Your guide to things to do, places to go, where to eat, plus a whole lot more in the Tenants Harbor and Mid-Coast area of Maine.
My name is David Bruce, the Captain of this website and I’m here to help you navigate all the fun of Maine’s Mid-Coast. I’m a Virginian most of the year meaning I’m “from away” as they say in Maine, but I spend summers in Tenants Harbor. I tell people I’m not from Maine, but I got here as fast as I could!
The Mid-Coast of Maine is a wonderful, fun and spectacular area and I hope you find this website a helpful and entertaining resource!
Okay, let me get the self-serving part out of the way quickly. We rent out our cottage The Tides in Tenants Harbor. It’s a classic Maine seaside/harbor cottage. The view from the back decks is the large photo above. Pretty darn special! www.TheTidesMaine.com
- Our next-door neighbor is the East Wind Inn. A wonderful seaside inn. The Inn has recently been updated including the restaurant and a new pub. The Inn dates back to 1921 and before that was a sail loft in the late 1800’s. www.eastwindinn.com
- Our other neighbor is True Hall Real Estate and they have a great variety of vacation homes for rent. www.truehall.com
The great thing about Maine is there is so much to do, see and experience. Now sometimes doing, seeing and experiencing something might entail sitting in an Adirondack chair, in the back yard, reading a book, watching the lobster boats and experiencing a cool ocean breeze. We spend lots of lazy days in Tenants Harbor. Sometimes though we are an adventurous family on the move. Here is some fun stuff to do in no particular order. (just what’s popping into my head at the moment)
- Picnic on Mt. Battie. I also mention it below under lunch places. Just an incredible view that I never get tired of! You feel like you are on top of the world! Just north of Camden off Rt 1 in Camden Hills State Park. A must on any visit!
- Have Lobster Shore Cookout! Buy some lobsters, clams and mussels from a local fisherman or market like the Cod End in Tenants Harbor. Steam them up in a big pot of salted water. Add some potatoes, corn on the cob and melt some butter. Get some cold Maine beer and enjoy! TIP- I think the bigger the lobster the tougher the tail meat. Instead of eating a 3-pound “bug”, eat (3) 1-pound “chicks”. They are less expensive and the meat is sweeter! I also like soft-shell (shedders) if available!
- Hike to Roaring Spout. The Roaring Spout is located on Roaring Spout Road, which is off of Harts Neck Road in Tenants Harbor. This is a small "forever wild" conservation parcel that is open to the public. Roaring Spout Road is a private road and motorized vehicles are excluded. Pedestrians and bicyclists are welcome. The Roaring Spout is 0.6 miles up Roaring Spout Road. Once there you will experience incredible views of the Atlantic and at high tide (especially if the sea is choppy) you will here the ocean roar through the rock formation and may even get sprayed by the spout!
- Hike Maiden Cliff. Access to this trailhead can be found off route 52 in Camden, however you may take longer hikes through various trails within the Camden Hills State Park trail system to reach Maiden Cliff. Beautiful views of Megunticook Lake. Easy hike, about a mile. Another awesome spot for a picnic!
- Take Day Sail! Did you know there is more coastline in Maine than California? Yep! And the best way to experience it is to get off dry land. There are a number of options to see the Mid-Coast of Maine by boat including many old, wooden schooners. Charters are available in Camden, Rockport and Rockland. Private charters are also available. We sail sometimes with Captain Don Mann on the Liberation. www.liberationcharters.com Love sailing around the Islands of North Haven, Islesboro and Vinalhaven!
- Go Crabbing with the kids! Get some fishing line with a hook, place bacon on hook, head to town dock in Tenants Harbor around low tide and catch some crabs. May even catch a lobster! Catch and release please!
- Take a Kayak Tour out of Port Clyde. Our friends, the Cody family take guided tours out of Port Clyde Village. All kinds of options including a Porpoise Tour and a Full Moon Tour!!! www.portclydekayaks.com
- Go Mackerel Fishing! What a fun fish to catch! Just find a public landing or wharf, use a “Christmas tree” lure and cast it in the water. What a fun fish to catch. They usually run in schools and it’s not uncommon to get 3 or 4 on the line at once! Hint- Fish near a lobster wharf wear the dump the old bait and bait juice in the water, Mackerel tend to school there.
