An easy drive up I-95 leads straight to the heart of the Maine coast, where the charming town of Rockport promises laid-back luxury.
With its wealth of options for shopping, history, arts and culture, and dining and lodging, Rockport, Maine, makes for an ideal weekend getaway. In warmer months, the coastal town is a veritable beach escape in your own back yard.
We planned our weekend around a stay at the newly renovated Samoset Resort, a AAA Four-Diamond property on Penobscot Bay. The Samoset is one of New England’s most celebrated golf resorts, with 14 of its championship course’s 18 holes played along the ocean. Although we spent a misty morning on the course under the tutelage of affable golf pro Gary Soule, we discovered that there’s much more to the resort. A health club and massage services are at the ready for fitness-minded guests, but the main attraction is a new outdoor zero-entry swimming pool overlooking the Atlantic. The resort offers 178 rooms and suites. For utmost exclusivity, book the very private Flume Cottage, which occupies its own rocky promontory directly on the water. 220 Warrenton Street, Rockport, 207-594-2511, samosetresort.com.
Once in Rockport, you won’t have to go far to enjoy a four-star meal—actually, a AAA Four-Diamond meal. Marcel’s at the Samoset serves elegantly presented surf and turf dishes, which are complemented by an award-winning wine list. 220 Warrenton Street, 207-594-2511, samosetresort.com. Prism Restaurant and Gallery’s menus teem with carefully mixed salads and sandwiches, rich pasta plates, and succulent seafood dishes. Afterward, browse the gallery’s colorful glasswork, created by local artists. 297 Commercial Street, U.S. Route 1, Rockport, 207-230-0061, prismrockport.com. A new venture by chef/restaurateur Brian Hill, Shepherd’s Pie opened in May in historic Shepherd Block. Hearty pub fare includes fried clam tacos, porkbelly sandwiches, duck hot dogs, and, of course, shepherd’s pie, made with ground Maine lamb. Reservations aren’t accepted, but it’s worth the wait. 18 Central Street, Rockport, 207-236-8500.
The Center for Maine Contemporary Art features works by both established Maine artists and up-and-comers. Educational programs help visitors discover their own inner artists. 162 Russell Avenue, 207-236-2875, cmcanow.org. The Rockport Opera House hosts plays and performances of music, dance, and poetry. A million-dollar makeover in 1993 has helped perpetuate its status as one of Maine’s most beloved cultural landmarks. Central Street, 207-236-2514, rockport.me.us/operahouse. Maine Sport Outfitters is a one-stop shop for bike and canoe rentals and guided kayak tours. Route 1, Rockport, 207-236-8797, mainesport.com. Neighboring Camden and Lincolnville are just minutes away and offer countless options similar to those that you’re guaranteed to love about this magical Maine town. —Lindsay Lambert