We left Boothbay Harbor and had short 1-hour drive to our next destination of Camden. We stayed in Camden Hills State Park, which is a large state park with lots of hiking trails, and it’s really close to the city of Camden. About half of the sites are water/electric only (the rest are dry camping), and 90% of them have good shade. We ended up in an area called the “field”, which has no shade, but the sites are large and level. Since the weather wasn’t going to be too hot, we were fine with this spot, but if it was hotter we would have probably tried to move to one of the shaded spots. Below is a shot of all of the sites in the field, and the 2nd photo shows our RV on the left.
Our first afternoon we took a short drive south to Owl’s Head State Park to visit the lighthouse there. We quickly found out that dogs aren’t allowed on the short trail to the lighthouse, so we took them on the trail that goes to the beach instead. We were really struck by how much the coast of Maine reminds us of the coast of Oregon.
Once we put the dogs safely back in the car, we wandered over the lighthouse. The Owl’s Head Light was established in 1826 and is still operated by the US Coast Guard today. It’s not open for tours, but you can still walk right up to it and look out over the ocean.
As we were driving around the town of Rockland, I noticed a sign for another lighthouse, and quickly turned down the road to follow the sign. We parked the car and walked down a short path and around a bend, and then came to a very long breakwater. Deas said “Where’s the lighthouse?” And then we squinted and we could just barely make out a little white dot at the end of the breakwater – that was the lighthouse!
The Breakwater Light was completed in 1902 and sits at the end of the mile-long breakwater. We started walking out to it, but it’s pretty rocky and uneven, and we were wearing flip-flops. Also it was getting later in the day by this point and the sun was about to set, so we decided to save this adventure for another day. We only walked out about 500 feet down the breakwater – I zoomed in my lens and cropped the photo as much as possible, but we were still pretty far away. The little dots in front of the lighthouse are people!
As we drove back into the park, we decided to take the quick drive up to the top of Mt Battie. There’s a trail to the top also, but driving up is just oh so much easier! And our timing was just right…we caught a gorgeous sunset.
There’s also a tower at the top which was erected in 1921 as a WWI memorial. There used to be a hotel on this site, but it was torn down in 1920. The tower was built on the site of the hotel, and with some of the stones from the building. You can climb to the top of the tower and get an even slightly higher view.
The next day I read over the list of available hikes in the park, and we decided to do the Maiden’s Cliff Trail, which was listed as 2 miles out-and-back, and rated a difficulty level of “2” on a scale from 1-3. Sounded easy enough to us. When we were parking the car, I noticed a man in the car next to us. His face was beet red, he was dripping in sweat, and he was just sitting in his car looking a little bewildered. Then we started up the trail, and we saw a couple coming down, equally sweaty and red in the face. For whatever reason, Deas and I didn’t think much of this and kept going down the trail. But it very quickly started going up, up, up….and it was very rocky. And even though it was only in the low 80s, it was extremely humid. So we soon figured out why everyone was sweating so much! Our dog Shorty struggles a little bit on really steep hikes because of his short Corgi legs, so we just took it nice and slow. Once we reached the summit, we were rewarded with a welcome breeze and an awesome view.
We later learned the story of the cross. In 1864, an 11-year old girl named Elenora French was visiting the cliff with her sisters, when she fell over the edge trying to catch her wind-blown hat. She survived the initial fall but died the next day. This is actually the 3rd cross that has been erected in her memory. The first was blown down by wind, and the second was destroyed by vandals. The third and current cross was installed in 1992.
In addition to all of the good sight-seeing, we also visited some great restaurants and a brewery. I didn’t get any pictures, but I feel they’re all worth mentioning. We had a great afternoon beer and reuben sandwich at the Camden Deli, with views overlooking the harbor. We found a fantastic happy hour at 40 Paper – half off all drinks and $5 small plates. The food was incredible, and we met some really nice locals (Hi Jane and Joel!) We really enjoyed our trip to Marshall Wharf Brewing in Belfast. In fact, we liked their Ace Hole Pale Ale so much we bought a growler!
We only had a 4-night stay in Camden, and I wish we had been able to stay longer as we really enjoyed the area – and we never made it back to the Breakwater Light. If we end up traveling back through Maine this fall, I think we’ll stay here again!