CAMDEN-ROCKPORT - Your first logical question is: "What's a snowbat?" It's a twist on the phrase "moonbats," locally coined by Belfast promoter Mike Hurley in a Down East magazine article last December. Penobscot Bay Pilot reporter Ethan Andrews prefered the term "snowbat" over "snowbird" in his article, Welcome back to Belfast snowbats! - so we're stealing it.
It's always nice to come back to Camden-Rockport after a winter away and see what's open, what's closed, what's new and what's happening. So, here is your rundown for the summer.
Cappy's Got Huge...
The most noticeable change in downtown Camden this summer is how big Cappy's got. David Robichaud, of Appleton, and Matt Orne, of Camden, purchased the restaurant business and real estate from Johanna Tutone last fall. But that wasn't the only major change. Over the winter, Robichaud and Orne bought the next door establishment, Village Restaurant, and have been steadily working with crews to transform the expanded space into seating for 225 people with two decks, two bars and two private functions rooms, making it the largest restaurant in Camden. The new restaurant will be called Cappy's Harbor View. The dining room will connect to the original bar and the nautical decor that locals and tourists love will remain the same. Coming into town, you'll notice that paint crews have already matched the dark green trim and signature red doors so that it looks as though it has always been there. And the Village Restaurant sign that adorned the entire front of the building has been removed to reveal a row of port hole windows, touché. And for those who remember Cappy's longtime favorite bartender "Big John" Collins, you're in for another surprise. He's back!
Other New Restaurants
Good news for the yachties and the deck hands...starting down in the harbor, a new gourmet pizza place has replaced what was once Poalina’s Way. Brian Hill, owner of Francine Bistro, opened Seabright, a new restaurant that specializes in pizza as well as a good cocktail menu. "We’ll also feature good rum drinks for all the sailors," said Hill. See full story here.
Halfway up Elm Street, a new Latin-inspired restaurant named Comida Latin Kitchen opened this winter, in the former space of Old World Potato Company (next to Zoot). Trained in French cuisine, chef/owner Tom Sigler brings a French flair to Latin flavors from Mexico, El Salvador, Cuba, Central and South America. See full story here.
And further down the road, Annemarie Ahearn, owner of Salt Water Farm in Lincolnville, has moved her enterprise next to Shepherd's Pie in Rockport, calling it Salt Water Farm Cafe and Market at Union Hall. The market is integrated with the café and offers fresh produce, baked goods and provisions. See full story here.
New Stores And Stuff You Might Have Missed
Speaking of big, snowbats will notice Hannaford Supermarket in Camden has also greatly expanded when they first walk through the new sliding doors. Over the winter, the grocery store finished its renovations, which include a pharmacy and more than 3,000 new products in the new space. People are still wandering around trying to figure out where everything is, except for Hannaford's best customer, Chuck Hendrick. He already knows where the rum aisle is.
Lily, Lupine and Fern is one of the only stores in town offering gourmet craft beers (in addition to fine wines) and if you wander into their shop all the way to the back, you might blink and say "where's the beer?" Never fear, owners Gary and Bunny haven't yanked their stock; they've merely turned a back alcove into the special beer and wine room. Keep walking all the way to the back and hang a Louie, you'll eventually find it. The Marshall Wharf Cant Dog Imperial IPA is worth the trek.
Right next to Lily, Lupine and Fern, tucked down into the alley at #4 Public Landing, a new gallery/studio just opened, run by Jack McKenney, an artist who works with oils and acrylics. Check them out at: jackmckenneystudio.com
Down the street, a little further, Midcoast's largest residents, Rosie and Opal, may reside in Hope, but did you know the loving elephant pals have their own store in Camden? The Hope Elephants Museum Store is at 29 Main St. and is stocked with a variety of elephant-related merchandise, including fine art photographs of Rosie and Opal. Click here for more information on the store.
Green With Envy is another new place that popped up at 25 Mechanic St. this spring. This eco-friendly hair salon uses Aveda products in addition to green cleaning products. Then, there's Twice Upon a Dream, an emporium of new and nostalgic items, which opened on Elm Street next to the Children's House Montessori School.
Other tidbits: Those who remember where Owl & Turtle used to be on Mechanic Street will notice that the alternative Watershed School has moved into that space over the winter. Across the street, another new business is gearing to open June 1, Zarafa, offering children's and maternity clothing. Speaking of kids, Bubbles & Bean Children's Consignment (next door to Reny's) just opened this winter and they are gearing up for a huge summer.
Lastly, the iconic Norumbega Inn on High Street has reopened, under new ownership, with renovations and refurbishment for those who worried they'd never get to stay in this fine castle again.
So there you have it, snowbats. Stay tuned for your Rockland roundup next week and welcome back!
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.