Camden and Vinalhaven Maine - May 17 - 21, 2008

Camden Harbor
Camden Maine is one of the top 10 places to visit in Maine. We will hike Mount Battie, bike around Camden area, take a ferry to nearby island, Vinalhaven, and bike around the island.  Four nights, four breakfasts, four dinners, and ferry to Vinalhaven.

Rockland-Port Clyde Bike Tour
Camden-Lincolnville-Rockport Bike Tour
Monhegan Island
Cedar Crest Inn
Merryspring Nature Center
Camden Hills State Park Trail Map

I went camping years ago near Camden Maine, but I had little time to tour Camden. I thought all Camden had was shopping. It sure is a cute town and has some nice shops, but there is so much more.

In May of 2008, to be exact May 17-21, we led a 4-day trip to Camden. May can be an iffy time to go to Camden because of the weather, but we were bringing the appropriate outdoor gear and outdoor equipment. What that means is bikes, hiking boots, warm coat, hats, gloves, long sleeved shirt, short sleeve shirt and something other than jeans to hike and bike in. Yes, we even brought long underwear and bathing suits. There is a pool at the Inn and I was advised that the pool would not be open this early in the season. I always bring my bathing suit. We just didn't know if it was going to be 35 degrees F or 80 degrees F, so we were prepared for both.

We stayed at the Cedar Crest Inn, which was an absolutely fabulous place to stay. The Inn has worked with groups before and we had no problems with the reservations throughout the entire trip. The Elm Street Grille is right there at the hotel. Even though, I like going to different restaurants for variety reasons, we were given a great selection of dishes, as well as, a Pizza Select Dinner with over five pizzas for the group to choose from at a very reasonable price. We had four breakfasts and three dinners at the Elm Street Grille.

Belted Galloway Cows
We started the trip on a Saturday, which gave us time to tour the town and get situated in our rooms. Some of us visited a couple of shops like the Maine Gathering and Camden Pottery. Then, we stopped for a drink at the Quarterdeck Bar and Grill.
While touring the town and neighboring areas, we were lucky enough to see some Belted Galloway cows, a rare beef breed of cattle originating from Galloway in South West Scotland.

Sunday, we started our mini-vacation by hiking to Camden Hills State Park. There is 30 miles of hiking trails there, so we weren't worried that we wouldn't have enough to see. We hiked from the main entrance on Youngtown Road the long way around to Bald Rock Mountain, elevation 1200', Frohock Mountain, 454' and back to the entrance. It was really a good day of hiking. It's a good idea we brought our hiking boots, since there are some tree roots and rocks on the trail.

Purple Trillium

Merryspring Nature Center is less than a mile walk from the Cedar Crest Inn and the gardens and trails located there are a great way to spend a couple of hours. Beautiful plants and gardens, including the endangered Purple Trillium.

We did that before dinner and decided to go there each morning at 7 am, before breakfast, just for a nice morning walk. 

Port at Vinalhaven

There are few islands near Camden. Since, we had not been to the island of Vinalhaven, most of us drove to Rockland, with our bikes, to get on the ferry. Some of us rode our bikes from Camden to Rockland, less than an hour bike ride. A little windy this time of year, but not enough to dump us off our bikes. Vinalhaven is a quaint island, but it was very windy and cold when we went there. We stayed all day riding around and having coffee at shops. I must admit if I do this trip again, we will most likely drive to Port Clyde and take the ferry to Monhegan. I've heard the cliffs of Monhegan are breathtaking.
Directions to Mt Battie from Mount Mount Megunticook

The next day we split into two groups. Half of us went hiking to Mount Battie-780' and Maiden Cliff- 800'. the other half of us went on a 24 mile bike ride from the Cedar Crest Inn past the Camden Public Library visting Lincolnville and Rockport and ending back at the Inn. We anticipated the ride riding past Maiden's Cliff, so we also brought appropriate shoes to hike starting at the Maiden's Cliff trailhead. Believe it or not, we tried, but we never ran into the other group. We did leave a sign that we were there by raising the windshield wipers on their car.

The last day was a tourist day. We drove to Rockland and spent the day there, which was on our way home. Rockland is a real artsy town. A really wonderful town. We walked the waterfront boardwalk along with locals walking their dog. The the large natural harbor is gated by a mile-long breakwater with a distinctive lighthouse at the end, the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. Numerous shops to go to. A real treat was visiting the Camden Deli which has a rooftop deck overlooking the harbor.

That was it! We said our goodbyes and got numerous emails after the trip, thanking us for the wonderful vaca!


Planned Vacations, What a Concept !

Sure, there are maps and tour guides and the Chamber of Commerce, but wouldn't it be nice if we had trips already planned and we knew what we wanted to do at those locations by others recommendations. I have been leading vacation trips with OutsideNE and the Appalachian Mountain Club for over ten years.
Hiking the E4 Trail in Crete

Rockland Maine

Hope you are able to go on one of these trips and add some information! Happy Vacations and Weekends!

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