Sunday, May 2, 2010
Hike to the tower! One of the most well known sights around Camden is the tower on the top of Mount Battie. Take a picnic lunch and hike up there and you can appreciate the inspiration for the opening stanza of Edna St. Vincent Millays’s famous work, “Renascence.”
“All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked the other way,
And saw three islands in a bay.”
The familiar phrase, “Where the mountains meet the sea,” is seen frequently on brochures all over town, but the real distinction of it goes much further. From the tip of Florida to the Bay of Fundy, along the entire Atlantic coast, Camden is one of only two places where the mountains do meet the sea. The other is, of course Mount Desert, both in Maine.
Camden Hills State Park nestles the town of Camden between Mt. Battie (757 ft) and Mt. Megunticook (1385 ft). This beautiful state park is covered in miles of trails just waiting for you to hike them to the top. There are gorgeous trails of varying levels of difficulty. For those who are unable to hike up, there is an excellent asphalt road to the top.
The road was first built in 1897 by Columbus Buswell, who paid $40 to the owners of the old Fay House near the bottom of the mountain, to get the exclusive right to use the road for 10 years and to collect tolls from others. He leased one square acre at the top of the mountain from the Adam family. There he built Summit House. The house, road and 59 more acres were bought in 1899 by a group of summer residents, the Mt. Battie Association, who remodeled the house into a summer hotel which opened on August 17, 1900.
When fire swept across Mt. Battie in 1918, the house was spared, but in 1920 the Association had torn down as it couldn’t pay for itself. One year later the tower was built on the foundation of the house, using some of the original stones, as the World War I Memorial.
Now it awaits Camden’s many visitors to come see the area from the top of the tower!