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Where the Mountains Meet the Seas

For those who have lost track of where I was in retelling the story of our early October vacation to New Hampshire and Maine, don't feel bad as I think I lost track myself!  I kind of got ahead of myself with the post about Lenny, the world's largest chocolate moose, the other day so I'm going to back up a tiny bit and tell you about the area where we spent our two nights on the Maine Coast.  Truth be told we actually stayed in Lincolnville at a lovely place called Glenmoor By the Sea Resort & Cottages which was basically just a hop, skip, and a jump from Camden proper.

St Andrew's House

The Glenmoor has a combination of rooms, suites and cottages and we were booked in one of the suites at the St. Andrew's House which consisted of one room with a huge king-size bed, another room with a queen-size bed, a living room area with a fold-out couch, and two baths. Needless to say, we had lots of room to spread out! Jamie had originally planned on sleeping on the couch but she ended up sharing the king-size bed with me which was so big, I barely knew she was there!  Believe it or not, I didn't really take very good pictures of the inside of our rooms though there are a couple over on Flickr that are so-so if you're so inclined to head on over there and look.

The Back of the St. Andrews House

The picture above shows the back of the St. Andrews House at night; our room was on the lower level on the left and the first night we were there, we had basically the entire building to ourselves.  As a matter of fact, the pictures that I posted of the sunrise the other day were taken from the deck above our room being that there was no one staying there and it offered the perfect spot for picture-taking!

Evening Over Penobscot Bay

Speaking of being the perfect spot for picture-taking, one of the nicest things about Glenmoor By the Sea is that it is, in fact, by the sea!  From our part of the property we had a lovely view of Penobscot Bay but if you either drove or walked down further on the property, you got a view like the one above.  I figured that if we were going to be staying on the coast, I wanted to be staying on the coast and indeed we were!

Welcome to Camden

Anyhow, now that I've told you a bit about where we stayed, let me tell you a bit about Camden which - go figure - is an area that I'd definitely like to go back and spend more time in as it really does scream "Quaint New England Town!!"  I'm sure you knew there'd be a history lesson in here somewhere so not wanting to disappoint - here ya go!

The area of mid-coast Maine where Camden is located was once called Megunticook by the Penobscot Abenaki Indians – a word that means “great swells of the sea” and refers to the Camden Hills which include Mount Megunticook and Mount Battie. Camden is located at the foot of both of those mountains and if you read about the area, the phrase “where the mountains meet the sea” is one that you’ll come across quite often as all along the Atlantic coastline - from the Bay of Fundy to the tip of Florida - Camden is one of only two places where the mountains actually do meet the sea. The other place is also in Maine at Mount Desert Island – home of Acadia National Park.

View of the Camden Hills
View from Mount Battie to the Camden Hills
The area remained as wilderness until after the French and Indian War when it was settled in 1769 by James Richards who brought his family over from New Hampshire and built a home along with a sawmill and gristmill at the mouth of the Megunticook River. His two brothers also built cabins close by and brought their families to settle in the area. At that time, the area was known as Megunticook Plantation and remained so until February 17th, 1791 when the Massachusetts General Court incorporated the town as Camden and renamed it in honor of Charles Pratt, who was an English lawyer, judge, and Whig politician who was the first to hold the title of Earl of Camden.

A view to Camden Harbor from Mount Battie
A view of Camden Harbor from the summit of Mount Battie
During the War of 1812, a battery was built atop Mount Battie overlooking Camden village and furnished with 12 and 18-pounder cannons in case the British decided to make their way towards the town. The truth of the matter was that there were no gunners who were qualified to manage the battery as well as few soldiers in town however; the townspeople hoped that the appearance of readiness would keep the British in check – a ploy that worked!

Penobscot Bay from Mount Battie
Penosbcot Bay from Mount Battie
In 1820, Maine joined the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise and became the 23rd state. Around that same time, Joseph Stetson established his Stetson Shipyard at the mouth of Camden Harbor and built 70 sailing vessels over the next 20 years. A little known fact - it was Joseph Stetson who invented the “coffee break” as a way to discourage his workers from drinking rum on the job. Something to remember the next time you’re taking five on the job!

Camden War Memorial
World War II Memorial in Camden
Before the Civil War broke out, the town grew rapidly with shipping and shipbuilding making it quite prosperous. At one point, the town boasted six shipyards that launched 10 to 12 vessels annually. In 1875, The Holly M. Bean Shipyard opened on the east side of the harbor and it was there that Holly and his son Robert built 64 large wooden sailing vessels before the shipyard closed in 1920. The H.M. Bean Yard launched the largest four-masted schooner ever built as well as the first ever six-masted sailing vessel – the George W. Wells - which launched on August 4th, 1900.

New Hampshire and Maine 1085

In 1892, following Camden’s separation from the Town of Rockport, a large fire that was fed by strong easterly winds burned the town’s business district to the ground but the Great Fire, as it’s referred to, didn’t dissuade the summer people who flocked to Camden from Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Washington D.C. In 1897, Columbus Buswell built a road to the top of Mount Battie and erected an inn at the top known as the Summit House. In 1899 a group of summer residents formed the Mount Battie Association and purchased not only Buswell’s road and inn but also another 59 acres of the mountain with the purpose of creating a permanent park.

