|While we like to think that our Inn is the center of the universe, we are certain that we are at the hub of Mid-Coast Maine. It is not necessary to plan your Maine vacation around moving to different lodging every night. With our central location, you can make the Captain Lindsey House Inn your headquarters for immersion into the unique Maine experience. Unpack your bags, put away your stress, don comfortable clothes (there is little formality in Maine) and revel in the beauty and the peacefulness that has inspired artists, writers and poets for generations.
Plan to arrive at the Inn in time for our afternoon tea (4 - 6 PM) and relax in our homey living room or secluded deck surrounded by seasonal flowers. Sip on a refreshing beverage, munch a homemade cookie or two (you're on vacation, calorie-counting can resume when you get home), and review the many options for the next day with the knowledgeable Innkeeper on duty. Enjoy a fine dinner at one of the excellent restaurants within easy walking distance of the Inn, sleep well in our extraordinarily comfortable beds, and get prepared for the first of many adventures here in Rockland or in our surrounding area.
We've put together 12 itineraries to inspire you to explore, learn, taste, see, experience that which makes Maine so special. Talk to our Innkeepers. They've lived or vacationed here for many years and have their own favorite places or activities, that may not appear below, and would be happy to share them with you. Please keep in mind that these are suggestions, not rigid plans. In addition to any places named, there are dozens of other shops, restaurants, activities, or scenic spots to explore. If you find your own special place, relax and enjoy it; you'll have another time to visit the next suggestion on the itinerary.
1.) Downtown Rockland
Farnsworth Art Museum, Lighthouse Museum
After your trip to Rockland, let's take a day to explore on foot. Leave the car in our parking lot and put on comfortable shoes.
Our front door faces a quiet side street, but it is only a few steps to Main Street, Rockland. Downtown contains an eclectic collection of stores from art to antiques, baked goods to books, clothes to coffee, hand made jewelry to hand made soap, and sporting goods to souvenirs. You will find shops specializing in Maine made goods, or items from exotic foreign countries. Our vibrant shopping district truly has something for everyone.
The Farnsworth Art Museum is a treasure trove of American art with an emphasis on Maine and its artists. Their collection of paintings of the Wyeth family (N.C., Andrew, and Jamie) is unequaled. In the warmer months you can visit the Farnsworth Homestead in this downtown location, or the Olson House.
Visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum and walk along the waterfront at the public landing. Sit and watch all the activity of the busy harbor.
Be sure to be back at the Inn in time for Afternoon Tea.
2. Day Sail, Owls Head Transportation Museum
There are several vessels that offer sailing or motoring trips around Rockland Harbor and by the Breakwater and Owls Head Lighthouses. For a more intimate view of the water, you can try a short sea kayaking tour.
The Owls Head Transportation Museum is just over 2 miles from downtown Rockland, heading south on Route 73. It has an extensive collection of antique automobiles and airplanes, in operating condition. Although the museum is open year round, on many weekends during the warmer months, they host special events and shows.
At the end of your day of land and sea transportation activities, a chocolate chip cookie at the Inn will be restorative and get you thinking of your next dining experience.
3. Area Lighthouse Tour (Rockland, Owls Head, Marshall Point, Pemaquid Point)
From the Inn you can easily visit 4 local lighthouses — each with a unique location, design and history.
In Rockland's north end, you can walk the 7/8th-mile-long breakwater to the Rockland Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse. Then drive south of Rockland to Owls Head Lighthouse. On a Monday morning, either of these are great vantage points to watch Rockland's Windjammer fleet start their 6-day trips cruising among the islands and thoroughfares of Penobscot Bay.
Further down the St. George peninsula you'll come to Marshall Point Lighthouse with its small museum and gift shop. Along the way you may want to stop at the Art of the Sea Gallery to view an extensive display of nautical art and artifacts. If you've been waiting for the Maine lobster feast, pass several quintessential Maine Lobster "shacks" right on the edge of the water. You know the lobster will be fresh.
From Marshall Point, detour through the village of Port Clyde. In season there are several shops and galleries worth a visit. This is also the port for one of the boats making trips to Monhegan.
Pemaquid Point is a short ride further south. This is one of the most photographed lighthouses along the coast and has a spectacular setting. If it looks familiar, perhaps you've seen it on the Maine quarter. You can travel through Damariscotta before traveling back to Rockland.
Have a good dinner and rest up for your next excursion.
