Camden is an affluent town in the state of Maine, a little over an hour north of Portland, in the mid-coast region of Maine. It has been a tourist destination for years and is home to some of the wealthiest individuals in Maine. It had an economic boom in the 1990s when credit card giant MBNA placed major offices there and paid for major town renovations while providing jobs to locals. Now it is an upscale seaside community with many different shops and restaurants.
Camden is considered by some to be one of the most beautiful places in New England. Its town motto is “where the mountains meet the sea”. The rolling Camden hills run from inland right up to the ocean itself creating amazing landscapes, hence why so many people visit and live in this area. This in turn also makes Camden a very expensive place to live and visit. Don’t be surprised to see basic needs such as food, lodging and gas costing more here than in towns just 5 miles away, this is usually due to the high taxes levied by the town.
Camden is home to many affluent families with breathtaking estates and mansions dotting the hills and oceanside. These houses may be one of a kind and amazing to look at, but Camden’s residents do not enjoy it when tourists wander off the beaten path and end up in their neighborhoods. Walking up and down private neighborhoods taking pictures of houses and gardens is frowned upon.
Nevertheless, residents are not cold people to visitors, in fact they are very warm and welcoming. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions or where good restaurants are, they will usually help you.
The town is cut in half by US Route 1 which runs south to north and continues up the Maine coast. Highways 105 and 52 head west and give access to inland Maine.
Concord Coach Lines operates 2 daily buses to and from Portland. Concord Coach buses continue to Boston after a short stop in Portland. Also, trains to Boston’s North Station are available by way of Amtrak.
There are several taxi companies operating in the Camden area. Keep in mind their fares are typically higher than taxis in large urban area due to the area not being as dense and requiring longer drive times.
Walking is an effective mode of transportation in the downtown district, but a car is easier to get to the surrounding hills and residential areas. Also remember that Maine is very rural away from the immediate coast. Just ten minutes west of Camden and you will find yourself in very unpopulated areas. This makes having a car a necessity in Maine.
Maine lags behind the rest of the country with public transportation, so that is not a viable option when visiting Camden. The closest thing to public transportation is a “trolley” that runs between Camden and the towns south of it and to the City of Rockland.
It is also worth noting that traffic in Camden is very heavy and may sometimes be hard to navigate. The road system follows no grid or reasoning, and most streets are not large enough for two lanes of traffic. There are also several places where some streets have the right of way and others do not, these are not clearly marked either. If you are driving in Camden and find yourself being honked at chances are you have not allowed someone the right of way. If you are heading north on Route 1 into Camden, watch for the only stop sign you will encounter on Route 1. Though it is a great annoyance to both tourists and locals for the huge backups it creates, drivers on the intersecting road have the right of way and take it. Also be prepared for start and stop traffic, the streets were designed for horses and buggies, not cars and not many of them.