At the end of August, after a whirlwind road trip in Canada, I found myself headed to Rockland, Maine. While I had been to Maine several times in the past, I had no idea what to expect, but I was excited to be on the coast, especially at the end of summer. I feel at my happiest when I am near water, so I knew Rockland would make its way into my heart; I was right.
It’s a small town, but it offers a lot, especially for a little weekend getaway. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience and wouldn’t mind making my way up to Rockland again sometime soon.
250 Main Hotel
I cannot think of a better place to stay while visiting the town of Rockland than 250 Main Hotel. It’s located on Main Street with the neighborhood shops, galleries, and restaurants just a wander away. It’s also a beautiful boutique hotel that doubles as an art gallery, as all of its art is for sale and done by Maine artists. The rooms are spacious and comfortable, making it a real getaway from it all.
Rockland Harbor Hotel
Located on the opposite side of Rockland to 250 Main Hotel, this hotel is also a great space to lay your head down for a bit. Every single room at Rockland Harbor Hotel has a balcony facing the Rockland Harbor. The rooms have been recently updated and are beautiful, plus there’s free breakfast in the morning. There’s also a great firepit out front to sit an enjoy a glass of wine and just relax.
Eat & Drink
Rock City Cafe
After arriving in town and checking into my hotel, I was pretty hungry. Armed with a few suggestions from the hotel, I made my way to Rock City Cafe. I’ll admit, I was nervous about being a vegetarian in the land of lobster, but it all worked out. I read the menu outside of the cafe and after spotting a sweet potato and been burrito I was sold. It was as delicious as it sounded. In the back of the cafe there’s also a little bookstore that I’d recommend strolling through.
While it took all of my power to drag myself from my bed at 250 Main after a nap, I decided to head out for dinner. After getting vegetarian suggestions from the front desk, I made my way to Cafe Miranda. It was relatively small but with a huge menu. There was enough room for me outside, so I ordered a beer and then tried to decide what I wanted to have for dinner. I finally settled on the falafel burger, which was a fine choice. It was huge and so good, I didn’t even need the bun.
Lulu’s Ice Cream and Gelato
Ice cream is one of my weaknesses, so when I spotted the sign for Lulu’s on Main Street, you can be sure I followed it. It’s actually right next door to Cafe Miranda, so I had a hard time not getting seconds after dinner. Don’t worry, I behaved myself. But, mid-day I did enjoy a caramel peanut butter cup brownie gelato that was worth every calorie.
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
Strolling down Main Street, I saw a sign for the Center for Maine Contemporary Art and thought I’d see what it was all about. As I walked down the street, I was impressed with the building, as well as the sculpture outside. I decided to give it a try, as I tend to be a bit particular when it comes to art. But, I immediately loved what I saw. While I was there, they were changing exhibits, so I didn’t get to see it all, but I did really enjoy Particle Soul, a exhibition by Jonathan Borofsky of Ogunquit, Maine. It’s all about human interconnections and reminded me of the K.S. Radhakrishnan exhibit I saw at The National Gallery of Modern Art in Bangalore. The space is beautiful and worth a visit, no matter how you feel about art.
Farnsworth Art Museum
While I only got into the gift shop at the Farnsworth during my first day in Maine, I did spend some time here after my time on the schooner. One of the girls I met is a graphic designer and as we spent the day wandering around Rockland, she wanted to see their Wyeth collection. I gladly went along with her, not sure what to expect. I tend to gravitate towards more contemporary art, but this place took me by surprise. I was impressed, not just with the collections, but also with the way they were presented.
Art seems to be what Rockland is all about, and you can peruse all of the galleries in town, there are quite a lot. While I didn’t wander into all of them, I did find a few off of Main Street that I really enjoyed. While I don’t currently have money to spend on art, if I one day did, I would head here.
Shop on Main Street
Along with all of the galleries, there are also a ton of shops dotted along Main Street, so lots of shopping can be done during your time in town. There were the usual beach town shops, as well as spots for souvenirs and the shops at the museums; lots of options in a short distance.
The reason I found myself in Rockland is because that’s where I boarded the J&E Riggin schooner. While I took the four day food cruise, there are plenty of other options, including some day sailings. Even if you can’t spend a lot of time on the water, I’d highly recommend seeing this area of Maine by boat. There really is no better way.
Rockland took me by surprise and quickly worked its way into my heart. I had no idea what to expect and sometimes those are the best trips. If you’re looking for a classic Maine coastal town that has a heavy focus on the arts, this is the spot for you. Even if you don’t make a whole trip of it, I’d definitely recommend stopping by Rockland for at least a night if you’re driving up the coast. I promise it’s worth it.
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