Instant gratification in Camden


In a parking lot on Elm Street a minty, berry cool off awaits

Ad hoc refreshment/spontaneous relief. In a one-two punch I found diverse forms of liquid solace on a recent sunny weekend in Camden.

The first came while cruising between Lincolnville and Rockland betwixt assignments. No nourishment since York county, I was on empty. The Smoothie Shack, a highend trailer on the side of Route 1 caught my eye. I found a parking spot (food truck gold) across the street, zipped over, ordered a minty, berry, spinach delight, plunked down $6 in change and was back behind the wheel heading south in less time than it takes to round the Golden Arches. And miles healthier. Speed aside, this is a tasty, not too sweet or earthy meal in a glass. Not all smoothies can say this.

The next day while canvassing the fun shops here like Sugar Tools (my vote for best boutique in #hipMaine) and Heavenly Threads Thrift Shop (great find) I was ready for another RX. The “We have cold brew iced coffee” sign outside Owl and Turtle Bookshop + Cafe was spied just in time. A woman sipping said delight under a tree outside confirmed my ponder: “This is the best iced coffee, I drove here from a distance just for it.” SOLD!


Iced Americana from Owl and Turtle

Inside this 45-year-old local bookstore, the avuncular Rick Knight broke the news. “We just ran out of cold brew coffee.” Hiss!

Like most finicky coffee lovers, I almost turned on my heel. But there is something about this recently retired former innkeeper, who bought the biz a few months ago and mans the coffee bar on Saturdays, that makes you want to expand your brainwashed horizons. Was this second wave? Third wave? New wave? No wave?


Rick Knight pouring out the good vibes at Owl and Turtle

Who cares.

The smile on the unlikely barista’s face combined with his hospitable: “let me make you an iced Americana” manner told me I had nothing to fear. Fast forward to the double custom-blend espresso from Camden’s Coffee On the Porch roasters, poured over oval ice cubes and served in a pint glass. Ahhhhh! It was the best iced coffee I’ve had this season. In a place I had never heard of. Take that coffee apps.


Was it this guy’s friendly demeanor? The needed dose of vitamin D? Or being surrounded by print and getting a rare chance to read Rolling Stone Magazine (hard copy) as I sipped chilled caffeine that made this beverage taste so right?

Going with the flow is the trick to experiencing the best of Maine. Leave your urbane mainframe at the boarder and drink it in. Straw optional.



Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.