Today we travel west down the coast of Maine, taking in every quaint village we can get our eyeballs on: Castine (thanks for the suggestion, Jen A!), Searsport, Belfast, and Camden. We rest tonight at the Camden Hills State Park, which is notable for its free showers. We are fresh!
Castine is known for its beautifully preserved examples of Greek Revival and Federalist architecture. It’s also one of the first settled villages in the US: settled in 1613, for goodness’ sake! We get a map from the harbor (next to Dudley’s Refresher snack shack!) and drive all over town oogling the examples of homes in stunning states of repair and upkeep. The town itself has a very mellow vibe, no one in a hurry, no major consumerism to be had. Lots of folks greeting each other with a “Good morning!” and a mid-street stop to visit. We enjoy a late breakfast on the porch of the café in town and plot our next move. We understand why people move to Castine.
Onward to Searsport, fleamarket and antique capital of Maine. It’s a tiny town and on this Sunday, there were fleamarket stalls or antiques for sale on both sides of the highway, tucked into empty parking lots, people’s garages or in antique malls. Of course we stopped at them all. The diversity of goods was astounding: guns, ammo, moose antlers, plastic dolls, sterling silver, jewelry, handmade canoes, vinyl records, mailboxes, clothing from the 1960s, taxidermied animals. You name it, someone in Searsport was selling it! We left empty-handed, but content with the hunt.
Over the new-ish Penobscot Narrows Bridge and into Belfast, where we stop at the Belfast Co-op Market to pick up a few items. There we saw a whiskery man filling his glass bottles with the store-made kombucha. Gotta love the hippy towns!
Our last stop was Camden, a town noted for its picture-postcard look, its large fleet of majestic windjammers, and its tourists. We took our sandwich snack and hung out at the harbor watching the boats and people, then window-shopped through town.
Final activity of the day: Our van does have a small refrigerator, but cannot support any frozen foods, which means that ice for one’s gin and tonics is not possible. So when Laura needs her G and T, she goes in search of a cup of ice to take back to the campsite. This time, she found ice and a chit-chatty father and son at the helm of their lobster roll/ice cream stand, Mt. Battie’s TakeOut. Turns out that they work like the dickens for 5 months a year: mid-May to Columbus Day (mid-Oct) in Camden and then head home to Clearwater, FL to be beach bums for the rest of the year. After the summer folks leave, they told me, they wait until the “white tops” come—the oldsters with their gray hair, who visit New England to view the Fall leaf colors changing.
For the first time in a week, we are cold. Socks to bed…