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A stylish Maine seaside village community situated at the foot of Camden Hills containing a windjammer fleet, historic Victorian inns, unique boutiques, galleries, shops, creative fine dining, local cultural activities, and a picturesque harbor that no Hollywood movie set could ever match.
"Where the Mountains Meet the Sea", Camden is the quintessential coastal Maine community set at the foot of wooded Camden Hills on a picturesque harbor on Penobscot Bay.
Population (2000): 5224
Median Income: $39,877
Land Area: 18.3 sq miles
Zip codes: 04843, 04847
The community was named for Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden.
Steamships opened the area to wealthy vacationers in the 1880s.
Kay Aldridge, model/actress
Tim Boetsch, martial artist
Gordon Bok, singer/songwriter
David G. Conover, film director
Tess Gerritsen, novelist
Edna St. Vincent Millay, poet
Richard Russo, novelist
Don McLean, singer/songwriter
Filming location for:
"Peyton Place" (1957)
"In the Bedroom" (2001)
Camden and Camden Harbor - a picturesque harbor village at the foot of Camden Hills on Penobscot Bay
Camden, Maine is known around the state as the “Jewel of the Maine Coast”, and for good reason. It is a quaint town by the sea featuring a beautiful harbor that is always full and busy, especially during the summer months. It is a reflection of what everyone thinks of when they picture a small New England seaside village.
Camden's historic 19th century architecture anchors the town's business district and picturesque quality. Downtown Camden is highlighted with local shops and boutiques that serve to create a more intimate shopping experience. Specialty shops like the Planet, the Emporium, Margo Moore, the Admiral's Buttons, House of Logan, the Ducktrap Bay Trading Company and many others, each with a trendy selection of gifts, accessories, and/or specialty crafts, give the town a sophisticated worldly feel to its marketplace. The town is the perfect size for exploring on foot, which allows a leisurely browse of the small locally owned shops and boutiques. There is also a host of excellent galleries and restaurants that can quickly consume your day. With great food, highlighted with traditional New England flavors, and a creative style that can only be found in Maine, Camden's downtown and harbor business district offers visitors a unique shopping outlet.
Camden Harbor - a pleasure boater's paradise
Camden Harbor has historically been a premier attraction in the area. Camden Harbor embodies everything that a Maine boating community is known for. The harbor features outstanding ships, yachts, and Windjammers that are typically docked right nearby on the waterfront. Camden sits on Penobscot Bay which is considered by many mariners to be one of the best cruising bays in the world. A great way to see the bay is by taking a short sightseeing cruise or day sail around Camden Harbor. Several companies offer sightseeing cruises that include the chance to observe the Camden lighthouse, Curtis Island Light, along with other lighthouses and uninhabited islands in the area that contain undisturbed wildlife. The more adventurous can take advantage of a two hour kayak trip. It begins in the calm waters surrounding the boathouse deep within the harbor nestled in the middle of million dollar yachts. Soon you are paddling against the waves that circle Curtis Island at the entrance of the harbor and its historic lighthouse that was built in 1836 . This short trip may be only two hours, but will give you a lifetime of memories. Camden has several Windjammers and schooners set to take you on a trip around the harbor, an excursion out on the bay, or even a multi-day cruise of Penobscot Bay and the surrounding islands.
Elegant Mansions, Historic Inns and other points of interest
The reason for Camden’s worldly atmosphere is often attributed to the beautiful mansions and estates that dot the coastline of this small seaside community. Accordingly, Camden is home to some of the wealthiest individuals in Maine. Affluent families built their “summer homes” in Camden because it was considered one of the most exclusive travel destinations in New England in the late 1800s. These families were generous enough to gift the community with a beautiful public library and a spectacular amphitheater. These families also contributed to the building of Camden’s popular attractions such as the Village Green, the Camden Opera House, the Camden Yacht Club, and Harbor Park. The Village Green, the Camden Amphitheater, and Camden Harbor Park are historic landscaped spaces that have been fully restored to emanate a beauty that withstands the test of time.
Camden offers several points of interest, the most popular of which is Camden Hills State Park. Located just a couple of miles from downtown, Camden Hills State Park offers a myriad of hiking and walking trails along with a 800 foot summit with spectacular views of Camden Harbor and Penobscot Bay. Viewing Camden from the summit of Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park is like staring at a postcard. It is almost unbelievable that a view like this is real.
Aside from sightseeing and outdoor adventures, summer and fall always find this pleasant harbor town abuzz with arts and crafts fairs and other cultural activities. Camden surely is no newcomer when it comes to the arts. The arts in the Camden area are interspersed throughout the local community, from local craft shops and crafts fairs to independent art galleries, opera halls, and nationally recognized museums. Carlos Salzedo established the Summer Harp Colony in Camden. Shakespeare was played in the Amphitheatre and the Bay Chamber Concerts are frequently staged at the Camden and Rockport Opera Houses. Camden bore Pulitzer Prize winner Edna St. Vincent Millay who was a native and movies such as the 1957 film Peyton Place were filmed in this picturesque town. Camden is still considered as a top choice in Maine as a movie location for Hollywood and the rich cultural heritage still continues.
Today, Camden vies with Kennebunkport and Bar Harbor as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maine with a plethora of sigthseeing attractions. The elaborate mansions of the well-to-do still dominate the shady side streets (many have been converted into bed-and-breakfasts), and the continued presence of wealthy New Englanders has given Camden a grace and sophistication that eludes most of Maine's other coastal towns.