Great Fall Getaways: Penobscot Bay, Maine

Photograph by Christopher Churchill

Photograph by Christopher Churchill

For the Epicurean

Explore the origins of the lobster roll aboard a Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure on Rockland’s working waterfront. As he hauls in traps, veteran fisherman Steve Hale explains which crustaceans are keepers and dishes about which boldfacers (Richard Gere, John Travolta) have recently vacationed in the area. In Camden, the Hartstone Inn hosts a variety of adventures for food lovers, such as mushroom-hunting trips and cheesemaking classes. (Instant culinary cred: Julia Child celebrated her 89th birthday at the inn.) At Cellardoor Winery vineyard — a picturesque stop on Maine’s burgeoning Wine Trail — duck into the new tasting room on Sundays for complimentary food and wine pairings. And make sure to visit the bustling Shepherd’s Pie for satisfying pub grub, plus an unexpected delight: The windows in the bright bathroom overlook bucolic Rockport Harbor.

For the Adventurer

There’s no beating a hike or drive in Camden Hills State Park for a fall nature fix. But while most tourists make a beeline for Mount Battie, we prefer the sweeping views of the bay and surrounding islands from the higher ocean lookout, on the way to the wooded top of 1,385-foot Mount Megunticook. For a scenic workout, Atlantic Climbing School offers a half-day rock-climbing course on Barrett’s Cove Cliff in Camden. Alternatively, take a mellow stroll down the breakwater jutting into Rockland Harbor — a historical lighthouse (open to the public on Columbus Day) awaits you at the end of the short walk.

For the Culture Vulture

Get your fill of all things Wyeth at the stellar Farnsworth Art Museum. After surveying paintings by the artistic family in the main building, stroll across the grounds to the Wyeth Center to take in the current exhibit, “Andrew Wyeth, Christina’s World and the Olson House,” which features early drafts of the iconic work as well as paintings of Alvaro and Christina Olson and their still-standing farmhouse in nearby Cushing. Down the block, browse locally made crafts and housewares at the Island Institute’s store, Archipelago. And no art-minded excursion to the Midcoast would be complete without a stop at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, which showcases the work of current and past residents of the Pine Tree State.  

Where to Stay

A retreat at the Nebo Lodge (fall rates from $100 with a shared bath) on quiet, windswept North Haven Island is well worth the hour-plus ferry ride from Rockland, especially if you’re there when its buzzy restaurant is open for dinner. (The night before we arrived, acclaimed food writer Mark Bittman was there, later commenting on his blog that the staff is “turning out some good stuff.”) Back on the mainland, a swanky spa and three new guest cottages are among the additions this season to the Samoset Resort (fall rates from $159).

Save this Date: October 5, 12, and 19

The Farnsworth Art Museum’s “Cultures of Desire” lecture series — exploring the relationship between culinary history and paintings of food — will whet appetites at the Strand Theatre in Rockland on three consecutive Wednesdays.

The Essentials

Drive time: Three hours, 30 minutes