Monday, December 21, 2020

Best Shopping in Mid Coast Maine – Our Favorite Shops



Add to your Mid Coast Maine itinerary – Retail Therapy - the fun activity of shopping in small coastal downtowns. There is a plethora of unique and niche retailers in the seaside villages of Camden, Rockport, Rockland and Belfast. Find treasures to bring home with you. Maine local shops need us more than ever, so get out there and treat yourself.

Some of our favorite small shops in Mid Coast Maine

Glendarragh Lavender Shop – Camden Maine

How can you not enjoy a store that has a moto of “a labor of lavender love”? From the minute you get within 5 feet of this store, your senses are overwhelmed with the loveliness of lavender. This store carries a great selection of all-natural lotions, soaps and salves to the handwoven Irish woolen throws to the cashmere scarves made in Italy. In addition to having a store in downtown Camden Maine, they have a farm you can visit in Appleton. Check out their website for more details: https://mainelavender.com/.

Cashmere Goat – Camden Maine

For those that have been coming to Camden Maine for years, you will remember a Camden downtown staple, the Cashmere Goat. First situated on Elm Street back in early 2000, it is now nestled on a cozy corner on Bayview Street. Knitters and crocheters of all skill levels love this store for their large yarns, including traditional wools, alpaca, cashmere, cotton and other interesting blends. Locally hand-dyed and spun yarns are part of the mix. They are currently offering their products online, curbside and mail order. Check out their store online: https://cashmeregoatyarn.com/

Uncle Willy's Candy Shoppe- Camden Maine

Everyone that walks into Uncle Willy's feels like a kid again. This old style, traditional candy Shoppe offers a wide variety of candy favorites:  gourmet chocolates, fudge, brittles, “penny” candy, licorice, gummies, novelties, and many famous brands that you will remember from your youth. Visit this year round Candy Shop in downtown Camden Maine on Bayview Street. https://www.unclewillyscandyshoppe.com/

The Grasshopper Shop – Rockland Maine

The Grasshopper Shop in Rockland is a great example of a Maine family business. The Grasshopper brand started in 1975, by Johanna Strassberg and Ken Schweikert, is now owned by their daughter, Sierra Dietz. Sierra stocks the store with Maine made and USA made items that provide comfort, charm, and surprise.  According to their website: “Everything on their shelves is hand-selected to make life a little brighter and more joyful”. Check out their online store and more details on their website: https://www.grasshoppershopofrockland.com/

Brambles – Belfast Maine

You are going to have to believe us on this one. Unfortunately, Brambles does not have a website, but that makes it more of a treasure hunt in Belfast Maine. This is a fun find. The shop offers a very interesting assortment of gifts and home decor as well as gardening/outdoor items, and a few antiques. A beautifully arranged store in a great building, gorgeous inside and extremely inviting. Friendly and experienced staff for a great shopping experience. Located in downtown Belfast Maine at: 2 Cross Street. If you put it in Google Maps, you will find it.

Maine Sport Outfitters- Rockport Maine

Our list would not be complete unless we mentioned Maine Sport Outfitters. This store is a favorite of locals and visitors. In the summer season, The Captain Swift Inn rents equipment and arranges guided outdoor tours for their guests at Maine Sport. They are known as the go to place for all Maine outdoor activities. Check out their website here: https://mainesport.com/

Other Favorites:

Once A Tree - Camden - https://onceatreecamden.com/

Fiore - Rockland - https://www.fioreoliveoils.com/

After shopping around the Mid Coast, return to the Captain Swift Inn, order a drink from the in- house drink menu and relax. The Captain Swift Inn is open year round, making it the ideal base to do a little retail therapy whenever you need it.

 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Top things to do this winter in Camden Maine 2020


Top Things To Do In Camden Maine This Winter 2020

Camden Maine is a Winter Wonderland

Although things have been unpredictable this year, we are certain that the upcoming winter here in Maine will not disappoint. The open spaces and crisp air will be a refreshing break that many pine for. The little seaside village of Camden Maine is ideal for those that want to surround themselves with seaside views, art, nature walks and some downhill or cross country skiing. The Captain Swift Inn is open this winter. Our cozy fireplace rooms and signature hot chocolate will be a wonderful compliment to your winter adventures.

