Rockport Maine Video
Click the image to play the video.
A quaint harbor village, home to the Rockport Opera House, windjammers, a small marine park, and one of Maine's best art galleries - the Maine Center for Comtemporary Art, Rockport is also known for "Andre the seal", the legendary harbor seal who lived and performed here during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Rockport Maine Photos
Rockport Maine is a small scenic harbor village located just 3 miles south of Camden Maine.
Rockport Maine - Rockland’s picturesque neighbor is worth a visit
Because of its beauty, wealth of activities and dining options, it is very easy to stay put in Rockland. However, it is important to explore other nearby towns in Midcoast Maine during your trip. Just up the road from Rockland is Rockport and this small harbor village (with a population of 3,209 people) is worth the drive.
Robert Thorndike first settled this town in 1769. During the 19th century, the primary industries for Rockport were shipbuilding, lime production, and ice exportation. By 1882, Rockport became one of the leading lime producers in the country, producing this product throughout the year. The town also became known for its “Lily Pond Ice” exportation in which 50,000 tons of clear ice were harvested each year and then distributed to different countries around the world. People say that the ice was so clear you could still read a newspaper under a thick slab of it.
Rockport was originally part of Camden, Maine (a nearby town) and known as Goose River, but it officially separated itself in early 1981 over a heated dispute over bridge construction costs. This was known as “The Bridge Question.” In this transition, Rockport maintained half its original population as well as the lime and ice exportation industries. In 1907, a fire destroyed most of the lime sheds and ice houses. Since neither industry was rebuilt, Rockport experienced a local economic decline. Today, if you are on the waterfront or at Rockport Marine Harbor Park, you can still see some remnants of the old lime kilns.
Rockport Maine - home to a creative and artistic culture
The present day Rockport is largely recognized for its extensive community of local artists. With its town emphasis on arts and culture, it is not a surprise that many creative professionals from around the world seek out Rockport as a prime destination. Rockport has been lucky enough to have many notable benefactors who have supported the creative arts over the years. One person was Mary Louise Curtis Bok, a local philanthropist and one of the largest landowners in Rockport, who founded the Curtis Institute and the Bay Chamber Concerts. Rockport’s Mary Lea Park was named partly in her honor.
There are many unique cultural activities in Rockport. The town owns and operates the Rockport Opera House that is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Built in 1891, this establishment provides access to music, dance, play performances, and other activities throughout the year. Seating up to 400 people, The Opera House is also where the renown Bay Chamber Concerts are regularly held.
Rockport is also home to the Maine Media College. This college provides a focused educational creative experience distinguished by a dedication to craftsmanship, creativity, and critical thinking. Maine Media College offers a Professional Certificate program and a Master of Fine Arts Degree program in the fields of Photography, Filmmaking, and Multimedia. The college curriculum is designed to provide an immersive environment conducive to concentrated work. The curriculum is unique in that it not only honors historical forms and practices, but it also embraces new technologies and outlets of creative expression.
Midcoast Maine is filled with some of the finest art galleries in the country, and one notable gallery is located right in the village center of Rockport. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is a converted firehouse that is home to visual arts displays that are constantly changing throughout the year. The Center for Maine Contemporary Art is recognized as one of the best art galleries in the state of Maine, and displays some of the best and most famous works from Maine artists. Rockport certainly has an interesting environment for local artists that travel here. In a local restaurant, no two tables will be alike. For example, it is not uncommon to see tradespeople, business professionals, lobstermen, and prestigious artists all within the same walls. This is just one element that makes Rockport so unique.
Rockport Marine Park and Andre the Seal
The Rockport Marine Park is a popular destination for people of all ages. The most notable attraction of this park is the marble statue of Andre the Seal. This is a memorial to a real harbor seal that was abandoned as a pup and found by Rockport resident, Harry Goodrigde. They named him Andre. His amazing story became the focus of two books and a 1994-feature film. In 1978, Andre the Seal himself revealed the marble statue to onlookers.
After suffering injuries from a fight with another male seal, Andre the Seal died in 1986. The plaque on his statue reads: Abandoned at birth, he was found, befriended, raised and trained by Harry Goodridge of Rockport, Maine. Andre is honorary Harbormaster of Rockport Harbor and is a celebrity of more than local renown. His antics have delighted people far and wide.
The Rockport Marine Park also has a replica of a locomotive used in transporting the prosperous lime production back in the days. There are also three restored lime kilns originally used in the 1800s to produce lime from limestone. The park is open daily for people to enjoy these landmarks, take in harbor views, access paths for short walks, and have picnics with friends and family. Rockport Marine Park even has a small beach with great views of the bay. In your trip to Rockport, make sure to put this park at the top of your destination list; locals know that it is one of the best small parks (with some big views) in Maine.
Rockport Marine Park is open to the public daily and visitors can enjoy the harbor views, as well as the picnic areas, and short paths for walking.