By David Hoffman, Filmmaker
As my subscribers know I lived and worked in Camden and Rockport Maine for almost 25 years. I became as much as an outsider could, a Mainer or Maniac. The town of Rockport asked me to make a film for the 200th anniversary and this clip is a portion of it.
There are cultural values & characteristics often associated with Mainers. Down-to-earth and unpretentious: I experienced Mainers as practical, grounded and unassuming. They value simplicity and straightforwardness and are less likely to be swayed by superficial trends or displays of wealth.
Independent: Residents value their ability to take care of themselves and their families without relying too heavily on others or outside assistance. When people just couldn’t make it, the churches took up the cause and locals supported people in need.
While Mainers may initially seem reserved or stoic they are generally warm and hospitable once they get to know someone.
Mainers are known for their strong work ethic & dedication to their jobs and communities. They are not afraid of hard work and often take pride in their ability to persevere through tough conditions such as the state’s harsh winters.
Mainers possess a dry, understated sense of humor. For this video I interviewed my neighbors. Every one of them could tell a great story. Mainers have a rich tradition of storytelling as evident in the works of Stephen King.
Rockport Maine’s history can be traced back to an 18th century European settlement & Indians inhabited the area long before that. Pre-European Settlement: Before Europeans arrived, the area was inhabited by the Penobscot tribe of the Wabanaki Confederacy who lived along the coast and relied on fishing, hunting, and gathering for sustenance.
European fishermen and trappers were drawn to the area’s abundant resources in the 1600s, and the first permanent settlers arrived in the early 1700s.
The 19th Century:
The town was incorporated as part of Camden in 1791 and the coastal location and natural harbor made it an ideal place for shipbuilding and maritime activities. The town’s economy continued to revolve around shipbuilding, fishing, and the emerging lime production industry. Rockport’s quarries supplied limestone to the region fueling the growth of its lime kilns.
The Arrival of the Railroad:
The 1850s saw the arrival of the railroad in Rockport. It became an important transportation hub.
The Arts and Tourism:
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rockport gained a reputation as an artists and tourists destination. The natural beauty of the area attracted many painters and photographers.
20th Century and Beyond:
Rockport has evolved from an industrial town to a residential and tourism-oriented community. Shipbuilding and lime production gradually declined while tourism & the arts became prominent. In the 21st century Rockport continues to be known for its thriving arts scene, maritime heritage and natural beauty, attracting visitors from around the world.
How does the town of Camden Maine differ from the town of Rockport? Camden’s downtown area is more vibrant and bustling than Rockport’s with a larger selection of shops, restaurants and galleries. Rockport’s downtown area is smaller and more residential, offering a quieter atmosphere. Camden tends to attract more visitors, owing to its larger downtown area, the presence of the Camden Hills State Park, and the Camden Snow Bowl, a ski area that operates during the winter months. Rockport, on the other hand, is seen as a more peaceful, off-the-beaten-path destination.
Although both towns have thriving arts scenes Rockport is particularly known for the Maine Media Workshops + College. Camden is home to the Camden International Film Festival and the Camden Conference.
Many people love the Maine accent as I do. It is known as the “Downeast” accent. The “r” sound is not pronounced at the end of syllables or before consonants. For example, “car” might be pronounced as “cah” and “park” as “pahk.” The Maine accent has some unique vowel shifts. The “ou” sound, as in “out,” is often pronounced more like “oat,” while the “a” in “cat” may be pronounced more like “æ” as in “hat.”
One of the most well-known phrases is the use of “ayuh” (or “ayup”) instead of “yes” or “yeah.” The Maine accent includes unique expressions . For example, residents might refer to a “wicked good” meal or say they’re “from away” when indicating that they’re not originally from Maine.
Subscribers have asked me about where I would stay as a tourist:
Search any of these wonderful places. Rome, Maine. Lincoln, Maine. Harpswell, Maine. Brooklin, Maine Camden Harbor Inn Camden Maine. Cedar Crest Inn Camden Maine. 250 Main Hotel Camden Maine. Pemaquid Beach Maine. Bangor to Bar Harbor. Portland to Bar Harbor. Hotels near Rockland Maine. Hotels near Camden Maine. Portsmouth, Maine.
David Hoffman lived in Camden and Rockport Maine for 25 years. His YouTube channel contains many of his, and others, historic videos. Check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/@DavidHoffmanFilmmaker