Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Daytrips to Maine's Iconic Lighthouses

Visitors enjoying Maine's coastal beauty will want to include a trip to the area's iconic lighthouses. Camden is the perfect location to begin your exploration; there are five of these scenic lighthouses within an hour's drive of the Captain Swift Inn.

Curtis Island Lighthouse

Less than a mile offshore from the Camden downtown, you will find the Curtis Island Lighthouse. Built in 1896, the lighthouse is located on Curtis Island at the entrance of Camden Harbor. The lighthouse itself is not open to the public but, Curtis Island is a public park accessible by boat. Kayak out to the island and take a scenic walk to explore the 1889 keeper's house, barn, boathouse and oil house. Alternatively, treat yourself to an incredible view of the lighthouse from the Curtis Island Overlook located on Bayview Street in Camden.

Owls Head Lighthouse
This 1825 lighthouse is located in the town of Owls Head, at the entrance of Rockland Harbor. Climb the lighthouse for a grand view of Penobscot Bay. Tours are available Saturday and Sunday and Monday afternoons, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Keep an eye out! The Owl's Head Lighthouse is rumored to be frequented by the ghost of an old sea captain. There is also a grave of the lighthouse keepers’ dog.  Walk around the park near the lighthouse, there are places to have a picnic right on the shore.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse
For a fun outdoor excursion, head to the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. The 1902 structure is located at the end of a 7/8 mile granite breakwater. Enjoy a beautiful scenic walk along the breakwater for a panoramic view of the harbor. The lighthouse is open to the public and includes a U.S. Coast Guard museum.

Marshall Point Lighthouse
The Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde may look familiar; it's one of the most photographed sites in Maine and was featured in the movie Forrest Gump. The property includes an 1880's Keeper's House with a museum featuring local and maritime history and artifacts, summer kitchen, barn and oil house.

Indian Island Lighthouse
This unique square brick structure, built in 1875, is located at the entrance to Rockport Harbor in Glen Cove. The lighthouse is now privately owned and is not open to the public, but you can enjoy the view of Indian Island aboard the Heron Schooner or other local sightseeing cruises.

The Lighthouse Museum, Rockland
After exploring Maine's lighthouses, include a visit to The Maine Lighthouse Museum (1 Park Dr., Rockland, ME.). This waterfront museum in historic Rockland is home to the largest collection of lighthouse, lifesaving, and U.S. Coast Guard artifacts in the United States. Summer hours (Memorial Day to Columbus Day) are Monday- Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spring hours are Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission to the museum is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, children 12 and under are free with an adult. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard, active and retired are admitted free.

After an exhilarating day of exploring Maine's lighthouses, come back and relax with a stay at the Captain Swift Inn. Contact us for information and reservations.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Add an Art Tour to Your Next Maine Vacation

Art tours in Mid Coast Maine

The natural beauty of Maine has inspired many works of art. Creative souls from all over the world have traveled here to capture the light and landscape in paintings, photographs and sculpture. Writers find muse for their writings everywhere in the fishing villages, blueberry fields and small towns. Artists such as the Wyeth Family, Edna St Vincent Millay, Robert McCloskey, E.B. White, Robert Indiana and Richard Russo have all at one time called Maine home.  The local history of art can be seen in the many art galleries and events in Mid Coast Maine. Here is our suggested art tour and events for your next trip to Maine.
Start in Rockland Maine. 

Farnsworth Musuem Rockland Maine
1. The Farnsworth Art Museum – The Farnsworth Art Museum is located in downtown Rockland. The Museum has a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists. It has one of the largest public collections of works by sculptor Louise Nevelson, while its Wyeth Center features works of N.C., Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. The museum has become an anchor for the community and inspired other great galleries to pop up nearby. The campus of the Museum has different buildings scattered around the downtown. One unique building the Museum owns is in Cushing Maine, the Olsen House. The Olsen house was made famous by its depiction in Andrew Wyeth's Christina's World. The farmhouse is not far from downtown Rockland and we highly recommend you add it to your art tour. Tickets for the Olsen House can be purchased at the museum. 

Center for Maine Contemporary Art Rockland Maine  2. CMCA – Also located in downtown Rockland, this museum is a welcomed addition to the art vibe of MidCoast Maine. The Museum was originally located in Rockport but moved to Rockland for a larger space. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art hosts established and merging artists. The large exhibit rooms are well lit and comfortable. The CMCA is located across the street from the Farnsworth Museum and a natural addition to any art tour. 

