Welcome to the legendary Bold Coast of Maine – a place we fondly call “the real Downeast”!
Well worth the drive!
In this far-flung corner of Downeast Maine, salt air and a slowed pace rejuvenate the soul. People live in rhythm with the shifting of the tides, the migration of the fish, the rising of the sun, the turning of the leaf, and the warming of the soil.
Active fishing villages, working-forests, family farms, and prolific blueberry barrens reflect this relationship as people continue to harvest the seasonal bounty of land and sea, much as their ancestors have done for centuries.
Visitors are invited to experience the gentle pull of this magical landscape, to create memories with their local hosts and newfound friends, to connect with the simple joys and strengthening challenges of life in the Bold Coast region.
Here you’ll discover the Bold Coast gateway communities of Steuben, Milbridge, Cherryfield, Harrington, Addison, Columbia and Columbia Falls. These communities are your home base for diverse and unparalleled outdoor recreation adventures – whether you prefer camping, boating, fishing, hiking, swimming, wildlife watching, ATVing, hunting, beachcombing, or just relaxing!
Steuben’s heart is the village green with its church, school, and library. The village green marks the beginning of the Bold Coast section of the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium sculpture trail (other host towns nearby include Milbridge, Harrington, and Addison).
Steuben is home to the Eagle Hill Institute, a scientific and literary organization offering professional seminars and community lectures in the natural history sciences.
Enjoy a walk or paddle by kayak through the Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge to view nesting seabirds and other wildlife, or hike the Pigeon Hill Mountain trail for great views of Petit Manan Island and Lighthouse. Both preserves provide breathtaking views and exhilarating hikes.
Milbridge marks the beginning of the Bold Coast Scenic Byway, a 125-mile scenic drive passing through over 20 coastal communities. Stop in at our regional visitor center, located at the Schooner Gallery, to learn more about the greater region.
Downtown Milbridge is easily walkable and contains many historic 19th century homes including that of blueberry baron Jasper Wyman. Milbridge is the home of a family owned-and-operated Christmas wreath company, has an active fishing harbor situated at the mouth of the Narraguagus River and offers opportunities to sample fresh, local seafood and enjoy wildlife watching boat tours. Visitors can learn about the town’s extensive shipbuilding and maritime heritage at the Milbridge Historical Society and museum.
Just a short drive from downtown Milbridge is McClellan Park, a municipal park and campground with walking trails and picnic benches situated at the edge of the rugged rocky coast. Milbridge Days is an enduring annual community celebration with events such as the infamous codfish relay race.
Milbridge was inspired by the English town of Todmorden whose residents transformed their small city into a booming market destination known as “Incredible Edible Todmorden”. Now, Milbridge is transforming its own downtown into an Incredible Edible community where people are invited to snack on publicly planted, locally grown fruits and vegetables as they explore the town.
Cherryfield is a historic lumbering village built on the Narraguagus River and boasting a downtown historic district of over 75 acres spanning both sides of the river. This National Historic District contains 52 substantially intact contributing structures in Federalist, Second Empire, and Victorian styles. (The Cherryfield Historical Society provides a downloadable walking tour.)
Cherryfield contains antique and gift shops, an old-fashioned general store, a B&B offering English Tea, and hosts Cherryfield Days, an annual hometown celebration. Downtown Cherryfield offers a leisurely stroll around the Narraguagus River with several pocket parks for picnicking, fishing and enjoying the meander of the water. Just outside of town are blueberry and vegetable farms, a winery, and an alpaca farm, all offering fresh products and farm tours.
The Great Heath, a 6,000-acre wilderness area containing the largest raised bog ecosystem in Maine, offers remote paddling and bird watching opportunities just a short drive from Cherryfield—but you’d better ask a local for directions!
The Downeast Sunrise Trail, a segment of the East Coast Greenway, is easily accessible from the Cable Pool boat launch, also the starting point for a peaceful paddle up the Narraguagus River. (The Downeast Sunrise Trail is an 85-mile, multi-use rail-trail conversion through undeveloped forests and wetland, with awesome views of mountains and lakes; and linking Bold Coast communities from Steuben to Pembroke.)
Breathtaking scenery and numerous opportunities for paddling, fishing, wildlife-viewing, hiking, camping, and swimming in clear, quiet lakes are just a few minutes drive out of town along the Black Woods Scenic Byway.
First settled in 1765, Harrington is a quiet coastal village with lovely old homes and a popular local eatery in the center of town. The Frank E. Woodworth Preserve trail winds through moss-carpeted woodlands containing trees more than a century old. The trail emerges at the shoreline overlooking the upper reaches of Pleasant Bay. Several tidal rivers converge off Ripley Neck, supporting a wide array of shorebirds and waterfowl.
Harrington is the home of a locally-owned and -operated wreath company which manages 4,000 acres of balsam forest. A family-operated cranberry farm which occasionally offers tours is located on Route 1A in Harrington. Ocean-side cabins are available in several locations.
Columbia’s retail center, locally known as The Four Corners, offers a compact and comprehensive service center. Not far off the beaten tracks in Columbia are endless miles of dirt roads winding through vast blueberry barrens (incredible scenery and great cross-country skiing, but not a good idea to explore without a local guide…especially during harvest season!). Several small farms easily accessible from the Four Corners offer opportunities for visitors to learn about farming life.
Columbia Falls village, a short loop off of Route 1, contains many historic homes in its walkable village, including the Historic Ruggles House Museum, which showcases Federal Design and Adam Ornament (including a flying staircase and original furniture.) The Wreaths Across America Museum showcases US military items and documents the history of the organization, including its wreath donation program. The Downeast Salmon Federation, a stop along the Downeast Fisheries Trail, offers education about wild Atlantic Salmon and related fisheries and habitats and hosts an annual Smelt Fry during the spring run. A traditional blacksmith’s trade may be caught at the Margaretta Days Festival in Machias. A local pottery artist is located in the heart of Columbia Falls village, and an eclectic blueberry gift store just down the road apiece along Route 1 should not be missed.
Addison and South Addison
Downtown Addison offers vistas across wildlife-rich tidal saltmarshes; a quaint, historic village; and a stop along the Schoodic International Sculpture Trail at a beautiful little park and picnic area.
Several boat landings provide access to numerous points along the Maine Island Trail Association’s trail network of islands and water. Visitors can camp overnight in Addison, visit art galleries, kayak the Island Trail, or charter a boat tour of the Pleasant River Estuary.
South Addison is the starting point for exploration of Tibbett Island, a 23-acre island just 600 feet offshore. Ingersoll Point Preserve has 145 forested acres with over 3 miles of trails on Carrying Place Cove and Wohoa Bay. South Addison’s Cape Split was the beloved summer home of artist John Marin.