Maine Coast Travel – Day 1
Experience the waterfront by foot and stroll along the harbor from Heritage Park, through our harbor side city, pausing to enjoy any of the dozen interactive street sculptures like the Fish Bike (Ichthyopter), and over the Belfast Harbor Footbridge. Visit our Belfast Historical Society Museum and take one of the walking tours of Belfast’s fascinating historic district. Museum in the Streets guides you through the key historic points of interest.
Shop at our many interesting locally-owned boutiques, gift shops, and galleries. We have the oldest shoe store in the country, Colburn's Shoe Store, one of the largest and first green stores, the well-stocked Belfast Food Co-op, and many other unique specialty stores. Tour over 18 galleries located throughout the downtown district - the Art Walk brochure will show you where to go. Don't miss our other shopping districts! On Rte 3, just to the west of the downtown, Reny's Department Store offers a true Maine shopping experience. On the east side of town, just across the bridge and on your way to Bar Harbor, several unique shops delight. Perry's Nut House is a must-see-stop offering countless varieties of candies, amusing displays, and plenty of giggles. Right next door, Bennett's Gems is sure to cast a sparkle in your eye with their huge selection of gems, precious stones, and jewelry.
Take a cruise on one of several sail or power boats offering short excursions into the bay. Friendship Sloop Amity offers morning and afternoon sails guaranteed to satisfy your urge to experience our harbors from the water. Or schedule a charter sail aboard the Nina, a 61' motorsail ketch with Coast to Island Charter Corp.
Want to experience the water powered by your own energy? Hop in a kayak and get a guided tour of the Bay. There’s a trip to suit your needs from beginner to expert. Water Walker Sea Kayak Tours, has more than 20-years experience leading trips and will be happy to show you the way! Or, join Come Boating! for a community row as a local captain pilots the craft through the harbor.
Have lunch at our local restaurants where you can get the best seafood as well as sandwiches, pizza, Thai, Chinese and other specialty foods. Chase’s Daily features vegetarian cuisine prepared with produce fresh off their own farm. In season, the back of the restaurant is filled with fresh-picked veggies and fresh-baked breads and pastries. Yum!
Pick up some wine, cheese, and handcrafted bread at any of our local bakeries and enjoy a picnic by the water. Or, if it’s Friday, stop by the Belfast Farmers Market and choose some farm fresh foods from our local farmers.
Maine Coast Travel – Day 2
Enjoy one of the many festivals that the Belfast area has to offer during the summer. From Arts in the Park, to the Celtic Festival, to Harborfest, there’s something going on every day. Check our calendar for a full listing.
For the kids – Belfast City Park is a great place to set the kids free. The playground has been recently refurbished, tennis is free for the taking (just sign up in advance), the pool is attended by life guards, and the pebble beach is perfect for hunting for shells and seaglass. Belfast is home to eight parks - explore one that suits your interests. The Friends of Belfast Parks is one of our many civic groups dedicated to enhancing the community. Check their web site for an overview of the parks.
For those who want to see the Maine coast from above, try a ride aboard Coastal Helicopters. Experience breathtaking vistas and expanses of color that guarantee a visual thrill for everyone.
The Belfast area is known for its density of artists and galleries. Every Friday evening in July and August, join the Belfast Arts Gallery Walk of over 15 galleries, several will be serving refreshments and street performers add to the festivities. From June to September, local artists have created a dozen interactive street sculptures, like the Flying Trike, Fish Bike or the Windmill, all made from recycled bikes and parts, to liven up the downtown experience for kids of all ages.
See a show! Our local movie house, the Colonial Theatre, presents the latest movies at the best prices and all set in a revitalized art-deco theatre. You can’t miss it – it’s the building with the elephant on top! Looking for live entertainment? The Belfast Maskers offers a varied selection of community theatre productions, both at their waterfront theatre and at open-air productions held at Steamboat Landing, one of our waterfront parks.
Stop in for dinner at one of our restaurants. Darby’s, on High Street, was built in 1865 and has operated continuously as a bar or restaurant for 140 years. Sit at the historic bar and rub elbows with locals and visitors alike. Three Tides Restaurant, located on the waterfront, offers an eclectic bar menu, the freshest oysters and lobster. While you’re there, try one of the many beers from their brewery, crafted right next door. Or, try one our other favorites for a traditional meal of chowder, fried clams, and homemade pie. Check the dining section of our web site for a list of delicious opportunities, including Anglers Restaurant just up the road in Searsport, The Weathervane, a local tradition for more than 20 years, Dockside where you’ll find delicious lobster and crab rolls, and Rollie’s, either in Searsport or Belfast for a fun atmosphere and great food.
Maine Coast Travel - Day 3
Travel to Searsport and visit the first class Penobscot Marine Museum and the historic sea captain’s homes. The Museum is fun for all ages and includes activities for children, fascinating displays of art and historic memorabilia, and over eight buildings dedicated to Maine's maritime history. Shop at the Museum’s gift store or drop in to BlueJacket Shipcrafters, the oldest ship model company in the U.S. A fine selection of stores lines the streets, including Left Bank Books and Sundog Solar Store. Searsport is known for its selection of antique shops and malls. Gaul's Antiques and the Searsport Antique Mall will keep you browsing for hours!