3. Dowling Walsh Gallery – Unlike the CMCA and the Farnsworth Museum, you can actually purchase the art in the Dowling Walsh Gallery. This extremely high-end art gallery is impressive. Although you might not be able to pack one of these pictures in your luggage, we highly recommend going in and perusing the collections. The quality is amazing. 

Make your way to Camden Maine

1. Page Gallery – A new and fun addition to the downtown art scene of Camden Maine is the Page Galle. Page Gallery is an American contemporary art gallery owned by artist Colin Page. The gallery exhibits a wide variety of paintings, drawings, and sculptures by Maine's leading contemporary artists. The use of light in these collections is an obvious and delightful theme through out the gallery. 

2. Small Wonder Gallery – This year-round, family owned gallery has been a staple of downtown Camden Maine since 1984. The gallery specializes in showcasing the work of Maine and New England artists and depictions of local scenery.

3. Camden Falls Gallery – Also a mainstay of downtown Camden Maine, the Camden Falls Gallery showcases original fine art, furniture, and sculptures from New England artists. 
If you’re not one to organize a structured tour, and just want to meander around sipping wine, snacking on cheese and looking at beautiful art, then we are pleased to tell you that there are 2 art walks this summer in  Mid Coast Maine. There is an art walk every first Friday in Downtown Rockland Maine and one in Camden Maine on Third Thursday. In addition to the fun art walks, the Camden Public Library hosts the Harbor Arts Festival in the Spring and the Fall. 

After an enriching day of art enjoyment, relax at the Captain Swift Inn The warm hospitality and beautiful interior d├ęcor are ideal for encouraging the budding artist in us all.  To find the dates of the Art Festivals and Art Walks, consult our Camden Maine Annual Calendar of Events Page.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Picture Perfect Spots in Camden Maine

Thinking about visiting Camden, Maine in 2020? Be sure to pack your camera! The views you see in Midcoast Maine are ones you’re going to want to remember. Whether you are a professional photographer or someone who loves to share pictures with their friends on social media, here are five local-approved places you can take memorable vacation pics (any season of the year).

1)     Mount Battie
            A favorite spot for tourists and locals alike, Mt. Battie is a must visit during any time of the year. The mountain’s elevation of approximately 800 feet and allows for incredible aerial shots of the downtown, harbor and nearby islands. With options to drive or hike up the mountain, these views are easily accessible for everyone. Mt. Battie is beautiful all year, but your pictures will be especially colorful in the spring when you have a bird’s eye view of Camden’s budding foliage.

2) Megunticook Lake
            Megunticook is both picturesque and fun. In the summer, take a swim or explore the lake in a kayak or paddle-board. Barrett’s Cove is the ideal place for families to spend the afternoon, with a safe swimming areas, grills, and picnic tables. In the winter, the lake freezes and becomes the go-to spot for ice skating. The best photo opportunities are during sunset when warm colors of the sky reflect off of the ice.

3) Camden Harbor and Amphitheatre
            These next two scenic spots are recognized as National Historic Landmarks. Harbor Park, designed by the Olmsted Brothers in 1935, is the perfect place to take pictures of the schooners in Camden Harbor and the islands not far off the coast. In the summer, the park is a great setting to have a picnic and take pictures of your delicious lobster rolls! Across the street you’ll find the Camden Public Library and the Amphitheatre. Gifted to the library in 1931, both the park and the Amphitheatre are pieces of Camden’s history that will be sure to make your vacation photos stand out.

4) The Camden Footbridge
            Located in downtown Camden, the footbridge is a colorful place to take photos. This bridge crosses Megunticook River, which happens to be the only river in Maine that the ocean water never enters. In the summer, flowers decorate the bridge to make a visually stunning scene over the river. Even better, on the other side of the bridge is River Ducks Ice Cream where you can grab a tasty cone to make your day sweeter.

5) Curtis Island
            Accessible by kayak, the historic Curtis Island is one place you can find some peace and quiet on your trip to Camden. Not only is the island the location of some stunning plant life, it is also home to the famous lighthouse from the show “How I Met Your Mother”. Fans of the show can recreate the proposal scene in the actual lighthouse where it was filmed! You can also go for a swing on the island’s cherished rope swing or have a picnic on one of the benches overlooking the ocean.

