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Opening picture: Waterfront in Camden ~ Afternoon on the Gulf of Maine

How wonderful to “adopt” a new place on the planet! 

Since before the Pandemic, I’d not traveled anywhere except California to see the grandkids It was time to break out of the rut.

A friend and I just returned from a Sierra Club trip billed as “Jewels of the Maine Coast.” Guided by two Sierra Club leaders, Rochelle (from my home town of Santa Fe) and her co-leader Gail (a Maine resident), the first part of our vacation included Camden and environs. Daily hiking was the theme, but our week was enriched by cultural and educational events.

Camden, Maine: A beautiful place to begin the adventure. The Maine Stay Inn, owned and operated by former attorneys Janis and Peter Kessler, was built in the early 1800s. A three-story white clapboard, “home base” was located on High Street, Camden’s historic district. Every room was furnished with cosy sofas or chairs, beds with comforters, bookcases filled with classic and contemporary books, adorned with starched cotton curtains and all manner of creature comforts. My friend and I occupied a suite on the third floor.

The Maine Stay Inn

Historic District in Camden: park area on the grounds of Maine Stay Inn
One of several excellent Camden restaurants, featuring lobster, mussels and other seafood delights
Sweetgrass Winery, a short drive from Camden
Sweetgrass wine casks, containing blueberry cabernets, blueberry hard cider, cranberry smash and spirits made from local berries and barley

Our first week included a four mile tour of Merryspring Nature Center. Denise, the docent, introduced us to medicinal and culinary herb gardens. One “pod” comprised herbs used exclusively for dyes. Another area featured hybrid chestnut trees. After the herb lecture, we made our way along forested paths and visited springs used by Penobscot Indians and Revolutionary War soldiers. After lunch, back at Maine Stay Inn, we went to Beech Hill for hiking through blueberry fields.

On our last day in Camden, we drove to Sweetgrass Winery and were hosted to a tasting of wines and sangrias made with not grapes, but cherries. Tomorrow we would go by ferry from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island. (Stay tuned for Part Two. coming in October.)