|Maine Wedding Towns – Where to go, what to do in Camden, Rockport, Rockland
by Kaley Noonan for Weddings Down East
In this series of guides to popular Maine wedding towns, we’ll give you the local view, everything from playing tourist to chilling beachside. After all, people don’t just throw weddings in Maine to get married, they come for the built-in vacation. And you’re not just here for the destination wedding, you’re here because you’re destined to have some fun—so come on. To find out more about the series, click here. To learn about all the great happenings in Camden, Rockport, and Rockland read on.
This is anywhere but Anywhere USA; there is a reason they call Camden the jewel of the midcoast and Rockland “The Real Maine.” Both harbors have different personalities, one sort of genteel, the other, hard-working, but both areas have little nooks and crannies of spectacular views, fun, outdoorsy things to do, and restaurants and cafes that are making a mark on the map of Maine’s Creative Economy.
Camden State Park’s Mount Megunticook rises out from sea level to 1300ft in less than a mile providing a spectacular backdrop to photos taken in many locations around the town and by the harbor. It’s 2 hours from two international airports and 20 minutes from a local airport but the best thing about Camden is that its a world away.
Atlantic Baking Company
351 Main St. Rockland ME 04841 207-596-0505
We like this comfortable place with their broad range of artisan breads and pastries, made from scratch every day. Good place to get coffee, espresso drinks, tea, cold beverages, and sandwiches made, naturally on their fresh breads.
Boynton-McKay Food Co.
Main Street, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-2465
If there’s a morning breakfast nook to “see and be seen” this is probably it, popular with locals and from away-ers alike. The apocathary theme and high-backed booths from a century ago lend some quirky charm, but the “huevos rancheros” is what keeps ‘em coming back.
Lily Lupine and Fern Emporium
43 Main Street, Camden, Maine 04843, 1-800-793-6193
You gotta love their descriptive title, “Wine Merchants and Purveyors of Gourmet Foods” because if you’re going to purvey, you might as well do it with good coffee.
Rock City Coffee
Harbor Plaza, 235 Camden St., Rockland, 207-596-7250
Here’s the java jive on this small batch roasterie. They use high-quality organic beans, emphasize sustainable farming and contribute well to the community. Oh yeah, and their coffee is goooood. (In the Staples plaza. Convenient if you're shopping on the north end of Rockland.)
Second Read Books & Coffee
328 Main Street, Rockland ME 04841, 207-594-4123
Rock City Coffee developed from its humble origins at Second Read on the main drag in downtown Rockland. This cafe with wi-fi and tons of cool second-hand books is the right way to start off your day here.
31 Elm St., Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-9858
While you can get some light fare for breakfast and lunch, its the espresso machine and the friendly people that operate it is the big draw. Locally owned by Sondra and Jim Hamilton who are really mixing it up and keeping things fun. www.zootcoffee.com
1 Bayview Landing, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-6011
Right on the harbor, this is a popular place for summer people. They boast “progressive world cuisine rooted in French technique with global influences” along with an “innovative and exceptional wine list.”
421 Main Street, Rockland ME 04841, 207-596-0012
This little place smack in the middle of Rockland’s Main Street “brings you the brightest flavors of the Mediterranean with all the freshness of coastal Maine.” House specialties are Paella, oysters, crème brulee, chocolate soup and an excellent, affordable wine list.
Camden House of Pizza
12 Mechanic St, Camden, ME 04843, 207-230-2464
Say you’re on the run, too much to see, no time to dine. Stop here for a pizza pie or Philly cheesesteak and get back to the business of enjoying your day.
Francine Bistro Café
55 Chestnut St, Camden, ME 04843, 207-230-0083
This is more of an intimate dinner spot, perfect for smaller groups. The contemporary interior is minimalist yet warm and cozy.
In Good Company
415 Main St., Rockland ME 04841, 207-593-9110
A fairly new addition to Rockland, this open, contemporary place has a loungy, casual feel as you sample a variety of tapas and enjoy wine while watching the people pass by the large open windows.
Corner of Rtes. 1 & 90, Rockport, ME 207.236.4371
The Market Basket is known for takeout—and no, not the greasy bag kind. This gourmet shop has fine wines, fresh baguettes, exotic cheeses and some of the best Panini sandwiches around for a picnic on the nearby rocks or on one of the windjammers.
