Camden is known for its quaint Main Street, lined with boutiques and waterfront restaurants, and winter is a great time to enjoy all that the area has to offer with fewer crowds.
One of the highlights is Camden's Winterfest, an annual celebration for the community to get outside and have fun. I decided to head up early on a Saturday morning to visit Camden Snow Bowl and take in some of the toboggan races. This is one of the biggest draws of the event, where hundreds of people show up to watch or participate in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships. But be forewarned, with the event comes long lines for parking. When I arrived at 10 a.m. the lot was already full. Shuttles leave from downtown Camden to the races, as an alternative to getting there.
There is no lack of fun things to do at the Snow Bowl. The slopes are open for skiing, a powdery hill was prime for kids tubing, and the crowds were a rowdy, family-friendly bunch, often dressed in funny costumes for the races. There are small fire pits throughout, in case your hands need to be warmed. Food trucks filled the space so there were plenty of options for a bite to eat. A steel drum quartet was playing in the distance and the crowd was dancing along. Race day is so much fun, you'll certainly forget how cold it is.
Another highlight of Winterfest is the ice sculptures. Local businesses carve ice sculptures using traditional tools and they are quite a sight to behold. Other events I didn't get to enjoy were the Chili Challenge, the Costume Parade, and the "Down the Chute" Beer & Wine Tasting. There's so much to do, I might consider a much longer stay next year.
After watching teams race, I headed back to downtown Camden. Unlike some summer destinations, Camden doesn't shut down in the winter. I stopped into some of my favorite shops to enjoy a little retail therapy. Jo Ellen Designs (21 Main Street) is my favorite place for picking out gifts to give – and receive. And as an avid reader and local shop enthusiast, I also never miss stopping into Owl & Turtle Bookshop (33 Bay View Street). And before heading out, I treated myself to a nice bowl of ramen at Long Grain Restaurant (31 Elm Street), some of the absolute best Thai food I've had anywhere. Camden is just full of surprises.