December is one of the most peaceful times to enjoy the slow pace of a small-town in Maine. Right here on the coast we have a burgeoning arts and foodie scene—just the place to be for a holiday getaway.

Starting with Rockland, home of the Lobster Capital of the World and The Maine Lobster Festival, this once-industrial town has transformed into a mini arts mecca in over the last 20 years, having earned one more prestigious title as The Art Capital of Maine

Credit goes to not only The Farnsworth Art Museum, as well as the nearby Center Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA), but also to the 20+ galleries that have contributed to the total revitalization of the town. The cold winter months are ideal for browsing through The Farnsworth, the only center dedicated solely to American and Maine-inspired art, such as the famous works of Andrew, N.C. and Jamie Wyeth. In fact, current exhibitions to catch in December include The Wyeths: Family and Friends, and Andrew Wyeth: Witches, Ghosts and Mischief, among others. And their Event Calendar for December hosts numerous hands-on, holiday-making crafts.

Whereas The Farnsworth is a stroll through the past, CMCA, Maine’s pre-eminent contemporary arts organization, is a blast from the future. Through December, one exhibition, Temporality/The Process of Time, explores what time is, with dynamic works in painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video, and others. 

The Strand, Rockland’s jewel of an entertainment venue for live music, performance events, movies & HD broadcasts, is only steps away from both museums. Notable holiday events include Strand on Air, a free, live variety show on Dec. 8 and a HD broadcast of The Bolshoi Ballet’s The Nutcracker on Dec. 15. See what else is on their calendar in December.  

Only 16 minutes up the road, the Camden Opera House is another cultural hotspot to catch multiple live productions of The Nutcracker by The Atlantic Ballet (Dec. 6-8) and Lúnasa: An Irish Christmas on Dec. 14.

And beyond these venues, the Midcoast goes all out for the month of December with multiple holiday events. Christmas By The Sea (Dec. 6-8) is a December tradition in Camden, Lincolnville and Rockport with concerts, shopping extravaganzas, parades, Santa sightings, crafts fairs, bonfires, tree lightings and more. Meanwhile, back in Rockland, you can’t miss the annual Festival of Lights, which actually starts at the end of November and spills into three weekends in December with  Santa’s arrival by Coast Guard vessel, the lighting of the famous Lobster Trap Tree, horse-drawn carriage rides, and free concerts.  

As you can see, Maine doesn’t shut down after the summer. If anything, we ramp back up with a plethora of cultural events for the whole family. Come visit the Midcoast in December and be part of the small-town magic.