Midcoast Maine and Beyond
Maine’s Midcoast region, including the towns of Camden, Rockland, and Belfast, is a vibrant year-round community. The scenery is magnificent; accommodations are available in a range of styles for every budget — from comfortable inns that were once homes to sea captains to modern, new hotels with all the amenities; there are award-winning restaurants for every taste; cultural organizations abound; and there is much to see and do — even in February.
Located on Penobscot Bay, one of the greatest sailing bays in the world, the area is famous for its shipbuilding, fishing, granite, and limestone. Its two and three masted windjammers, most built in the 19th century, still sail the seas here in the passenger trade, and many of the great buildings in Boston, New York and Philadelphia are built of granite from this region.
Camden is nestled into a bend in the road where the Camden Hills meet the sea. It has a newly renovated winter recreation area with skiing, tubing and tobogganing. The town’s five-star public library, with an amphitheatre and adjoining park designed by renowned landscape architects Fletcher Steele and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., overlooks one of the most beautiful harbors in Maine. Sailboats, fishing boats, windjammers, and visiting yachts come and go all summer, while Elm Street bustles all year with its unique and interesting shops, restaurants, and hotels.
The Camden Conference is held live at the Camden Opera House on Elm Street, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Opera House also hosts concerts and films, the Camden International Film Festival each September, and Pop!Tech each October.
In Rockland, seven miles to the south, the beautiful Strand Theatre live-streams the Camden Conference. Once the 4th busiest port in the nation, Rockland has a working waterfront in addition to a vibrant arts community centered around the Farnsworth Art Museum, the new Center for Maine Contemporary Art, as well as a host of galleries, cafes, and restaurants. The artist Louise Nevelson and the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay were born here, and the area has inspired artists since the 1800s.
Twenty minutes north up the coast from Camden is Belfast, home of the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, the second Camden Conference satellite venue. Belfast got its start as a shipbuilding capitol and trading center. It has recently returned to its roots as a center for boat building with the growth of the Front Street Shipyard, which builds and refits anything from classic wooden boats to yachts of advanced composite construction. A small railroad runs excursions in the summer and fall for train enthusiasts. The community has a full calendar of music and cultural events with an active arts scene that includes a critically acclaimed community theater.
Once a trading and fishing settlement, Portland has maintained much of its 19th century architecture and landmarks, as well as its adventurous spirit. Now a vibrant city on the coast of Maine, Longfellow’s “City by the Sea” has much to offer from a thriving arts and culture scene, to a historic downtown, and cutting-edge cuisine. Approximately two hours south of Camden, Portland is home to the Lee Auditorium on the campus of the University of Southern Maine, the most recent venue to live-stream the Conference in February.
There are many accommodations open throughout the year in the Midcoast and Portland areas. Please see the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce for the most up-to-date information.