The Camden Snow Bowl


The Camden Snow Bowl has announced that it will be open for their 2020-2021 season. The staff at the hill have enacted a Ski Well, Be Well program – encouraging visitors to work together for everyone’s safety. The lodge will temperature check all employees and increase cleaning and disinfection protocols per State directions. They are asking skiers to wear face coverings, social distance, arrive together – ski together, stay home if you are sick and asking everyone to plan ahead. Recreation is proven to improve mental and physical wellness – so get out there and enjoy this Maine winter. The Camden Snow Bowl has 20 trails, 11 glades, 2 chairlifts and night skiing, making it a great destination. In addition to the downhill options, The Snow Bowl is working with Coastal Mountains Land Trust and Mid-Coast NEMBA to provide a variety of winter experiences. There are fat biking, snow shoeing and Nordic trails available. Download a winter trail map here: https://www.camdensnowbowl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/RaggedWinter16.pdf


Camden Hills State Park

The trails of Camden Hills are open year-round. The auto road is closed when there is substantial snow. Many locals walk up the auto road in the winter. During the end of November and the whole month of December, in addition to the beautiful ocean views, hikers are rewarded with seeing the Mt. Battie Star. On the evening of Thanksgiving, the Town of Camden lights the traditional Mt. Battie Star. This star is lit each night until New Years Day. Experienced hikers know that winter hiking is enjoyed most when you are prepared. Be sure to bring, a heavy coat, ice trackers for your shoes and some hand warmers to keep in your pockets. The Inn is not far from the trails of Camden Hills which makes it an ideal spot to come back to and warm up.

The Camden Downtown

There are many options to dine in the downtown this winter. Whether you prefer to eat at a restaurant or take out and enjoy back at the inn, you have many selections. Long Grain, Tomi Sushi and Noodle Bar, Fresh and Camden Deli have been consistently good for take-out. Add a drink or a bottle of wine from the Captain Swift Inn drink list to complete your take out experience If you prefer dining at a restaurant, Blaze, Camden Waterfront, Camden Sea Dogs and the new Ports of Italy are larger restaurants with spaced out tables and in door dining.


Visit a Museum

The museums in downtown Rockland are a great place to get out of the cold and enjoy some Maine art. The Farnsworth Art Museum and the Center forMaine Contemporary Art are open. For detail about times and tickets, please see their websites.

We look forward to welcoming you to Camden Maine this winter. If you are not ready to travel yet, we understand and hope you are cozy and comphy where you are. If you are coming, please check out our Winter Lodging Packages here: https://www.captainswiftinn.com/packages.htm and Winter Specials Here: https://www.captainswiftinn.com/specials.htm

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Wedding planning in Camden Maine


Camden Maine Weddings

Imagine a wedding at sea, on a mountain top, near a lighthouse, in a small chapel or a historic landmark park, all of these options are here and what make Mid Coast Maine a picture perfect location to host a wedding or an elopement. Destination weddings are perfect for couples that have family and friends scattered all over the country. Your guests will be delighted to reunite where the mountains meet the sea. Rent the entire Captain Swift Inn for friends and family. For details on this option, read more here.

When to Get Married in Mid Coast Maine:

Mid Coast Maine and Camden Maine are year-round communities. Although summer and fall are prime times to be outside, winter has its own charm. We recommend choosing the late spring to early fall for an event. The weather is warm and there will be many activities for your guests to choose from in their down time. If you and your friends are snow fanatics, the Camden Snow Bowl is usually open for skiing mid-December to early March.

Where to Get Married in Mid Coast Maine:

Your guest list will determine where you should host your wedding ceremony. The celebration may have to be at another location. In MidCoast Maine, the popular ceremony locations are: A schooner, on top of Mt. Battie, Vesper Children’s Chapel in Rockport, the famous Camden Amphitheatre or at one of the many churches in the area. If you are eloping, you might want to consider kayaking out to Curtis Island, or walking out to the Breakwater Lighthouse.

Where to host a Wedding Celebration:

Again, you guest list will determine your wedding celebration venue. Some of our favorites are the Barn at Primo, The Camden Yacht Club and the Group Picnic Shelter at Camden Hills State Park. Each one has a unique feel and can be catered to different budgets. At Primo you will have seasonal food created by two time James Beard award winning chef, Melissa Kelly, in a unique, customizable post and beam Barn. At the Camden Yacht Club, you will have a front row view of Camden Harbor that can be customized with a stargazing tent and your choice of many caterers. The clubhouse and facilities are available to the public for rentals from mid-May to mid-June, and again after Labor day until the club closes in mid-October. The Picnic Shelter at Camden Hills State Park is a fun park experience with amazing views of Penobscot Bay. If you are planning on hosting in the winter, Union Hall in Rockport is a great option. Located near Rockport Harbor, this beautifully restored building is perfect for a classic New England wedding.