Camden is truly one of the most picturesque seaside towns in Maine and a photographer’s dream! Plan your visit and include a stay at The Captain Swift Inn. After spending a day capturing Camden’s natural beauty, return to the Inn and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Our three fire-placed guest sitting rooms are great places to unwind after a busy day. Enjoy our own hot chocolate or mulled apple cider have a beverage from our bar. Best yet, when you book your visit now through April you’ll enjoy our off season prices as well as Stay and Save Specials!  Follow Us on Facebook and Instagram to see our favorite pictures year-round.

Monday, December 16, 2019

How to Enjoy Camden Maine in the Winter

Camden Maine is a winter wonderland. Many guests and locals pass the winter months at the Camden Snow Bowl snowboarding, downhill or cross-country skiing and/or tobogganing. Others enjoy ice fishing on Lake Megunticook or ice climbing and winter hikes in Camden Hills. While the active outdoors are popular, there are also festivals, concerts and conferences during the chilly months to enjoy. Many of the restaurants and stores stay open year-round making Camden Maine a great place to visit in the winter. Here are our favorite ways to enjoy Camden Maine in the winter.

Pies on Parade. The towns of Rockland and Camden go Pie Crazy January 24-26 (National Pie Day is January 23rd!). Eat pie and raise money for a great cause - Area Interfaith Outreach (AIO) Food Pantry. Area Businesses, Inns and Restaurants work together to host a pie tour, auction, gala and scavenger hunt. The Captain Swift Inn has a fun Pies on Parade Lodging Package that includes 2 baked personal pies, mid coast money certificate, and tickets to the gala.  https://www.captainswiftinn.com/packages.htm

The Camden Snow Bowl. The Camden Snow Bowl will be open at the end of December. You can bring your own skies or rent them at the lodge. The lines move fast on the mountain because there are 2 chairlifts, one to the top and one to the center of the mountain, and 1 magic carpet. Each of the chairlifts have expansive views of the ocean on the way up and the Camden Snow Bowl is the only ski area that has ocean views on the East Coast. On a good day, the mountain has 20 trails; the kids enjoy the music and jumps of the terrain park, while the rest enjoy cruising the groomed trails. If you are a non-skier, just sitting in the lodge is delightful. The big windows in the lodge are a perfect place to sit back, enjoy a snack and watch the activities of the mountain. The snack shack now offers wine and beer at certain hours. The Captain Swift Inn has a Lift Off and Ski the Ski Package so be sure to add that to your reservation and save on lift ticket prices. https://www.captainswiftinn.com/packages.htm

Winter Hikes in Camden Hills. When the leaves fall of the trees there are fantastic views of the ocean, lake and the surrounding park. The frozen streams and exposed treetops make hiking in the winter magical. The views of the frozen Lake Megunticook make the Maiden’s Cliff Trail an ideal winter hike. From the cross lookout, you can see people skating, cross country skiing and ice fishing on the lake. Successful hiking in the winter involves dressing correctly with layers of clothes and crampons on your shoes. 

Ice Climbing in Camden Hills. The Captain Swift Inn offers a winter package with the Equinox Guiding Service which is an introduction to ice climbing. During the four hours, you’ll learn about ice tools and belaying and they tell us that it is much easier than rock climbing. If you have climbed before or just interested in trying it out, the crew will dictate the experience to your skills. Be adventurous and check out our package https://www.captainswiftinn.com/packages.htm

Camden Toboggan Nationals. In February the Town of Camden Maine hosts the Annual Toboggan Nationals. The Ski area becomes the Madi Gras of Maine. The costumes and music on Hosmer Pond make for a festival atmosphere. Thousands descend on the small seaside village to watch teams race down the wooden toboggan ramp and enjoy this winter ritual. The Camden Snow Bowl becomes the hub for impromptu music jams and parties on the ice. The downtown is bustling with parties in the restaurants and music at the Opera House. All our invited to participate in the race. The Nationals are on February 7-9, 2020 . 

Winterfest. Also, in February, (check back for the date) the Camden Public Library hosts the annual Winterfest. The center of the festival is the ice carving competition. Artists and organizations get a block of ice that they transform into a work of art. There are entertainers, kids’ activities and even an ice plunge in the ocean if you are that daring!

The Camden Conference. A think tank for government ideas, this conference has grown to national status. The Conference runs all year long, but in February, Feb 21-23, the organizers host major thinkers on different political topics. This year the program will be about the Media Revolution. The Captain Swift Inn is offering a discount to attendees.

Fisherman's Forum - Coming to town for the Annual Fisherman's Forum in Rockport? This 3 day forum welcomes fisherman from all over the country. The trade show and educational forum has been well attended for the last 45 years. Make your reservations now. 

