Area Activities for Guests

We recommend you check the Weekly Packet, the local weekly newspaper which comes out on Thursday afternoons, for options for eating out, unique shops and galleries, concerts and other musical performances. The Bay Community Register has all the local phone numbers.

A few day trips and things to do:

The Blue Hill Heritage Trust provides a comprehensive list of all of the trails they maintain in the area. They have easy to more challenging trails and indicate which are dog friendly. Bring bug/tick spray!

Also check out the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce site for lots of information about the area. Their Area Guide is also a great resource and included in the Guest Binder found in the rental property.

In Maine, waterfront land is owned to mean low tide by the property owner. Your rights to use that private land are limited to fishing, fowling and navigation, a colonial ordinance that to this day allows people to use private intertidal areas for one of these three purposes. Keep an eye on the tide table, as high tide comes up quickly and will block your return.

Belfast is about 1one hour away, has seen a renewal of its’ charming downtown and is worth a visit to stroll around local shops and galleries and sample some restaurants. There is also a big Reny’s on Rt 3 that you probably passed on your way up the coast. If you haven’t been to Reny’s, you must go—it calls itself a discount department store, but it’s also a Maine institution.

Blue Hill has seen a restaurant resurgence. There are also a few nice local stores with handcrafts, fine art and clothing that are fun to browse. Stop in at Blue Hill Books on Pleasant Street or the fun toy store on Main Street. Besides Tradewinds Marketplace, there is also the Blue Hill Co-op for natural foods and ready-to-go prepared foods. The Farmer’s Market takes place on Saturday morning (9:00 – 11:30) at the Fairgrounds (head towards Surry and Ellsworth).

Brooklin is known for boatbuilding, “The Boat Building Capital of the World!”, including Brooklin Boat Yard at Center Harbor and Atlantic Boat Company at Flye Point, as well as a number of others, and internationally – known Wooden Boat School on Naskeag Road. Wooden Boat welcomes visitors and has a gift shop. At the end of Naskeag Point is a rocky beach and a public boat pier. The mountains in the distance are on Mount Desert Island, the tallest one being Cadillac Mountain, the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view sunrise in the United States from October - March.

Brooklin was the home to E.B. White, who wrote Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, along with other books and New Yorker columns in his waterside studio on Bay Road in North Brooklin. Katharine Angell White (E.B.’s wife), Ann Rivers Siddons and Roger Angell are three other famous writers who had longstanding ties to Brooklin.

Brooksville contains the villages of North Brooksville, South Brooksville (Bucks Harbor), West Brooksville, Brooksville Corner, and Harborside (on Cape Rosier). South Brooksville is known for Bucks Harbor Market and Buck’s Restaurant (in same building). If you’ll be visiting in July or August the Brooksville Historical Society is worth a stop, especially if interested in local maritime history. Take the time to visit Holbrook Island Sanctuary on Cape Rosier. It’s a great spot for bird watching and walking the old roads.

The classic children’s picture book, One Morning In Maine, by Robert McCloskey, published in 1952, is set in South Brooksville. He also wrote Blueberries For Sal and had their family summer home on Scott Island for many years.

Bucksport is about thirty minutes away on the way to Belfast, and has an interesting old fort, Fort Knox, as well as the new Penobscot Narrows Bridge with an observation deck. A recent addition to the restaurants is a restaurant/brewhouse run by a group of Friars – the Friars Brewhouse. There’s also a good bookshop.

Deer Isle: Drive over the Deer Isle/Sedgwick Bridge and look for sailboats cruising Eggemoggin Reach. You can stop at the information Center just before the road takes a sharp left. Head for the Mark Island Lighthouse (not open to the public, but a pretty spot) by following the road to the right of the Information Center, then turn right and follow till the road almost ends. Stay on Route 15 and drive by the Information Center, cross the causeway, then go through Deer Isle village (maybe stopping for a few galleries or 44 North Coffee), and look for the sign to Nervous Nellies on Sunshine Road. I can’t explain “Nervous” as we call it, but few people can escape the whimsy and magic of the sculptures. Buy some jam or chutney. Head into Stonington for lunch or at least ice cream and browse in some of the shops. If the Deer Isle Granite Museum is open, it’s worth a stop.

On your way to or from Deer Isle, drive over Caterpillar Hill and stop at the pull-off for a fantastic view of Walker Pond and Penobscot Bay. There are also interesting historical displays etched on local granite.

Ellsworth is a fun shopping daytrip. There is an LL Bean outlet, another Reny’s, also a Marden’s (another Maine institution of discount job lot bargains including great fabric if you quilt) and many standard “big box” stores. Stop in Rooster Brothers kitchen store at the foot of the hill coming into Ellsworth from Blue Hill. They have a wonderful selection of kitchen items and the downstairs has gourmet foods, cheeses, coffee and baked goods. Many small local shops and restaurants line the hill up to Rt 3/1 heading toward Bar Harbor and Acadia. Look at the Town Hall façade to the left of the main street shops. Also find several Antiques Malls on or near the main street and 1A Relics antique mall on the North Ellsworth Road (heading towards Bangor on Route 1A).

