Last weekend we were in Camden, Maine for our summer vacation. Being rather pregnant, I wasn’t sure we would get one of our more typical camping vacations this summer but we decided to go for it… three nights tenting in Camden’s State Park. Yes, we have a good air mattress.
What we didn’t count on was the heat wave. Friday morning it was 31 degrees by 9 am and still 36 degrees at supper time. It made for lots of trips to the water (lake and ocean) and a warm tent at bedtime but being that close to the coast was far better than sitting in front of fans at home.
The boys were super excited to go camping. If you ask them what their favorite part was, at least half the time Oliver says “the campfire”. They like sticking their sticks into the fire and seeing the “sparkles” fly up when daddy stokes the fire.
The first morning the boys and I gave daddy some nap time and went to Lincolnville beach, just up the road. The water was make-your-legs-ache cold but boy, it felt good after sitting in the sun for a while.
It was also the only beach we found that was actually more sandy than rocky. The boys played quite a bit that morning making sand castles. There was a ferry nearby that came about every hour and kicked up waves that Oliver was pretty excited to jump in. We planned on hiking Mount Battie later that day but it was way too hot. Instead, we drove to the top of Mount Battie and wandered around. It has a really pretty view of Camden’s waterfront.
So, why Camden? That day, July 5th, was the day of the Great Schooner race… a race from Camden to Rockland between the big windjammers of the area (and there are many!). For hubby’s 40th birthday, we chartered a smaller sailboat to be in the Rockland harbor (20 mins south of Camden) for the finish of the race, among the windjammers. Hubby has always had an appreciation for the Bluenose and its history so this seemed like a really cool gift for a milestone birthday.
It was the Bufflehead and a really neat experience! Captain Dan was so welcoming and down to earth and knows a lot about the big windjammers… you can easily tell he genuinely loves doing what he does. He even let off a little (but loud) cannon when we got near a couple of his buddies’ ships.
We will recommend him to anyone looking for a similar experience! Here’s the bufflehead and us getting ready to board.
The boys were really good on the boat… kind of quiet, just taking it all in, but they seemed to enjoy it overall. You can really get a sense of all the big windjammers in the water with us. I think hubby enjoyed his birthday gift!
I wish I could remember all of the stories Dan told us about the big windjammers. They were really pretty to look at and all different from each other so interesting to hear about.
The one on the right with the three front sails and topsails was my favorite.
Emery stuck with me for most of the trip. He even nodded off at one point. It was a pretty comfy spot for both of us, I’ll admit.
I kept thinking what a neat experience that was for the boys. And what a nice spot to be on such a hot day! This one kind of shows the tilt the boat got when the sails were full (and I say “kind of” because it got quite a bit tippier than that!). I admit I looked back at Captain Dan a couple of times to make sure I shouldn’t be worried.
A shot of the Camden harbor on Saturday morning…
We spent more time at Lincolnville beach Saturday morning, only daddy came with us this time. There isn’t a lot of kid-oriented stuff in that area but we don’t feel our kids need amusement parks and water slides at this age anyway. They were perfectly happy at this beach on Friday morning so we went back the next day and they had a ball splashing in the waves again!
That afternoon we decided to walk the breakwater in Rockland. It is 7/8 mile and leads to a big lighthouse. The walk was tricky because the big stones were all pieced together like a mosaic, so we ended up carrying Emery most of the way. Here we are at the lighthouse (see us at the end?). After that walk we were SO hot, we went back to the lake we had gone to the previous two nights… Barrett’s cove in Camden State Park. I guess we’re creatures of habit but again, the boys had such fun, why not go back? And the lake was perfect… warm and shallow enough for quite a while so the kids could play freely.
See the floaty? Best $5 I’ve ever spent. Oliver has been really resistant to try any sort of floating device up to this summer but he absolutely loved floating around in these things! He’ll be swimming in no time.
This lake was also so shallow that both boys could walk themselves along the bottom with their hands really easily. At one point during our second night, Oliver was doing just that and suddenly proclaimed to no one in particular, “This is great! This is soooo great!”.
Home sweet home. Camden State Park is like most state parks… no frills. We realized on this trip that the stay would have been a bit easier at a campground that was geared a bit more toward kids (playground, pool, etc) but it was a really nice campground … clean, wooded sites, free (and good) showers, and surprisingly quiet for a July 4th weekend.
Campfires, tenting, oceans, lakes, sailing, and let’s not forget seat dancing on the way home… it was a nice trip. There were definitely some really trying moments for mommy and daddy (a couple of which made us consider coming home a night early) but overall we had fun and I’m really glad we explored this part of Maine. And yes, at seven and a half months pregnant, I am even glad we braved the camping.
I’m not sure how much of these trips the kids will remember but I can’t help thinking that the experiences and time spent together as a family are shaping them in a positive way just the same.