Belfast, Maine is a historic, MidCoast shipbuilding city located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River, on Penobscot Bay. The small but charming city’s collection of historic buildings, unique shops, annual events, and lively art scene have made it a long-time, popular tourist destination. Best of all, it’s just a ten minute drive down the coast from our Searsport bed and breakfast, Captain Nickels Inn.
Visitors to Maine soon learn that you don’t have to venture far up or down the coast to find something unique and fun to do. Our MidCoast Maine location in Searsport has us surrounded by a variety of attractions. Our historic hometown of Searsport, itself, is well worth your explorations.
For those looking for a short jaunt to stretch their legs a bit, however, we cannot recommend Belfast, Maine enough.
Belfast, Maine was first incorporated in 1773 and thrived as a shipbuilding seaport during the latter half of the 19th century. After shipbuilding came manufacturing, then the collapse and reshuffle caused by the 1970’s recession. Today, the lively little city of 7,000 is a fun and friendly tourist destination.
Getting to Belfast from our Searsport inn is an easy, ten minute drive south along the coast on US Route 1.
Once you’ve crossed over the Passagassawakeag River (feel free to call it the “Passy” – many of us do), look for the Belfast Downtown/Harbor exit on your right.
Take the exit and follow High Street as it leads to downtown Belfast.
Exploring Belfast, Maine
Many start their visit of Belfast near the top of Main Street, by the post office. This location provides great views of the scenic, downtown historic district. Window shopping your way down Main Street to the water and back can be great fun.
Belfast’s strong roots in the 18th and 19th centuries are reflected in the town’s grand sea-captain’s houses and ornate brick buildings. Historic downtown Belfast is a nationally designated Main Street Community. The working waterfront is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, galleries, and more.
Stroll the Belfast Harborwalk for splendid views of the shipyard, Belfast Bay, fantastic sunsets, and more. Like what, you ask?
How about the 1925 Presidential Yacht USS Sequoia? The 104-foot yacht was known as the “Floating White House,” served eight administrations, from Hoover to Carter. The National Historic Landmark will be in Belfast for the next several years during its restoration by French & Webb.
Want to learn more about Belfast’s working harbor? Free, guided shipyard tours can be had at Front Street Shipyard. The free tours are available at 2:30pm, Monday through Friday, Memorial Day through Labor Day. No advance reservations are required.
The Belfast Rail Trail is another lovely walkway in the area. The 2.3 mile (3.7 km) long, converted railroad bed follows the Passagassawaukeag River for a scenic walk, jog, or bike ride.
Young’s Lobster Pound and The Back and Forth
Spend too much time exploring Belfast and you’re going to get hungry. Luckily, you’re surrounded by plenty of excellent dining options, including one of our favorite Maine lobster destinations: Young’s Lobster Pound. Young’s offers some of the freshest and best Maine seafood around, and visiting Young’s can be an experience in itself, if you’d like.
The Back and Forth is a traditional wooden lobster boat in downtown Belfast offering a variety of jaunts around Belfast Bay. One of their most popular is a quick passage across the river from downtown to Young’s Lobster Pound. Great fun!
Belfast hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. Festivities like, Arts in the Park, the Maine Celtic Celebration, Belfast Harbor Fest, the fall Poetry Festival, Maine Wienerfest, and more.
And That’s Not All …
I’ve barely scratched the surface of the fun things to see and do in Belfast, ME. The town’s eclectic collection of historic buildings, artist galleries, dining, theaters, sight-seeing, and more will enchant you. All the more so because they’re so close by!
There is no end to the adventures you can have in MidCoast Maine and Captain Nickels Inn is here to help you make the most of them. Plan your Maine getaway at Captain Nickels Inn today!