From Portland to Camden

South of Portland is day trip distance from Boston and the Down East towns like Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Blue Hill are well-known destinations for perennial summer visitors. An often over-looked part of the coast is Mid-Coast Maine.

The Mid-Coast has SO much to offer that if you’re thinking of a short vacation, we urge you to check it out. There is enough to see and do that in 3 days you will only cover “the tip of the iceberg”. We’re highlighting our favorites here. If yours aren’t mentioned, please tell us about them, and we’ll write a sequel. We’re starting in Portland and heading east through ten towns.

Starting in Portland:

Eat:

  • Fore Street at 288 Fore St. – Maybe the best restaurant in Portland. Make reservations. 207-775-2717
  • Vignola at 10 Dana St. – Delicious Italian, 207- 772-1330- make reservations
  • Street & Co. at 33 Wharf St. – Mediterranean/fish, delicious. – Make reservations. 207-775-0887
  • The Flatbread Company at 72 Commercial St. Bakes its own organic flatbread pizzas in clay ovens. Great for a snack or lunch. 207-772-8777
  • Duck Fat for the best fries you’ve ever had. OK, and sandwiches and salads if you’re a balanced kind of eater. Open 7 days a week. 207-774-8080
  • Aurora Provisions at 64 Pine St. for snacks and sandwiches, lots of prepared foods to go. 207-871-9060
  • Standard Baking Company is a great bakery, especially the gingerbread, scones and breads. 75 Commercial St., 207-773-2112.
  • Union Restaurant is in the Press Hotel and is great.  It is open for lunch and dinner and is located in the midst of the best shopping area.  207-808-8700.

Shop:

  • Portland Downtown: Exchange Street down to Commercial St., and all the streets that run in between and perpendicular. There are tons of events, shops and boutiques.
  • Nelson Rarities at 2 Monument Square, 7th floor – Carefully selected estate jewelry. 207-775-3150
  • South Street Linen is relatively new and has wonderful linen clothes for women.

Sleep:

  • Pomegranate Inn at 49 Neal St. is a charming bed & breakfast. 207-772-1006 or 800-356-0408
      Mid-Coast-Maine---Pomegranate-Inn
  • The Hilton Garden Inn at 65 Commercial St. is a good downtown hotel 207-780-0780.
  • The brand new Press Hotel at 119 Exchange St. is already wildly popular. It is in the former Gannett building, the offices and printing plant of the Portland Press. (877) 890-5641.

Falmouth:

Shop:

  • Moving east, right outside of Portland, stop at Simply Homea fantastic home furnishings store. Linda Banks, the owner, has a great eye for relaxed, chic living. 172 Route 1, 207-781-5651.
  • Port N’ Starboard Gallery at 53 Falmouth Rd. is a favorite gallery selling all things nautical. 207-781-4214.

Freeport:

Eat:

  • Have lunch at a great lobster/clam shack called Harraseeket Lunch – 36 Main St. 207-865-4888

Shop:

  • The original L.L.Bean is magnificent and sprawling, selling everything from clothes, boots & shoes, outdoor equipment to home furnishings and everything in between. Open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day!
Mid-Coast-Maine---LL-Bean
  • Outlets: You’ll find Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, Coach, Burberry, GAP and zillions of others.

Brunswick:

  • This is the home of Bowdoin College.  The college has a wonderful Museum of Art.

Eat

  • One of my favorite restaurants anywhere is Tao Yuan. It’s at 22 Pleasant St, Brunswick, ME 04011.

Bath:

Eat

Shop:

  • Halcyon Yarns at 12 School St. If you have ever thought about knitting, you will be in paradise! 800-341-028
  • Now You’re Cooking at 49 Front St. An entire city block filled with all things to do with cooking. Open 7 days a week. 207-443-1402

Play:

  • Maine Maritime Museum at 243 Washington St. Learn about the state’s seaside history and industry. 207-443-1316
  • Bath Iron Works: Take a trolley tour of the Bath Iron Works, which designs and builds “complex surface combatants” for the U.S. Navy. Summer hours are Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:30, Saturdays 10 AM. Make reservations.

Mid-Coast-Maine---Bath-Iron-Works

On the way to Wiscasset, along Route 1:

  • Stop at  Wiscasset Antiques. You’ll find three floors filled with dealers. Open 7 days a week. 536 Bath Rd (Rt.1) 207-882-4029.
  • Further along Route 1, Sea Basket is a good choice for Lobster chowder and fried clams – but you are only ten miles from Red’s Eats and they make the best lobster roll in Maine – tough choice. 303 Bath Rd. (Rt.1) 207-882-6581

Wiscasset:

Eat:

Shop:

The main street is not large, so cruise up one side and down the other. Make sure to stop into:

Portland to Maine

Damariscotta:

Eat:

  • Damariscotta River Grill– Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Delicious.They take reservations. 155 Main St. 207-563-2992
  • Metcalf’s– great sandwiches at 49 Main St. (in back of building). 207-563-7827
  • The new doughnut place is fantastic!  Old Time Donuts at 748 Main Street.

