Searsport is located midway between Rockland and Bar Harbor on the beautiful Maine coast. Searsport was settled in the late 18th century and incorporated as a town in 1845. It has nearly 10 miles of coastline on Penobscot Bay and has a rich history of shipbuilding and seafaring. In the early to mid-1800s there were ten shipbuilding facilities and the town had a larger population than it does today. By the mid-1800s Searsport was famous for its sea captains and was once home to ten percent of all American deep-water shipmasters. These sea captains traveled the world and brought home their treasures, some of which are on display in the Penobscot Marine Museum’s historical buildings.
The museum is dedicated to the history of Penobscot Bay and the maritime history of Maine. The exhibits, artifacts, souvenirs, and paintings are displayed in a unique setting of eight buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings, including two sea captains’ houses, and five other buildings in an original seaside village. The exhibits provide fascinating documentation of the region’s seafaring way of life. Visit the beautiful Penobscot Marine Museum Store.
Searsport is described as the antiques capital of Maine. There are numerous antique shops in the area and the Antique Mall alone has 70 separate dealers.
Sears Island, the largest uninhabited island off the coast of Maine, is less than two miles east of Searsport. The forested island, a wildlife sanctuary, spans some 940 acres. There are hiking trails on the island and you can walk the 5-mile shoreline perimeter.
Moose Point State Park
Moose Point is two miles west of Searsport. Hike the beautiful trails through woods or along the shore and then enjoy a picnic lunch at this beautiful day use park. Moose Point State Park was featured in the May 2008 issue of Down East Magazine and praised, among other things, for its beautiful views of Penobscot Bay.
Fort Point State Park is about three miles off U.S. Route 1 in Stockton Springs, and named for the point on which Gov. Thomas Pownall established Fort Pownall in 1759. The park occupies a long peninsula with panoramic views of the Penobscot River and Penobscot Bay. On its 120 acres, the park features more than a mile of rocky shore, a tidal sandbar, and diverse habitat for a variety of plants and animals. The park also includes Fort Point State Historic Site and the Fort Point Light Station.
Swan Lake State Park
Swan Lake State Park in Swanville is a day use park and offers warm water swimming, picnicking, and a playground.
Camden Hills State Park
The park is located just north of Camden, a quintessential New England town featuring shops that are within walking distance of the working harbor.
Harbor cruises, whale and puffin watches are available daily. Camden Hills State Park signature location is the scenic vista high atop Mt. Battie where sweeping views of Camden, Penobscot Bay, and surrounding islands await. On a clear day, visitors can see Cadillac Mountain at Acadia National Park. Mt. Megunticook, the highest of the Camden Hills (and highest peak on the mainland) is a moderate climb by foot trail. Other hiking opportunities abound and are well-mapped. Download a trail map.
Hiking and Birding
This area is blessed with many wonderful places to hike and watch birds in parks and on conservation land. I have maps and trail guides and can help you plan your days.
Orono Bog Boardwalk
The Orono Bog Boardwalk is a one-mile boardwalk loop trail where you can experience beauty and fascinating plants and animals of a Maine bog. The trail begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest. Along the way, it passes through changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the bog. In addition to the boardwalk, there are 9.15 additional miles of trails through the Bangor City Forest.
Coastal Mountains Land Trust
Coastal Mountains Land Trust is dedicated to conserving lands that significantly benefit the public by protecting the ecological and scenic assets which make life in the western Penobscot Bay region of Maine so special. Website calendar lists lectures and outings (guided nature walks, bird watching, etc.)
Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition
BBWC is a group of organizations and individuals working to support conservation and stewardship of natural, scenic, historic, and public access resources of local lands and water. Join them for an educational program or workshop, or for one of their weekend outings as they explore wild places on foot or on water. For more information call 338-4427 or 338-1147.
Birdsacre: Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary in Ellsworth is dedicated to preserving the home and vision of pioneer ornithologist-photographer Cordelia J. Stanwood. Hike a network of trails winding through the 200 acres of woodland, visit Stanwood Museum, the house built in 1850 where Cordelia was born and lived, and see the rehabilitated owls and hawks that now call the Sanctuary home.
Good Karma Farm is home to The Carrabassett Soap Company, Good Karma Spinning Company and their herd of alpacas, located one mile from downtown Belfast. Visitors are welcome to see the alpacas, learn about turning raw fleece into fine spun wool, and be tempted by a wide array of olive oil based soaps.
