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.

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.

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

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.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Roaming Delights of MidCoast Maine

Food Trucks and Road Side Shacks          

There are many great restaurants in Camden Maine and MidCoast. The brick and mortar establishments are great, but sometimes a more casual atmosphere is desired. The landscape of Maine makes outside and “roaming” dining ideal. Visitors have been coming to Vacationland for years to get the lobster right out of the sea. The fishmongers and their families have made roadside shacks and food trucks the ideal place to sell their daily hauls.  The fresh lobster and creative culinary can’t be beaten.  Since it might be said that man can not live on lobster alone, there are other food options popping up for travelers to discover. Camden Maine and the MidCoast are ideal for this type of dining because the views are phenomenal. Sitting in Rockport Harbor with a lobster roll from Graffam Bros or eating a famous Harbor Dog hot dog while watching the schooners set sail in Camden harbor are unique Maine experiences.

Here is a list of our favorite roadside, food trucks, and shacks in MidCoast Maine. These are in no particular order and there are more than are listed here. Roadside options in Camden Maine range from the breakfast pastry at Rosaly Joy’s Garage Bakery to the famous River Ducks Riverside Ice Cream Shack. Something for any time of the day.

 The places we chose are an easy walk or drive from the Captain Swift Inn.

For Lobster:
1.       Graffam Bros. Lobster Shack – The location on Union Street makes it ideal to grab and go to nearby Rockport Harbor. This family-run business has had a fish market in Rockport since 1946. The market place is open year round, the lobster shack is seasonal.

2.       Claws – This is a fun spot on Rt 1 in Rockland, South of the Inn. Many visitors forget that under the grittiness of Rockland there are fantastic views and lobster. This lobster joint has both. What is fun about this place is that it opens at 8:30 AM. If you are planning a day out or a picnic somewhere, stop here first, fill up the cooler and enjoy!

3.       McLaughlin’s Lobster Shack – To the North, we chose to highlight McLaughlin's, Lobster Shack. Located on Rt 1 in Lincolnville Beach, this location is unique in that you can watch the daily ferry pull away as you enjoy the local lobster. The food is prepared in purest ways.

Hot Dogs:
The debate about what kind of hot dog is best will be ongoing forever. The traditional New England Hotdog is the red one. If you have never had a red hot dog, it is time to try it.

1.       JJ’s Snack Shack is known for the creative toppings and names of the hot dogs. The owner is very chatty and a lot of fun.

2.       Harbor Dogs – A Camden Maine hot dog stand has been a staple on the harbor for over 50 years. The location can not be beaten.

3.       Wasses – The roadside Rt 1 locations of the area Wassas Hot Dogs are not visually ideal but the hot dogs are. The price and the tradition associated with these dogs is just right. You will see lines of people at every Wassas location in the MidCoast.

Healthy Food
There is only 1 in this category. Food Trucks and shacks are not commonly known for their healthy options, but here in Camden Maine, we have a healthy Smoothie Shack. Just a block down from the Inn, we highly recommend a stop at the Shack as you roam around downtown Camden Maine. A lot of attention is given to ingredients and combinations of fruits and vegetables.

Quick Lunch
1.       Scott’s Place – Walking distance from the Inn, this economical food option is quick and easy. Many locals frequent this location in the Reny’s shopping plaza parking lot.

2.       Rockport Harbor Food Bus. There are many things going on with this option. The first obvious one is that it is not a food truck but a school bus and that the owners, although they are known for their famous pizza, they chose to have a taco and quesadilla menu with some local baked goods. Both interesting features of this option combined with the ideal location of Rockport Harbor make it a fantastic choice.

There are many reasons to love the food truck and roadside culture. The food is usually cheap and gourmet, you get to meet the chefs and cooks, they provide freedom and creativity to their owners, usually located in convenient places and the food is amazing. In addition to this, we believe you really get a sense of the place. We hope this vacation you search out some, or all of these food trucks and meet the people that are running them. Adding these roadside gems to your agenda of things to do will be a unique experience and enhance your stay.  

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top (NEW) Things to do in Camden Maine this Season

The fully renovated Captain Swift Inn is only one of the many new attractions in Camden Maine.  Many come to Camden year after year for the world class sailing and views. The mountains and the sea are the calling cards of this small town. In addition to the lovely landscape, the Main Street and town always offer unique and interesting Maine gifts and treasures.  The Camden restaurants provide local seafood and Maine brewed beers. While the consistent loveliness of the town is a reason to return year after year, we are pleased that there are some new businesses and activities to add to the mix.
The Top (NEW) Things to do in Camden Maine:
There are new shops in the downtown. If you have been to Camden before, you know that there is an array of boutique shops. Camden’s Main Street is unique in that it is not overwhelmed with tourist trap shops. The collection of shops offer truly beautiful and unique gifts. In addition to the long standing shops like Glendara Lavender Farm and Maine Sea Bags, there are 2 new clothing shops in town. FatFace and Barefoot in Denim. FatFace offers fine value clothing for the entire family and Barefoot in Denim offers affordable curated clothing for women. Both make a nice addition to the downtown experience.
New Art Gallery.  PageGallery is a contemporary art gallery exhibiting American paintings, drawings and sculpture. Colin Page is a nationally known artist. His paintings capture landscape and light. Even if your pocketbook does not allow you to purchase one of these lovely paintings, we highly recommend you stroll through to see the art.
Blueberry Distillery. Just when you thought you knew everything about blueberries! We are pleased to see that a new blueberry distillery is open in Camden Harbor. Visit their website to see dates and times of upcoming events.

Jazz in June.  For the first time ever, Camden Maine will host Jazz in June. Camden Maine has always had a hidden musical charm. Sea shanties can be heard at the Camden Public Library while the high school often launches talented local bands and singers. In addition to the plethora of local talent, artists such as Don Mclean and the famous Jazz saxophone player Wayne Delano have called Mid Coast Maine home for years. The Captain Swift Inn is a sponsor of the event for 2019. We look forward to this fun filled 3 day music festival.
New Out Door Bar at HoxBill Restaurant - Here on the coast, we can not get enough of the water views. The more chances to sit outside and enjoy the harbor with a drink in your hand, the better. HoxBill, which is a fine upscale restaurant in downtown Camden Maine, has added an outdoor bar. Hoxbill is associated with its neighboring restaurant Kurafuto and Blaze Brewery. The beer brewed, right onsite, is fantastic. Try the Tiny Room Brew, you won't regret it. 

Equinox Guiding Service - If you have ever been to Camden Maine, then you know Camden Hills State Park is a very special place. Now, in addition to hiking the many tails, you can also climb the hills with a guide. Whether you are a novice or an expert, the guides can accommodation you. See Megunticook Lake like you never have before. This guiding service compliments the lifestyles of the locals that love the outdoors. We look forward to working with them. The Captain Swift Inn has a Rock Climbing package with Equinox Guiding Service. You receive a 10% discount off the experience and if you book direct for a 2 or more night stay during the week, you receive an additional 5% on your room rate. 

We look forward to hosting you in Camden Maine this season. Make your reservations now. 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

48 hours in Camden Maine and the Surrounding Areas

Planning your vacation is an exciting time. Camden Maine and the surrounding areas have so much to offer. I have compiled a list of items to help make your planning a little easier. The Captain Swift Inn is an ideal starting point for all daily excursions. The Inn’s downtown location makes walking to the harbor, opera house, restaurants, and boutique shops easy. The location of the Town of Camden Maine, exactly halfway between Portland and Bar Harbor make it an ideal stop for summertime drivers. Whether you are here for a night or a week, there are lots of things to do. From hiking to lighthouses, to shopping, to art galleries there is something for everyone.

Itinerary for MidCoast Maine Guests

After you have enjoyed a candlelit breakfast at the Inn, head to Camden Hills National Park for a morning of hiking. Our favorite trail is the Carriage Trail. The Carriage Trail is accessible from Rt 52, Mountain Street. We enjoy this trail because if you follow it to the Carriage Road Trail, it is a gradual incline that culminates at the top with the stone lookout tower. The trail is approximately 1.5 miles, round trip 3 miles. You can be up and down in little over an hour. When you get back into town, refresh at the Inn and get ready for the afternoon.

Day one we highly suggest you stay by the water, either on the water or near it with a cocktail.

You can choose from many daysailers in Camden Harbor, Rockport Harbor or even Rockland Harbor. Each harbor is unique in its landscapes. If you choose to stay in Camden Harbor, you might want to go down to the landing and look at the boats and see what boat you prefer. Each boat has its own characteristics and entertainment. Three daysailers we enjoy are Schooner Olad, Schooner Surprise and the Appledore.

In Camden, there is both lake kayaking and ocean kayaking. For the lake kayaking, you will need to rent a kayak from Maine Sport Outfitters and either have them deliver the kayak to a launching point or put it on top of your car and drive it to the launch. We really like Megunticook Lake for kayaking. BogsBridge on Rt 105 is a great place to put a boat in the water. If you kayak straight out from the launch, you will hit Land’s End. Land’s End is a hidden gem that the locals enjoy.

If you want to ocean kayak, you can also rent a kayak from Maine Sport. The Camden public ocean launching point is at the end of Sea Street. It is suggested that if you have never ocean kayaked before that you hire a guide from Maine Sport to show you how to navigate the harbor and open seas.

For your first night in Camden Maine, treat yourself to a special dinner at Hoxbill. The menu is sophisticated and the views are fantastic. The restaurant is a short walk from the Inn.

Day 2.

On Day 2, venture out to the surrounding towns. Rockport, Rockland, and Lincolnville are a short drive. Each town has its own special places. Lincolnville is known for their beach area and winery, Rockport is known for its beautiful harbor and fantastic walking trails and Rockland is the art capital of Maine.

Rise and shine at the Captain Swift Inn and enjoy a cup of coffee and a full breakfast. The towns of Lincolnville, Rockport and Rockland are all nearby and you could potentially go to all 3 towns in one day.

After breakfast, head to the town of Lincolnville. Drive North on Rt one. Lincolnville Beach is approximately 15 minutes away. Once at the beach, you can sit and watch the boats, or stroll in the little beachside stores. The beach is a real treasure at low tide. You are able to walk out far and admire lots of little tidal pools of water. If you can, plan this trip at low tide. When you are done admiring the landscape of Lincolnville Beach, head inland to Cellardoor Winery. The Winery is a short drive into the hills. The winery is a great place to have a light lunch and sample some of the local wines.

After lunch head to Rockport Harbor and enjoy the views. Rockport Harbor is home to the famous Andre the Seal and Schooner Heron. The Schooner Heron is, in my opinion, the most beautiful boat in the Midcoast. Bonnie and Twig are the captains of Schooner Heron and great hostesses. Read more about Schooner Heron Here.

Next, as you head out of Rockport into Rockland, stop off and see the Breakwater Lighthouse. The Breakwater Lighthouse is a mile walk on a granite jetty. Get your cameras ready for some awesome selfies. The harbor surrounding the jetty is alive with lobsterman and fisherman collecting their daily traps. The harbor is a true working harbor and it is fun to see the day to day activities of those that fish there.

The little downtown of Rockland is full of art. There are galleries and museums in downtown Rockland. Spend the rest of the enjoying the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA). The downtown is lined with cute restaurants and boutique shops. My favorite restaurant in downtown Rockland is Suzuki. For a real authentic and fresh Japanese dinner, treat yourself to this restaurant. You will need a reservation.

At the end of the day, retire back to the Captain Swift Inn and enjoy the comforts of all the common areas, decks or the privacy of your guest room. This itinerary is just a suggestion. There are many things you can do. We wouldn’t even hold it against you if you chose to lounge around the Inn and read a book. Either way, it will be our pleasure to assist you in having a relaxing and rejuvenating vacation in Camden Maine.