Also in Searsport, visit Sears Island, the largest uninhabited island on the east coast. Accessible by causeway, the island provides great opportunities for swimming, biking, birding, walking, snow shoeing and cross country skiing.
At Mosman Park, enjoy the wooded trails and shoreline, perfect for hiking, picnicking, and swimming. There’s also playground equipment and a ball field.
Visit historic Stockton Springs, just north of Belfast on Rte. 1. While there, continue on to Cape Jellison, a 1,600-acre peninsula that juts into Penobscot Bay. Fort Point State Park, established in 1836, includes the colonial-era Fort Pownall as well as the Fort Point Lighthouse Station. You can spend your time sailing and swimming at Sandy Point Beach and Nature Area.
Visit Bucksport and tour the amazing Fort Knox complete with cannons and all of its original structure. While there, ride to the top of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge to the observatory where you can see for miles around from the only bridge-top observatory in the country. Visit Buck’s grave and learn of its mystery.
A little further, you could also visit historic Castine, see its many historic homes, lunch on the pier and tour the training ship of the Maine Maritime Academy.
Maine Coast Travel - Day 4
Head south on Rte. 1 and stop in to some of our shops and galleries along the way. Northport Landing Gallery is home to a delightful selection of prints, original art, and bronze sculpture. Kendrick's Antiques is a must-see for antique shoppers. A little further south, visit Bayside - a classic Maine summer village complete with numerous Victorian cottages and a beautiful waterfront.
In Northport, just 10 minutes south of Belfast on Rte 1, Point Lookout offers lots for the sports enthusiast including racquetball, squash, hiking, and scenic trails. Grab a day-pass for their fitness center and experience a state-of-the art workout. For the kids – bring the whole family bowling at Point Lookout.
Lincolnville Beach is just five minutes away where the kids can search for crabs among the rocks or build sandcastles along the water. Enjoy lobster or other pub fare at the Whalestooth Pub, overlooking the harbor and visit the fine selection of shops nestled against the beach.
If you’d like to do some hiking, travel south on Rte. 1 and visit Camden Hills State Park. Much of it is located in Lincolnville and you’ll find a variety of access points, including the main entrance on Rte. 1 in Camden and the access to Bald Rock Mountain just of the Beach Rd (Rte. 173) in Lincolnville.
Travel south ½ hour to Camden where there are a number of day cruising boats available, lots of shopping and restaurants. Drive up Mount Battie in Camden Hills State Park to see a magnificent view of Camden and its harbor as well as Penobscot Bay and its islands.
Another 15 minutes south and you’re in Rockland, home of the annual Lobster Festival in early August. Walk the one mile length of the breakwater to the Rockland lighthouse. Visit the Rockland Lighthouse Museum. Check out the Farnsworth Art Museum, which features Andrew Wyeth among its fine collections. Just outside of Rockland, in nearby Owls Head is the Owls Head Transportation Museum, loaded with aircraft and automobiles and a full calendar of events.
Maine Coast Travel – Day 5
Take a drive inland and visit the rolling farmlands and scenic byways along our rivers and lakes. Heading north, take Rte.1A to the historic village of Winterport. While there, stop at the Winterport Winery and sample their handcrafted fruit wines. Stroll along the quaint village streets nestled along the river. Further along Rte. 1A, you’ll find Frankfort. With its direct water access and public boat ramp, the town has great boating and fishing opportunities. Mount Waldo offers hiking, blueberry picking, and an old granite quarry to explore. Access is on Mount Waldo Road.
In Brooks, Marsh River Theatre offers an eclectic selection of productions held in their playhouse on Rte. 139. Check their web site for the latest offerings! You can also play a round of golf or set out on a hike from Brooks Esker to Halfmoon Pond.
To the east of Brooks, you’ll find Monroe. Northern Pond Natural Area, “the jewel of Monroe,” is the town’s premier nature and recreation site. The 160-acre facility, off Dahlia Farm Road, offers summer and winter fishing, a canoe launch, hiking trails, a bog walk, and settings for nature observation and picnics. Trail maps are available at the town office. Follow Rte. 141 back to Belfast and you’ll pass Swan Lake State Park. Let the kids out of the car for a swim, picnic, and romp on the playground.
To the west of Brooks, you’ll find Unity. Unity is home to Unity College, one of America’s premier environmental colleges. The local CommUnity Trail System offers scenic hikes/bikes throughout Unity and the Unity College campus. The Unity Barn Raisers, a community organization, rallies to provide support for boating and sailing classes, community meals, weatherization programs, and a community bike shop. Visit the Unity farmers market to sample some of the local fare.
Back in Belfast - every Thursday night during the summer - come to downtown Belfast for the Summer Nights series. Our streets come to life with the sounds of local bands and people dancing in the streets!