Posts Tagged ‘Camden Maine’

Camden in the spring

January 2, 2010

We’re smack in the middle of a ful-blown Nor’eastah, a raging blizzard that one overzealous TV guy has said has the potential to be the storm of the century. I think it might be a wee bit too early in the century to title it, but the storm has me pining for sunshine and flowers. And I found a nice deal, for those able to book before the rooms are all taken.

During May and June, Cedarholm Garden Bay, a colony of secluded cottages on a gorgeous chunk of oceanfront property a few miles north of downtown Camden, is offering a third night free for stays of two nights or longer.

These aren’t your run of the mill cabins, these are luxurious and very private shingled cottages set on 16 acres landscaped with gorgeous gardens. The fanciest ones have fieldstone fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Four are oceanfront, two others are set in the gardens, but have ocean views.

Rates include a continental breakfast: Think scratch-baked goodies, freshly squeezed orange juice, fresh fruit. Dine inside or take it out on the deck.

Sea & ski & slide for the roses

January 1, 2010

If you’re one of the many skiers and snowboarders who really don’t need a humongous resort, miles of trails, high-speed lifts, and the prices that go with, then you might want to check out Camden Snow Bowl, in coastal Camden, a town better known among yachtsmen than skiers.

The Snow Bowl exists in a time warp, with a vintage A-frame base lodge and retro food and ticket prices. The reward for riding the pokey chair or creaky T-bars is a cruise down nautically named trails that ebb and flow down the 950-foot vertical, delivering glimpses of island-salted Penobscot Bay. In addition to skiing and riding, the town-owned Snow Bowl has terrain and tubing parks,  a toboggan chute, and ice skating on Hosmer Pond.

After this weekend’s storm, it’s bound to have great conditions. As is its toboggan chute, home to the annual North American Tobogganing Championships (registration is still open for this year’s 20th annual slide for the roses). The championships, held the first weekend in February, is the winter wing-ding in Camden.

Image from Camden Snow Bowl.

Who done it?

December 27, 2009

Find out at the Norumbega Inn’s Murder Mystery Weekend, Jan.23-24 (and another, March 19-21), in Camden.

Guests become part of the plot during this weekend of murder and mayhem written exclusively for the Norumbega.

The inn, an elegant Victorian-era stone castle overlooking Penobscot Bay, fits the description of the Clue board game: Library, parlor, dining room, etc. The sleuth who solves the mystery wins a free night for two.

The price—$225 pp plus the room cost, tax, and grats—includes two breakfasts, two wine-and-cheese receptions, and two dinners.

Fancying Francine

December 19, 2009

Dined at Chef/Owner Brian Hill’s  Francine Bistro last night, and I liked it. Food is well prepared and innovative; service is very good. It is not, however, a fine dining restaurant; true to the name, it’s a bistro: loud, frenzied, fun. The prices aren’t exactly bistro prices (entrees $23-26), which is probably why I’ve heard mixed reactions to this little gem.

Nothing fancy in decor (wood floors, painted walls, mirrors to give the impression that it’s a bit larger than it really is–and also so the staff can monitor what’s happening). Although the din could be toned down with a bit of acoustical fabric wall hangings, but that would change the good-times feel of the place, even if conversation is a bit difficult.

I dined on braised local rabbit, grits, greens white asparagus, bacon miso. It was hefty portion, and I couldn’t finish it (yay, leftovers!). Next time I dine here, I’ll restrain myself for the day so I’m good and hungry. The appetizer courses looked wonderful, especially the Jerusalam artichoke soup with parmesan and fried garlic—mmmmm. I could easily have paired that with the skillet roast semolina gnocchi, country style ragu local pecorino and called it a meal in itself, perhaps with a salad, too. Next time.

Midweek steal at the Camden Harbour Inn

November 24, 2009

The way-cool Camden Harbour Inn, home to Natalie’s, one of Maine’s best tables, has a midweek, nonholiday off-season promo that’s a steal.

The Midweek Promo, available through May 2010, includes a room, a three-course dinner at Natalie’s, and a full champagne breakfast. Price is best available, with rates beginning at $109 pp.

Also included are the inn’s (not-so-) standard amenities:

• Welcome Prosecco upon arrival

• Complimentary wireless internet

• Complimentary in-room coffee, tea, and Poland spring water

• Turndown service including handmade premium Belgium chocolates

• Complimentary Portland Press Herald newspaper every morning

• Complimentary coffee, tea, pastries and snacks in the lounge (Baked treats from the chef, yum)

• Complimentary selection of magazines, books and newspapers in the lounge (I found quite a few good reads).

• Complimentary DVD library including the latest movies (again, good titles)

The fine print: Promotion is based on availability and excludes taxes, gratuity (20% for dinner will be added), & alcoholic drinks.

