If you are looking for the real Maine, welcome to Rockland. Rockland is the geographic center of Midcoast Maine and the gateway to Penobscot Bay, arguably the most scenic body of water on the eastern seaboard with its rocky shores and hundreds of harbors, islands and inlets. A unique combination of geography and economics has made Rockland one of the most beautiful and practical year round destinations on the coast of Maine. It is home to many natural and man-made wonders, a renowned art center, a thriving downtown with boutique shops and restaurants, and the largest working harbor in the region. As the Chamber of Commerce insists by their web address (www.therealmaine.com) it is “the real Maine.”
The community’s proud past survives in many ways, including a newly restored and enlarged Carnegie Library, a flourishing historic downtown theatre and an incredible mix of architectural styles that rivals the historic homes of many larger cities. Rockland is the self-proclaimed “Lobster Capital of the World,” and home to the largest fleet of historic windjammers. It was named the 2007 Top Adventure Town to Live and Play In Maine by National Geographic magazine and is recognized as one of the top ten “Coolest Small Towns in America” by Budget Travel. A rocky breakwater, almost a mile long, protects and defines the harbor from the vast Penobscot Bay, and helps to make it one of the finest shipping and recreational boating harbors on the east coast. Each season brings an ever changing menu of outdoor adventure, cultural activities, and culinary offerings to the area. It is the real Maine.
Outdoor Adventure and Wildlife:
Outdoor adventure and wildlife-watching opportunities in Rockland change with the seasons. Summer is filled with water activities like daysailing on the Morning in Maine coastal ketch, harbor cruising on the M/V Rendevous, sea kayaking with Breakwater Kayak or Port Clyde Kayaks, fishing with Super Fly Charters, lobster adventure cruises and puffin watching on a nature cruise on Monhegan Boat Line;
fall focuses on hiking amongst the spectacular colors of the trees or historic trolley rides and visits to our local wineries; winter is dominated by snow shoeing, tobogganing, cross country and downhill skiing at the Camden Snow Bowl; and, spring is defined by birding and garden tours. The granite shorelines, hidden beaches, islands and lighthouses remain the same, yet somehow metamorphose with the changing seasons.
Art and Culture:
Rockland’s cultural activities are unsurpassed in the region. Rockland is home to the world renownedFarnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center and over a dozen galleries, just downtown. Artists and artisans have been drawn to the Midcoast area for close to 150 years, with so much beauty abounding both inland as well as at the shore and on offshore islands. Artists live and work in almost every village and town in the area and summertime tours of their studios are offered in many places. Art galleries are to be found everywhere and art is shown in banks, restaurants, and even an auto repair garage! In summer, enjoy Wednesday evening’s “Art Walk” with extended hours in the local downtown galleries and the Farnsworth Art Museum.Bay Chamber Concert performs every Wednesday night in the summer at the newly renovated Strand Theatre. The Maine Lighthouse Museum has the largest collection of lighthouse lenses in the United States and a remarkable collection of lighthouse artifacts and Coast Guard memorabilia. The Owls Head Transportation Museum is located just two miles south of Rockland and boasts a fabulous collection of antique and classic cars, planes, bikes and other forms of transportation. The museum hosts special events throughout the summer and fall seasons. Another not-to-miss place is theAudubon Society’s Project Puffin Center where visitors can learn all about this colorful bird and the efforts to help them continue to thrive in the Midcoast.
Sample sweet Maine lobster and other succulent seafood at waterfront eateries or enjoy a variety of ethnic cuisines unprecedented in such a small community. Locavores rule in Rockland! There are over twenty restaurants and eateries just in the downtown district of Rockland. Its restaurants are mainly small, independent, chef owned and operated eateries, offering daily specials or daily menus to reflect the freshest local and seasonal ingredients, within dining experiences that range from casual to four-star cuisine. Choose from Italian, French, Japanese, American, Traditional New England, Tex-Mex, Mexican, Continental, Mediterranean cuisines ranging from such selections as an all-American burger, to sushi, to steak or a steamed lobster. Ask your innkeeper for suggestions or if you can’t decide, try the Historic Inns of Rockland’s progressive dinner package.
Each summer, Rockland hosts three popular, yet diverse, festivals: the North Atlantic Blues Festival, Maine Lobster Festival, and the Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show. For these events, accommodations in Rockland are at a premium, so make your plans well in advance. That means planning more than a year ahead.
The second weekend in July, the North Atlantic Blues Festival brings more than a dozen top-flight headliners to Rockland for two days of singin’ and playin’ the blues. The show officially takes place at Harbor Park, but it also includes a Blues Pub Crawl at night through downtown Rockland, giving the town the atmosphere of New Orleans.
For five days at the end of July/beginning of August, Rockland lives up to its name as the “Lobster Capital.” The Maine Lobster Festival includes the Sea Princess Contest, the arrival of King Neptune by boat, tours of U.S. Navy ships, the Lobster Crate Race across the harbor, the Big Parade, arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, rides for the kids, and food, food, food – centered on everyone’s favorite crustacean – Maine lobster.