A New Yorker’s Long Weekend in Maine

September 10, 2020

Photo: Amanda Amore
New York, we love ya, but things are super weird right now and we could all use a little getaway. Craving a vacation but feeling like hopping on a plane to a tropical island might not be the best idea right now, I was on the hunt for the perfect getaway. The requirements: must be driving distance from New York, allow for social distancing, and be dog-friendly (overly attached dog mom over here). After lots of research, frustration, procrastination, and wondering if I should even bother going anywhere right now, I finally decided on a long weekend in Camden, Maine. Located on the Mid-Coast of Maine, Camden is known for its panoramic water views, unique shops, and of course, lobsters.

The Drive

Camden, Maine is about a six-hour drive from New York. Including two rest stops along the way, it took about seven hours to get there. The drive was simple, partially scenic, and overall seemed to go pretty fast. We made rest stops every two hours, one in Massachusetts and one in Portland, Maine. A three-hour podcast, two-hour road trip playlist on Spotify, and in-depth discussion about lobster rolls later, we arrived.

The Accommodations

I am forever on the hunt for clean and beautiful hotels that don’t break the bank. For this trip, I also needed the hotel to be pet-friendly, have a balcony with a view (I’ve been staring at the same wall outside my apartment window since March, so this was a must), and have adequate COVID-19 safety precautions in place. 16 Bay View in Camden checked all the boxes and then some. This cozy and pristine boutique hotel has all the luxury, vintage Gatsby vibes without the price tag, and an extensive list of COVID-19 safety measures and policy updates in place. I chose The Executive Suite on the second floor which includes a decent sized balcony with partial views of Camden Harbor on one side and the Camden Hills on the other side, a cozy gas fireplace, and a spa-inspired bathroom, complete with a heated floor. The room was larger than I had expected, with lots of natural light.
Photo: Amanda Amore
Taking pet-friendly accommodations to a whole new level, my maltipoo was greeted with a sign that said “Welcome Oreo”, and provided with a plush dog bed, tennis ball, food and water dishes, and some treats. Also included with your stay is a delicious breakfast, hand delivered to your guest room. My favorite part was the fresh muffins made with the most amazing local blueberries (apparently blueberries are a big deal in Maine? I had no idea, but I’m into it). Possibly the biggest highlight of 16 Bay View is its iconic rooftop bar and terrace, The View. Here, you can enjoy cinematic views of Camden while eating from their small plates menu and sipping signature cocktails, wines, and local and domestic beers.

What to Eat, Drink, and Do

Conveniently, 16 Bay View shares the same block as some of Camden’s best restaurants. With fresh seafood and spectacular waterfront views, Blaze is truly the best of Camden. Go for the California roll with Maine crab (served only on Fridays and Saturdays), Acadia mussels, clam chowder, and Caesar salad with fresh lobster — trust me on this. After dinner, we strolled around town and stopped at Peter Ott’s on the Water’s takeout ice cream window. The toasted coconut with chocolate syrup did not disappoint.
Photo: Amanda Amore
Day two in Camden was spent strolling around the picturesque town. The beauty of a small-town getaway is that everything is within walking distance. Starting on Bay View, make your way to Main Street and enjoy the unique collection of shops. You know the kind of stores that are so aesthetically pleasing that they make you want to redecorate your entire home? Yeah, that’s Jo Ellen Designs. For sustainable fashion and the most amazing scented candles, check out Sea Bags, selling bags made in Maine from recycled boat sails. For keepsakes to remember your weekend in Maine, check out the family-owned gift shop, The Smiling Cow. We collect shot glasses from every trip and found the perfect selection to choose from there. Cap off a day of shopping with classic candy favorites and gourmet fudge from Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe. For the perfect ending to the day, cozy up by the heat lamps at 16 Bay View’s The View, and enjoy some of Maine’s best lobster rolls.
Photo: Amanda Amore
On our final day in Camden, we soaked up every second of the morning on our balcony, listening to music and enjoying the peace and quiet with cold brew from French & Brawn Marketplace and our complimentary breakfast. Packed and ready to hit the road, we picked up lobster rolls to go from Waterfront. Since they don’t allow dogs in the dining area, this was the perfect meal for our ride home. Armed with blue raspberry sour belts from Uncle Willy’s Candy Shoppe, Arizona iced tea cans (is it really a road trip without these?), and some great memories, we were ready to head back to New York. All in all, this trip was everything a cooped up New Yorker could have hoped for in 2020 — relaxing, casual, and surrounded by nature. This little getaway felt like the breath of fresh air that many of us desperately need these days. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, Camden, Maine should definitely be on your radar.

For your own safety and the safety of others, we do not recommend or condone non-essential travel, unless it can be done safely and following official guidelines. For more up-to-date information on COVID-19 and travel, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.htmlwww.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

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