10 06 2014.

camden/rockport/rockland

Another great weekend has come and gone. Let me tell you, this has been the best summer of adventures! So here’s how my weekend in Camden, Rockport and Rockland went.

Friday evening we arrived at our hotel – the Island View Inn (Rockport) – around 6:30. (Having commuted to work from Topsham to Camden a few times a week when I worked at Outward Bound, I can attest to the beauty of coastal Maine Rt. 1 and encourage anyone who hasn’t driven up the coast recently to do it!) We quickly checked into our room, moved our bags in and took a look around. The room was cute! It was nautical themed so there were anchors and starfish everywhere! The best part? It overlooked the ocean! We were situated right in Glen Cove.

After a brief introduction to our room, we took off to find dinner. I had heard about this new whiskey bar in Rockland and we figured we’d try to get seated in there. Sure enough, the wait was 15 minutes so we sat at the bar, ordered a beer, and waited for our table.

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Darren ordered the bacon burger and I got a salad with a side of fries. I figured the fries were their specialty since they offered a range of dipping sauces for them. I opted for the Sriracha Aoli. The salad was awesome! It had a light vinaigrette, some apples and walnuts. The fries though. The fries were definitely worth calling home about, especially that spicy dip. It went perfectly with my autumn beer (Southern Tier Pumking). I seriously recommend this restaurant to anyone who finds themselves in this area. They have a pretty wide selection of whiskey – though I’m not much of a whiskey drinker. On another note, the decorations were really cool! There were little lanterns and orbs hung everywhere. I’m not a big fan of overhead lighting, so I loved the dim mood lighting. (Hence the horrible, dark photo!)

We left with full bellies. Saturday’s plan was to visit some bookstores, hike and spend the afternoon in Camden – then end the day at Primo! Primo is this incredible restaurant in Rockland located in a gorgeous old house that serves up gourmet dishes composed of local ingredients, most of which are grown (or raised!) on the property. I had first heard about it a few years ago on an Anthony Bourdain episode and had been dying to go!

Saturday morning we woke up to a hazy day. Having slept almost 12 hours that night, I felt ready to go. I put on my running attire, at which point Darren decided that he’d like to join me, and we stepped out to run in a chilly Rockport. …and it was raining. It was more of a drizzle, really, but when you’re running, it accumulates on your face and drips down into your eyes. (We decided to stop after a 5k, which was a smart choice.) The road we ran on was rather busy, so we ducked into a network of neighborhoods and ran the hills.

Let me tell you. Rockport is hilly! I knew to expect hills in Camden, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting such a hilly run. We finished up – soaking wet! – and went back into our room to shower and change. Despite the rain, I’m so glad that we decided to go for a run around Rockport. I love exploring the areas that I travel to and I feel like a good run is the best way to do that!

After the most welcome shower, we set off for a noon brunch. On our way to Rockland the night before, I had noticed a cafe on the side of the road and became set on eating there, so we drove a few minutes down the road and parked. Camden, Rockland and Rockport are so easy to park in! Especially compared to Portland.

We were at Home Kitchen Cafe. Now this restaurant is really deceiving. It’s one of those places that looks pretty awful on the outside, like somewhere you’d never really want to go, yet when you walk in – it’s totally legitimate. It had a super cozy feel. Our wait time was about 20 minutes, just enough time to fail miserably at a crossword.

Once seated at a great table by the window, we discussed our plan for the day. Since it was so miserable and foggy out, we decided to forego the hike and put it off until Sunday. (Which was really disappointing – I was looking forward to the hike and was afraid that it wouldn’t happen at all!) It ended up being a good choice. We chose to go bookstore-hopping and explore Camden for the rest of the day.

I love exploring small, local bookshops. Darren and I will go out of our way to find one during our getaways. (Book & Bar in Portsmouth and a smaller used book store in North Conway, to note.)

We found a really unique antique book store called Dooryard Books which was 99% filled with out-of-print books. It had a definite “stacks” feeling. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was haunted! There was even a basement with more books but we decided to move onto the next bookstore!

The real star of the day, though, was the Owl & Turtle Book Shop in Camden. We probably spent an hour and a half just browsing! It was a two-story shop, really cute on the inside, too! There’s something about a rainy day that just makes bookstore browsing really…cozy. I ended up purchasing Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).

You can’t go into a warm bookstore with a cafe on a rainy day and not sit down to a hot cappuccino. So we did!

I showed Darren around Camden a little bit more, pointed out the office, and right around 4:30 we decided to head back to the hotel. We wanted to stop at Cellardoor Winery for a free tasting but they closed at 5 and we didn’t want to be those rude customers who showed up 5 minutes before close to taste wine but not buy anything!

We still had 3 hours before our reservations at Primo and Darren brought a bottle of wine from Rosemont, so we cracked it open. My mom had this rule that there can be no wine consumed before 4:00pm on a weekend, so I jokingly sent her a photo captioned, “It’s wine o’clock!”

Another thing you should know about me. I love the tv show The Biggest Loser. I used to watch it with my mom when I lived at home. I recently bought a subscription to Hulu plus just to watch The Biggest Loser! A new episode had come out a few days before, so Darren and I hung out in the room and watched it!

Soon enough, it was time to head to Primo. I was under the impression that our reservation was for 8:00 so I hurried us out the door at 7:30 and we arrived there at 7:50…for an 8:30 reservation! No big deal, though. They sat us at the bar upstairs and we got to watch the chef prepare the hors d’oeuvres. This was seriously a dream come true! I was mesmerized. I have a not-so-secret desire to own my own restaurant/bakery, so this was as close as I’ve ever come to seeing the “behind-the-scenes” of a restaurant.

Soon enough, we were escorted to our seats downstairs. I had a smile on my face the whole time! Darren and I split the Pizza Al Forno (white pie with last chance squash with their blossoms, grilled sweet onions and house made ricotta) to start and I ordered the Hand Rolled Cavatelli (with sherry marinated chicken, roasted butternut squash, Tuscan kale and Tuada). Oh. My. Goodness. Both dishes were so delicious! I had only ever had handmade pasta once before but this was the best pasta I’ve ever had! I’m seriously considering making my own pasta soon!

What a great night! We made our way back to the hotel and conked out almost immediately. We had some hiking to do the next morning!


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