Rockland, ME, USA cruises

Rockland sits in wonderful Knox County in Maine, almost exactly midway between historic Portland to the south and Bar Harbor to the north, on a stretch of typically picturesque New England coastline.

Enjoy the patchworks of hills and fields inland, and the grandeur of the rocky coast and pounding Atlantic waves, from what many call the ‘gateway to Penobscot Bay’.

Rockland is a traditional red-brick town whose main street is filled with boutiques and antiques shops, as well as cafés and restaurants. In many of the local eateries, you’ll find the area’s acclaimed lobster on the menu, which is the biggest export in these parts. You’ll understand why as you dine on chilled lobster bisque, a rich and creamy lobster mac and cheese or the absolute classic, the lobster roll.

Given the picturesque coastline here, it’s no surprise that Rockland has long attracted painters. You’ll find the results of nature’s inspiration at the renowned Farnsworth Art Museum, where 20,000 square feet of gallery space houses a collection of over 10,000 works from highly regarded American artists. It includes a significant collection from three generations of the Wyeth family, known as realist painters and illustrators.

Those who wish to explore the coast itself may take to the waters by kayak or catch the ferry across to the neighboring islands. Rockland Harbor is not only filled with working lobster boats but it also shelters a large part of Maine’s fleet of Windjammer sailing boats.

The 800-foot Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park offers panoramic views over Penobscot Bay, speckled with sails, and inland where dense green forest is pierced by granite boulders.

Lighthouse enthusiasts can admire the whitewashed Owls Head Lighthouse, perched on a 70-foot clifftop at the entrance to Rockland Harbor, or visit the Maine Lighthouse Museum, with a collection of lighthouse artifacts that is unmatched in the US. Then there’s the nineteenth-century Rockland Harbor Breakwater Light, a pleasant mile-long stroll along to the end of the man-made granite outcrop jutting into the sea.