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If you were an American deep-water sea captain back in the 19th century, chances are you came from Searsport, Maine. Nearly 300 captains sailed from this small town at the head of Penobscot Bay, going off to India and China and building grand houses in Searsport neighborhoods to enjoy on their return. Searsport flourished in the age of sail, opening 11 shipyards and shops and factories to make the wares to fill those ships.
Things to Do in Searsport
You can enjoy the glories of Searsport’s maritime past simply by walking its streets. Downtown, which is a federal Historic District, is full of brick-and-stone commercial buildings. While they contain new stores, shops and restaurants, many retain the looks they did a century and a half ago.
Another historic district contains the grand sea-captains’ homes, some of which have been converted into inns and B&Bs.
To learn about the maritime industry that created Searsport, visit the Penobscot Marine Museum, housed inside a group of historic buildings downtown. The museum celebrates the history of Penobscot Bay and of the sea in general. There are even some of the treasures brought home by the Searsport captains. The museum has terrific exhibits especially for kids.
There’s plenty of antique stores and other markets off Route 1 to explore in Searsport. For maritime fans, a popular spot is BlueJacket Shipcrafters. It’s the oldest model-ship-and-boat company in the country (it opened in 1905). BlueJacket sells kits and finished wooden models of everything from historic racing sailboats to modern warships.
For a close look at the water, drive down Route 1 to Moose Point State Park. It features seaside picnic areas, a playground and walking trails.
In the neighboring town of Stockton Springs, you can enjoy water views at Fort Point State Park — and a lighthouse as well. The park sits on both Penobscot Bay and the Penobscot River. Within its borders are the remains of Fort Pownall, built before the American Revolution, and Fort Point Lighthouse, built in 1836 and still operating. You can visit the lighthouse grounds. Also consider Sandy Point Beach, a 100-acre beach park with hiking trails at the mouth of the Penobscot River.
Where to Stay in Searsport
In Searsport, there’s the Captain A.V. Nickels Inn, The Homeport Inn and these additional suggestions. You can also check in neighboring Belfast, Maine hotels. Scroll down the list of regional businesses below for additional suggestions.
Restaurants in Searsport
In Searsport, check out Anglers Family Seafood, Me Lon Togo, Coastal Cafe and Bakery and these additional suggestions. In Stockton Springs, consider The Hichborn. You can also scroll down the list of regional businesses below.