- Go to Drift Inn Beach! Rock and sand Maine beach between Tenants Harbor and Port Clyde. Go when the tide is down. Awesome for kids!
- Visit Monhegan Island. A beautiful island 11 miles off the coast from Port Clyde, shaped like a whale, with 150 foot headlands on the north side sloping down to low coves on the southern end. There are 17 miles of hiking trails on Monhegan, with hundreds of species of wildflowers and seabirds. Monhegan Island is also an art colony (Jaime Wyeth's studio was here for many years), with as many as 20 studios open during the peak summer months. www.monheganboat.com
- Check out the Owls Head Transportation Museum. The Owls Head Transportation Museum has one of the finest collections of pioneer-era aircraft and automobiles in the world. More than 100 historic aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, carriages and engines are on permanent display. www.ohtm.org
- Experience Camden Snow Bowl. No matter the season the Camden Snow Bowl offers outdoor adventures. In the winter there is skiing, tubing and an awesome toboggan run. The Snow Bowl is host to the US Toboggan Nationals each February. When skiing you can experience a full view of the Atlantic Ocean and Penobscot Bay. Pretty darn incredible! In the warmer months there are mountain biking and hiking trails all over Ragged Mountain. In the Fall there are scenic leaf tours up and down the chair lifts. Throughout the year there are parties, festivals and concerts. www.camdensnowbowl.com
- Visit Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde. Remember Forrest Gump running back and forth from coast to coast in the movie? Remember him running out to a lighthouse in Maine? Yep this is the lighthouse! Only 5 minutes from our cottage in Tenants Harbor. Prominently located on the rocky point at the entrance to the harbor of the fishing village of Port Clyde, Marshall Point Lighthouse and Museum offers visitors and engaging look at the local history, beauty and wonder of mid-coast Maine.
- More Lighthouses! They’re everywhere! A great way to tour Midcoast Maine is to visit lighthouses up and down the coast. This will take you to some of the most beautiful, picturesque and natural places in Maine. Stop by the Maine lighthouse museum in Rockland and map out your adventure! www.mainelighthousemuseum.org
- Take on a ropes course! A great family adventure! Maine's first high-flying family adventure park with zip lines!!!! Navigate through more than 30 obstacles from 12 to 50 feet in the air then zoom along one of the FIVE zip lines or a GIANT SWING! www.monkeycmonkeydo.com
- Enjoy a Maine Festival! Maine-ers love to throw a good party! Check out a local festival or fair. Some of the more popular are The Maine Lobster Festival, The North Atlantic Blues Festival, St. George Days, Moxie Festival, Union Fair, Wild Blueberry Festival, Camden Windjammer Festival, Maine Boats and Harbors Show, etc. Just “Google” these events or “Maine Festivals” to lean about more events!
- The Maine Music Scene. Did you know Rockland Maine is considered a part of the Mississippi Blues Trail? Crazy, but true! Some of the biggest names in blues frequent Rockland. Each year in July Rockland hosts the North Atlantic Blues Festival and throughout the year top blues acts visit the Strand Theater or Time Out Pub in Rockland. In addition to blues Mid-Coast Maine hosts performances by local, regional and national artists in theaters, opera houses, outdoor parks, pubs, clubs and coffeehouse. Check out one of the local newspapers like the Village Soup to see a schedule. www.knox.villagesoup.com
I once asked a lobster fisherman: What is the weather looking like for tomorrow? His answer was: “Won’t know that ‘til tomorrah”. Truer words were never spoken! If you watch a local weather report, they spend 90% telling you about what happened and 10% on the forecast. The weather is part of the beauty of Maine! There is sometimes nothing better than a cold, foggy day in August when jeans and sweatshirts are a must! Also remember it might be foggy and cool in Tenants Harbor and warm, brilliant sunshine in Camden. Be prepared anytime you venture out. Grab a raincoat and fleece, take a pair of shorts if you wear jeans. You never know. But no matter the conditions, don’t let the weather slow you down on your Maine adventure!
