Maine

Changing Times

At one time Maine was a prosperous state thanks to lumber, textiles, boat building and fish packing.  Those days are gone as one business after another has disappeared. A dwindling economy means that many of the small towns that define Maine are having to reinvent themselves to give folks opportunity to make a living. Two midcoast towns that have done just that are Belfast and Rockland.

Belfast Belfast once relied on chicken and sardine packing to provide its economy.  Today, those businesses and the associated smells have been replaced with restaurants, galleries and retail shops.

For us, it is easy to go to Belfast on the boat which means a fun outing and a great way to entertain guests. Favorite stops are Chase’s Daily, a combination vegetarian restaurant and farmers market featuring flowers and produce brought in daily from the owner’s farm.

I stock up on those things, but my very favorite thing is the chocolate cherry cookies that are irresistible!

New on the scene since last year is a year round farmers market that sells everything from handmade goods to cheese to meats to produce.  One can spend a couple of hours there browsing and snacking on Saturdays from 9 until 2.

IMG_2045Rockland has undergone a complete metamorphosis in recent years.  When we started coming to Maine 26 years ago, we held our noses and quickly passed through.  These days Rockland prides itself for being the state’s art capital.

IMG_2044It is home to the Farnsworth, one of the country’s best small art museums. It has an extensive collection of Maine related art, but the real draw is the work of the Wyeth’s: Andrew, N. C. and Jamie.

IMG_2047An exciting addition to the  community is CMCA (Center for Maine Contemporary Art), formerly located in Rockport.  Early on, some were concerned about its architectural style not complementing buildings dating back to the 1800’s, but that worry has dissipated and CMCA adds a vibrancy to the flourishing art scene.

IMG_2043As many charms as Maine has, the sad truth is that it is a poor state.  So much of the economy depends on summer tourism, but aside from the coast there is not much to draw visitors.  With dwindling opportunity, it becomes increasingly important for small towns to respond to changing times.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Maine

The Last Boat Ride

It’s that time of year when one by one boats are pulled from the water and stored for the winter.  Pipe Dreams goes into hibernation this week so we must get in that last boat ride of the season. 

Indian IslandAs we leave Rockport Harbor, I take a long look at Indian Island wearing its coat of many colors.  This is an image that will be in my head through the winter, a reminder of what I will look forward to next year.

schoonerAs we cruise Penobscot Bay, we wave to folks on a schooner enjoying a sail under a perfect fall sky.  It won’t be long until these vessels are shrouded in plastic or headed south for warmer climes.

frieghterNow, here is a sight we don’t see too often in the bay, a big freighter heading who knows where.

CamdenIn the distance, we see the mainland that is Camden, Lincolnville and Northport

Maineand the islands that characterize the coast of Maine.

BelfastAs we tie up at the Belfast dock, we are welcomed by this familiar sign and notice that the patio is full today of people eating and basking in the warm sun.

BelfastBelfast, another of those cute little Maine towns with a charming main street, is one of our favorite destinations for lunch and browsing. 

BelfastIt is crowded today with visitors from a ship that takes passengers on leaf peeping cruises.

Chase's DailyNo way can we come to Belfast without having lunch at Chase’s Daily, always worth the wait.  The menu is vegetarian and most of the offerings are made with ingredients fresh from the Chase farm.

Chase's DailyChase's DailyChase's DailyChase's DailyThe rear of the restaurant,  appealing as the menu and  filled with seasonal produce and flowers, is also an exhibition space for art, so there is plenty on which to focus.

Eat More Cheese
Eat More Cheese
Coyote Moon
Coyote Moon
The Good Table
The Good Table

On the way back to the boat, I can’t resist a stop at a few of my favorite places where I am sure to find something I can’t live without!

Rockport HarborAfter a very satisfying visit to Belfast and a perfect day for this last cruise, we return to Rockport and the harbor that welcomes us home.

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