10 cool things going on in Midcoast Maine between Columbus Day and Memorial Day
Unlike many vacation towns, Camden and Rockland do not shut down during the winter months. Most shops and restaurants remain open and stay busy with local traffic—which moves at a less frenetic pace than that of summer. A variety of cultural, intellectual, and physical activities keeps things lively. For many of us, it’s our favorite time to be here!
If you’re considering an off-season visit to the area, give us a call and we’ll find a comfortable vacation home for your stay. You’ll soon see for yourself why Midcoast Maine is such a wonderful place to live, work, and play all year-round.
- Absorb the cool from PopTech, October 20 – 22, 2016. PopTech “brings together a global community of innovators from many fields to share insights and work together to create lasting change.” This year’s theme is Culture Clash. Interesting and provocative people from around the world speak and present; one of this year’s headliners, for example, is a noted sexual psychophysiologist.
- Celebrate the holidays! My favorite local holiday tradition is the lighting of the star up on the Mount Battie tower each evening from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. Rockland’s Festival of Lights, during the weekend after Thanksgiving, offers a parade, Santa arriving by Coast Guard boat, special sales around town, and the lighting of a lobster trap tree. Christmas by the Sea, held the first weekend in December in Camden, Rockport, and Lincolnville, features Santa arriving by lobster boat. Additional activities during this holiday season kickoff include a parade through Camden, lighting of the tree in Harbor Park, carriage rides, late night sales, and various craft fairs.
- Eat lots of pie at the 13th Annual Pies on Parade Tour, January 29, 2017: What better way to combat cabin fever than to visit some of Rockland’s historic inns, sampling amazing pies and other baked treats at each one?
- Ski the Bowl! The Camden Snow Bowl’s recently expanded trails and lift lines make for fun downhill skiing for the whole family at the only ski area from which you can enjoy an ocean view. You can access Nordic skiing and snowshoe trails from the main lodge, as well. No snow? Ragged Mountain is also a mecca for mountain bikers.
- In early February, the Snow Bowl hosts the US National Toboggan Championships, a veritable fiesta on ice. Toboggan teams from all over the country hit the chute to win or just for fun—the Best Costume award is almost as coveted as the trophy for fastest team. Food booths and tailgate parties help keep spectators warm. Camden Winterfest, the week-long celebration that culminates in the toboggan races, also features concerts, a snow plow parade, ice sculptures, fireworks, a chili challenge hosted by West Bay Rotary, and more.
- Appreciate some world-class art. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland is open year-round (as are most local galleries). Celebrating Maine and American Treasures from the Farnsworth, two current, popular exhibitions, are on the walls through next October.
- Stimulate your mind at the Camden Conference, February 17 – 19, 2017. Founded thirty years ago, the Camden Conference is a nonprofit, non-partisan education organization whose mission is to foster informed discourse on world issues by bringing the world to Midcoast Maine. Experts from around the world will lead fascinating discussions and presentations on this coming year’s timely theme: Refugees and Global Migration: Humanity’s Crisis.
- Attend an opera. Really! The Strand Theatre in Rockland features ten live transmissions of the award-winning series “The Met: Live in HD.” This coming season offers such favorites as Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Don Giovanni, and Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette. It’s the next best thing to being there—maybe even better, because there are no bad seats and the broadcast takes viewers backstage during intermission. (And The Strand offers really yummy concessions!) Check the Strand schedule for movies and live musical performances, as well.
- Eat, drink, and be merry! Maine Restaurant Week, which runs from March 1 – 11, 2017, is a great way to indulge in some of Maine’s finest dining at Camden-area foodie hotspots Francine Bistro, Hartstone Inn, Natalie’s, and more.
- Sweeten up at Maine Maple Sunday in late March, when you can visit local sugarhouses to learn how sap is transformed into our famous maple syrup. Many offer free samples and fun activities, as well. Find out what early spring tastes like in Midcoast Maine!