Head toward the ocean from North Edgecomb and you’ll have one of the most delightful rides down the Boothbay Peninsula. On one side of the peninsula is the Sheepscot River and on the other is the Damariscatta River. Your drive will take you past the towns of Edgecomb and Boothbay. Each will invite you to linger and enjoy their gift stores, antique shops and galleries. You may want to stay in one of their historic inns, B&Bs, motels, cottages or campgrounds.
Continue driving until you run out of peninsula – you’ve arrived at Boothbay Harbor, both a town and boat-filled harbor. From here you can sail to neighboring island and view the rocky coast and lighthouses, take windjammer cruises, go whale watching and deep sea fishing.
First settlers arrived in the 17th century and fished the waters around Damariscove Island just off the mainland. They started fishing communities on Cape Newagen, but battles with Indians dispersed the settlers. They returned to the area at Boothbay Harbor and established the town of Townsend in 1730. Other towns sprung up in following years.
By the 1870s vacationers from Boston and beyond discovered the charm of the area and helped develop it as a favored tourist spot.
If you find the peninsula on a map you may think you’re looking down on a giant lobster. With lobstering, along with fishing and ship building, such a major occupation here perhaps Mother Nature was hinting at some plan when this land mass was formed eons ago.
At the tip of one claw of the “lobster” you’ll reach the town of Ocean Point, a great place for surfing. The other claw is Southport Island with the towns of Southport, West Southport and Newagen, each providing you with eateries, shops and wonderful ocean vistas.
You get an in-depth view of life in the ocean at the Maine State Aquarium in West Boothbay Harbor. In addition to interactive displays and exhibits about sea life you can view the 850 gallon tank with sharks, skates and other ocean creatures.
Visit Boothbay Rail Village and ride a train pulled by a classic steam engine. The past comes alive for you at the Hendricks Hill Museum, an 1810 farmhouse with historic material and fishing equipment. Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site on Davis Island in the Sheepscott River has a fort built in 1808 and features a blockhouse, exhibits, picnic area and Revolutionary War reenactments.
Oven’s Mouth Preserve offers 146 acres with trails and marshes for viewing wildlife and relaxing. You’ll find more places to hike at the Gregory Hiking Trail in Boothbay. It’s located on private property, but allowed for public use. Another sight in private hands is Hendrick’s Head Lighthouse. You can view it from land or a sea cruise.
At Ice House Cove you’ll be surprised by the long foot bridge that leads to some quiet picnic areas.
The ocean scenery around Boothbay Harbor made an ideal setting for filming Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical Carousel.