Belfast, Maine is a little city on a gentle hill above the Passagassawaukeag River (Puh-sag-gus-uh-WAH-keg, Passy to the locals) and is a lively, year round hub of Maine art, hiking trails, shopping, food, boat building, music and events.
Things to Do in Belfast
Belfast’s downtown is considered so beautiful it’s a Nationally designated Main Street Community and working waterfront. As you stroll through town, you will pass the grand sea-captain’s houses that sit majestically in leafy neighborhoods and the downtown’s ornate brick buildings. Belfast has one of Maine’s largest concentrations of pre-Civil War architecture, two historic districts on the National Register plus Maine’s best intact brick commercial district. More than two dozen Museum in the Streets panels tell the city’s 250 year evolution and describe major landmarks. Pick up maps at the Chamber office at 14 Main St or visit the website at www.belfast.org
Those classic downtown buildings now serve as homes and workshops for a cadre of local artists and artisans. The performing arts are also well supported. The Belfast Maskers, the local community theater, has been active for more than 30 years and now performs in a historic theater space. Choices for shopping are endless and you can enjoy the pleasure of shopping at mom-and-pop stores in a quaint, small-town Main Street where many of the merchants have been in business or owned for decades, or a century!
For lovers of local food, Belfast is hard to beat. Farm to Table fare is common with restaurants buying direct from the many farms and fisherman in the area. There’s the Belfast Co-op, one of the state’s most popular, which opened in 1976. Like farmers’ markets? Belfast has two. Maine’s largest farmers’ market, the United Farmers Market of Maine, is open indoors every Saturday. The long-time Belfast Farmers Market is open Fridays - indoors during winter, outdoors during the warmer months.
Belfast reverberates with fairs and festivals. June is Belfast’s annual Arts in the Park, approximately 100 artists and artisans show off their work in Steamboat Landing Park, and the Maine Celtic Celebration, a festival of Celtic heritage and art in July. August is the month for the annual Belfast Harbor Fest. And in September, there’s Maine Wienerfest, a celebration of dachshunds (we’re not making this up). There’s a parade and wiener dog costumes.
Want to enjoy the Belfast Harbor? Talk a walk on the Harbor Walk! This short and picturesque walk (8/10th mile)allows residents and visitors to stroll, bike, or jog along the shore of the harbor in downtown Belfast, enjoying city parks, gardens, birding opportunities, and an up close view of a working shipyard along the way. Want a longer walk? Consider the Belfast Rail Trail which is 2.3-mile, graveled path that follows the Passagassawaukeag. It’s built on the bed of the southern section of the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad, so it’s an easy grade for walking. For some slightly wilder jaunts, check out the trails at the Coastal Mountains Land Trust. For something a little longer, check out the Hills to Sea Trail, a 47-mile footpath linking the inland town of Unity with Belfast. Or head to the sea where you can row with Dorywoman Rowing, take a ride on The Back and Forth, sail on the Schooner Charm and enjoy working harbor up close.