A few fun details for planning:

Horse drawn Carriage: St George Carriage Company

Trolley company: All Aboard Trolley

Wine Tasting and Rehearsal Dinners: Cellardoor Winery

Whether your wedding is big or small, and if your celebration is in summer or winter, your guests will be delighted to spend a weekend in Camden Maine. Consider booking all nine rooms at The Captain Swift Inn and enjoy a 10% discount off your lodging during non-peak periods!  You’ll have the run of the Inn, can select the music you’d like to hear in our common sitting rooms; can suggest the breakfast entrĂ©e of the day as well as schedule a later breakfast time if you prefer! We can work with you to tailor your get-away to best suit your group’s needs.


Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Best Bike Routes in Camden Maine


MidCoast Maine is a unique place to ride your bike. The fantastic views and hilly landscape make a day of cycling very enjoyable. Whether you prefer road riding or dirt trails, MidCoast Maine has a ride for you. Many people call us to ask about riding on the nearby islands, but we prefer to recommend paths on the mainland. The roads on the islands are narrow and the views are not as spectacular. Also, you need to take a ferry to the islands, and getting to the ferries on a bike usually involves riding on State roads with limited side lanes. The paths we are recommending are near the Inn and in the backroads. Ideal places to stop and have a picnic or a quick swim. So whether you choose a paved lake view road or a rocky dirt road in the Camden Snow Bowl, we are sure your will enjoy a day of bike riding in MidCoast Maine. If you have a bike great, if you need a bike, we have bikes available at the inn on a first come basis.  

Scenic with Ocean views, historic homes and cows – 5 miles and very scenic – Casual and Easy. 

This easy 5-mile ride takes you around Camden and Rockport Harbor. Enjoy the historic homes and ocean views. There are many side stops you can make along the way. Enjoy the Andre the Seal Statue in Rockport Harbor, divert off Russel Avenue to the Children’s Chapel, or stop in and enjoy the belted Galloway Cows at Aldermere Farm. Link for: Beautiful, Scenic Bike Ride in Camden Maine and Rockport. 

To see loop - Click here: Casual Bike Ride in Maine 

Lake Views and backroads of Camden Maine. 

Enjoy a filling breakfast before you head out on this 16-mile, hilly bike ride. This ride takes you up Rt 52 to Lake Megunticook. We are cautioning you about the road near the lake, be attentive, the road gets narrow for about a mile. Stop at Barret’s Cove for a quick dip or picnic.  This ride can be difficult, please take caution. 

Link for Moderate to Expert Bike Trail in Camden Maine.

Dirt Trails at The Camden Snow Bowl. 

There are some fairly easy dirt bike trails at the bottom of Ragged Mountain, not to mention a pump track, most of the Snow Bowl's trails involve climbing. The climbs are manageable and lead to an extensive network of semi-technical trails. For more information on this unique riding experience in Camden Hills, see this link. https://www.camdensnowbowl.com/mountain-biking/ 

If you want to ride on the islands (Isleboro, North Haven), or down the nearby peninsulas, we recommend that you pack your bike on your car and drive to a convenient starting point. Route 1 is not ideal to ride a bicycle because of narrow roads and lots of truck traffic. There are many great biking destinations. For more information see our Chamber of Commerce Biking Web page for more information. 

Rest assured, when you arrive back at the Captain Swift Inn, you can relax in one of our many common areas or in the comfort of your own private room. Refresh in your spa shower with 3 massage body sprays or put your feet up in front of a warm fireplace. Bike riding is a great way to see the coast and enjoy the fresh air of Maine. You will sleep well after your long ride in one of our luxurious beds with fine Comphy lines and down alternative blankets and pillows.  


Monday, August 31, 2020

MidCoast Maine Brewery Trail


Believe it or not, Maine has some of the best craft beers out there. There are more than 70 breweries in the State of Maine creating a fun itinerary for a stay-cation or getaway. Unlike a bar crawl, a brewery tour submerges you in a town’s culture. Each brewery reflects their landscape and showcases different Maine assets. In this blog post, we highlight 3 different breweries, each with their own unique experience. One on the beach, one near the lake and one in the back roads of Mid-Coast Maine. These are fun additions to any day-trip from the Inn.

