I was visiting a friend’s house the other night when I stumbled upon an issue of a magazine that had a list of the top ten harbors on the Maine coast. The selections seemed to come from the readers and were all very good selections. However there were, I felt, some glaring omissions.
Of course, everyone has a different eye for what suits them. There is no wrong answer to be had. With that in mind, here is my list of Maine’s most beautiful harbors.
1. Center Harbor, Brooklin
Tucked away at the eastern end of the Eggemoggin Reach, Center Harbor has an amazing collection of wooden boats and is one of the quietest places on the Blue Hill peninsula. This is the gathering place for the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, held every August.
2. Pulpit Harbor, North Haven Island
Protected on all sides, and featuring what has to the most beautiful view of the Camden Hills, Pulpit is without a doubt a favorite of countless boaters. The swimming here on a warm summer day cannot be beat — and neither can the sunsets!
3. Burnt Coat Harbor, Swans Island
The main hub on Swans, Burnt Coat Harbor is shaped like an upside-down V and sits under the watchful eye of Hockomock Head light. There seem to be more fishing boats here than any other place on the coast I can think of.
Cutler’s inner harbor, way downeast on the Bay of Fundy, is surrounded by vast and wild shores, where the waves crash and the rocky shores of Canada sit in the distance. The hiking here is truly spectacular!
5. Tenants Harbor
Spruce-covered Southern Island guards this classic harbor, where sleek sailboats sit next to hulking lobster boats, and Cod End serves some of the best seafood in the state. Known as the “country of the pointed firs” due to the surrounding legions of dark green balsam firs,
Tenants Harbor fits all the descriptions of a quintessential Maine harbor.
6. Northeast Harbor
Long the yachting center of eastern Maine, this venerable port holds many of the most beautiful boats in the world during the summer season and affords amazing views of — and access to — Acadia National Park. The shops here are great, as is the golf course, on the Somes Sound side of town.
The undisputed fishing capital of Washington County, this salty hamlet sits hard on the Moosabec Reach, where the tides are immense and the currents fast. Beals Island sits across the reach, right down the road from the stunning nature conservancy preserve on Great Wass Island.
8. Isle Au Haut
This is a small harbor, but a beautiful one at that. Guarded by majestic Kimball Island, this narrow reach serves as the main entryway onto this rugged island, known by many as the jewel of Penobscot Bay. This is where Acadia National Park beckons and the views go on forever.
9. Winter Harbor
To say that inner Winter Harbor is cozy is generous. Incredibly well protected, this tiny inlet houses a good-sized fleet of sturdy lobster boats and is surrounded by the lush landscape of the Schoodic Peninsula. The views here over to Mount Desert Island are breathtaking.
10. Port Clyde
Port Clyde is the definition of a fishing village. Lobster traps envelop the environment as fisherman head out to sea in droves, all looking for a way to make a living. Protected by Hupper Island and guarded by Marshall Point Lighthouse, which commands a perfect perch on the ocean’s edge.
That’s my Top 10. What’s yours?