Whether you want to participate in any of the outdoor winter activities or just stroll through a winter wonderland downtown, Camden Maine is the ideal winter getaway. At the end of the day, sit back and relax by the fire and enjoy a warm beverage at the Captain Swift Inn. The delicious gourmet breakfasts in the morning are the ideal way to start the day.  The Inn is a short walk to the downtown, restaurants and Opera House. Start planning your winter getaway now and if you haven’t already done so, take a look at our money saving specials and our fun packages and book your getaway!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Recipe for Holiday Cheer in Maine

This is the time of year we pause and reflect on being thankful.  We want to thank all our guests, vendors and new friends for the kindness and best wishes we received since we opened earlier this year. We have enjoyed meeting guests from 46 states and 9 countries. As we transition into winter, we would like to share our favorite Camden Maine holiday winter activities and hope you will plan a visit.

The winter season is a magical time in Mid Coast Maine. The twinkling lights, boutique shops, skiing and fine dining create a fantastic getaway. The winter holiday calendar is full of activities and festivities.

Rockland Festival of Lights 

The Mid Coast Maine Holiday Season is kicked off the day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 29th , in downtown Rockland. The Town hosts the Rockland Festival of Lights. Horse Drawn Carriage, Historic Inn Tours and the infamous lighting of the lobster trap tree are just a few of the fun events planned for the weekend. Just a short drive from the Inn.

Christmas By the Sea 

The weekend of December 7-8, the Town of Camden hosts Christmas By the Sea. The festivities begin with a parade down Main Street welcoming Santa and the holiday season. The Town is decorated with lights and holiday garland. Throughout the weekend, Santa Claus arrives by lobster boat in Camden and Rockport and then travels to Lincolnville on a fire truck to bring Christmas cheer to the locals around a bonfire on the beach. Enjoy our local library as Santa reads the Night Before Christmas to the visiting children. The Camden Public Library also hosts the local acapella group and lights the community holiday tree in harbor park. The community comes out to sing Christmas carols and drink hot chocolate.

Looking for unique presents for your family and friends? The boutique shops of Camden are open late and have lots to chose from. There are craft fairs and holiday bazaars around town, making the selections even more abundant.

On Saturday, December 7, the Inn will host it’s first Christmas By the Sea Wine Tasting. Join us in the dining room for some hors d’ overs, local Cellardoor wine and live music. Only $15.00 additional per person in addition to room rate.

Last but not least, the nearby Town of Rockport hosts their holiday festivity on December 14th . The charming harbor of Rockport is transformed into a winter wonderland. The community gathers in the harbor to light the holiday tree, sing songs and watch a fantastic firework show. The streets are lined with candles and the restaurants are open late. It is a wonderful way to close out the Midcoast Holiday festivities.

Check out our Seasonal Packages and book your stay today.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fall Foliage Trip Ideas

In January we start getting phone calls from guests asking, “when will the leaves change?” There are many factors that influence the changing fall foliage. We feel comfortable telling our guests that anytime they visit in October will be delightful, but peak is usually the 2nd week and lasts 2 weeks after that. October is a spectacular time to travel in New England. The days get shorter and the leaves change from green to hues of red, yellow, orange, pink and brown. The State Park, the tree filled archipelago of the lake, the local vineyard and scenic harbor make the Camden Maine area a unique destination for leaf peepers. You can truly immerse yourself in autumn by enjoying the local cuisine, hiking in the woods, and experiencing the crisp air on a historic schooner. Here is a list of our favorite ways to enjoy Autumn in the Camden Maine area.

1.       Hiking in Camden Hills State Park.
The trails of Camden Hills all have scenic vistas. No matter what trail you take, you will be immersed in a fantastic fall foliage experience. All of the trails are unique, but one of our favorites in the fall is Maiden’s Cliff. Maiden’s Cliff is a 1.8 mile moderate hike that is accessed from Rt 52, Mountain Street. The parking lot for this trail is across from the small lake beach, Barret’s Cove. In the summer this location is ideal because after a hike, you can cross the rode and jump in the lake. In the fall this location is great because the lookout of Maiden’s Cliff reveals the beauty of the fall foliage on the little islands that dot the surface. The hike itself is delightful because a stream and large boulders guide your way.