My favorite places for Breakfast:
- The East Wind Inn, my neighbor in Tenants Harbor. Quaint seaside inn restaurant with a great breakfast. www.eastwindinn.com
- Moody’s Diner, almost world famous diner in Waldoboro. Incredible blueberry pancakes! www.moodysdiner.com
- Home Kitchen Café in Rockland. Fresh organic ingredients. Huevos Rancheros are legendary! Great omelets, pancakes and sticky buns. www.homekitchencafe.com
- Granite Gardens Nursery and Landscaping. Not an error! At the nursery they have a little café serving awesome coffee and breakfast goodies. Great place to hang out. They also have a little antique shop there too! www.granitegardens.org/hut.htm
- Willow Bake Shop. Homemade doughnuts!!! On Rt.1 between Rockland and Rockport.
- Salt Farm Café overlooking Rockport Harbor. Incredible fresh dishes using locally grown organic ingredients. Love the egg, bacon and arugula on a freshly baked in house english muffin! Also check them out for lunch and dinner! www.saltwaterfarm.com/unionhall/
- Home Kitchen Café in Rockland. Yes, the same place I just mentioned for breakfast. Well it’s a favorite lunch spot too! Same fresh ingredients and awesome flavors. They have a “wicked good” lobster sandwich served on homemade bread with lettuce tomato and mayo. Not your typical lobster roll! Fish tacos are great and they make the tortillas fresh per order right in front of you. Lobster tacos, the reuben, the cheese steak, the chowder and everything else is great as well. Go there! www.homekitchencafe.com
- Thomaston Café in Thomaston. Sort of a Maine bistro feel to the place. Good sandwiches. On a cool, foggy day there is nothing better than their fish chowder! www.thomastoncafe.com
- Picnic on Mount Battie. Imagine sitting on top of a mountain and looking straight down to a beautiful Maine harbor and out to the sea! For this southerner, experiencing this view was my Maine “aha moment”. Mount Battie is just outside Camden. Stop in Camden at the Megunticook Market or the Camden Deli, grab a sandwich and drive up to the look out and enjoy the best view in Maine! www.megunticookmarket.com www.camdendeli.com
- The Cod End Market and Cookhouse, our neighbors in Tenants Harbor. Lobster dinners, lobster rolls, shrimp, scallops, haddock, mussels, clams, oysters, baskets, dinners and much more. The Miller family has been serving these Maine classics for years. Inside and outside dining overlooking the lobster fleet in Tenants Harbor. Fresh seafood market for take out. Cold Maine beer on tap! Come by car, foot or boat! You can even gas up your Boston Whaler here like I do! www.codend.com
Sadly rumor has it that the Cod End may not be open in 2014. Check before you go!
- The Harpoon in Port Clyde. Love this place! Good seafood dishes, pasta, steaks. Fun décor and the best fisherman’s bar in Maine. Separate bar from restaurant. Peanut shells on the floor, area lobster buoys hanging from the ceiling. Come hang out with the locals. Careful with the drinks though, they are strong! Don’t get “pooned”!!! www.theblackharpoon.com
- The Happy Clam in Tenants Harbor. Classic Maine-German cuisine. Yep, it’s a husband and wife team. He is from here and she is from Germany. Have a German beer with your fried clams or a Moxie soda with your Weiner Schnitzel! Family restaurant with a playground for the kids and a Biergarten for the adults!
- Waterman’s Beach Lobster in South Thomaston. Love it! Lobster Shack on the beach. Awesome shore dinners, lobster and clam rolls on hamburger buns! Homemade pies. BYOB! Somewhat limited hours/days. Check out www.watermansbeachlobster.com for hours!
- Millers Lobster in Spruce Head. Classic Maine lobstah shack on a quiet cove. All the classics and homemade pies too! www.millerslobster.com
- Red’s Eats. Okay it’s a ways from Tenants Harbor (about an hour) in Wiscasset, but if you are traveling through or on a day trip its worth checking out. Always featured in magazines and always a long line holding up traffic on Route 1. I was skeptical thinking it was too touristy, but they make a darn good lobstah roll! www.facebook.com/Reds-Eats
- Doug’s Seafood in Port Clyde. An actual lobster boat captain serving seafood from a stand in his front yard. Just a walk through the woods if you are hanging out at Drift-Inn beach.
