Rockland Harbor Hotel in the Heart of MidCoast Maine
Recently I had the opportunity to wander up to the beautiful MidCoast region of Maine, my favorite area in The Pine Tree State aka Vacationland - take your pick on the nickname! Located about 26 miles north of Portland, the region stretches along the coast from Brunswick northeast to Searsport on Penobscot Bay and includes the classic New England villages of Belfast, Camden, Rockland, Wiscasset, Bath, Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta. The region is loaded with world-renowned coastlines and beaches, art galleries and museums, lots of lighthouses and many a vibrant working waterfront where a delicious lobster dinner couldn't be much fresher if you had gone out and hauled it in yourself. Yes please! Rockland Harbor Hotel for several nights. Presiding over the northern end of Main Street in Rockland, a coastal town smack in the middle of MidCoast Maine, it's the ideal spot to stay as it's conveniently located to just about everything. Not only can you take some awesome day trips while making the Rockland Harbor Hotel your base, but you can also easily walk to all of the great shops, restaurants and museums that downtown Rockland has to offer. As parking in downtown can be tricky during tourist season, having a hotel where you can safely park your car and easily walk to where you want to go is a huge plus! If you aren't quite sure where you want to go while you're in Rockland, be sure to check out my companion post here!
The day we arrived for my long-awaited vacation to Maine was an overcast and rainy one but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm for what was sure to be a great couple of days. Arriving at the hotel around 4:00 pm, we dodged the raindrops and arrived in the hotel's lobby just a bit damp. After a quick and easy check-in process at the hotel's front desk, where we were warmly greeted by the staff, we were soon in the elevator to check out our room on the fifth floor.
Upon opening the door, I was blown away with how HUGE the room was! And yes, that's huge with all capital letters as this room was almost as big as the small house I live in if you were to stretch it out! The room was so big that one of the nights when we were there, I was trying to get my step-counter up to an even number so I walked back and forth from the hall door to the balcony door a few times and easily reached my goal! Yep, we are talking very large here!
Accredited as a 3-Diamond property by the folks at AAA and located between Freeport (home of that LL Bean place!) and Bar Harbor (home of the beautiful Acadia National Park), the Rockland Harbor Hotel is a great choice for any sort of wanderings you may have planned for the MidCoast region of Maine. It's very clean, definitely comfortable, conveniently located to lots of wonderful things and come on - just look at those balconies where you can get awesome views like the one that ends this post!
Our room was a Harbor View Queen-Queen with a couch that could have accommodated another person had we had anyone else along with us. Heck, we could have had 3 more people along with us and there still would have been plenty of room for everyone! Families take note!
There was a friendly welcome note from the housekeeping staff along with a friendly reminder that there was no smoking of any kind regardless of the fact that Maine is a "Green State" having legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2016.
Not only was the room itself
big HUGE but the bathroom was equally so! Bonus points for an exhaust fan, too! I have just never understood why all hotel bathrooms don't have them!
The shower had very good water pressure and there were lots of fluffy white towels, a hairdryer and some very lovely bath amenities from the Gilchrist & Soames Olive Branch Botanicals collection. The White Tea & Ginger cleansing bar was quite nice indeed!
Back out in the room, there was a microwave, refrigerator and Keurig coffee maker for our use that came with a small assortment of coffees and teas. During our stay we made a trip to the local Shaw's and picked up some extra coffee (as we were in Maine, it had to be blueberry!) along with a pint of half and half and an assortment of drinks to go in the fridge. A nearby closet had an iron and ironing board (not that I was planning on using either!) and an extra pillow and blanket that would have come in handy had we found anyone to sleep on the couch!
Admittedly my favorite part of the room - and one that I used a lot during our stay - was the balcony which gave us a bird's eye view of the comings and goings at the Rockland Ferry Terminal across the street and the boats in the harbor.
While I'm out here, now's a good time to show you some of the views from the balcony! Like I said, I spent a lot of time out there whenever we weren't out wandering around somewhere outside of the hotel as I just couldn't seem to help myself. Seems like as soon as we walked back into the room, I made a beeline for the balcony!
The view to the southeast from the balcony.
The Rockland Ferry Terminal where both vehicles and passengers on foot or bicyle can be transported to and from the islands of Matinicus, North Haven and Vinalhaven.
Boats moored in Rockland Harbor just beyond the ferry terminal.
The view straight down from the balcony to the patio and fire pit area just off of the hotel lobby.
View to the northeast from our balcony.
A little hard to see but way out in Rockland Harbor at the end of a 7/8-mile long breakwater, is the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse and though I could see it from our balcony, it was a pretty distant view as - let's face it - it was pretty darned far away! Luckily I had brought my best telephoto lens and a tripod on the trip so I was able to get a couple of not-award-winning but decent shots of the lighthouse which was established in 1902, about two years after completion of the breakwater.
Back in 2013, during my first trip to MidCoast Maine, my friend Paula and I walked all the way out on the breakwater to visit the lighthouse during the MidCoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge which is hosted by the American Lighthouse Foundation and which was a lot of fun! If you're interested in lighthouses like I am, ALF is planning on restarting the challenge again in June of 2022. It definitely is a challenge but we had such a good time doing it, I really wouldn't mind giving it another go sometime!
Meanwhile, back at the hotel ... !
Standing outside and looking up at the balcony that I was spending a lot of time sitting out on, I realized that our room was the only one that had a balcony on this particular part of the hotel! I couldn't decide if that made us really special or really lucky so I went with both! If you're going to stay at the Rockland Harbor Hotel, I highly recommend a room with a balcony as it's the perfect place to sit back and relax with a morning cup of coffee!
Or maybe you'd like to sit outside and watch the light change as the sun sets behind the hotel for the night like I did with the time-lapse video below. Either way - and I know you're going to find this hard to believe! - I highly recommend a room with a balcony!
During our stay there were still a few Covid restrictions in place which meant that daily housekeeping was not a thing. If we had wanted to have our room freshened up though, we could put in a request by 11:00 pm the night before and housekeeping would take care of it while we were out the next day. If there was anything that we needed - like extra or fresh towels - we could either call or walk down and talk to the friendly folks at the 24-hour front desk and they would be happy to take care of our request.
On our second morning there, I decided to brush off my former chambermaid skills that I had acquired back in high school when I worked at the Sheraton in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and made the beds myself. Not perfect but not bad!
An amenity that has been restored following a cessation during the worst of the pandemic, is the hotel's complimentary morning breakfast which is served from 6:30 to 9:30 am in a spacious room with lots of seating right off of the lobby.
For those that believe that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," there's a lot of variety from which to choose including fresh fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, toast, blueberry muffins, donuts, bagels and English muffins along with a hot option that changed a little bit everyday. During the three breakfasts we had while guests of the hotel, we had sausage, bacon, veggie patties, scrambled eggs, cheese omelets and egg patties from which to choose. Everything was kept nice and hot or cold as needed, and the attentive and friendly staff not only kept the food well-stocked but also made sure there was plenty of coffee (for there or to-go) and a variety of juices. Honestly, if anyone left the hotel hungry in the morning, it was their own darned fault!
Lest I forget, one of the coolest things in the Breakfast Room that wasn't edible were these really awesome light fixtures with a nautical twist that were hanging over some of the tables!
For guests that find themselves hungry for a little something-something when it isn't breakfast time but don't want to leave the property, Rockland Harbor Hotel has a nice little on-site market located behind the front desk where they can pick up a small microwaveable meal, an assortment of beverages, chips, snacks and other provisions. They even have ice cream should there be a craving for some like my Distracted Sidekick had one evening!