2.     Visiting the Local Vineyard 
One of our favorite fall foliage drives is the route to Cellardoor WineryThe drive is the same route you take to the Maiden’s Cliff Trail but further west. You continue past the Trail on Rt 52 until you get to Youngtown Road, the vineyard is on the left. October is grape picking season. The tasting room of Cellardoor Winery is perfectly placed on the hill overlooking the vineyard and the changing maple trees in the distance. The deck outside is an ideal place to enjoy the changing colors of the season. The winery is currently making the first batch of ice wine in the State of Maine. The first batch of ice wine is available for tasting and buying at the Lincolnville location.

3.     Sailing on a Historic Schooner
You will have to hurry if you want to enjoy the foliage from the sea. The local Schooners will only be going out until October 20th. The weather in October on the coast fluctuates. You could have a 60-degree day out on the water, which is delightful! The captains of the ships will entertain you with stories of their season as they point out the most scenic spots for leaf peepers along the coast lines.

4.     Enjoy an Autumn Meal
Many of the restaurants in the Camden Maine area embrace the fall vegetable on their menus. One of our favorite fall menus is from Fresh Restaurant. The chef’s use of local mushrooms, honeycomb, arugula and apples throughout the menu sets the mood for fall enjoyment. If you  want to add a little Octoberfest into your leaf peeping, we suggest taking the scenic drive out to  Morses Market and Deli in Waldoboro. The Deli has pretzels, cabbage and apple items, schnitzel, liverwurst and a plethora of other German specialties. The experience of a fall foliage road trip through the back roads ending in an Octoberfest lunch, is a true Maine exclusive experience.

5.      Going to an apple orchard or a farm stand
We couldn’t finalize this list with mentioning apples, hayrides and corn mazes. These activities are synonymous with Fall. We are so pleased to have a selection of local farms that embrace autumn. Beth’s Farm Market and Hope Apple Orchards are fun and family friendly destination in MidCoast Maine. Beth’s Farm Market is a delight to visit from spring to fall. In the summer they have sunflower days, and, in the fall, the corn maze and hayrides steal the show.

The farm is anchored by a fantastic farm stand that offers the farm grown vegetables in addition to local oysters and lobsters! Hope Apple Orchards is a unique fall destination because of its location in Hope Maine. The sunsets in Hope are fantastic and truly a spectacular way to embrace autumn evenings.

At the End of the Day
After traveling around Midcoast Maine to experience all the natural beauty of fall, return to the Captain Swift Inn and put your feet up. Sit by the fire pit outside or relax by one of the common area fireplaces inside. The comfortable bedrooms with spa amenity bathrooms will further relax you. In the morning, the breakfast of fresh ingredients and warm baked goods will refresh you for another fall sightseeing day. Check our availability and book your stay now.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Camden Maine and the Captain Swift Inn Celebrate Labor Day & The Windjammer Festival

Labor Day weekend marks the ushering in of the Fall season and the many travelers visiting Maine’s MidCoast to catch a glimpse of the vibrant colors that fill our landscape.  It also pays tribute to the working-class men and women in our country. And if that is not enough, Camden also hosts the annual Windjammer Festival Labor Day Weekend.

During the nineteenth century, Camden Maine was known as a port for major modes of transportation such as the schooners, sloops and scows year-round. When the steamship came on the scene, the other vessels lost their place on the sea. Captain Frank Swift, who was the second owner of our property – had the vision to re-purpose these ships, which were only used to transport cargo, and make them available for passenger travel.  With that idea the Maine Windjammer Cruises was born and offered multiple day sailing trips for scenic tourism adventures. Today, those adventures continue and two of Captain Frank’s ships still sails as part of the new fleet – The Grace Bailey and The Mercantile, now under the current owners, Ray and Ann Williamson.

Camden Maine is a hub for historic schooners and known as the Windjammer capital of the world. To this day, the town of Camden appreciates the heritage of the Windjammers and those who want to experience a few days at sea. The festival celebrates the windjammers and the industry that has developed around it. Thousands of people travel to Camden on Labor Day Weekend to celebrate the sailing days of yesteryear. The festival kicks off with the arrival of the windjammers in Camden harbor under a parade of sail. There are many events scheduled for the weekend. In the public parking lot and harbor park, there is a maritime heritage fair, pancake breakfast on the harbor, lobster crate race, chowder challenge, free concerts and schooner crew talent shows. A grand firework show kicks off the weekend on Friday night.
The Captain Swift Inn is walking distance to all the activities and village shops and restaurants are open all weekend. After a full day of activities, come and relax on our deck or by the fire pit, sipping a cocktail from our bar. A homemade candlelit breakfast is served the next morning to get you started on your weekend of celebration.