A weekend in Camden, Maine

Weekend in Camden, Maine, one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.

Camden is a quintessential New England town within steps to a working harbor. Book a cruise on the harbor cruises or one to spot whales and puffins.

The community where the mountains meet the sea offers an incredible number of hiking trails for avid hikers to absolute beginners — from thick pine forest to some of the most incredible views anywhere on the Maine coast.

This part of mid-coast Maine offers scenic and pristine beaches for swimming and beach combing for seashells and sea glass.

Events include the Gatherings of the Fleet, June 12, with live music, festivities and a rendezvous of more than a dozen 19th-century-style sailing ships. More Windjammer events at Sail Maine Coast. www.sailmainecoast.com/plan-your-trip/special-events-2017.

Trip planning at Camden Main Experience, www.camdenmaineexperience.com.

Getting there: Round-trip rates to Bangor (65 miles from Camden) from $244 during sale periods; American, Delta or United connecting service. Rates to Portland (85 miles) start from $175 during sale periods; nonstop Delta. Boston (200 miles) round-trip rates from $114; nonstop JetBlue.


Stay: The colonial-style Timbercliffe Cottage Bed & Breakfast Inn is within blocks of downtown Camden and Camden Hills State Park. Some guest rooms feature four-poster beds, fireplaces and claw-foot tubs. Amenities include full breakfast, fresh-baked treats and a 24/7 snack pantry. Relax in the library or living room in front of a fire, or on the wraparound porch or the patio. Rooms from $135 spring-early summer; from $165 peak summer. 7 Timbercliffe Drive, Camden. 207-236-4753, www.timbercliffecottage.com.

Eat: Head to the Graffam Bros. Seafood Shack for a crab ($11) or lobster roll ($13). Other fresh delights include fried or steamed seafood, fish sandwiches, chowders and salads. This takeout food truck offers outside seating under shade trees. The "shack" is across the street from the Graffam Bros. Seafood Store. 211 Union St., Rockport. 1-800-535-5358, www.lobsterstogo.com.

Experience: Follow the Megunticook Trail (1-mile, moderate) for Camden Hills State Park's finest views over Mount Battie, the town of Camden, and Penobscot Bay from Acadia to Monhegan Island. In addition to more than 30 hiking trails, the park has a 1.5-mile auto route. Per person day-use fee $6 adults ($1 age 5-11). 280 Belfast Road, Camden. 207-236-3109, www.maine.gov/dacf/parks/trail_activities/camden_trail_conditions.shtml.


Stay: 16 Bay View is Camden's newest luxury boutique hotel with 21 unique guest rooms in a historic 20th-century industrial brick building. The AAA 4-Diamond property is located in the town's shopping district full of galleries, boutiques, restaurants and footsteps from Camden Harbor. On site is a lobby bar and small plates venue. Rates from $209 include buffet breakfast and complimentary access to the nearby YMCA. 16 Bay View St., Camden. 207-706-7990, https://16bayview.com.

Eat: Fresh & Co. is located in a former schooner slipway, and the renovated old brick building is elegant without pretension. The family-run eatery serves global cuisine honoring the farmer and the fisherman. Appetizers, $10-$14; entrees, $21-$32. 1 Bay View Landing, Camden. 207-236-7005, www.freshcamden.com.

Experience: Take a day sail aboard the grand and historic schooner Surprise. Sail from Camden around the magnificent Penobscot Bay to spot lighthouses, wildlife and impressive yachts and estates. The sunset sail features live music. Help raise sails or steer the boat on these two-hour cruises; $43 adults, $33 under age 12. 1 Bay View St., Camden. 207-236-4687, http://schoonersurprise.com.


Stay: Guest rooms at the upscale Grand Harbor Inn feature private balconies overlooking Camden Harbor and gas fireplaces. Rates from $299 include in-room continental breakfast and access to a nearby YMCA (with spa, indoor pool, running track and fitness center). This romantic AAA 4-Diamond waterfront inn features spa-inspired bathrooms in 10 luxurious rooms and suites. 14 Bay View Landing, Camden. 207-230-7177, https://grandharborinn.com.

Eat: Board the classic 65-foot schooner Heron for a Lobster Roll Lunch ($65 adult, $35 age 12 and under) and watch for basking seals. A multicourse Sunset Dinner Sail permits BYOB beer or wine ($65 per person). Heron sails from Historic Rockport Harbor, 207-236-8605, http://sailheron.com/maine-schedule.

Experience: Experience Maine's waters in a traditional cedar and canvas canoe with guided fishing or sightseeing trip. A full-day Fishing, Paddling and Introduction to Fly Fishing Adventure includes rods, lures or flies, lunch and drinks for $400 (one or two guests); $275 half-day. Take a three-hour tour of the scenic 1,200-acre Megunticook Lake — a clear, cold lake studded with islands. Look for loons, eagles, deer and waterfowl. A rate of $175 (for up to three guests) includes drinks, snacks. 207-975-2226, https://mikekinneymaineguide.com.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.