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DETAILS: Camden, Maine

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

GETTING THERE: Camden is about 85 miles northeast of Portland, along U.S. Route 1. Flights from Washington airports to Portland take less than 90 minutes; AirTran, US Airways and United offer nonstop service starting at about $200 round trip.

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WHERE TO STAY: A few miles from town, the High Tide Inn (505 Belfast Rd., 800-778-7068, http://www.hightideinn.com) sits on a big, grassy knoll that leads to a private beach. Accommodations include a five-room inn, an oceanfront motel, cottages and an ocean-view motel, where I stayed for $112 a night. Rate includes a breakfast of fresh popovers and muffins. The Lord Camden Inn (24 Main St., 800-336-4325, http://www.lordcamdeninn.com), a 36-room boutique property, is in the middle of Camden's action. Amenities include free Internet, fitness center, buffet breakfast and parking. Rooms from $119. The Norumbega Inn (63 High St., 877-363-4646, http://www.norumbegainn.com), an imperial stone castle built in 1886, is hardly subtle. Many of the rooms are named after European castles, with decor to match. To sleep in the turret, request the Sandringham ($220-$345) or the Windsor ($200-$340).

WHERE TO EAT: When in Camden, eat from the sea. Cappy's (1 Main St., 207-236-2254) serves Matinicus Island lobster pie ($19.99), seafood stew ($9.99), clam chowder (from $6.99) and more. There is also a bakery and a lively bar scene. Dine inches away from the harbor at the Waterfront (40 Bayview St., 207-236-3747), which serves rock crab and artichoke fondue ($11), salmon burgers ($10), lobster crepes ($18), etc. Camden Deli (27 Main St., 207-236- 8343) has seating inside and out (on a rooftop deck). Sandwiches include a spinach balsamic wrap ($6.25), hot pastrami and Swiss on rye ($7.50) and lobster or crab salad rolls (market price). Thai Kitchen by Yang (31 Elm St., 207-236-9799) prepares pad Thai (from $12.95) and a variety of curry dishes (from $14.95).

WHAT TO DO: Drive or hike up Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park (280 Belfast Rd., 207-236-3109, http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks; $3), which has 30 miles of hiking trails. Find loads of activities at the Public Landing, including windjammer cruises and kayak tours. The Schooner Olad (207-236-2323, http://www.maineschooners.com) sails five times a day through Sept. 1. Cost: $29. Learn about lobsters aboard the Lively Lady Too (207-236-6672, http://www.livelyladytoo.com; $25). Take the 20-minute ferry to Islesboro Island. The boat departs from Lincolnville. Passengers pay $7.50 round trip; cars are $22.25. Info: Maine State Ferry Service, 207-789-5611, http://www.state.me.us/mdot/opt/ferry/215-ilseboro.php.

INFO: Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce, 207-236- 4404, http://www.camdenme.org.

-- A.S.

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