Jump in the car and travel the roads of midcoast Maine and you’ll be pleasantly surprised
by the depth and quality of the goods created by local craftspeople. The winding coastal
roads open up to exquisite views of the ocean and offer plenty of places to get
sidetracked. Find the local hideaway for the best place to eat a lobster roll, wander the
streets for antiques and unusual finds, and discover the places where people still take
pride in their craftsmanship.
Just five miles north of Camden, on Route 1, follow Route 173 to the junction of the
Youngtown Road, where you’ll find Cellardoor Vineyard. The vineyard, its
accompanying fields, fruit trees and pond inhabit a special corner of the world. Located
in a valley between Cameron and Levenseller Mountains and bordering Camden Hills
State Park, the property has a unique microclimate and a rich history.
Visitors are treated to wine tastings along the u-shaped bar overlook the valley dotted
with grape vines. Later, carry your picnic down to fields and relax among the grapes. Be
sure to grab a bottle of their Amorosa - it’s a local favorite!
Back on Route 1, just about 1/8 mile past Lincolnville Beach, Jim Brown has been
creating custom furniture at Windsor Chairmakers for over twenty years. A tour of the
area would be incomplete without a visit to this keystone workshop and gallery.
The circa-1800 farmhouse is home to fourteen rooms of custom made and hand crafted
furniture, while a Shaker-inspired line is displayed in their new Shaker furniture gallery
overlooking the gardens. Jim and his wife Nance have made Windsor Chairmakers a
local institution where visitors receive a warm welcome and a chance to see artisans at
work. As visitors wander into the workshop they’re greeted by craftsmen at work on their
trade ready to talk to them about Windsor chair making or how to piece a table together.
Don’t forget to feed Annie and Dunnegan, the Scottish Highland cows. They’re always
eager for an apple or a biscuit!
Just 2 miles north of Windsor Chairmakers sits Swans Island Blankets. For 15 years
Swans Island has been hand weaving blankets and throws. They have since added
pillows, scarves, wraps, and baby blankets. The exquisite colors in their products come
from the natural color of the local fleeces they use and from their own dye house where
they color with all natural plant dyes. The showroom is located in a renovated 1780s
farmhouse. You are welcome to wander into the production area and watch the weavers
and dyers at work. Swans Island weaves both summer and winter weight blankets, all of
whose wool is gathered just off of the coast on Nash Island.
Over the years Swans Island has attracted its share of attention. From Martha Stewarts
show and magazine to feature articles and mentions in the New York Times, Vogue,
Coastal Living, House Beautiful, The Boston Globe and many more. Winner of the
Smithsonian Institute’s award of excellence in craft, Swans Island has been recognized
for its strong commitment to high quality, all natural production with a product line that
lies as well in an old country farmhouse as it does in a contemporary urban setting.
To learn more about any of the businesses on this midcoast Maine excursion, visit their
web sites at mainewine.com, windsorchair.com, and swansislandblankets.com.