While exploring the magnificent coastline of our region, try to leave room for some culture! From maritime museums to Wyeth and Hopkins, historic forts to opera, Midcoast Maine offers plenty. Its natural beauty has drawn artists and artisans for centuries and the roads in and around Waldoboro abound with museums, galleries and studios. Lodging at Le Vatout means you can revel in nature’s glory one day and then encounter it again through artists’ eyes. Start right here with some of our favorites, then wend your way up or down the coast. Either way, you'll find that coastal culture is just minutes away from Le Vatout, that cozy little bed and breakfast and its creative keepers.
Waldoborough Historical Society Museum
Waldoboro was once host to shipyards which launched fleets of schooners in the great age of sail; a well-preserved village reflects that early prosperity. This museum is the best place to learn about this seafaring, fishing and farming community - settled by Germans in the mid-1700s. Museum Hours of Operation: 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. June thru September
Well worth a visit! This 1772 treasure, located in the German cemetery a couple of minutes South from Le Vatout on Route 32, has a wonderfully preserved interior, square-benched pews and a wine-glass shaped pulpit. Services are still held here each summer. The museum is free and open to the public seven days per week, from the last week in June through Labor Day, and then on fall weekends. Hours are 1:00-4:30 p.m.
The Tidemark Gallery
Right in "downtown" Waldoboro, this is a lovely place to visit. The Tidemark showcases the work of many professional artists and artisans in the Waldoboro area and it organizes the annual Paint the Town extravaganza. Check their website for their openings; especially in the summer they're great fun!
Waldoboro Public Library
We can't imagine a world without libraries. These days, even a small-town library like ours goes well beyond what's contained inside the covers of a book. From free Internet-access to readings and nature demonstrations, they also offer art exhibits of some of Waldoboro's finest and once a month, in the annex, some truly great jazz!
The Waldo Theater
Built to resemble New York’s famed Radio City Music Hall, the Waldo opened in 1937 and was renowned for its wonderful acoustics. For twenty years, the Waldo with its 400 seats was the region’s premiere motion picture cinema. Renovated in the eighties, the Waldo now offers a “real” theatre experience that’s not be missed.
Nathan Nicholls - Recycle Sculpture Garden
We love this place! It's magical, abundant, creativity let loose. I suppose Nate's work would officially be characterized as outsider art, but in our opinion it defies those narrow definitions, pitching "schooled" against unschooled. Take a walk on the wild side and let his creatures help you see the world with a new set of eyes!
Fawcett's Maine Antique Toy and Art Museum
Feed your inner child. Fawcett's extensive collection of antique toys and original comic art includes Mickey Mouse and all his friends as they were originally crafted in the 1930s and one of the finest collections of Lone Ranger art, toys and memorabilia in the world. Yankee Magazine's 2010 Editors’ Choice as One of the Best Attractions in New England.
A fine, fine painter and teacher, Audrey Bechler's work is joyful and quiet and an always well composed reflection of her surroundings. Now in the seventh decade of her life she has accumulated years of painting knowledge, yet she continues to marvel and express her vision in new and exciting ways. Audrey's home gallery is located on a quiet spot on Backcove Road towards Friendship.
> Friendship (10 miles Southeast – app. 15 minutes)
Old Point Comfort Gallery
Sara Hotchkiss is one of Le Vatout's most popular instructors; she's been a weaver all her life. Featured in magazines like Architectural Digest, Better Homes and Gardens and House Beautiful, her stunning, handwoven rugs combine the lively color fields of rag rugs with the geometric possibilities of tapestry. A visit to her gallery may well turn out to be a highlight of your vacation. Officially still in Waldoboro, Old Point Comfort is located right on the border to Friendship, a beautiful 15 minute drive.
Pam Cabanas Studio and Gallery
Another of our private instructors and a dear friend, but most importantly a great painter. In fact, we love her pastels so much that they grace the walls at Le Vatout. A visit at Pam's studio and gallery is always great fun, plus it's just a hop, skip and a jump away from Old Point Comfort and all the natural beauty that rings Friendship.
The Friendship Museum
Learn all about the fishing village of Friendship, its history, origin and the famous Friendship Sloop. The museum is located in an old one-room brick schoolhouse a quarter of a mile north of the village at the corner of Route 220 and Martin Point Road. Admission is free and visitors are welcome July 1st to Labor Day. Hours are: Monday - Saturday 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm and Sunday 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
> Union (11 miles Northeast – app. 20 minutes)
Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage
Referred to as "the area's best-kept secret", the Matthews Museum is an agricultural museum, with approximately 10,000 artefacts. It also houses a tribute to Dr. Thompson, the inventor of Moxie, who was born in Union, Maine. Gotta have Moxie!
> Thomaston (13 miles East – app. 20 minutes)
General Henry Knox Museum
Maine's Montpelier, the elegant house former Secretary of War Henry Knox built at the head of the St. Georges River epitomized the dreams of a young republic. Then, it compared favorably with George Washington's Mount Vernon and Jefferson's Monticello, now it's a glorious museum right next to a cement factory.
> Rockland (15 miles East – app. 20 minutes)
Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center
In addition to its nationally recognized collection of American art, the Farnsworth also houses the nation's second-largest collection of works by premier 20th-century sculptor Louise Nevelson and four galleries that showcase contemporary art. Its Wyeth Center exclusively features works of Andrew, N.C. and Jamie Wyeth--America's first family of art.
