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One of our reasons for visiting Rockport is its close proximity to Camden, one of Maine’s quintessential waterfront towns. But having tried once before without success to get a mooring in the inner harbor during the busy summer months, we now take a different tack. We set out for the two-mile walk from Rockport to downtown Camden late in the day, stopping first for directions at Rockport Marine — and are offered a ride by one of its friendly employees who has just finished work.
Dropped off in the middle of town, we walk along the waterfront where we see that mooring and dockage space is indeed at a premium. Camden is one of the most popular Maine ports for summer cruises, and several tall schooners that are part of Maine’s famous Windjammer fleet are berthed here. Everywhere we look, we see a postcard-perfect picture of what the ideal Maine coastal town should look like. Weathered shingle houses and shops with painted white trim overlook the harbor; shop and restaurant signs are hand-carved in wood with gold leaf lettering; classic wooden sloops and yawls with mirrorlike brightwork are tugging at their moorings; and Down East “lobster yachts” with club burgees are taking their vacationing owners out for sunset harbor cruises. Aesthetically, the scene is almost too good to be true.
There’s only one thing left to do to complete our perfect Maine experience this day, so we stop by Cappy’s Chowder House on Main Street and indulge in a bowl of its famous “white, never red” clam chowder before devouring our two-pound lobsters. The small, casual and busy place attracts locals and transients alike.
We now begin our two-mile walk back to Rockport, hoping the exercise will reduce some of the effects of our cholesterol-rich food choices. Following Route 1 most of the way, we arrive back in Rockport Harbor and take our dinghy out to our moored boat just as the last light from the setting sun disappears. Getting out our charts, we begin planning the next part of our virtual cruise, which will include stops in Stonington and Tenants Harbor, Maine, as well as an exploration of Isle au Haut and the Dix Island anchorage.