Camden and Vinalhaven, ME

Camden Harbor from Mt. Battie
Camden Hills State Park was our next destination.  We lucked into one of the limited number of campsites with electric and water.  The large site, with numerous trees provided a peaceful, stopping point for us. 
The Park is one of the top destinations in the region.  Within the 5700-acre Park, there are 19 walking trails covering over 30 miles, ranging from easy to strenuous.  On our “shoulder” season visit the park was busy but not the
insane crowds that are the norm through the summer months.
Overview from Mt. Battie
Mount Battie can be reached by car or by trail, and provides a fantastic overview of the Camden Harbor.  We opted for the car route on our visit.  The clear skies provided views not only of the Harbor but also of the entire Penobscot Bay area.  Acadia National Park, Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and dozens of other islands were clearly visible.
Trail to Maiden Cliff
The following day we took advantage of the fabulous sunny and cool weather to hike to Maiden Cliff.  The moderately rated trail provides a deceivingly level and clear path initially, but just after the half-mile mark you are involved in some boulder climbing.  This walk also offers a spectacular view of the area, we were told, though we didn’t make it past the boulders at the halfway point. 
The picturesque city of Camden surrounds the Harbor.  Galleries, restaurants and gift shops abound along Main Street.  Beautiful upscale homes from the 1800 and early 1900’s can be found in the High Street Historic District, which was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1989.
Camden Amphitheater
The Camden Amphitheater next to the Library, overlooking the Harbor, offers a variety of musical programs and festivals.  Designed like an ancient Greek theater, the multilevel seating is built around the stage on 3 sides.  A number of windjammer cruises are offered from the harbor, ranging from full day, to dinner or sunset cruises.  We had taken advantage of a cruise out of Camden Harbor last summer, and decided to bypass the experience this time.
Portrait of My Daughters by Benson
The Farnsworth Museum is one of Alan’s favorites, so we always plan a visit when we are near Rockland.  The works of Jamie, Andrew and NC Wyeth are always on display in the main building and the auxiliary building across the street.   There was also a special exhibit of Frank Benson, an impressionist of the late 1800 and early 1900’s.  He not only won critical acclaim, but was a commercial success as well.  He won every painting award of his era.  Spending his life in New England, he did watercolors, oil paintings and etchings.
Boarding the Ferry
Taking off the next morning, we headed for the Maine State Ferry in Rockland to board the boat for Vinalhaven.  We had secured accommodations at a cabin for our stay on the island.  Our favorite part of this trip was the ferry ride out and back.  The Penobscot Bay is dotted with dozens of islands and ten of thousands of colorful lobster buoys. 
Vinalhaven Waterfront
The community of Vinalhaven was established in 1789 and historically consisted of numerous granite quarries, which brought people to the island to work.  Two of the quarries now provide summertime swimming spots.  Currently, the primary income for the island comes from lobstering, but a strong summer tourism business also helps supports the economy of the town.  A small downtown area, near the harbor, provides a handful of restaurants and shops.
Main Street in Vinalhaven
We spent the better part of an afternoon perusing the Vinalhaven Historical Society Museum.  The well-organized exhibits cover the history of the island beginning with the time when granite quarries were the primary industry.  The countless documents, pictures, tools, and assorted artifacts reflect the life of the hard working first settlers.  A number of preserves dot the island, along with trails and rocky beaches, all inviting exploration.  Once we had travelled around the island, by car, (the island is about 6 X 9 miles), we found that hanging out at the waterfront was our favorite way to spend the day.
Along the Camden Waterfront
Flowered bridge near the water
Along the ferry ride
Lobster men hard at work
Tidewater Hotel in Vinalhaven
Vinalhaven Waterfront

Browns Head Light on Vianlhaven
Foggy trip back to Camden
Vinalhaven Waterfront

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