My first glimpse of Camden was on the road trip from Bangor to Rockland. I was driving down Route 1, trying my best to find some of the scenic coastal views I’d hoped to see, and started noticing the houses. Beautiful, huge estate kinda houses. The kind that make you wonder, “What is this world like with the 5000+ square feet and an ocean view?”
I drove past street after street of these homes until I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and had to check out a neighborhood (well, that and see if the ocean was somewhere behind all the trees and fancy). My friend was with me and we are the types of people who will make an afternoon of driving through neighborhoods we like and admiring houses. That is a thing.
I turned down the next side street I came to, and lo and behold! The ocean!! The particular street I turned on ended in a cul-de-sac of sorts right at a little bench and a gorgeous view of the water.
I didn’t stay long as this was clearly a private neighborhood that I’m sure didn’t want random folks like me hanging out on their benches, but wow, is that view not beautiful??
Oh to live that life!
I skipped over Camden that day because my plans were made for Rockland and Owl’s Head, but decided this was a precious little town I needed to see more of and made a return trip the next day.
Camden is a city you visit on a beautiful, sunny summer day with a little money in your pocket and comfortable sneakers on your feet. The downtown streets are lined with the cutest shops catering to virtually every interest, hobby, or taste and loads of restaurants for every taste bud to offer a little break.
I was there a little before their busy season so some of the shops were closed during my visit, but that still left plenty to enjoy for an afternoon!
The marina was picturesque with it’s dozens of boats floating in the water and a mountain of green trees rising in the backdrop.
I actually stood in this area for a while watching the birds do their thing and the boats come and go. This is one of the local tour boats that will take you on cruises around the harbor.
Just up the street from where I was on the marina was the main reason I was so excited about visiting Camden. I am like a moth to a flame when it comes to book stores!
If there is a small, “mom and pop” book store anywhere near a place I go on vacation, rest assured I will be there at some point during my visit. Owl & Turtle was my first stop after the marina. This is a great little two-story store that sells new books with an amazing coffee shop inside! Check out their children’s area upstairs!
But let’s get back to this coffee shop… so I walked up and asked the barista what they would suggest for a “fake” coffee drinker. Like a 5 year old who was really determined to act like an adult (because that’s me). I got a Chocolate Mocha??…a sweet, iced coffee….and it was absolutely perfect!! I didn’t even have to add sugar! (I always have to add sugar!!)
But my friend did the best. She got a carrot cake muffin. I. Have. Never…..
This was the most dreamy, melt-in-your-mouth, scrumptious, amazing muffin I’ve ever had in my life and I don’t even like carrot cake like that. I’m not kidding you. If you are in Camden, Maine and you don’t stop at Owl & Turtle for one of these muffins with a coffee and a book…..well, I just feel sorry for you.
After the book store we strolled through a few of the stores that were open, mainly just enjoying the atmosphere.
The whole town is too cute. I love the signs some of the businesses have hanging off their buildings.
After our stroll we decided to stop at one of those local restaurants, Cuzzy’s before heading back to the cabin.
This place was one of my favorite restaurants of the whole trip. It has kind of a hometown-y pub feel. There’s a bar and tables downstairs, pool tables upstairs. We ordered a calamari appetizer and the hand-tossed pizzas which were both on special that day. Everything looked homemade and was delicious! One thing I appreciated was, like most of the places I dined at in Maine, they use local foods when they can.
The best part of Cuzzy’s was the atmosphere though. It was what you would imagine a day to be like at the pub in any small town. A few locals were sitting around the bar swapping stories over beers. My friend and I enjoyed hearing them break into laughter every few minutes. The whole place felt very comfortable. You could just kind of imagine this sort of scene plays out every day there.
After our meal, with doggy bags in hand, we jumped in the car and headed back towards our rental cabin. I feel like, no matter where you go in Maine, you will have beautiful scenery. A lot of days we would head back a little early just so we could take our time and enjoy the drive.