In the 70’s, several Maine towns and cities revitalized their “sense of place” with a new look and commitment to preserving (and celebrating) their downtowns. Portland’s “Old Port District,” Bath’s Riverside Downtown, Kennebunkport, and Ogunquit are well-known tourist locations – but, Rockland is a very special downtown restoration.
Before I give you some Rockland visitation suggestions (if you are traveling north on Route 1 in Midcoast Maine), you might want to stop off in Thomaston to visit the General Henry Knox Museum at the intersection Route 1 and Route 131, at the traffic light (www.knoxmuseum.org) and possibly, the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum (www.ohtm.org) – both are worth doing.
Rockland is a fun visit anytime during the summer, but I’d plan my visit during the annual Blues Festival(www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com) or the Maine Lobster Festival (www.mainelobsterfestival) since those two events are legendary. Try to arrive in Rockland before 9:00 am, find a parking spot conveniently off Main Street. Have breakfast at the Atlantic Baking Company (351 Main Street). Their pastries are to kill for and they have fresh gourmet coffee blends.
Go across the street and visit the Farnsworth Art Museum (www.farmsworthmuseum.org) and treat yourself to the Wyeth Family paintings. Walk down Main Street and go into the Island Institute Gift Shop. On the other side of the street is a wonderful shop called Maine Seagull Cottage.
For a good inexpensive lunch, I recommend the Rustica Restaurant near the bakery on Main Street (www.villagesoup.com). Walk Main Street to the end to enjoy the oceanside park and working harbor. If the weather is discouraging, take in a movie at the restored Strand Theater. If you have time, visit the Samoset Resort and walk the breakwater to the lighthouse. If you are staying overnight, I’d check out the many B & Bs. The Berry Manor Inn and The Limerock Inn are very nice!
If you really feel like splurging for a memorable dinner make an advance reservation at the world famous Primo’s Restaurant (www.primorestaurant.com). They are often booked a year in advance!
If you have more time, do Rockport and Camden next – further along Route 1, but not far. I plan to do a write up on those places in the near future
Living in Maine might make you a happier person!