Eric Hopkins Gallery
Another old buddy of Lin's from her RISDI days, Eric has become one of the best known artists here in Maine. Originally from North Haven he's a painter as well as a glass artist and best known for his bird’s-eye depictions of the Maine coastal landscape. Rockland Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Maine Lighthouse Museum
From sparkling lenses to heartwarming stories of the keepers and families the Maine Lighthouse Museum is America’s lighthouse museum & home to the largest collection of lighthouse and coastguard artifacts and mementoes.
David Scriven Crowley
A new face in town - after spending most of his life on Cape Ann in Massachusetts, Crowley has now made Rockland, Maine his home. His works include landscapes, portraits and non-representational work. We stumbled upon him one slushy winter night and he opened up for us. Never underestimate a good stumble. Some of his work, especially the installations, is stunning.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Strand has been entertaining audiences since 1923. It offers the best of independent and world cinema, live musical performances & concerts, comedy, conferences, The Metropolitan Opera and National Theatre of London Live In HD broadcasts, and other special events on stage and screen.
Dowling Walsh Gallery
Located across the street from the Farnsworth Museum, Dowling Walsh is a beautiful gallery which - among many other fine artists' work - also houses several Wyeths and the stunning Monhegan landscapes by one of our favorite Maine painters, Abraham Bogdonave. Yes, that would be the same Bogdonave who swam once around the island every day. You've got to see his rocks!
We don't come to Rockland without a visit here! With exhibits year-round and a great stable of artists, the Caldbeck Gallery has been in business for almost 30 years. It's focus is on solo shows of known and lesser-known Maine artists, many of our favorites among them, and it presents a wide range of working styles in contemporary Maine art.
AIR (Arts in Rockland)
Every first Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. 21 galleries participate in AIR and open their doors for Art Walks. Go to their facebook page for a map or just look for the blue and black banners as you walk the streets of Rockland. Especially in the summer and fall, Arts Walks are a lot of fun.
> Rockport (18 miles East – app. 25 minutes)
Center for Maine Contemporary Art
The CMCA does what no other arts organization in New England does: It exhibits work by hundreds of living artists and helps countless others by being a hub for an ever-expanding artist network. Once an informal group of summer artists, the CMCA has developed into one of the country's most active nonprofit organisations. It's a must see for anyone interested in contemporary art.
> Camden (20 miles Northeast – app. 30 minutes)
Camden Public Library
This has got to be one of the prettiest small town libraries in this country! What started in 1796 with a collection of 200 books in someone's home is now located on the hill just above the head of the harbor, surrounded by a lovely garden and an amphitheater which is graced by ice sculptures in the winter and used for skating.
The Camden Opera House
For over 100 years the Opera House has been the home to a variety of events, including performances by The Camden Civic Theatre and many nationally and internationally known performers, including Johnny Winter, Little Feat, Buckwheat Zydeco, Wynton Marsalis, Richie Havens... the list goes on and on.
> Rockport (18 miles Northeast – app. 25 minutes):
Bay Chamber Concerts
Bay Chamber Concerts is Midcoast Maine's premiere presenter of the performing arts. During July and August its Summer Music Festival brings classical, jazz and film events to the historic Rockport Opera House and the Strand Theatre in Rockland. Throughout the rest of the year (October through May), its Performing Arts Series features classical, jazz and world music plus dance events.
> Searsport (45 miles Northeast – app. 70 minutes)
Penobscot Marine Museum:
A lovely place to stroll around, the museum consists of more than a dozen buildings from the first half of the 19th century, an authentic recreation of a seaport village from the Great Age of Sail. It houses a huge collections of small craft, furniture, tools and ship models as well as a world-class collection of 19th century marine art and over 100,000 photographs.
> Owls Head (20 miles East – app. 35 minutes)
Owls Head Transportation Museum
Open year round, this museum showcases a world class collection of pioneer aircraft, ground vehicles, and engines. Many of the vehicles are maintained in working condition and are demonstrated during weekend educational events and programs.
> Damariscotta (10 miles Southwest – app. 15 minutes)
Chapman Hall House
Every time we drive by this place it makes us smile; it has got to be the Built in 1754 by housewright Nathaniel Chapman, of Ipswich, MA, this is not only the oldest building in Damariscotta, but also is considered one of the oldest standing homes in the State of Maine. Chapman constructed the residence at the age of 51 and lived there until his death, at age 101, in 1804. It's right on Main Street and open daily in July and August.
As you walk down Main Street be sure to pop into River Arts. A a non-profit arts organization, they not only provide art instruction, but also exhibit many fine artists and artisans from the area. And now, there's also River Arts II! It's a second gallery venue, right on Rt.1, which includes studio space for sculpture and ceramics classes.
The Stable Gallery
The Stable Gallery has a long history of exhibiting Maine artists and artisans. Originally clipper ship builder Eldridge Norris owned the stables and the classic box stalls and tack room are faced with black walnut and topped with wrought iron grillwork - a magnificent example of Victorian architecture. Now it's a venue for painters and potters, wood, glass, ceramics and more.
Lincoln County Community Theater
Housed in the historic Lincoln Hall LCCT presents theatrical productions in the form of musicals, dramas and comedies, plus movies and a concert series featuring local talents, and a host of community events throughout the year.
Jeff Cherry and Kass Hogan specialize in high-quality rustic antique furniture constructed partly or wholly of locally found materials such as branches, roots, bark, burls and other natural forms.
We can't for the life of us find a working website to link to, but since we love this place so much we included it anyways. This is where we first encountered Joseph Fiore, one of our favorite artists, this is where we go when we're in Damariscotta with a few minutes to spare. It's on Main Street, a couple of blocks before the river and open when the owner feels like it. If he's there, do yourself a favor and go in.