The rough-around-the-edges harbor on Penobscot Bay lacks the polish of the archetypal seaside Maine village of your imagination. But, take a walk along its historic Main Street and the place will win you over. Well-maintained brick storefronts house antiques shops, galleries and a restored 1923 Vaudeville theater.
Part of Rockland's allure is that you get the feeling people actually live and work here -- and they're not just well-to-do summer people either. At the turn of the 20th century, this was the East Coast's fourth busiest seaport. Healthcare and prison jobs have surpassed maritime pursuits, but for a town of fewer than 10,000 souls, it just might lay claim to a most-museums-per-capita title.
Most notable, are the fabulous Farnsworth Art Museum, and the newer Center for Maine Contemporary Art. If that's not your thing, the Owls Head Transportation Museum invites you to "Wake up and smell the oil," with 150-plus cars, aircraft, motorcycles, bicycles, carriages and more. At the homegrown Sail, Power & Steam Museum, owner Captain Jim Sharp might show you around himself. The Project Puffin Visitor Center welcomes you to step inside a real bird blind. And, the Maine Lighthouse Museum by the harbor claims to have the nation's largest collection of lighthouse artifacts.
--By Jayne Clark, Cruise Critic contributor