Heads up: Camden Conference

November 22, 2009

Want to get the low down on what’s happening in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India? That challenging region is the focus of Crossroads of Conflict, the 2o10 Camden Conference, slated Feb. 19-21, in Camden and streamlined to venues in Rockland and Belfast.

This year’s program features experts discussing the area’s history, culture, current unsettled situation, and future prospects. It will offer both specific and overview presentations devoted to the broad array of issues raised within this turbulent region as well as the role of U.S. policies and programs.

This year’s keynote speaker is Ahmed Rashid, journalist, author, and noted commentator on the Taliban, the Afghan war, and the increasingly unsettled state of his native Pakistan.

Other confirmed speakers include:

G. Whitney Azoy, National Geographic film maker and 40-year student of Afghanistan and the Muslim world

Paul Pillar, former chief National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia

Samina Quareshi, award-winning designer, artist,  educator, and  author of the upcoming book “Pirates and Princes,” tales of travelers from Italy to India.

Nicholas Burns, under-secretary of state for political affairs in the administration of George W. Bush, with authority for U.S. negotiations with Iran and India, and currently professor of diplomacy and international politics at the Kennedy School, Harvard University, will preside.

If you want to be assured of a seat in the Camden Opera House, become a member and you can purchase tickets now. Otherwise, tix go on sale to the public on Nov. 30.  Tickets for the Opera House (general public) are $220 this year, while attending at the satellite venues costs $150. Special student rates of $40 are available at satellite venues.

And speaking of Camden…

September 29, 2009

Here’s another event you might want to note on your calendar. “Literature of New Voices in America, reflecting Cross-Cultural Experience” is the focus of the 2009 Maine Literary Festival, at the Camden Opera House, on Saturday, Nov. 7. Should be an interesting evening. I’m not going to reprint the line-up here, but it’s a cast of intriguing characters.

And speaking of film

September 29, 2009

Just a reminder that the Camden International Film Festival kicks off tomorrow. About 50 indepdendent documentaries are slated to be screened Oct. 1-4 at various locations in the Camden-Rockland region.

Just scanning the line-up, one that looks interesting is the world premiere of  The Fish Belong to the People, which follows a group of Port Clyde fishermen who are trying to preserve their way of life.

Speaking of wine

September 24, 2009

You can host your own winemaker dinner, but first you have to make the wine. To learn—and enjoy top notch meals and luxurious lodging and fun activities—tap into the annual Wine Camp, a joint venture of Cellardoor Winery and the Camden Harbour Inn, slated Oct. 12-16.

Here’s what’s included:
•    Four nights at the Camden Harbour Inn, including turndown service with handmade Belgian chocolates every night; coffee, tea and bottled water in all rooms, as well as complimentary DownEast coffee, Mighty Leaf tea, pastries and snacks all day in the lounge; Wine Camp welcome reception at the Inn with Prosecco and special hors d’oeuvres

•    All meals during the four-day trip, including an a la carte Champagne breakfast every morning at Natalie’s, ta at the Camden Harbour Inn;  a luncheon at Prism Glass & Gallery Café in Rocklan; a dinner at The Edge at The Inn at Ocean’s Edge in Lincolnville; and a Natalie’s farewell five-course tasting dinner including wine pairings selected by French wine connoisseur and owner of Belfast’s Easterly Wines, Jack Scully.

•    Transportation to Wine Camp activities

•    Wine classes and educational programs at Cellardoor Winery and Vineyard

•    Winemaking kit

•    A cooking class with Natalie’s Executive Chef Lawrence Klang

•    Special outings and activities including a Maine winery tour, kayaking tour, and a sailing trip on the Schooner Olad (weather permitting, rain programs available).

The Wine Camp package starts at $1,650 plus tax per person based on double occupancy and includes gratuity.

Win an overnight at the Camden Harbour Inn

August 24, 2009

Not only that, you’ll have the opportunity to cook with Fore Street’s Sam Hayward or Jeff Landry, from the Farmer’s Table. And you’ll receive tickets to the Maine Fare foodie event Sept. 11-13 in Camden. To qualify, submit your best recipe using Maine ingredients here.

Speaking of the Camden Harbour Inn, here’s another event worth considering. Perfume expert, author, and New York Times critic Chandler Burr is hosting a master class in “les parfums gourmands” at the inn’s restaurant, Natalie’s, on Saturday, Sept. 12. It’s a multi-sensory two-feast extravaganza: one invisible and olfactory, created by Chandler Burr; the other edible and gustatory, created by Executive Chef Lawrence Klang. Reserve a seat—you better be sitting for this—$289.