Curtis Island from Mount Battie
Curtis Island as seen from the summit of Mount Battie
The Association remodeled the Summit House and renamed it the Mount Battie Club House which opened on August 17th, 1900. In 1918 a fire swept Mount Battie and even though the hotel escaped the flames, the Association voted to tear it down in 1920 as it could no longer pay for itself. A year later a monument was built in its place on top of some of the old hotel’s foundation stones. The monument is known as the World War I Memorial Tower and it's a very popular spot for visitor's who make the drive up the Mount Battie Auto Road (which was rebuilt in 1965).

Mount Battie Tower

World War I Memorial Tower Plaque

Mount Battie Monument

Even though the foliage wasn't quite at peak as you can see from the pictures from the top of Mount Battie, the area is quite picturesque and you can see for quite a distance.  On a clear day it's possible to see all the way over to Cadillac Mountain so lots and lots of people either make the drive up to the summit or, if you're more adventurous, you can hike up.  Guess which method we used?  Yea ... that's not my mom or Jamie starting on their way back down!

Climbing Down Mount Battie

No discussion of Camden or Mount Battie would be complete if I didn't mention the fact that the poem "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was a native of Rockland just up the road from Camden, was inspired by the view from Mount Battie overlooking the Penobscot Bay.

Penobscot Bay

For those not familiar with her, Edna St. Vincent Millay was a Pulitzer Prize winning poet who also was considered a bit scandalous during her time as she was openly bi-sexual - something rather unheard of in the 1920's.  In spite of the controversy, Millay was one of the most successful writers of sonnets during the 20th Century and throughout her career was one of the most respected poets in America.  On October 19th, 1950 Millay died at Steepletop,her home in Austerlitz, New York, after she fell down the stairs and was not discovered until eight hours later.  She was 58 years old.

A Boat in the Bay

For the rest of this post, I'm going to leave it up to pictures to show you a little bit of Camden. I decided to try a little bit of night photography and went down to Camden around 7:00 on Friday evening to see what I could see. This is what I ended up with:

Camden at Night

Route 1 makes its way through Camden's downtown area

Linda Bean's in Camden

I didn't get to try one of these but I bet they're good!

Camden Book Shop

I walked through Sherman's Books & Stationery in the hopes of finding a Gris Grimly book or two as it looked like the exact type of bookstore where you'd find his books but alas, I came out empty-handed!

Sherman's Books & Stationery

Camden Toy Store

This toy store looked like a lot of fun! 

Camden Toy Store

Jane Alden

This store definitely looked like it had some interesting wares for sale! 

Jane Alden Stars

Village Restaurant

Another restaurant that I bet would be good! 

French & Brawn Market Place Sign

What I really loved about the French & Brawn Market Place was the way they displayed their bananas!

French & Brawn Store Window

Stonewall Kitchen Store

As you can see, it was most definitely Fall while we were there!

Stonewall Kitchens Display

The Hartstone Inn Sign

There were quite a few bed & breakfasts in Camden, most of which are built in big old homes of former sea captains, and this one in particular really caught my eye as looked like it would be a very nice place to stay.  As a matter of fact, I just emailed my boss the other day with a "Gourmet Cooking Weekend" that they offer (he loves to cook) and he's going to try to take his wife up there one of these weekends.  If he does - I expect pictures! 

The Hartstone Inn

This next picture I took for Amanda as it rather reminded me of a Tardis though I couldn't find Doctor Who anywhere nearby so I guess it really wasn't a time machine at all!  It did seem like something out of time, though, as I hadn't seen an actual phone booth in ages! 

For Amanda!

And finally, I attempted to take a picture of the steeple at the 1837 Chestnut Street Baptist Church but it didn't come out very well ...

Night Steeple

... so when I came back into town the next morning to take pictures of Curtis Island Light, I stopped by to take some more pictures of the church as you all know how much I love quintessential New England clapboard churches! 

Camden Steeple

Chestnut Street Baptist Church

Chestnut Street Baptist Church

In closing my post on Camden, just a couple of fun facts for you:  When Rodger & Hammerstein's Carousel was made into a movie in 1956, parts of it were filmed in Camden followed in 1957 by Twentieth Century Fox's Peyton Place. The movie, which was an American cinema classic that was based on a best-selling novel despite being banned in many homes, schools and libraries, premiered in Camden two days before going into general release in the United States on December 13th, 1957. Hollywood wasn't done with Camden after that as in 1993 The Man Without a Face starring Mel Gibson was partially filmed in Camden and in 1996, Stephen King's Thinner was also filmed there. Ah yes, we all knew Stephen King had to pop up somewhere in Maine, didn't we?!?  Additionally, 2001's In the Bedroom with Sissy Spacek was filmed in Camden and the soap opera Passions used Camden for shots depicting the fictional town of Harmony.  Obviously neither myself nor Yankee Magazine were the only ones who found Camden to be quite picturesque and I bet if you ever went there, you'd think so, too!

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