4. Rockport/Camden/Camden Hills
A bit north of Rockland is Rockport with its narrow harbor. Take a moment to view the limestone kilns at the waterfront. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art always has an exhibition worth stopping for. The Bay Chamber Concert Series includes performances of internationally-known musicians throughout the year, usually at the Rockport Opera House. In West Rockport, the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship has a gallery with displays of top-notch handcrafted furniture by its students and instructors.
Visit Merryspring, a 66-acre nature park with its arboretum of native plants, as well as extensive herb and rose gardens. You might want to stop at Maine Sport to take a sea kayaking lesson or equip yourself for some other sporting fantasy.
Camden has an intimate and beautiful harbor from Megunticook Falls to Curtis Island Light and the Camden Hills as a backdrop. Enjoy the large variety of shops and eating establishments. Or just relax in Harbor Park, overlooking all the activity around the harbor.
North of Camden, look for the sign on the left pointing at the Mt. Battie Auto Road. You can either drive or hike up. From the top, you'll look down on Camden Harbor and have a panoramic view of Penobscot Bay from Isle Au Haute to Blue Hill to the mountains of Acadia National Park.
A bit further north on US Rte. 1, is Lincolnville Beach with more opportunities to shop and/or eat. If you're still looking for that Maine lobster, in season you'll find plenty at the Lincolnville Lobster Pound. Windsor Chairmakers, just up the road, offers a selection of handcrafted chairs and furniture.
5. Visit an Island — Vinalhaven, North Haven, or Monhegan
Experience one of our neighboring island communities. Ferries to Vinalhaven and North Haven leave from a terminal that's a 3 minute walk from the Inn. Boats to Monhegan leave from Port Clyde or New Harbor. Check with the Inn office for schedules.
Each island is unique. Vinalhaven has the largest year round population with a very active fishing community. There is a history of granite quarrying and old quarries and equipment can be seen in a short walk from your arrival point in Carver's Harbor. North Haven is much quieter but the ferry trip into North Haven Village along the Fox Island Thoroughfare is lovely.
Monhegan is a bit more challenging but the rewards may be greater. (This excursion is only feasible between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, when there are 3 trips each day to and from the island.) Reservations are recommended and assure you of a place to park in Port Clyde. Experience the special feeling and light that has intrigued artists for decades.
After your island adventures, you've earned a good night's rest.
Once again you'll venture north on US Rte. 1, passing through Camden and Lincolnville to visit the towns at the head of Penobscot Bay.
Belfast is filled with Victorian architecture and a bustling Main street. Shopping and dining is varied, with something for everyone from art to ice cream. Belfast has an active waterfront with several vessels, motor and sail, offering sightseeing trips. We are fond of the Friendship Sloop Amity. An historic boat in its class, it gives you a great chance to experience sailing in a working vessel of its time.
Searsport, like so many other ports around Penobscot Bay, was an active and prosperous shipping and shipbuilding community in the 19th century. You will see many examples of period architecture. The Penobscot Marine Museum (open May to October, check the Inn office for exact dates) has a vast collection of marine art and artifacts. Its several buildings are filled with items relating to the area's maritime past. Throughout the town you will find a myriad of antique shops as well as art galleries and craft stores.
As you head toward Bucksport, you will see Fort Knox guarding the mouth of the Penobscot River. Construction started in 1844 and was never really completed. It was built to protect Bangor from invasion from the sea — which has never happened, so apparently was a successful use of taxpayer's money.
You've had a long day, so time to return to the Inn — travel time just under an hour.
7. Castine/Blue Hill/Deer Isle/Stonington
Castine is another town made prosperous by shipping in the 19th century. There's a wonderful collection of Georgian and Federal style homes. This is also home of Maine Maritime Academy. Castine is worth a visit for the history and played an active role in the American Revolution. You can see several fortifications from different periods in history. For the lighthouse enthusiasts, the walk down from Dices Head Light offers spectacular views across the bay.
Travel across the suspension bridge above Eggemoggin Reach to Deer Isle and continue to Stonington. Because of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, this region abounds with craftspeople that came to study and then stayed. Stonington, once known for its granite quarry, today is mainly a lobstering community with a slight nod to visitor. Its location, almost an hour off of US Rte. 1, has allowed it to preserve its roots. Rush hour here is 5 AM on the harbor, when dozens of boats rev up and head into the mists to tend traps amongst the surrounding islands. You'll find several galleries and shops along the waterfront main street.
If time permits, the village of Blue Hill should be explored on your way back. Also worth a stop, is the headquarters of Wooden Boat School and Magazine in Brooklin. They have a large shop displaying every book (or so it seems) ever written about wooden boat design and construction and all back copies of their magazine. You can eavesdrop on a class learning some facet of wooden boat building. Because of the many sights, you might have missed Afternoon Tea and you may want to dine at one of the many eateries in the towns along your return route.
