By Yankee Staff
Mar 27 2019
Camden Harbor, one of the jewels of Midcoast Maine.
Starting just north of the famous outlet-shopping town of Freeport, and continuing almost all the way up to Acadia National Park, is where you’ll find Midcoast Maine — a place of working harbors and rocky shorelines, scenic villages and unspoiled islands. For many, this is the Maine of their imagination. Exploring all that the region has to offer could take an entire summer (or two, or 20…), but even a 48-hour immersion can reward you with great food, postcard scenery, and coastal adventures.
Here are some of our favorite ways to spend a summer weekend in Midcoast Maine. For even more travel inspiration, check out episode 1 in season 3 of Weekends with Yankee, in which we voyage to the Midcoast’s Pemaquid Peninsula to learn how Audubon’s Project Puffin has helped bring a beloved seabird back to Maine.
The independently owned and operated boats of the Maine Windjammer Association run the gamut a 1922 racing yacht to a rare three-masted schooner built in 1900 to haul cargo — but all offer an unforgettable maritime adventure.
Rockland is a tiny harbor town with a large reputation in the art world. Visit the Farnsworth Art Museum to see paintings by the likes of Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, and Winslow Homer; the Wyeth Center, for artwork by three generations of Wyeths; and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, for cutting-edge vision.
At New England’s largest botanical garden — 270 acres in all — highlights include a rhododendron oasis with a cascading waterfall, ornamental display gardens, and walking trails through woods and hills and along the tidal Back River.
Crashing surf, two beautiful sand beaches, a lagoon that’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the open ocean, tide pools, hiking trails, sand dunes, and marshlands — 610-acre Reid State Park has it all, along with shower rooms and picnic tables.
For a classic Maine experience, hop a summer ferry to one of the islands off the Midcoast, such as Monhegan, whose wild beauty has attracted artists such as Edward Hopper, and the sister islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven, the latter of which is home to the historic Nebo Lodge inn and restaurant.
Situated between Boothbay Harbor and Linekin Bay, Spruce Point Inn has seven rooms with private decks where you can sprawl in an Adirondack chair and watch sails billow on the water below. The property also offers oversize rooms in modern lodges and woodsy housekeeping cottages.
Industrial-chic design warmed with reclaimed wood sets the up-to-date tone for this 26-room boutique hotel, which boasts museum-quality works by contemporary Maine artists and midcentury-modern furnishings.
Choose from rooms decorated with French country flair in either the main mansard-roofed inn, the Manor House (tucked behind), or the Hideaway, about a block away. Even better: Downtown Camden is just steps away.
In Primo’s white-tablecloth dining rooms, the daily-changing dinner menu might include pork saltimbocca or grilled local swordfish with caldo verde; in the casual, tapas-inspired Counter Room, look for house-made salumi, Tuscan-style ribs, and local and imported cheeses.
There’s homemade peach pie and coleslaw, burgers and hot dogs — but the one thing you absolutely must have is the lobster roll, which is the best you’ll find in Maine (and by extension, the whole of New England).
We love this quirky eatery especially for breakfast — organic and vegan options, a slew of Benedicts and omelets, pancakes and French toast with real maple syrup — but it does dinner equally deliciously.
You can’t beat the Red Barn’s freshly baked breads, tarts, pies, strudels, cakes, cookies, brownies, and hand pies. Don’t miss the decadent cherries-and-cream brioches, the buttery yet light and flaky croissants, or, truly, anything.
Do make reservations to score one of the few seats at this storefront restaurant where Bangkok-born Ravin Nakjaroen creates flavor-rich home-style pan-Asian fare. Knockouts include Maine crab-fried rice and house-made noodles with kimchi and pork belly.