Natalie's at the Camden Harbour Inn
83 Bayview Street Camden, Maine 04843 800-236-4266
A new location (just up the hill from the Camden Yacht Club), new owners, a new chef and a breath of fresh air in Camden restaurants. A full restaurant and a great bar. A modern take on an old style Inn has created quite a buzz around town. It's fabulous! Do yourself a favor, splurge for dinner and stay in one of their fabulous rooms or just stop in and have a drink at Victoria's bar on Friday night. She makes the best martini in town.
10 Leland Street, Rockland ME 04841, 207-593-9216
This tiny out-of-the way place is awesome for authentic Japanese cuisine as well as a wide variety of sushi. Sometimes we just need an Oh! Bento lunch box to make us feel happy again.
2 South Main Street, Rockland ME 04841, 207-596-0770
Considered to be one of the best restaurants in the area and a nationally recognized sensation, this is the kind of place that if you haven’t made a reservation, forget it. The pizza and affordable Spanish, Italian and Australian wines keep the regulars coming back for just a “taste” of Primo without all the big hubbub.
220 Warrenton Street, Rockport ME 04856, 207-594-2511, 800-341-1650
This world-class golf resort has three choices of restaurants, if you want something after exploring the Rockland Breakwater or a round of golf. You can choose the classic elegance of Marcel's or Traditional New England fare, cocktails at the Breakwater Cafe or Clubhouse Grille.
Sunfire Mexican Grill
488B Main St., Rockland ME 04841, 207-594-6196
It’s been established that Maine can’t do Mexican food, but Sunfire comes real close with its fresh salsa and killer tacos. Best for take-out or for wee small parties.
Suzuki's Sushi Bar
419 Main St., Rockland ME 04841, 207-596-7447
Anyplace that offers “Kee-yi” beer (as in the utterance before breaking boards) and hip sushi in downtown Rockland is okay with us.
Bayview St., Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-3747
This is “the place” to be in the summer, if only just for a ‘rita on the deck overlooking the schooners heading out for their sunset sail. A great seafood-heavy menu with affordable options. Try to get a deck table if possible.
All of these are considered the classic lobster shack; the do-it-yourself art of eating lobster straight from the boiled pot. Bayview is the most convenient, in town, but often crowded. Miller’s and Waterman’s are worth the scenic drive and give you the more authentic experience.
288 Mill St, Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-2005
The Dip Net
Port Clyde, ME 04860, 207-372-6307
Emeril Lagasse raves about their bouillabaisse but don’t take Emeril’s word, listen to the locals that think this place is one of the best around.
Miller's Lobster Co.
Rte. 73 Eagle Quarry Road, Spruce Head, ME 04859, 207-594-7406
Waterman's Beach Lobster
343 Waterman’s Beach Rd., S. Thomaston, ME 04858,207-596-7819
For a little primping and pampering, here’s the rundown on the services for your pretty selves before and after the Big Day.
Harbor Beauty Bar
395 Main St. Rockland, ME 04841, 207-596-9913
This new addition to Rockland’s artsy/beauty scene is a contemporary lab filled with the most beautiful potions man can make. Make an appointment to get a free makeover.
nordström skin care studio
389B Main Street, Rockland, ME 04841, 207.594.5077
Nordström Skincare Studio in downtown Rockland is a favorite and recommended for those accustomed to fine products. Where spas are popping up across the country as fast as the double arches, it is all about the products. Nordström’s carries Dr. Hauschka Skincare—enough said.
Sanctuary Day Spa
336 Main St., Rockland, ME 04841 207-594-8403
Sanctuary is a retreat to restore your body and mind, offering a variety of healing treatments beneficial to both men and women. Massage and aromatherapy are just the beginning. Sanctuary Day Spa is the perfect stop a few days before the ceremony. Gift certificates are also a great gift.
Theo B Camisole & Co.
24 Bayview St, Camden, ME 04843-2257, (207) 236-0072
This lingerie shop filled with beautiful gifts and other niceties also has a line of undies called Hanky Panky that many brides have told us are worth a look.
481 Main St., Rockland, ME 04841, 207-596-1004
After you slurp down a cup of their hi-test, rent one of their bikes for a mapped-out ride, check out their new indoor training facility or join them on their multi-sport training, which includes group runs, paddling (kayak and canoe), swimming, and of course, bike-riding.
