Our Community – The Heart of Midcoast Maine
Penobscot Bay Area Chamber of Commerce at (800) 562-2529
The Rockland-Thomaston area is situated in the heart of Mid-Coast Maine on beautiful Penobscot Bay. Rockland serves as the county seat and is the commercial and administrative center for Knox County. The year-round population for the county is approximately 41,200 and during the summer can increase by as much as 20% with a heavy influx of tourists and seasonal residents. Rockland is known as the “Lobster Capital of the World” and is the site of the world famous Maine Lobster Festival in early August. It is also the leading Windjammer (Schooner) port in the nation. Gaining notoriety in Rockland is annual Schooner Days and North Atlantic Blues Festival in early July (first weekend after the 4th of July). Rockland Harbor, defined by its nearly mile long breakwater and lighthouse, is one of the best and largest harbors in the northeastern United States. A major section of downtown Rockland has been designated as a National Historic District, and the city was selected as the 2nd Coolest Small Town in America” in 2009.
The area has a diverse year-round economy ranging from agriculture and food processing to manufacturing multiple products. One of the area’s major industries is the manufacturing of cement and cement products, which Thomaston is home to New England’s only cement plant. A second significant industry in the area is the construction and maintenance of both commercial vessels and private yachts. The area’s fishing industry, still a significant part of the local economy, is led by lobstering. Although geographically one of the state’s smallest counties, more than a third of the lobster caught in Maine is landed in its harbors. The area is also a key location for second largest fresh sea products in value — sea urchins for the overseas market. Other shellfish and finfish are also important to the local economy, although less so than in previous decades.
The area is also a growing destination for tourism. It has a wide variety of scenic places, accessible lighthouses, beaches (both fresh and salt water), and cultural and popular attractions, as well as varied accommodations ranging from classic inns and B&Bs to motor inns and a major resort hotel. One of Rockland’s most popular attractions is the Farnsworth Museum, which is also home of the Wyeth Art Center. There are also a large number of restaurants and casual eateries, including dining on fresh caught lobster right on the wharf. Interesting stores, shops and galleries are abundant, as are delightful side trips throughout the area, including excursions to several islands in Penobscot Bay and off the Saint George Peninsula.