- The Slipway in Thomaston. I hesitated classifying the Slipway in this section, but it is at the town landing in Thomaston. There is more outside seating than inside seating, it has a really cool outside bar on the water and it’s staple is classic Maine “seafood in the rough”. Shore dinners, classic seafood baskets and a killer raw bar menu. I usually order up oysters on the half shell, the Port Clyde shrimp app with Cajun mayo and the Mosquito Island crab claws with mustard sauce. You can also order inspired entrees and specials with a nice bottle of wine. One of those places where you can come in a t-shirt without shaving or in your blue blazer and pressed Vineyard Vine khakis. Awesome spot! www.maine-slipway.com
- East Wind Inn Restaurant and Tavern in Tenants Harbor. My next door neighbor! The Wan-E-Set Restaurant is fine dining with an incredible view. Creative chef specials, seafood and beef. Downstairs is the laid back and relaxing Quarry Tavern. Fun atmosphere mixed with inn guests and locals, great cocktails and craft beers. www.eastwindinn.com
- Café Miranda in Rockland. Crazy eclectic décor and menu. Something for everyone and I mean everyone. You must check out the menu! Did I say crazy eclectic? Incredible flavors, many dishes cooked in wood fired oven. Seafood, steak, pasta, salads, American, Italian, Polish, burgers, pizza, chicken, veal, fresh vegetables, vegan, homemade bread etc. If Elvis and LL Bean opened up a restaurant together it would be Café Miranda! I love sitting at the 4 person chef’s bar and watch them cook! www.CafeMiranda.com
- The Waterfront in Camden. You can never go wrong at The Waterfront. Beautiful spot right on Camden harbor. Good place to sit and talk about which boat in the harbor you would like to buy! Eat inside and out. Maine inspired entrees always good, always fresh. Good bar too! www.waterfrontcamden.com
- Shepherds Pie in Rockport. Not an Irish Pub although the Shepherds Pie is very good. Very different restaurant in an old building on Rockport Harbor next to the Opera House. Wildly diverse menu. Great place to eat tapas style and sample many items. Wonderful flavor and recipes. Great restaurant to make an evening of it! Always a good time! www.shepherdspierockport.com
- Francine’s Bistro in Camden. Usually ranked as one of the top area restaurants. Definitely want to break out that new Vineyard Vines outfit for Francine’s. Wonderful dining experience. Great spot to take your bride for that anniversary dinner or special occasion! www.francinebistro.com
- Cappy’s Chowder House in the heart of Camden. A bit touristy but tasty food and really cool nautical décor. 2 great little bars inside including the Crow’s Nest where they have “Cappy Hour” daily! www.cappyschowder.com
- Pizza? Yep - Mid-Coast has some good ones. Our favorites include the Thorndike Creamery in Rockland and the Camden House of Pizza. Gourmet pizza is available at Café Miranda and also at Rustica in Rockland.
- Mexican? Oh yeh! Dos Amigos in Northport (2 towns up from Camden on Route 1) is worth a road trip. While you are up there check out the little village of Bayside. Quaint little summer village where the cottages look like Victorian dollhouses.
- Hot Dogs? How about the famous Wasses! I call them “Gut Grenades” but boy they taste good!
- Where does an Irishman get a Guinness in this town? Glad you asked! At Billy’s Tavern of course in Thomaston. They will even serve it to you in an imperial pint glass if you ask! www.billystavern.com
- After a long day of fun on land or at sea ice cream is the perfect ending. It’s sometimes good in the morning and afternoon too! Village Ice Cream in Port Clyde is an awesome little spot. Dorman’s Dairy Dream is a classic drive in stand in Thomaston on Route 1. Round Top Ice Cream in Damariscotta is part of a dairy farm, is fantastic and worth the drive. Check out LuLu’s next to Café Miranda in Rockland and the Camden Cone in Camden.
I will spare you the details about Shaw’s, Hannaford’s, Wal-Mart- etc, here are the local spots to check out!