8. Acadia National Park/Mt. Desert Island
Yes, it is possible to make Acadia a day trip from our Inn. We have many guests do just that. It is about a 2 hour drive. We would suggest an early start, however, to allow time for the many highlights on Mt. Desert Island.
Bar Harbor is a wonderful town with a plethora of shops and restaurants and an interesting waterfront offering an assortment of diversions including tours of Frenchmen's Bay, deep sea fishing, and whale watching. However, the unique feature of the island is the unmatched beauty of Acadia National Park. Therefore we suggest that you head to the visitor center for an introduction to the park and get a map to plan your explorations. (In peak season, consider leaving your car and use the bus system. It is more environmentally friendly and easier on you.)
Although Bar Harbor is the largest community on the island, Bass Harbor, Seal Harbor, Northeast Harbor, and Southwest Harbor each have their own charms. Yachtsmen will recognize the famous Hinkley's built in the latter village.
ou've had a really full, but fulfilling, day. Your rest is well deserved.
Head south on US Rte. 1 and take Rt 27, a short distance after Damariscotta, toward Boothbay Harbor.
Edgecomb Pottery displays a large variety of their dinnerware, in spectacular glazes, made on the premises, as well as works of several other local artisans. Boothbay Harbor is another of our wonderful towns with a maritime heritage and long history as a summer resort.
Back to US Rte. 1 and heading south for just a short distance brings you to Wiscasset. Its collection of Federal and Georgian homes are a testament to its years as a prosperous shipping and shipbuilding center. There's the unique Musical Wonder House with its collection of music boxes and other mechanical music making devices. You'll want to find out why there's always a line at Red's Eats. Or just take a leisurely stroll among the antique stores and galleries.
You'll be back to the Inn in about 45 minutes and we'll have the lemonade and tea ready for you.
10. L.L. Bean and Outlet Shopping
All our suggested itineraries included multiple opportunities for shopping for that special item that will always remind you of this Maine vacation. Now it's time for serious shopping!
About an hour and 20 minutes south on US Rte. 1 and you'll be in Freeport, home to L.L. Bean and an ever changing landscape of brand name outlet stores. Remember, the L.L. Bean store never closes, so no matter what day or time you arrive in Freeport, you can shop. (Rumor has it, you should keep an eye on big name star appearances in the Portland area and head to Beans in the dead of night, after concerts or plays, and you might catch a sighting of your favorite rock band, C & W singer, or TV/movie star.) There are several choices for lunch from a quick soup and sandwich to more formal sit-down dining.
Pack your parcels in the car and come on home to the Inn.
11. Inland — Hallowell, Augusta and the State Museum
Maine does exist away from the coast, although those of us in Mid-Coast sometimes tend to forget that.
Augusta, the state capital, is about a 45 minute drive out Rt. 17 from Rockland. Here you can see the seat of government for the state and visit the state historical museum with its displays of the state's natural flora and fauna, and historical highlights of events and people significant to the development of the area.
Nearby Hallowell (south of Augusta, also alongside the Kennebec River) is an example of towns made prosperous by the water-powered woolen and cotton mills. After the textile industry moved south, these towns have had to reinvent themselves. Hallowell's successful renaissance shows proudly. The side streets are lined with fine studies of period architecture, restored beautifully, and the downtown abounds with antique and specialty shops.
We'll see you back at the Inn for tea.
12. A Day of Rest and Pampering
This is a vacation, after all, and we want you to go home well rested. So your final day with us should be spent in rejuvenation, contemplation, rest, whatever it takes for the perfect ending.
So sleep late, linger over breakfast, stroll along Main Street, visit a day spa (the Innkeeper can help with arrangements), stop in the afternoon for a glass of wine or cup of coffee made from locally roasted beans, sit in our courtyard enjoying a book from our library. Or today might be the day for an afternoon sail out of the harbor by the Breakwater and Owls Head Lighthouses. You may want to spend a few lazy hours at one of our salt or freshwater beaches. Or arrange for a round of golf overlooking the breakwater and the bay.
After Tea at the Inn, enjoy a leisurely dinner at one of our local fine dining establishments. Again, your Innkeeper can help with suggestions and reservations. (Be warned, however, that some of our restaurants have national reputations and fill up quickly, so you may want to plan for this some time in advance.)
After dinner, relax in the living room before packing up those last few purchases. We'll work with you to make your departure as painless as possible. Rest well. Come back to see us soon. We'll look forward to it.