Rockport Maine Video
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A quaint harbor village, home to the Rockport Opera House, windjammers, a small marine park, and one of Maine's best art galleries - the Maine Center for Comtemporary Art, Rockport is also known for "Andre the seal", the legendary harbor seal who lived and performed here during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Rockport Maine Photos
Rockport Maine is a small scenic harbor village located just 3 miles south of Camden Maine.
Rockport Maine - an equally picturesque neighbor right next to Camden Maine
While there are many sightseeing attractions in Camden, its neighbor Rockport, Maine should not be overlooked. Camden and Rockport are right next to each other, so visiting one necessitates visiting the other. Rockport is a small Maine harbor village with a population of 3,209 people. The town was first settled in 1769 by Robert Thorndike. During the 19th century, the primary industries were shipbuilding, lime production, and ice exportation.
By 1882, Rockport became one of the leading lime producers in the country, with production happening all year round. The town also became known for its “Lily Pond Ice” export. 50,000 tons of clear ice was harvested every year and exported to different countries around the world. The ice was said to be so clear that one could read a newspaper beneath a thick layer of it.
Originally, Rockport was a part of Camden known as Goose River but the town officially separated from Camden in early 1891 from a dispute over the cost of a bridge construction or what was dubbed “The Bridge Question”. Rockport kept half of its original population as well as the lime and ice exportation industries. In 1907, a fire destroyed most of the lime sheds and ice houses, neither industries were rebuilt, resulting in an economic decline in the local economy of Rockport. Today, the remnants of the old lime kilns can be seen on the waterfront and in the Rockport Marine Harbor Park.
Rockport Maine - a creative arts venue and home to one of Maine's best art galleries
Today, Rockport, Maine is known for being a cultural and artistic town with a large community of local artists as well as a destination resort for creative professionals around the world. Rockport has had its share of benefactors over the years who have supported the creative arts. One was Mary Louise Curtis Bok, a local philanthropist and one of the largest landowners in Rockport, who founded the Curtis Institute and Bay Chamber Concerts. Mary Lea Park in Rockport was named partly in her honor. The town-owned Rockport Opera House is right next to the Mary Lea Park, constructed in 1891, it can seat up to 400 people and offers music and dance, plays, and other activities the year round. The Opera House is where the renown Bay Chamber Concerts are regularly held.
Rockport is also home to the Maine Media College. The college provides a focused educational creative experience distinguished by a dedication to craftsmanship, creativity, and critical thinking. Maine Media College offers a Professional Certificate program and a Master of Fine Arts Degree program in the fields of Photography, Filmmaking, and Multimedia. The college offers an immersive environment conducive to concentrated work. The curriculum honors historical forms and practices while embracing new technologies and modes of creative expression.
There are many fine art galleries in Midcoast Maine but one of the best is the Center for Maine Contemporary Art located right in the village center. The Center is a converted firehouse that now is home for constantly changing visual arts displays. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is recognized as one of the best art galleries in the state of Maine, where many works of Maine artists are displayed. With Rockport being a feature destination for aspiring artists, the local art scene is like no other in the country. The influx of artists has created a unique environment where restaurants are crowded with local lobstermen, and tradespeople sitting elbow to elbow with aspiring artists.
Rockport Marine Park and Andre the Seal
Another Rockport attraction is the Rockport Marine Park. It has a replica of a locomotive used in transporting the prosperous lime production back in the days. There are also three restored lime kilns originally used in the 1800s, these kilns produced lime from limestone.
The marble statue of Andre the Seal is also part of the park. It is a memorial to a real harbor seal who was abandoned as a pup and found by Rockport resident, Harry Goodrigde. He was given the name Andre by his adoptive family. Because of his amazing life, Andre became the subject of two books and a 1994 feature film. The marble statue was unveiled by Andre the Seal himself in 1978.
Andre the Seal died in 1986, after suffering injuries from a fight with another male seal. The plaque on his statue reads: Abandoned at birth, he was found, befriended, raised and trained by Harry Goodridge of Rockport, Maine. Andre is honorary Harbormaster of Rockport Harbor and is a celebrity of more than local renown. His antics have delighted people far and wide.
Rockport Marine Park is open to the public daily and visitors can enjoy the harbor views, as well as the picnic areas, and short paths for walking.
Rockport Harbor and Rockport Marine Park are excellent destinations for families with many historic features and great locations for picnics. The park even has a small beach that lines you up for a great view of the bay. It is known around the area as one of the most picturesque harbors and scenic small parks in Maine.