Drive ME Historic Tours
Maine Preservation has created these historic tours to celebrate Maine’s bicentennial in 2020 by featuring pre-statehood places and the people who forged early Maine with conveniently mapped out trips. Explore Maine’s cultural and architectural roots as you travel by some of the state’s best examples of mid-18th- and early-19th-century architecture.
There are 26 tours to enjoy throughout the many unique regions in Maine. You can see homes built in the 1700s, when Maine was still part of Massachusetts and under British rule, like the Thomas Perkins House in Kennebunkport or the McCobb-Hill-Minott House in Phippsburg.
While many of the houses are privately owned, some have been turned into museums, like the Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland, which was the childhood home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, or the Holmes-Crafts Homestead in Jay, which is part of the Jay Historical Society and available for tours by appointment.
The tours are organized by region and range from 30 minutes to four hours of exploration. On your way, be sure to experience some of Maine’s beautiful and historic downtowns, many of which are nationally accredited Main Street communities and are vibrant places to find local food, shops, cultural happenings and distinct New England architecture. We recommend giving yourself plenty of extra time to take in the sights and support local businesses along the way!
Here are some of the possible tours to enjoy:
- In the Southern Maine Coastal Region tour from Cape Elizabeth to Biddeford, you’ll stop to visit the iconic Portland Head Light, built circa 1790, and can see the Richard Hunniwell House. Built in the early 18th century, it’s one of the oldest surviving houses in the state.
- Find other vestiges of pre-statehood Maine, too. On a tour through Maine’s Lakes and Mountains, stop and see the Churchill Bridge (built circa 1797), a dry-laid, rubble stone structure. It’s one of only three lintel bridges left in Maine.
- Visit a centuries-old cemetery in New Gloucester and see other fantastic examples of architecture on this tour through the Greater Portland and Casco Bay Region.
- Head to MidCoast and see meetinghouses and an old fort on this tour through Bristol down to Westport. Fort Edgecomb’s octagonal shape is quite unusual, and the fort is open to the public.
- The tour through the Kennebec and Moose River Valley Region offers you a chance to visit the Blossom House, built circa 1808, now the Monmouth Museum, open to the public in the summer. Another home-turned-museum on this route is the Redington Museum for the Waterville Historical Society.
- Head to the Maine Highlands on this tour and see the Robert Carleton House, one of the oldest surviving buildings in Piscataquis County. It is a significant example of a late Federal-style structure.
- On this interesting tour through the DownEast and Acadia Region, you could stay at one of the historic properties. The General John Brewer House, a Greek Revival, is now the Brewer House B&B.