As we come into December, my desire to head back to Camden to experience a New England winter is already well-established. Ice skating and skiing on The Camden Snow Bowl—the only place in New England with skiing views of the Atlantic Ocean—sign me up!
Based on feedback from followers while we were traveling, I know a bunch of you love Portland and northern Maine, and I would encourage you to go just a little ways farther and see what Camden has in store for you. Whether it's the view from Mount Battie, sailing on the Atlantic, or skiing at the Snow Bowl, Camden is truly a place for everyone.