Breakwater Kayak Co., LLC
Landings Restaurant, 5 Park Dr., Rockland, ME 04841, 207-596-6895
It’s a must if you’re here in the summer. These guys offer sea kayaking and hiking guided outdoor adventures, which will give you the chance to explore beautiful bays, islands, lakes, and natural landscapes that you’d never see on your own. Tours from 2-4 hours, day, and multi-day for individuals, families, and groups of all ages and skills.
Camden Hills State Park
280 Belfast Road, Camden, ME 04843(207) 236-0849
Take a hike off the beaten path up Maiden’s Cliff off route 52 in Camden, part of Mount Megunticook. The trek is perfect for a little exercise and even better with friends. Atop the cliffs are breathtaking views of Lake Megunticook and Penobscot Bay. For the more adventurous, traverse across the six-mile trail to Mount Battie, where the “mountains do meet the sea.” If you are not up for the hike, but want the view, drive up Mount Battie at the Camden Hills State Park entrance off route 1.
Coastal Mountain Hiking
63 Pearl St, Camden, ME 04843,207-236-7731
Or, if you don’t want to go by yourself, these people will take you, offering a full- or half-day custom hike for all ability levels and group sizes in the beautiful mountains of midcoast Maine led by Maine Guides. If you want to add a picnic lunch, they’ve got it covered.
Coastal Helicopters, Inc.
26 Airport Rd, Belfast, ME 04915, 207-338-3755, Pager 207 471-6600
It’s kind of a haul to go up to Belfast, but this is the only company that was included in The Travel Channel's TOP TEN HELICOPTER RIDES! Get aboard a MASH-style Bell 47, and see the coastline, islands and villages in style. FAA certified air taxi.
Golf Goose River Golf Course
50 Park St., PO Box 1230, Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-8488
If you want a little “grip-it and rip-it” relaxation, this is the place on the Camden-Rockport line, which offers nine scenic holes, a clubhouse and snack bar.
Maine Sport Kayak Tours
U.S. Rte 1, PO Box 956, Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-8797
One of the biggest tour guides around along with an enormous warehouse of stuff for every outdoor hobby you can think of. They offer sea kayak trips, instruction, and rentals and sales if you want to go by yourself. Their professional registered Maine Guides staff offer 2-hour tours to 6-day expeditions.
Conway Rd., PO Box 893, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-2239
This privately owned 66-acre park in Camden and Rockport (tucked in the fields behind Graves Supermarket) is free to the public and a wonderful place to get away and walk on easy wooded trails. Makes you feel as if you’re a thousand miles away.
Port Clyde 207.372.6307
For a truly bohemian experience, we highly recommend the journey to Port Clyde to board the ferry for Monhegan Island. A community of artists, fisherman, and wayward travelers habitat this island, some year round and some fair only for the idyllic summer months. Be prepared for nature walks, no guests of the island are permitted to drive or ride bicycles. Set your own pace you will be warmly welcomed into artists homes for open studio visits, and many trails are well groomed for a leisurely saunter. If you get back in time for dinner, stay on the wharf for the surprisingly refined cuisine of the Dip Net. Where the salty dog meets exquisite bouillabaisse.
Rockland Breakwater Light
Jameson Point, Rockland Harbor
Access from the Samoset Road off Waldo Avenue.
Stretching 4,346 feet from Jameson Point on the north side of the harbor, the breakwater is truly one of the coolest ways to see a Maine lighthouse as you traverse over nearly 700,000 tons of stone, much of it quarried at Vinalhaven Island15 miles away.
220 Warrenton Street , Rockport ME 04856
207-594-2511, 800-341-1650 (toll-free)
The Samoset Resort is known for being a golfer’s dream if you’re looking for more than a roadside golf course. This 4-diamond rated property is located on 230 oceanside acres with an 18 hole championship golf course ranked 52 on Golf Digest's "America's Most Upscale Golf Courses in America" list.
It’s sort of like lobster. You can’t come to Maine and not try this. Every one of these schooners and windjammers has a unique history. They all do day sails in different parts of the Camden, Rockport and Rockland harbors. Every trip you’ll see something different. We recommend the sunset cruise while sipping on a cocktail, which are available for purchase. Hint: each one is available for private charters and catering is available. Here are some of our faves.