Enjoy the beautiful, unspoiled woods, lakes and waterways from your kayak. There are many places to paddle in mid-coast Maine. New and experienced kayakers will enjoy the calm waters of the bay or the excitement of the seas – www.mainekayakrentals.com
- Sail Penobscot Bay on a 40 ft. wooden ketch – www.searsportcharters.com
- The Maine Windjammer Association offers sailing adventures aboard some of the most beautiful tall ships in the world – www.sailmainecoast.com
- Day sailing and charters, Belfast – www.sailbelfast.com
- Sail out of Belfast on the FRIENDSHIP SLOOP AMITY – www.friendshipsloopamity.com
- Take a day trip to Castine on the GOOD RETURN and watch Captain Melissa pull in lobster traps – www.belfastbaycruises.com
- Experience Penobscot Bay on CHIMERA with all day and overnight cruises – www.penobscotbaycruises.com
Golf Courses (open from Mid-April to mid-October)
- Searsport Pines Golf Club
- Streamside Golf Club in Winterport
- Bucksport Golf Club
- Country View Golf Club in Brooks
- Northport Golf Club
Galleries and Museums
Fine art, pottery and artistic photography are displayed and offered in wonderful galleries throughout the Mid-coast area.
- There are many art, photography, and craft galleries up and down Main Street in Belfast in the historic part of town near the harbor.
- The Farnsworth Art Museum and Wyeth Center – Nationally recognized collection of American art in elegantly appointed galleries. The Wyeth Center exclusively features the works of America’s first family of art .
- Owls Head Transportation Museum – Landmark collection of automobiles, motorcycles, bicycles, carriages and engines is open year-round and offers many special weekend events. – www.ohtm.org
- Center for Maine Contemporary Art , Rockport – www.artsmaine.org
Theater & Music Concerts
- The Belfast Maskers present live theater year round – www.belfastmaskerstheater.com
- The Alamo and Colonial theaters present everything from the newest releases to silent movies.
- Marsh River Theatre offers live music from bluegrass to “grand ole opry”. – www.marshrivertheater.com
- The Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport offer year-round concerts by award-winning international artists – www.baychamberconcerts.org
- Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School and Festival, Blue Hill – Friday evening faculty chamber music concerts – www.kneisel.org
Explore the ramparts of this restored fort built in 1844 to protect the northern border between Maine and New Brunswick. Troops were garrisoned there during the Civil War and the Spanish- American War. “Nary a shot was fired”.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory
The most unique bridge with its 420′ observatory tower where you’ll be able to view (on a clear day) from Mt. Katahdin to Stonington to Mt. Desert Island and possibly the Presidential Mountains. Entrance is thru Fort Knox. Rates and other information can be found at: www.penobscotnarrowsbridgeandobservatory.info
There are 28 lighthouses in the mid-coast area including Fort Point Light and Bell Tower in Stockton Springs. Many of these are within an hour’s drive of Searsport.
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
- Guide to Mid Coast Maine Lighthouses
- Stockton Springs
- Owls Head
- Port Clyde
- Monhegan Island
- Pemaquid Point Light
- Tour the Winterport Winery specializing in fruit wines – www.winterportwinery.com
- Tour Cellardoor Wineries and sample their superb, unique wines – www.mainewine.com
- Barlett Maine Estate Winery on the Schoodic Peninsula is home to the best, most sophisticated fruit wines in the country for more than twenty years – www.bartlettwinery.com
Natural Living & Vegan Resources
- Ahimsa Custom Cakes, Auburn, ME. Specializing in delicious works of edible art that are 100% vegan. Custom cakes and cookies for all occasions.
Leaf Peeping, Blueberry Barrens and Cranberry Bogs
Drive the back roads in autumn and discover all the different shades of red, it is a tapestry of colors. Enjoy picking apples, blueberries, strawberries and cranberries in the orchards, barrens, fields and bogs throughout the season.
Blue Hill Peninsula – A delightful area of eclectic artisans, quaint working seaside villages and breathtaking Cape Rosier with the beautiful, unspoiled Holbrook Sanctuary and its numerous hiking trails.
Acadia National Park – There are 120 miles of hiking trails and 57 miles of carriage roads (built for carriages, not cars). Hike, bike or ride horseback to enjoy the scenic beauty of this national treasure. Don’t miss the exquisite gardens: Asticou Azalea Gardens, Asticou Terraces, Thuya Gardens, and the Wild Gardens of Acadia. A distant part of Acadia, Schoodic Peninsula is an exquisite rocky beach where you can sit on the giant boulders surrounded by the crashing waves of the Atlantic. For all information on Acadia National Park – www.acadiamagic.com
Boothbay Botanical Gardens – 248 waterfront acres, beautiful gardens, trails, sculpture, and more – mainegardens.org