-If you want to just want to stay local and walk from the Inn, you can enjoy the Camden Maine Breweries: Camden Sea Dog and Camden Blaze.  


Beach Brewery

Waterman’s Beach Brewery

Head down the peninsula to South Thomaston and this seaside brewery. For those that have been to Maine before, they might remember this place used to Waterman’s Beach Lobster. You can still get a great lobster roll here in addition to some tasty beer.   Waterman Beach Brewery offers three beers—a blueberry wheat, a pale ale or an IPA. Please note they only accept cash.. There is an ATM on the premise. Customers can sit under the cover of a roofed-in deck and enjoy the view or they can walk past the rows of lobster traps and grab a seat outside.  You can even show up in a boat and order right off the pier.  The beach is small, but has real sand! So kick off your shoes and enjoy a local ale. 

The brewery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 2 to 7 p.m.

For more information visit their Facebook page.

Lake Brewery

Lake St. George Brewery

Going to enjoy a day on the lake? Lake St. George is a State Park and loved by the locals as a special swimming spot. Only about a half hour drive from Camden downtown, this lake is easy to get to. Enjoy the morning swimming and kayaking on the lake, then in the afternoon, head to the nearby barn for some local beer and snacks. The location houses a new 15-barrel brewery. The courtyard is comfortable in the shade with a fire pit that seems to be lit all summer long. You can find locals sitting by the fire knitting and enjoying libations. The brewery is presently open seven days a week and will remain open year-round with truncated hours in the winter (likely Thursday through Sunday). For more information go to their website: https://www.lakestgeorgebrewing.com/


Back Road Brewery

Odd Alewives Farm Brewery

Although it’s nice to have views of a lake or a beach, the backroads of Waldoboro, also known as, Old Rt 1, is a lot of fun. The location of this brewery may be off the beaten path, but many already know where it is because it is near the famous Moody’s Diner. At the top of Old Rt 1 is a colorful, welcoming farm. Like the Lake St. George Brewery, the courtyard has a big fire pit with large comfortable chairs. The surrounding buildings are painted in bright colors and there are gardens to stroll through. In addition to the great beer here, the farm offers brick oven pizza! This is a great place to enjoy lunch or a light dinner. After your visit, you can either stop in Moody’s for some pie or drive down the peninsula to enjoy a sunset at nearby Marshall Point Lighthouse. 

Whatever brewery you choose, we are sure you will not be disappointed. Since we suggest not drinking too much while you are site seeing, know that you are welcome to bring these great beers back to the Captain Swift Inn and enjoy them near the firepit or in the comfort of your room. We also sell many beers and can have them waiting for you when you check in or after a day out sightseeing. Cheers!


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Pick Your Own Farms In MidCoast Maine

Fun, Outdoor, Pick Your Own Farm Options


Have you found a new love for cooking and gardening while you have been inside the last couple of months? We are finding that simple, back to the earth pleasures are attracting guests to the Mid Coast of Maine. In addition to forest bathing in Camden Hills State Park, our guests are enjoying strolling around admiring the New England gardens on the coast.  Our guests are also searching out farms for u-pick fresh fruit. The fresh fruit can be brought home for canning, pies and other sweet treats. Maine is famous for their small, delicious blueberries, but did you know that the Coast of Maine also has great strawberries, apples, pears, pumpkins and raspberries? Channel your inner farm and head to Camden Maine. These short-day trips are relaxing as you reconnect with nature. Here is our list of great day trips for Mid Coast Maine Pick Your Own Farms. 

Can’t come this summer, start planning for the fall when the pumpkins and corn mazes are abundant!

Rockport Maine. 


Beech Hill – want to do some hiking and then pick some blueberries and raspberries. Beech Hill is a conservation property in Rockport Maine. The conservation sells the blueberries as a fundraiser to maintain the property, but 1 day a year, they allow a community Free Pick day. The hiking trail through the property culminates at the top with a historic sod roofed stone hut. The hut is open on select days to welcome the community for fundraiser activities. The views in the distance reveal nearby islands and the Maine coastline. The trail is a favorite of locals because the blueberry and raspberry bushes are low allowing the sun to warm you on colder fall and winter days. 

Washington Maine.

Sweet Season Farm -Located in the quaint little town of Washington, this farm has a storefront, cafe, ice cream stand and great views of Appleton Ridge. This sweet, family farm is a short 30-40 minute drive from the Inn. U-Pick hours are from 7am to 7pm Wednesday – Sunday. The farm does not use pesticides 

Hope Maine. 

