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Penobscot Bay & Camden | Places We Visit in Maine

PENOBSCOT BAY

Your explorations of Penobscot Bay on a Windjammer schooner hearken back to the early days of merchant sailing vessels plying the Atlantic coast. The harbor in Camden still has echoes of that busy past, with lobster boats and other fishing vessels motoring past sailboats and super yachts. This 800-square-mile bay is widely considered to be the best sailing destination in Maine, with a crenellated shoreline and hundreds of islands to explore. Long before the bay became a playground for the rich and famous, however, it was an important fishing, hunting and shellfish gathering area for the Penobscot, members of the Wabanaki Confederacy, who have lived here for at least 10,000 years. When they first arrived, much of the water in the northern hemisphere was still locked up in ice, leaving the water in this bay approximately 180 feet lower than it is today.

CAMDEN

This hamlet on the shores of Penobscot Bay embodies its slogan, “Where the Mountains Meet the Sea.” The Camden Hills drop to the shores of the bay here, and in the year 1614 the famous English explorer John Smith described “the high mountains of Penobscot, against whose feet doth beat the sea.” Camden was a prosperous town throughout the 1800s, as it benefitted financially from lime production, ship building, anchor manufacturing and wool production. After a devastating fire in 1892, the townspeople rebuilt in brick rather than wood, which created the quaint atmosphere that visitors enjoy today. By the early 1900s, the area’s income came primarily from wealthy vacationers who built mansions on sprawling estates.
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