Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Camden & Monhegan

From Freeport we drove just under 2 hours "down-east" to Camden, and camped at Camden Hills State Park, which offers sites with water, electric, and even WI-FI. We tried to pick a site that would be unlikely to have neighbors, but as luck would have it, ours is the only one in the park with another camper next door! No worry, though, as they have been quiet, and have somehow managed to keep our dogs from seeing their dog, and that makes us quiet neighbors too.

Camden is a lovely seaside town, with a harbor that is popular with the cruising community, but also home to an active lobstering fleet, and a number of windjammers: beautiful two to four masted gaff-rigged sailing vessels that take toursists out on cruises. The town has lots of artsy ($) shops and seafood restaurants, no chains, and impeccable classic new england homes with gardens in full bloom. It's the quintessential Maine village.

Here's a shot of the harbor, with the highest of the Camden Hills, Mount Megunticook, in the background:

And here are Nancy and Kinsey atop the lookout tower on another of the hills, Mount Battie, looking out over Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay:

The park is very nice, with grassy areas cut to provide a view of the Bay:

There is an extensive trail system, many of which are open to mountain bikes, so I went for a ride which gave me a deeper understanding of the hills for which this park is named. I happened to spot some moose droppings, and took a photo so that I could share with everyone I know! My glove is for size reference, which I thought you'd appreciate:

We also took a trip into Rockland, but after seeing Camden, Rockland just wasn't worth photographing. Today, however, I took almost 100 shots, because today we took a ferry from the fishing village of Port Clyde out to Monhegan Island! The boat is a classic trawler type vessel, 2 decked, 65 feet long, single screw diesel, and carryies the island's residents, goods & supplies, mail, and of course tourists back and forth the 10 miles out into the Atlantic. On the way out the boat slowed to allow passengers a good look at the several dozen harbor seals sunning themselves on a rocky islet:

A quick hour ride and we stepped off onto Monhegan. The picturesque community of fisherman and artists surrounds the harbor, but most of the island is protected and open for public use. Its a special place. We grabbed sandwiches and drinks at the Barnacle, and walked to a little beach for lunch. The beach had lots of "glassies" - bits of broken glass that have been smoothed by tumbling among the pebbles and shells. After the dogs were sure that we weren't going to share our food, they went swimming in the clear blue 50 degree water:

Fortified, we walked uphill past weathered gray homes with natural gardens, painters sitting hither and thither capturing their visions in oils. Here is a view of the village from the hilltop:

We walked across the island to Burnt Head, the trail opening up suddenly at the edge of a jagged rock cliff dropping 140 feet to the crashing swells. It was breathtaking! We then picked our way down a narrow footpath, suitable for alpine goats, to near sea level, where the dogs swam in an enormous tidal pool, and we watched eider ducks feed where the surf washes over seaweed covered ledges:

We climbed back up to White Head and sat on the edge looking out over the island and the endless horizon of the Atlantic. Here is the view northward from White Head to Little White Head, to Black Head (perhaps Dr. Monhegan was a dermatologist?)

Along the way we encountered countless scenes that practically cried out to be photographed. Its easy to see why so many come here to take, or paint, pictures of the amazing landscapes, gardens, and homes. If you haven't been, put it on your list to visit this island. Well worth the trip. Here are a few more pictures from the days outing:

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