36 Hours in Camden and Rockport, Maine (and Environs)
10) 9 a.m. Local hangout
If a coffee shop gauges community, Rockport is thriving at Seafolk Coffee. Behind a sign-less blue door, the freshly renovated space with a pine-tree slab counter and tall windows is a word-of-mouth favorite and cozy hangout above the harbor. The owners, Jacob and Madrona Wienges, serve espresso and cortado from micro lot beans, as well as housemade pastries and Danish-inspired open-faced toasts on dense rye bread ($9-$12). A photograph by the entrance sets the tone with an ocean scene and Isak Dinesen quote: “The cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears, or the sea.” For more photography, come back Monday to Saturday for the acclaimed Maine Media Gallery and Tim Whelan’s photographic book shop up the street.
11) 12 p.m. Maine-inspired art
Starting in the 1950s, Alex Katz, Lois Dodd, Neil Welliver and their gang of avant-garde artist friends, notable for their return to realist nature and figure paintings against the tide of Abstract Expressionism, migrated from New York City to Lincolnville’s Slab City Road every summer to make art and relax en plein-air. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland celebrates these artists this year with the Slab City Rendezvous exhibition and Maine in America award. Permanent collections include the curious assemblages of the sculptor Louise Nevelson, and a church in back houses the paintings of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth ($15 adult admission). Look into tours of the Olson House, the iconic Colonial on the hill in Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World.”
12) 2 p.m. Contemporary cool
Designed by the architect Toshiko Mori, who summers on the nearby island of North Haven, the new Center for Maine Contemporary Art is worth a visit for the stunning glass and corrugated metal building alone. The art is pretty great, too. Since its founding in 1952 by the Maine Coast Artists collective, the center has shown works by the Maine-inspired artists Robert Indiana, Fairfield Porter, Louise Nevelson and Alex Katz. A block from the Farnsworth in Rockland, the new space opened in 2016. Summer shows include a Slab City Road veteran, Ann Craven, who brings her serial treatment of time to birds, flowers and the moon.
Airbnbs and Vrbos in the area include everything from a double occupancy R-Pod Camper on a farm and a private studio apartment overlooking an apple orchard, to a restored 1840s four-bedroom farmhouse with pick-your-own lettuce, tomatoes, herbs and blueberries in the garden; from $52 to $134 to $499.
As far as oceanside resorts go, Samoset Resort (220 Warrenton Street, Rockport) has the bases covered with 230 acres on a point across from Owls Head Lighthouse, plus 178 newly renovated rooms, indoor and outdoor heated pools, fitness club and spa with hot tubs and steam saunas, and an 18-hole golf course. Summer rates start at $379.