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Explore Maine Real Estate

Penobscott Bay 

The grand expanse of Penobscot Bay forms the eastern horizon for the coastal towns of Knox and Waldo counties. Fittingly, the sea is still the basis of the region's prosperity, bringing tourists, yachts, lobsters, and fish to the many communities that hug the bay. Overflowing with travelers in the summer, Route 1 runs parallel to the shore and is the most populous corridor in Knox and Waldo counties. It connects all of the larger towns and is the focus of shopping, dining out, and recreational activity.

At the southern end of Knox County, Thomaston's tidy main street is lined with graceful white Federal and Colonial homes. Its compact downtown is flanked by Montpelier, the reconstructed estate of General Henry Knox, George Washington's secretary of war.

Rockland, MaineUp the road, Rockland calls itself the "Lobster Capital of the World," and the hardy fishing port makes a strong case for itself with its fleet of lobster boats and bustling commercial waterfront. But the home of the annual Maine Lobster Festival is also a burgeoning arts and retail community. It's the site of the Farnsworth Museum, which has an exceptional collection of Maine art and is home to the Wyeth Center - the largest facility devoted to the works of that famed art clan. With a new public boardwalk constructed by credit-card giant MBNA, Rockland is also the homeport of most of the Maine windjammer fleet and provides access by state ferry to the bay's populated islands - Vinalhaven, North Haven, and distant Matinicus. Due south of town, Port Clyde is the mainland link to the famed artist's colony on rugged Monhegan Island. Several tiny harbor hamlets - Owls Head, Tenants Harbor, and Spruce Head are located on the peninsulas that jut into the bay.

Two of Maine's prettiest harbors, Rockport and Camden, are north of Rockland along Route 1. Full of beautiful seaside homes that cluster around a V-shaped inlet, Rockport is home to the Maine Photographic Workshops, an internationally known photography school, as well as the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (formerly Maine Coast Artists), a noted arts organization and gallery that sponsors shows by both established and up-and-coming art talents.

Camden, MaineCamden is dominated by Mount Battie and Mount Megunticook, two high hills that loom over the sea like Scandinavian peaks and make up Camden Hills State Park, one of Maine's busiest state parks. Clustered in the red-brick downtown that rings yacht-filled Camden Harbor are many restaurants and boutiques that cater to the tourist trade in the summer but, unlike many resort communities in Maine, also stay open year-round.

Lincolnville, Camden's northerly neighbor, is divided into halves - Lincolnville Beach and Lincolnville Center. The former is the site of a ferry that connects the large island of Islesboro and its many year-round residents to the mainland. Lincolnville Beach has a few inns and three restaurants just off its small swath of sand. The center of town lies three or four miles inland, in a very rural area dotted with lakes, ponds, and hiker-friendly hills.

Beyond Lincolnville and its low-profile neighbor, Northport, is Belfast, shiretown of Waldo County. Popular with back-to-the-landers in the seventies, Belfast still has a funky vibe, with an over-the-top art deco movie house, crunchy food co-op, noted theater troupe, and various coffee shops and eateries. And it has enjoyed a remarkable boom in the past decade with the arrival of banking titan MBNA, which now employs some 2,000 people here to service its credit-card empire. Some of Maine's finest architecture can be found in Belfast's quiet neighborhoods and in the two or three blocks of Victorian commercial buildings that comprise the downtown.

The inland towns of Knox and Waldo counties are Maine's answer to Vermont's rolling green countryside. Blue ponds lie in the hollows of the hills, and small farms dot the landscape. Union, Hope, and Appleton have sizable blueberry barrens, Winterport is a quiet commuter town just south of Bangor on the tidal Penobscot River, and the popular Lake St. George State Park brings many to Liberty.

 

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Southern Gateway Penobscott Bay
Greater Portland Central Maine
Western Mountains Northern Maine
Midcoast Downeast Coast
     
     
     
 
  
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This article has been adapted from the February 2004 issue of Down East Magazine.



 
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