Appledore – Camden Harbor
0 Lily Pond Dr., Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-8353
Bay Island Yacht Charter – Rockland Harbor
117 Tillson Ave, Rockland, ME 04841, 207-596-7550
Schooner Olad – Camden Harbor
PO Box 432, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-2323
Rainy Day Play
All Aboard Trolley Company
21 Limerock St., Suite 200, 2nd Floor, Rockland ME 04841
207-594-9300, 866-594-9300 (toll-free)
There you go: a way to see the local sites (under cover) and not have to do the driving yourself. Hop on and ride Rockland's newest attraction an old-fashioned trolley that does 45- minute narrated city sightseeing tours. And when we say “city” we mean Rockland. Children under 12 are free.
367 Youngtown Rd, Lincolnville, ME 04849, 207-763-4478
Perhaps you’re more in the sipping mood. Visit Maine's only vineyard and homemade winery (which also offers a stunning valley setting for outdoor weddings). Best part: you don’t need an appointment. Just show up to the bar and they’ll start pouring you a flight of their best wines for an impromptu tasting. www.mainewine.com
Oakland Park Bowling Lanes
U.S. Rte. 1, 714 Commercial St., Rockport, ME 04856, 207-594-7525
What to do when the sky’s not blue? Slap on some sharp-looking bowling shoes and come spend fun, quality time candlepin bowling—like the locals. They have the best deals on beers around with arcade games, pool tables, and a snack bar.
State of Maine Cheese Co.
U.S. Rte. 1, 461 Commercial St, Rockport, ME 04856, 800-762-8895
When someone tells you “the curds are ready,” take them seriously and visit this indoor Maine tasting gallery of fresh local foods and homemade cheeses,
Metro arts & culture
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
PO Box 147, 162 Russell Ave., Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-2875
If antiques and old Maine art are not your thing, see what the modernists and contemporary students of art are producing these days. Some of it is just visually stunning and will leave you thinking about it for days.
Farnsworth Art Museum & Wyeth Center
16 Museum St, Rockland, ME 04841, 207-596-6457
Maine’s own “museum mile”—or half mile—is Main Street in Rockland, home to many galleries and the Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center. The museum boasts an extensive collection of artists from Winslow Homer to Kenneth Noland.
345 Main St., Rockland, ME 04841, 207-594-0070
Rockland has finally got its beloved Strand back after years of it waiting in limbo. Now, fully refurnished and open for business, The Strand offers the best of independent and world cinema, documentary, classic and retrospective film.
We’re not saying the midcoast has a rockin’ one, but you’re sure to find some entertaining folks out in the summer at one of these few places.
Gilbert's Publick House
Bay View Landing, PO Box 1315, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-4320
Working crowd and a place for good Boston bands.
Bayview St., PO Box 816, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-3747
Yachtie/Boatie crowd and best place for drinks on the deck.
Quarter Deck Bar & Grill
Bayview St., PO Box 813, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-3272
Twentysomething crowd, more of a sports bar upstairs/downstairs drinks and apps by a wood-fired oven.
The Black Bull Tavern
420 Main St., Rockland ME 04841, 207-593-9060
Rockland’s twentysomething hangout, unique horseshoe bar.
U.S. Rte. 1, PO Box 789, Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-4371
Good for the unusual, exotic and delicious Maine-made gift.
24 Main St, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-2696
A crafty art supply store with many interesting gift ideas.
Maine Sport Outfitters
U.S. Rte. 1, PO Box 956, Rockport, ME 04856, 207-236-7120
Great for the outdoor enthusiast—b/c you can always find something in here they don’t have.
Once a Tree
46 Bay View St, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-3995
This is an excellent place for fine wood crafts for the home. Many unusual ideas and a wide selection of kitchen necessities.
Planet World MarketPlace
10 Main St, Camden, ME 04843, 207-236-4410
This is where we go to get gifts—lots of funny, interesting, one-of-a-kind items here—plus they gift wrap for free!
It’s last minute. You need something. You don’t know where you are and how to find what you need. Don’t stress.
PO Box 428, Camden ME 04843, 207.230.1155
They handle all planning aspects, help find creative solutions and come up with cost-effective alternatives to your most expensive needs. They can also help you arrange engagement teas/wedding showers/wedding night preparation/transportation/salons—you name it.