The midcoast town of Bath is known for its giant shipyard, and, for lucky travelers, for its delightful, old-fashioned downtown. Shopping is much and revelatory here, at places like Markings Gallery, presenting fine art and carvings by local sculptor Wayne Robbins; The Mustard Seed Bookstore, with a wall of books by Maine authors and tea services for customers; Now You’re Cooking cookware store, filling a whole city block. And that’s just the start. Enjoy browsing for clothing, pet goods and hostess gifts. You might find some Maine coastal imagery to take home.
Discover the Trails of This Midcoast Audubon Sanctuary
A peninsula in the Sasanoa River in Georgetown is the location of the beautifuly Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary, a 119-acre preserve that is a naturalist’s window into some of the features of the Maine coast. Flanked on two sides by salt marsh, the sanctuary has miles of trails that cross meadows, coastline, forest, and ridges. To get to the sanctuary, from the junction of U.S. Route 1 and Route 127 in Woolwich, just east of the Woolwich-Bath bridge, head south on 127 for 9.1 miles to Georgetown. Turn right at the sanctuary sign and follow the entrance road to the parking area.
Trail finder.Trail guide.
Bath Is Home to Graceful, Historic Neighborhoods
Nestled along the Kennebec River, the city of Bath is a small jewel of a city that embraces a seafaring tradition. Bath welcomes visitors with tree-lined historic avenues graced by stately mansions that were once home to shipyard owners and ship captains. You can take a guided walking tour of the Bath historic district or ride the Bath Trolley. Bath’s Front Street is home to antique stores, specialty shops, galleries and fine restaurants. Bath’s Farmers Market takes place from June to October and a summer concert series takes place on Friday evenings. This is also the home of the Maine Maritime Museum.
Gem from Old Seafaring Times
Castle Tucker, at 2 Lee Street atop a hill overlooking the Sheepscot River in Wiscasset, is a Federal-style dwelling built in the 18th century, when Wiscasset was at the peak of its prosperity as the busiest port east of Boston. The house was purchased and remodeled in the 1850s by Captain Richard Tucker, scion of a shipping family. Today the mansion is preserved much as it was in the late 19th century, and it presents a vivid record of Wiscasset history. Open Wednesday to Sunday, June 1 to October 15. 207-882-7169
Old Mill Revives With Antiques, Dining, Art, Yoga
Most of New England’s 19th-century manufacturing mills have moved beyond their original purposes (making textiles, shoes, lumber) and many are being re-created as history-infused places for shopping, dining, and other forms of business. Fort Andross, a mill complex at 14 Maine Street in Brunswick is a wonderfully restored textile mill know for its antiques store, indoor flea market, yoga studio, restaurants, cinema, and gallery. Cabot Mill Antiques is a 16,000-square-foot multi-dealer emporium. The space is bright, clean, and packed with interesting and well-preserved objects of all kinds. People also enjoy the weekend flea market, and the Frontier Café, Cinema, and Gallery. And Maybe a yoga class at Jai Yoga to wind down?
Art of the Human Hand Also on Display in Midcoast
The natural beauty of mid-coast Maine is spectacular, but don’t let it deter you from stepping indoors during your visit to see some of the fine work by Maine artists. One place where art resides and welcome syou to take a piece back home is at Saltwater Artists Gallery at 3056 Bristol Road in New Harbor, not far from the coastal town of Bath. Contributing artists show and sell beautiful turned wooden items, objects in glass, pottery and jewelry. Add some icing to your gift with beautiful greeting cards decorated with watercolors, photos or prints. The shop is open daily with it’s not a bad idea to phone ahead at 207-677-2490. Another wonderful source of glass art is Tandem Glass Gallery and Studio at 6 Eagle Lodge Lame in Dresden Mills, also near Bath. Open by chance or by appointment, so call ahead at 207-737-2781. Hand-blown glass art by Terrill Waldman & Charlie Jenkins, made in this saltbox barn studio, is exquisite.
Elmer’s Barn Is a Place of Antique Surprises
Elmer’s Barn at 107 Rockland Road in Whitefield is a guaranteed good time for people who can’t get enough of browsing, browsing, browsing through antiques or just plain old stuff of the past. Expect to find three floors, a big front porch, and a yard filled with home and farm gadgets, pictures, linens, tools, books, and doodads of every possible category. Great for artists and hobbyists at upcycling things of the past. Call ahead for hours. 207-549-7671.
Create a Personalized Tour of Maine Breweries
Maine Brewers Guild, representing beer brewers statewide, wants beer drinking travelers to explore and enjoy the vast and varied beauties of the state. The guild has created an excellent site where you can build a self-guided tasting trip with a bit of targeted help. Go to the plan your route page and make some choice based on region, brewery offerings (tastings, tours, food, outdoor seating, family friendly) and then click to create a Google Map of your personalized Maine beer tour. Brace yourself for explorations of city pubs, hidden hideaways, restored mills and old barns. It’s a beautiful place.
Best Shopping Anywhere: Reny's!
It is hard to overstate how much Mainers and their out-of-state visitors love Reny’s a chain of family-owned dry good stores founded 62 years ago when the grandfather of the clan stepped out of his job as a department store clerk and founded a new store where everyone is always treated right. The stores, mostly found in the state’s small downtowns, are low in superficial glamour and packed full of useful goods, all priced as low as the store can manage. Merchandise ranges from tinned organic pumpkin meat to rubber boots and wedding dresses. Stores are located in Bath, Belfast, Bridgton, Camden, Damariscotta, Dexter, Ellsworth, Farmington, Gardiner, Madison, Newcastle, Pittsfield, Portland, Saco, and Topsham. Locations and hours. Open year-round. 207-563-3177