“Let’s spend the night in Camden.”
We say this to each other often. One of the benefits of being “emtpy nesters” is that we are free of kids schedules. So when Don is heading up to Mid Coast Maine for work- I usually tag along. To make myself useful- I do the driving and drink lots of coffee, while he does business via cell phone, and makes lots of notes on his legal pad. I especially love it when we schedule these working getaways to Camden on Thursdays. Why Thursdays? Hmmm… I’ll let you in on that little secret in a sec…
Because it’s usually spur of the moment, we have a handful of places on speed dial to reserve a room and make dinner reservations.
Here’s how it looks:
The Whitehall– Every time I walk onto this property I get excited. It feels like we’re going to stay with friends that have great decorating style and are amazing cooks. The interior is cozy and sprinkled with eye catching artwork that I adore and it has a fun vintage, rambling farmhouse vibe that I love.
16 Bayview- What was once the Bayview Street Garage in years past has been totally renovated and now a luxury hotel. The views of Penobscot Bay from their Ocean View suites are impressive. The hotel has an Old World feel with lots of dark wood, exposed brick and leather seating. In the winter you’ll smell fresh popped popcorn coming from their lobby bar called the Vintage room- they add a hint of truffle oil to the popcorn which makes it taste decadent! In the summer you’ll want to drop everything and head to their rooftop lounge called The View for spectacular views of Camden Harbor.
Lord Camden Inn– A sister property of 16 Bayview. This place holds lots of great memories for us. We’ve been guests of the the Lord Camden Inn since our boys were little and going to the Planet toy store below was a highlight of the trip. The vibe here is comfortable, classic and always friendly. They have rooms on the 4th floor with gorgeous views of the Harbor, but our choice is to stay in the River View Fireplace suites. We love these suites for business travel because they have a gas fireplace that separates the room into 2 semi-private spaces. One to relax and sleep, the other to spread out paperwork and work quietly with a cup of coffee in the morning.
40 Paper Bistro & Bar- A cool gathering spot that we heard about through friends who live locally. Filled with a fun crowd and a great beer selection, including Dons fave from Marshall’s Wharf in nearby Belfast. The atmosphere has a casual candlelit feel with super friendly staff. We will definitely be going back.
The sky looked like a blueberry and pink lemonade cocktail the night we were there in late July. Casting shadows over Mount Battie in the distance, and highlighting the boats in the Bay.
It’s a pretty spectacular spot!
Francine Bistro– Charcoal colored walls, warm glowy candlelight and weathered wood furnishings, give Francine’s that dinner party at your friends house feel that I love. We so appreciate that they stay open year round. In fact, we especially love the intimate atmosphere here in the Fall and Winter months.
My favorite dish- the slow smoked pork ribs with peanuts and salted caramel. Delish!!!
Pig & Poet-Located inside the Whitehall hotel, with bright birch tree papered walls, nautical rope lighting and colorful contemporary artwork is the Pig & Poet.
What best describes our experience here is Fresh & Flavorful! We are by no means Foodies, nor are we great cooks, but when we see deviled eggs, ceviche and lobster rolls on a menu- we get all crazy! “Let’s order two of each, that way we don’t even have to share. You have yours and I’ll have mine.”
Chef Dirk came out of the kitchen to chat with us for a bit- I was gushing to him about the ceviche, between random bites of the lobster roll and deviled eggs. All 3 were so good, I wanted to get it right. So, I followed up with a phone call. I’m so glad I did. The chef’s I spoke with were so eager and happy to talk about how they prepare the food, that it made me love the place even more!
Chef Neil gave me the inside scoop on the amazingly fresh ceviche. The night we were there it was made with a combination of halibut, avocado, mango, grapefruit, fresno peppers, lime juice and grapefruit white balsamic vinegar. It’s served alongside a cumin red pepper puree’.
Chef Rose shared her tricks to making her deviled eggs special. She mixes the yolk with mayo, relish, turmeric, curry, cayenne, and a little paprika. She serves some house made “poet hot sauce” on the side-Perfection!!
The skinny on making her Maine lobster rolls extra tasty? She tops them with avocado, some crispy leeks and the roll is lightly toasted in pork fat. Yup! You read that right-pork fat!! And they are magical!!
Served with Whispering Angels rose’- Our idea of the perfect summer meal!!
And, to let you in on the little known secret of why Thursday is our favorite night to be in Camden?
This is it!
Thursday night Karaoke at Cuzzy’s is “hands down” the best live entertainment in town.
If you have some favorite spots in Camden you’d like to share, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you.