August 12-15, 2016
We were slow getting the RV ready for the road after an excellent week in Winter Harbor. It was time to say goodbye to new friends and head to our new home base. Our new (now much shorter stop since we extended our time in Winter Harbor) home was at Camden, Maine which is a very picturesque town. The weather was cool, damp and misty one day and clear the next day – what we hear is typical New England weather. We hope you enjoy experiencing it and the nearby areas with us …
Camden Hills State Park
The Campground: Camden Hills State Park is located north of downtown Camden which is a summer vacation hotspot. The park includes a campground with more than 100 campsites and it sits at the foothills of Mount Battie. The campground sites are a mixture of primitive tent and electric/water suitable for small RV’s. Some sites were level, most were not and a few (ours) were way off. The park roads are rough… fine for the Jeep, but required the RV to slow to a crawl. There were a few sites for large RVs in an open field just as you enter the park. It is somewhat expensive for what you get, for people from out-of-state they charge a $30 registration fee and $49 per night for an electric/water site.
Tip: There is a lobster roll/ice cream roadside grill just outside the entry gate to the park that is an easy walk.
Mount Battie: What started as a carriage road built in 1897 to the top of 780 foot Mt. Battie, over time turned into just a foot path. In 1963 the park built a 1.6 mile paved road to the summit, offering spectacular views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. I bet it is even more beautiful in the fall when the leaves begin to change …
The Town of Camden
Camden, a mid-coast Maine town, was settled in 1786 and was originally known as Megunticook, a Native American name meaning “big mountain harbor.” In those days it was a shipbuilding and manufacturing town but today it’s primary industry is tourism. While we were there they were having a blueberry festival and, of course, Maine lobster dishes (lobster quesadillas, lobster mac n’ cheese, lobster salad, etc.) were everywhere. In Camden during the winter months you can go snow tubing, ice skating, or ride down the 400 foot toboggan chute … that sounds like fun.
Nearby Towns to Explore
Lincolnville: If you are looking for a less-crowded, slower pace coastal community, check out Lincolnville and Lincolnville Beach, which is just north of the campground on Hwy 1.
Rockland: This is a classic small Maine coastal town and is one of the biggest shipping centers of lobster in the world. It is a popular tourist destination and was named “Coolest Small Town in the US” by Budget Travel, “Top Adventure Town in Maine” by National Geographic Travel and “Top 9 Small Foodie Towns” in Maine.
Some of the Things to See in the Area
Owls Head Light Station, Owls Head, Maine
Built in 1825, Owls Head Light Station is a short, brick light tower that sits atop a steep area near Rockland Harbor.
Owls Head Lighthouse Keeper Tales
- Working Dog: One story says that one year when the fog bell was buried in snow, a thick fog rolled in and a mailboat quickly got in trouble. However, the light keeper’s dog saved the mailboat by barking continuously. Just goes to prove, everybody works at a lighthouse.
- True Love: Another story tells how the Keeper found 2 lovers frozen together in an embrace, trapped in a wrecked schooner during a vicious storm. He rescued them, they melted, and the young lovers got married… Ahhh
The Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland, Maine
The breakwater is 7/8ths of a mile long and is a beautiful and scenic walk on a pretty day. The Rockland Breakwater is important to Rockland Harbor and was built with over 700,000 tons of mammoth granite blocks that fit together like a puzzle. At the end of the pier, Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1902 and is still in use today. (They didn’t tell us any funny keeper stories … just about their low pay, long hours, and the fact that their families did not live at the lighthouse with the keeper.)
Fort Knox Historic Site, Prospect, Maine:
We took a walking tour of Fort Knox, a massive grey granite fortification overlooking the Penobscot River, that we saw as we were on our way to Camden. It is said to be one of the best preserved Civil War era forts (mainly because it never saw battle) and it has abundant interpretive displays. We wondered how the soldiers had endured the winters with its open gun windows, what day-to-day life had been like, and were amazed at the craftsmanship of the stone block walls.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory, Prospect, Maine:
This was a wild ride, not your typical observatory. It is a bridge acting as both a bridge for traffic and an observatory. (It kinda looks like the new bridge in St. Francisville, La. but much larger at 2,120 feet in length.) The Penobscot Narrows Observatory is the only bridge observatory in the United States and is the highest public bridge observatory in the world.
The wild ride is when you go into one of the support towers of the bridge for a 50 second ride in an elevator, going 420 feet above the Penobscot River (higher than the Statue of Liberty), and at the top you have panoramic views of over 100 miles. It was breathtakingly beautiful and something everyone should add to their bucket list but not if you are afraid of heights.
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