The little town of Machias is known for blueberries and rebellion.
So, the blueberries make sense. Machias is smack in the middle of Maine’s blueberry belt (the state’s the world top producer of wild blueberries). As for the rebellion? We’ll get to that in a bit.
Things to Do in Machias
When it comes to blueberries, few things can top the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival. The celebration, which happens each August, includes cooking contests (with wild blueberries, natch), a pie-eating contest, a parade, arts and crafts displays, a blueberry run & walk and – wait for it – a blueberry themed musical comedy that changes each year. Little wonder it’s been happening for more than 40 years. For true blueberry fans, the Festival even offers a chance to visit some of the region’s wild-blueberry farms.
As for rebellion, well, that happened a while back. In 1775, locals in the newly minted town were told of the Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord. They weren’t happy. So when a small Royal Navy ship demanded Machias provide lumber to be used by British forces down in Boston, locals decided on a different plan. In what became the first naval battle of the American Revolution, Machias Patriots sailed after the little British ship, fought its crew, and captured it. Today, you can visit Burnham Tavern (built in 1770), where the Patriots came up with their audacious plan to take on the British.
In the same spirit, you can also drive out to unlucky Fort O’Brien State Historic Site. The little fort was built on the coast soon after the first scrap between the Patriots and the British. It was designed to keep British ships from sailing up the Machias River and getting at the town. It worked – sort of. In 1775, the British sailed back and destroyed the fort! It was rebuilt. But the British remembered it. During the War of 1812, the British came back and burned it again. It was rebuilt and served during the Civil War.
Machias is a great base it you want to walk, bike, ski or ride a snowmobile or ATV on the Down East Sunrise Trail. This 87-mile former railbed runs right through town.
Bird lovers should try for a spot on a Bold Coast Charters cruise boat traveling from the town of Cutler to tiny, offshore Machias Seal Island. The island, claimed by both Canada and the U.S., hosts thousands of sea birds such as puffins. Be aware: these charters are very popular and often sell out.
The University of Maine at Machias has a rural campus on 242 acres and is the first university to see the sunrise in the U.S.
Where to Stay in Machias
For some Machias, Maine hotels, consider the Machias River Inn, The Inn at Schoppee Farm, the Margaretta Inn, the Bluebird Motel and these suggestions. You can also scroll down the list of regional businesses below.