Hardy Farms Orchards & Hope Orchards- Both of these family farms are located in the nearby town of Hope. You could visit both in one day and come home with apples, pumpkins and pears. Both Farms are a impressive drive up Rt 52 and are great places to watch the sunset as they both have vistas of Camden Hills. Hope Orchards has events during the season, check their website for details. 

Whitefield Maine

Sheepscot General Store and Farm is a unique addition to this list because in addition the delicious, certified organic berries they grow, they also grow hemp, which they harvest in September. This farm is a little further away in Whitefield, but make a day of it, the 1 hour drive over Rt 17 is scenic and easy. You could pick in the morning and then enjoy a delicious lunch from the quaint farm store. 

We love watching our guests enjoy the fruit of the land here in Mid Coast Maine. When they return to our Camden Maine Inn, they relax by the fire-pit and then stroll downtown to enjoy a meal on the water. We are confident that when they return home they will look fondly on their time at the farm and the back to the earth experience they found in Mid Coast Maine. 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Best Picnic Spots in Camden Maine



One of the best ways to celebrate summer is with a picnic. Locals and tourists alike will agree that Maine’s picturesque scenery is the ideal setting for an outdoor feast. The summer flowers are in full bloom and the lakes are the perfect temperature to take a refreshing swim. If you’re looking for the best spots in Camden to enjoy the outdoors and share a meal during your stay at the Captain Swift Inn, you’ve come to the right place. The Captain Swift Inn Innkeepers would be delighted to prepare a picnic hamper for you to take on your outing.


Picnic Spots in Camden Maine


 Laite Beach


First on our list of the best picnic spots in Camden is Laite Beach, located on Bayview Street.

Equipped with its own picnic tables and bathrooms, Laite Beach offers views of Camden’s Idyllic Harbor. Enjoy your lobster rolls that you picked up at the Camden Deli or Graffam Brothers Seafood Market, while watching the schooners sail past Curtis Island. This is a favorite place for locals to dip their feet. At low tide, this rocky - sandy area is ideal to sit, read and refresh. If it’s an especially hot day, follow your meal with a jump in the ocean - guaranteed to cool you off any day. 

 

Camden Harbor Park 


Camden Harbor Park is another favorite picnic spot for locals and tourists that will give you a much more intimate feel for life in Camden. Whether you decide to lay a blanket out on the grass or use one of the new picnic tables available, you’ll be able to listen to the calming sounds of the waterfall while enjoying your lunch in the company of the friendly local ducks and the historic statue of Edna Saint Vincent Millay. The nearby Camden Public Library offers free wifi, making streaming your favorite music or catching up on emails easy.


Mount Battie

 

For a birds-eye view during your picnic adventure, we recommend the top of Camden’s most accessible mountain, Mount Battie. If you would like to work up an appetite before your meal, enjoy the rugged hike through the well-loved Camden Hills State Park. For those who would prefer a more easy-going afternoon trip to the top of this picturesque mountain, there is also an auto road that will take you to the top in a matter of minutes. Plan your picnic for sun set and watch the moon come out of the harbor and the sun disappear behind the mountain.

 

Lighthouse Lookout


By far the most romantic picnic setting in Camden is our Lighthouse Lookout, located on Bay View Street by Laite Beach. The hidden nature of the little path makes this the most exclusive spot for couple’s to enjoy a picnic together on a bench overlooking the stoic Curtis Island Lighthouse. This is the only place on public land that you can see the lighthouse.


Village Green


The new picnic benches in the Village green, located in the center of downtown Camden

Maine, are ideally located for those that want to watch the hustle and bustle of the downtown. All of the great take out spots are a stones throw from this ideal picnic spot. The beautiful trees and well maintained gardens of the village green make for a serene spot is an active downtown. 

Lake Megunticook

            The locals love Barret's Cove, located at the head of Lake Megunticook.  This great, public lake beach area, off Rt. 52, Mountain Street, has picnic benches, bathrooms and a fun dock for the kids to swim out to. This is also an ideal place to watch the sunset behind the mountains. 


Last but not least, guests are always welcome find a comfortable place at the Inn to sit and enjoy a meal. Many of the local restaurants are offering take-out and delivery.  Whether you choose to retire in the outdoors next to our deluxe fire pit to watch the stars or your own luxury suite, you will agree that the Captain Swift Inn and Camden Maine are a great place to celebrate summer.