October started off in the best way possible with some off-season, fall exploration in Rockland last Saturday. After submitting a big postgrad fellowship application Friday night, I suddenly had much more time on my hands and the ready-to-celebrate attitude. Homework and studying took a back seat as Bailey and I spent the day an hour up the coast in one of Maine’s biggest tourist destinations.
I started off at the Farnsworth Museum. Last Saturday admission was free with a Bank of America card, which was even better than the regular student discount. The museum is known for its collection of Wyeth paintings, and these certainly didn’t disappoint. Both the Wyeth Center, to which admission is included with your pass, and the museum itself boast a number of his paintings and work by his family members as well. The collection isn’t huge, but I enjoyed the current exhibit on Picturing Maine. This exhibit features photography focusing on different aspects of Maine life, from the quotidian household to its quiet corners in nature.
Bailey and I got lunch at the Home Kitchen Cafe, a short walk down Main Street. Their food is made with locally sourced and fresh ingredients, making for knockout blueberry pancakes and tasty, crisp bacon. They’re also known for their huevos rancheros, which Bailey got and I had a taste of. Though I usually stay away from eggs, I loved how bold and flavorful their homemade ranchero sauce is. Home Kitchen feels like a more put together diner with bright colors, its clean atmosphere, and neighborhood vibe.
After lunch, we spent some time walking through shops along Main Street. The Island Institute has some nice gifts, but I loved Rock City Cafe the most. This coffee shop does exactly what Portsmouth Book & Bar tries to do. Inside there is plenty of seating where people study or enjoy a smooth latte and cookie. Large windows let in ample natural light and the vibe is decidedly relaxed. In the back is hello hello books which joins the ranks of some of my favorite bookstores. The store sells both used and new books and everything inside looks perfectly coordinated and organized though still quaint. Bailey and I agreed that we could have easily spent hours inside, but we decided to head out after a while in order to also check out Camden.
Camden is a twenty minute drive up from Rockland, which is further than I’d expected, but it’s worth it if you’re already in the area. Where Rockland is all about food and has great local shops, Camden may play slightly more to the tourists. There are a number of other bookstores and gift shops, and the day we went there was a craft fair by the public library overlooking the bay. Artists sold some beautiful paintings and crafts, and it was fun to browse at the different stands. Our visit to Camden was brief, because we headed back to Rockland after to see the Breakwater Lighthouse, but I enjoyed the little taste I got of the town.
We topped off the day with a walk down the breakwater back in Rockland. The tide was coming in when we walked out, so we got splashed quite a bit, but the view it affords of Rockland is spectacular, and it somehow felt sacrilegious to visit without going out on the ocean. After visiting last weekend, I’d say that Rockland is one of my favorite places in Maine to date along with Brunswick and Portland, and I can’t wait to visit again.
As far as Take 12 Trips 2015 goes, I only have two more months left of the challenge and have exciting travel news for November which I’ll announce soon. It’s been quite the opportunity to make myself try new things and explore so many places, most of which were just a drive away in New England but I’d never been to before.