I left Friday after work and drove up in clear climates to coastal Camden. I have been twice before and enjoy the area immensely. I arrived, not wanting to turn off the car because the audio-book was too good! But I knew shops would close eventually and so I peeled myself off the car seat and walked around in the chilly air around Camden's compact yet adorable downtown. But by 6pm, the shops were closing and I needed dinner (story of my life). The show didn't start until 7pm so I asked a shopkeeper where I might find the best dinner. Long Grain was the culprit and I walked across the street to find a spot.
Luckily, when you travel solo, you can squeeze into the spots two or more cannot. I was able to steal a seat at the bar next to two ladies I would soon come to know better. But not yet. I ordered a crisp saison and pad thai with chicken, spicy. The atmosphere was jubilant yet intimate and I felt happy reading my book and talking to my other neighbors about what they had eaten and the band I was to see.
After dinner was polished off, I still had some time to kill so I walked down to the water's edge and wandered until I came to some floating docks, stacked high on land. I hopped upon one and commenced looking up at the stars and down on the waterfall created by the final throes of the Megunticook River. There were Mallards eagerly feasting and a chilly, yet life-firming ocean smell in the air. I stayed here only a short bit, as it was time for the show to start at the historic Camden Opera house.
I am a sit-in-front kind of person at my favorite shows, so I went straight to the only open seat in the first two rows. Again, it's easy to slip in when you're lonely. Who was there next to me but the two ladies from the restaurant. We chatted, cheered, clapped and felt things deeply over the course of the next two hours. At the close of the show, I was a stranger in a strange land but invited to drinks with those locals. Walking over to 40 Paper was an amble past the former woolen mill of Camden, with its stack still standing erect and lit up in the night. Even though these vertical bricks once spit out toxic smoke, they are quite breath-taking in the quite and empty night. Late night happy hour was on at 40 Paper and I chose a summery and then winter drink in succession. Before I went to bed that night, at an AirBnb a few miles from town, I simply stared up at the stars, unable to do anything else.
The next morning, I woke up early and drove to the Camden Hills for a hike up the vista. I saw interesting ice formations on the trail, a red squirrel and a view for the books. Hiking down, was a little slow because of the slippery time of year but I wasn't in a great hurry to get to a remembered beach in Lincolnville to hunt for sea glass and pick up uncountable lobster claw rubber bands. After both errands were accomplished, I drove south again to Camden for breakfast. Boynton-McKay was professed to be the best breakfast around and specifically huevos rancheros must be ordered. Normally, I don't follow the crowd but when it comes to food, I want the best! I found a spot at the sun-filled window bar and ordered possibly the best mocha I've every had and the huevos. I will need to come here every time I venture north as the meal was incredible and not too much. Filling and satisfying with textures and tastes coming together between the beans, eggs, cheese, tortilla, salsa and sour cream. All slightly crunchy around the outside due to being cooked in the broiler for a short time. Kill me now!
The only downside was that I wasn't hungry for lunch with my new Rockland-based buddy. No matter, there is always room for the most perfect chocolate chip cookie ever baked and peppermint tea. But before we found this, I found out what a boatyard is like. It wasn't on my list of things to look into but I'm so glad I was given the chance to walk around Rockland Marine's campus. I was shown an enormous boat, turned over and being sanded, patched and painted after running aground, there was a shiny little beauty that I wanted, if only just to run my hands over her hull every day and finally, quite possibly the largest single vessel I've stood next to on dry land. The particular boat (ship?) was being built for some unremembered reason but it was quite spectacular to look at.
After a further walk around Rockport and a trip out to the breakwater, it was time to return to reality. I drove back to Portland in the dark and had British voices to accompany me on my journey.