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. Today, Searsport is still a charming MidCoast town, just with far fewer sea captains.
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 captain’s 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. When it’s time to head to sea yourself, rent a kayak to experience sea life up close in Penobscot Bay.
Back on shore, 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 Nickels Inn, The Homeport Inn and these additional suggestions. You can also check in neighboring Belfast, Maine for 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 for West African flavors, Coastal Cafe and Bakery, taco and cocktail hotspot Hey Sailor! and these additional suggestions. In Stockton Springs, consider The Hichborn. You can also scroll down the list of regional businesses below.