Eastport, Maine Vacation Guide
Similar to many coastal cities in Maine, when ships were the primary mode of transportation, Eastport was a prominent center of trade and fishing. Cobscook Bay has the deepest port on the east coast, and the Europeans took advantage of this channel as early as the 1600s, despite the fact that Eastport was not formally settled until 1772. The city has gone through many transformations over the years. Due to the Embargo Act of 1807, for a while Eastport became a prime smuggling center, hauling goods in and out of nearby Canada. In 1875, canning was invented in Eastport, and the city prospered during the 19th century sardine-canning era.
Today, Eastport is billed as the Real Maine, and it does take an adventuresome tourist to come this far Down East. Eastport is remote, uncrowded, friendly and extraordinarily photogenic. There is a booming aquaculture industry (notice the salmon farms in the bay), a new commercial cargo port and summer ferry excursions to Deer Island. The surrounding area includes towns like Charlotte, Dennysville, Pembroke, Perry and Robbinston.
Attractions and Places of Interest
Eastport’s National Historic Waterfront District is a good place to begin your tour. Built in the 19th century, it includes Federal, Victorian and Queen Anne architectural styles. There is a walkway where you can watch the boats and freighters. Notice the steep gangways that are used to access the boats. The tides in Eastport can fluctuate up to thirty feet. After that, visit Raye’s Mustard Mill, the last remaining mill in the United States that produces stone-ground mustard. The mill’s yellow trim is the first clue you are in the right place. Raye’s Mustard Mill was once part of the sardine packing industry. Today, you can take a tour and purchase award-winning mustards like Fall Harvest (made with cranberries) and Winter Garden.
For such a remote location, Eastport hosts several high-profile special events. The most easterly city in the U.S. holds Maine’s largest Fourth of July parade. The fireworks shot over the bay are spectacular, but the Canadian bagpipes are the highlight every year. In August, Pleasant Point Reservation hosts Sipayik Indian Days. Dancing, drumming, canoe races and fireworks are all a part of this celebration of Passamaquoddy culture. During the weekend after Labor Day, Eastport’s Salmon Festival always draws a large crowd. There are tours of the salmon pens, arts and crafts shows, wine tasting and live music.
Eastport’s deep port makes it prime whale-watching country. If you are not lucky enough to see a spouting whale from the Lupine-lined waterfront, then you will have ample opportunity to view one from one of the numerous whale-watching charters. The areas tremendous tidal surge also creates some unusual natural wonders, and the reversing salt-water falls at Mahar’s Point, in West Pembroke, is a must-see. There are hiking trails as Shackford Head as well as self-guided walking tours through Eastport’s historic district. A ferry runs between Eastport and Deer Island, New Brunswick, so be sure to bring your passport for a day excursion.
Waterfront eateries are popular in Maine, and there are plenty of chowder houses and seafood restaurants around Eastport’s piers. From downstairs pubs to upstairs dining rooms, fried seafood plates, juicy burgers, wraps and sandwiches dominate Eastport’s menus. Looking for something fancier? Head over to a wood-fired grill for specialty dishes like duck with maple and peppercorn glaze or salmon with pesto.
While the rising sun might touch Eastport before any other place in the U.S., there is no hurry in this remote part of Maine. Inns and B&Bs provide comfortable and laid-back settings in which to decompress and unwind. Fireplaces, parlors and colorful outdoor gardens are all part of the accommodation package. While these historic inns provide an authentic Down East vibe, there are also traditional, good value rooms in the areas hotels and motels. Real Maine is whatever you want it to be.
Eastport Area Directories
Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Eastport, Maine area.