Speaking of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, if you are here in high season, and don’t want to face the crunch of visitors, consider touring Mount Desert’s “quiet(er) side” (bear right at the head of the island) or head Downeast to Schoodic Point with its spectacular rocky coast and crashing surf. Great biking in both spots. The Island Explorer bus service offers a way to avoid the crazy traffic and get around the island, stopping at scenic areas and hiking trails. See the current schedule online for details.

Searsport is about forty-five minutes away on the way to Belfast, has a good Marine Museum as well as fun antique shops, a salvage store and flea markets.

Biking, Hiking and Boating:

You can rent canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and wetsuits at The Activity Shop in Blue Hill (207-374-3600).

Puffin, seal and whale watching as well as lobster boat cruises are available either on Deer Isle or from Bar Harbor or Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. Isle au Haut Boat Services in Stonington is offering Puffin cruises on Sundays this summer. We also highly recommend Sail Acadia (lobster boat/seal watching in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island).

Aquila Sailboat Charters offers day sails from Brooklin on beautiful Aquila.

Bucks Harbor Marina in South Brooksville offers boat charters and mooring rentals.

Farmer’s Markets:

The peninsula abounds in small, often organic farms and the farmer’s markets sell fresh produce, cheeses, meats and crafts. You’ll find the schedule for the whole area here. Also check the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Area Guide (in your Guest Binder) for a list of local Farmer’s Markets.

Farmstands:

Visit Blue-Zee Farm’s Farm Stand at 652 Front Ridge Road in Penobscot. They’re open Tuesday – Thursday 9-5:00pm.

Libraries

The libraries in both Brooklin and Blue Hill welcome visitors and will allow borrowing if you sign up for a library card. The Blue Hill Library offers many activities for adults and children, and both provide free 24/7 Wi-Fi access.

Lobster:

Tradewinds Marketplace in Blue Hill sells live lobsters as does the Fish Net take out.

Johnson’s Seafood in Blue Hill (just past the roundabout going down Tenney Hill) also sells lobster and other seafood.

Call the Sleigh Bell Shoppe/Lobster Crate on the South Blue Hill/Brooklin town line and ask them to cook the lobster for you (they do sell live lobster as well. They close at 5, so you need to pick up before then).

It’s OK to put the lobster shells on some of the rocks on the shore, and then watch the gulls and crows enjoy the remainder. “What comes from the sea…”

Music

Check the Weekly Packet for musical events. Some restaurants offer live music on certain nights. Most of the summer, Kneisel Hall in Blue Hill has classical music concerts with both renowned and young artists. Blue Hill Bach has a yearly series in late July/early August with visiting artists. Flash in the Pans is a wonderful local drumming group, and Bagaduce Chorale is a local choral group. There are monthly Hymn sings at Rockbound Chapel in Brooklin.

Pet Services:

Creature Quarters Dog Day Care and Boarding (207-610-2220); 43 Atlantic Lane, Surry, email: carolann@creaturequarters.com

GoDoggy Playcare and Boarding (207-326-4010); 62 Bridle Pathway, Penobscot, email: wedigdogs@yahoo.com

Restaurants:

This list is not inclusive by any means. Keep in mind that, even in season, many restaurants close by nine or earlier, and most are not open all 7 days. Given the pandemic, some restaurants have closed, or require reservations. If you’re making a special trip, and are not certain of hours, do call ahead.

In Blue Hill, Barncastle on South Street (just south of Tradewinds) is popular with locals. There are several excellent restaurants in Blue Hill; it’s smart to make dinner reservations in season. For a special dinner, try Arborvine and Deep Water Brewing Company. Blaze is a brewpub with views right on the brook downtown and serves Sunday brunch.

The Fish Net, a take out in Blue Hill at the bottom of Green’s Hill (near the laundromat) also serves lobster either outside at picnic tables or indoors.

In Brooklin, the Brooklin General Store has lunch specials, including outdoor grilling on Fridays. The Brooklin Inn offers both fine dining and a pub.

In Brooksville, Tinder Hearth bakes award-winning bread and wood fired pizza. They aren’t open every day, and the pizza requires a preorder. Call or go online-207-326-8382; tinderhearth.com.

For an award-winning lobster roll (James Beard, 2012!), try the Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville. This is a very unassuming takeout spot with picnic tables on a cove on the Bagaduce River. They’re open 11am – 7pm every day except Wednesday. The public boat launch is across the road.

In Bucks Harbor village (South Brooksville) Buck’s Restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30pm – 8:30pm. Call them at 207-326-8688 for a reservation.

On Deer Isle, try Aragosta, fine food with a gorgeous view in Goose Cove (reservations), or several restaurants right in Stonington.

In Sedgwick, Strong Brewing Company have a wood fired pizza oven and are dog and child friendly.

In Surry it’s worth the trip out to the end of Newbury Neck to experience Perry’s Lobster Shack.

See also the Dining section of the Bay Community Register.