Shop:

  • Reny’sA small discount store with great loot!
  • Weatherbird – Great selection of accessories, food, wine, and house wares. 72 Courtyard 207-563-8993
  • Weatherbird clothing is at 132 Maine St.
  • Damariscotta Pottery – Fantastic porcelain pottery, beautiful hand-painted designs, words fail me. A must stop. Tell Rhonda A Sharp Eye sent you! We have been collecting the work of this group of women for years. Courtyard St. 207-563-8843

  • Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops – Open 7 days a week, great for browsing. Maine Coast gets most major newspapers and there is a café to provide sustenance as you browse. Not that it ever rains in Maine, but this is a great sanctuary. 158 Main St. 207-563-3207
  • Gifts at 136 is a wonderful gift shop carrying the products from over 50 Maine artists and craftsmen.  They also carry Maine-made artisan chocolate that is delicious! 136 Main St. (207)563-1011

Play:

  • Mid Coast Kayak – sea kayaking on the Damariscotta River and Muscongus Bay.

Walpole:

Shop:

  • Take a quick one-stop detour off Rt. 1 to visit The Walpole Barn on Rt. 129. This is a unique shopping experience featuring fantastic house wares, gardening items, toys, fresh oysters, a fantastic selection of the best affordable wines and much more. You will be warmly received by the friendly and knowledgeable owners, Debora and Warren Storch. 135 State Route 129. 207-563-7050

Pemaquid:

  • From the Walpole Barn, go back to Route 130 to Pemaquid and visit The Good Supply, a store that carries only Maine-made crafts and art.  It’s delightful.2106 Bristol Road. 207-607-3121.

Mid Coast Maine - The Good Supply 2

Waldoboro:

Eat:

  • Moody’s Diner – A real landmark. Try the 4-berry pie. 1885 Atlantic Highway 207-832-7785

Shop:

  • Sara Hotchkiss– Gorgeous hand-woven rugs. 28 Pitcher Rd. Waldoboro 207-832-8133

Mid-Coast-Maine---Sara-Hotchkiss-rug

 

  • Nobleboro Antiques Exchange On your way from Waldoboro to Rockland. A collection of dealers, fun browsing. 104 Atlantic Highway(U.S. 1) 207-563-6800

Rockland:

Eat:

  • Cafe Miranda – 15 Oak St. 207-594-2034. Dinner 7 days a week, plus Sunday brunch. Eclectic and fun
  • Primo Restaurant – set in a farmhouse with working gardens, it’s just mouthwatering. Reservations are a must, and call well in advance. 2 South Main St. 207-596-0770

Shop:

  • Cruise the main street. Lots of shops. The Museum Shop at the FarnsworthMuseum is great.
  • The Eric Hopkins Gallery is behind the Strand Theatre, off the main street. Eric Hopkins does beautiful huge canvasses of Maine seascapes. The gallery also sells wonderful belts and dog leashes with the artist’s scenes. 21 Winter St. 207-594-1996.
  • For those of you traveling by boat, visit his gallery on the island of North Haven at 69 Pulpit Harbor Rd.
  • Rockland Antiques Marketplace – over 80 dealers 25 Rankin St. 207-596-9972. Open everyday from 9 – 5.
  • FourTwelve is one of our favorite women’s clothing and accessories shop. 412 Main St. 207-596-8212

Play:

  • Strand Theatre – newly restored, great venue for film and live music 345 Main St. 207-594-0070
  • Farnsworth Museum – lots of N.C., Andrew, & Jamie Wyeths, and a special Jamie Wyeth show until 8/30. A fantastic museum. 16 Museum St. 207-596-6457
  • The Center for Maine Contemporary Art recently opened their newly built museum and it’s fantastic!

  • 4-mile public footpath from the harbor to the lighthouse.

Camden:

Eat:

Shop:

  • Camden’s shopping is all in town, so cruise the main and side streets. There are many unique boutiques. Make sure to stop in at:
  • Planet for a huge selection of eclectic books, toys, clothes and house wares at 31 Main Street, 207- 236-9022.
  • Stonewall Kitchen– a Maine company specializing in pantry-stocking items such as jams, sauces, mustards and other specialty foods, as well as cooking equipment. at 13 Elm Street, 207-236-8979

Play:

Camden is a hive of activity in the summer. Go to the Chamber of Commerce for a list of festivals and shows.

  • Hike to the summit of Mt. Battie for outstanding views.
  • Swim or kayak in Lake Meguntacook
  • Camden library is a great place to spend a few hours
  • Get out on the water – Go to the Public Landing to find schooners and windjammers for day sails, or just to look at the boats.
Mid-Coast-Maine---Windjammers

Sleep:

Notes:

In Maine, pedestrians have the right of way!!

Weather – Expect warm, blue-sky days and cool nights by the water. Maine offers an informal, outdoor life. You can go almost anywhere in khaki shorts and flip-flops. Bring sweaters for evening chill. Clean up and put on a little jewelry for dinner – but nothing showy. Less is more in Maine.

Foods Maine is famous for are lobster in any form, steamed clams, wild blueberry anything, and Whoopie Pies.

Books about Maine we like include Colony by Anne Rivers Siddons, Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw (fiction), and The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau, and anything by Barbara Cooney or Robert McCloskey for children. Two of our favorite writers from Maine are E.B.White and Stephen King.

Need more ideas for traveling in Maine? See our article on Coastal

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens