From the time I was 4 years old until I graduated high school, my family spent time each summer camping in Maine. I remember the anticipation as we packed up the truck and trailer, the what seemed like never ending drive, and then the excitement as we pulled in to the campground to be greeted by Jon and Lori. We would spend our time walking around Camden, kayaking in the bay, playing at our favorite local beach spot and cooking lobsters on the wood fired pit. Our trips to Rockport/Camden were some of my favorite of all time.
It is no surprise then that as I got older and vacations became less frequent that I yearned to go back there. To see the familiar schooners in the bay, to walk along the beach and eat some of the best seafood around. I kept telling Austin, "we MUST go to Camden soon!!" and after years of talking about it, I was finally able to go there with him and show him the place that holds so many of my memories.
We decided that for our one year wedding anniversary we would spend a long weekend in Camden. It was late September, so past the busy season and just a little bit chilly for adventures on the coast but we didn't care. We packed up our cars and left on a Friday afternoon, driving from our home up to Camden. We arrive around 4 pm and went straight to my favorite place, the boat yard. As we walked down the path towards the docks I couldn't help but smile - the docks looked just as I remembered and full of many of the same schooners and windjammers that I had loved as a kid. I was as giddy as a little kid dragging Austin all over the docks, showing him my favorite boats including the Appledore! After walking around for a while we went up to the Sea Dog Brewery for dinner and had the pleasure of sitting on the back deck under the patio lights, looking over the harbor that I love. We had some delicious fresh seafood and relaxed before heading back to Thomaston for the night.
The next morning we were up early to go down to the Breakwater Lighthouse. It was a sunny and gorgeous day with the smell of the salt on the wind as we walked down the breakwater to the lighthouse. There were windjammers were sailing around the harbor, bypassing the lobster boats filled with the freshest catch. The lighthouse was beautiful as ever, standing with such dignity protecting the harbor and sailors heading in and out. We enjoyed walking around the lighthouse and the beach around the jetty before heading back to town. Austin and I wandered around downtown Camden, in and out of all the little local shops and cafes. We ate lunch in town and enjoyed the quiet ease of this quaint town. The huge benefit of visiting in the off-season is how quiet the town is. You can easily grab a seat in the restaurants and not run in to too much traffic on the beaches and trails.
We finished up Saturday with something I had been looking forward to all weekend - a sunset cruise on the Appledore! My love for this schooner goes back to being 6 years old and taking a cruise through the harbor with my parents and brother. I remember watching my dad help the crew hoist the sails up while the captain gave orders. I remember the breeze in my hair as my brother and I sat at the front of the boat, overlooking the beautiful harbor and hoping to catch sight of a porpoise or seal. To say I was just a little excited to take Austin on the Appledore would be an understatement. We boarded the beautiful schooner and found a great seat towards the bow, we grabbed a blanket and wrapped up next to each other eager to be on our way. As we pulled out of the docks and made our way in to the harbor, the crew started to raise the sails and it is like watching a dance; the movement of the sails and ropes as they get them up and tied off. We had the most gorgeous sunset over the mountains as we cruised around - it was the end to a perfect day. It filled my heart to get to share this place and that experience with Austin after talking about it for years - it was a great getaway for sure!