- Fresh vegetables and fruits from the farm? Beth’s Farm Market in Warren just south of Thomaston. www.bethsfarmmarket.com
- On the St. George peninsula check out the Tenants Harbor General Store and the Port Clyde General Store for sundries, drinks, ice and plenty of goodies.
- For fresh baked pies, fresh vegetables, meats, seafood and prepared foods stop by the Harborside Market between Tenants Harbor and Port Clyde.
- Schoolhouse Bakery in Tenants Harbor. Good little place to get bake goods, danish, cup a coffee, lobster roll etc.
There is no shortage of shopping along the Mid-Coast of Maine. All along roads- whether in a town or the countryside it seems like stores just pop up! I love the entrepreneurial spirit of Mainers and I encourage you to check out all the local stores and shops and support them. Shopping hotspots include Rockland and Camden plus plenty of hidden gems all over the place! Some of our favorites…
- Stonefish on Main St in Tenants Harbor. An eclectic gift shop self described as a quirky little place where past stories and future dreams lie waiting- A magical adventure for intrepid seekers. Not sure what that means but they have cool stuff!
- The Admirals Buttons Camden
- Camden Merchants CO-OP is a collection of antique dealers in an old theater in Camden.
- Hello Hello Books in Rockland and Owl and Turtle Books in Camden.
Love painters, sculptors, potters and other artists??? You have come to the right place! The St. George Peninsula if full of incredible artists and neighboring Rockland, Rockport and Camden feature some of the country’s finest galleries.
- St. George Open Studio Art Tour. The artists of the town of St. George will hold an annual Open Studio Tour each summer. 25+ artists on the St. George peninsula will open their studios to the public. There is no charge for the self-guided tour. The roadside location of each studio will be indicated with an AStG Open Studio Tour sign. Free tour guide maps with the name, location and phone number of each artist can be obtained from The Personal Book Shop in Thomaston; St. George Pottery on Route 131 in St. George; in Rockland at Art Space Gallery and PDQ Photo; in Tenants Harbor at Cod End, Granite Gardens, Harborside Market and Hedgerow Garden Center; and in Port Clyde at Stonefish Antiques and Port Clyde Gallery.
- The Farnsworth in Rockland. The Farnsworth Art Museum celebrates Maine's ongoing role in American art. It offers a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America's greatest artists, with 20,000 square feet of gallery space and over 10,000 works in the collection. The Farnsworth has the second-largest public collection of works by premier, 20th-century sculptor Louise Nevelson. Its Wyeth Center features works of Andrew, N.C. and Jamie Wyeth. The Farnsworth's library is also housed in its Rockland campus. Two historic buildings, the Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House, complete the museum complex. www.farnsworthmuseum.org
- Arts in Rockland Rockland is home to many galleries, Arts in Rockland is an organization of 22+ galleries that welcome visitors year round, and each First Friday of the month there is an art walk. www.artsinrockland.org
There is a special magic to Mid-Coast Maine that makes you happy to be alive! You see the magic at sunrise and through the sea-smoke as lobstermen head out for the day. You feel it on a boat as you leave Tenants Harbor, past the American flag on Mouse Island, the Lighthouse on Southern Island and as you look back to the mountains of Camden. You hear it in the call of a seagull, the sound of a buoy bell or the laughter of your kids crabbing off a dock. Part of the magic in Maine is the physical beauty, but just as important are the people of Maine and the culture. It’s walking into a General Store and seeing a sternman off a lobster boat, sitting with a renowned artist and a Supreme Court justice talking about the weather. There is an authenticity to Maine-- in her beauty, in her people and in her places. I think Maine is a place you have “to get”. Not all people do, but I sure am glad I do! Enjoy your Maine adventure! The way life should be!
This is a non-commercial website to help people enjoy their vacations in Tenants Harbor and surrounding areas of Mid-Coast Maine. That means no one pays us for our recommendations or advice and we are not affiliated with any organization. (although I wouldn’t be opposed if someone offered to buy me a beer or a lobster roll) If you have a suggestion, drop me an email! EMAIL CAPT’N DAVE
UPDATED MAY 2014