48HRS in Belfast + Lincolnville
First a gritty shipbuilding town, then a chicken-processing one, Belfast is now a hub for artists and artisans, with a restored waterfront and a bustling downtown lined with shops and restaurants. The more rural Lincolnville boasts a small beach community tucked along the shoreline.
Pit stop for pie and a classic inn
If you’re heading to the midcoast from the south and need a stop along the way, there may be no better place than Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro. With a neon sign that beckons from the northbound side of Route 1, this Maine icon is justly celebrated for its old-school menu, including more than ten varieties of homemade pie. A sweet slice (or a cup of Moody’s famous chowder) makes a good late-afternoon snack to keep you going the rest of the way.
Aglow on a blustery winter evening with luminarias lining the driveway, The Spouter Inn Bed and Breakfast is among the few area accommodations open year-round. The friendly innkeepers, Linda and Marc Impagliazzo, bought the 1832 property in 2018 and have renovated all eight of the spacious rooms.
The Captain’s Quarters features a king bed, beamed ceiling, sitting area, and bathroom with Jacuzzi tub and, like all of the rooms, has a fine view of the ocean across the street. On the main floor are the breakfast room, two sitting rooms (one with a fireplace), and the “honor bar”; you are welcome to help yourself to a bottle of wine if you replace it during your stay. Built by Marc, the cozy corner bar beckons for a before-dinner drink or nightcap.
Dining at a local legend
You won’t want to settle in just yet, though, because up the road in Belfast Chase’s Daily is open for dinner only on Fridays (it serves breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday). Now in its 20th year, the family-owned vegetarian restaurant and bakery is a many-time James Beard Award nominee. Allow a little time beforehand to drop by Perennial Cider Bar, a subterranean ode to the apple just a block down the street from the restaurant.
Take advantage of proprietor Kristopher Hogg’s extensive knowledge to choose a cider from the large selection, or opt for a tasting sampler.
In Chase’s Daily’s high-ceilinged dining room, lively family groups mix with couples quietly chatting over bottles of wine from the well-priced list. The casual menu changes regularly, but constants are pizza, pasta, salads, and comfort food such as a polenta bowl with gorgonzola, roasted vegetables, white beans, and arugula pesto. The atmosphere is so relaxed and convivial, you may have to pry yourself out of your seat to leave.
To market, to market
At the Spouter Inn, the Impagliazzos serve a full breakfast, with both sweet and savory main course options as well as a self-serve yogurt bar, a first course of fresh fruit and homemade pastries, and espresso drinks from Marc’s high-tech machine. This substantial start may keep you from indulging in too many samples at United Farmers Market of Maine, the year-round Saturday market in Belfast that features nearly 60 food vendors and artisans.
For more shopping, Belfast boasts a diverse mix of shops, most arranged along a walkable four-block stretch downtown. Find an eclectic mix of women’s clothing and accessories at Coyote Moon, sustainable gifts and home goods at The Green Store, nautical-inspired accessories at The Sail Locker, and everything for the kitchen and cook at The Good Table. For a breath of spring, step into Brambles, where lush greenery shares space with garden ornaments and bespoke tools, and if you’re a fan of midcentury modern, seek out People Places Things on the second floor of the Masonic Temple building. Browse the antiques, quirky vintage finds, lamps, and lampshades at Ambiance, where owner Brenda Bonneville is always up for a convivial chat.
Waterside walk and watering holes
On the Passagassawakeag River (known as “the Passy” by locals) a short distance from Penobscot Bay, Belfast has a rich shipbuilding history. This legacy continues at Front Street Shipyard, the largest East Coast yacht facility north of Newport, Rhode Island. Even in the winter, it’s fun to wander among the boats taking their seasonal rest on land. The shipyard is also a good place to begin or end a stroll on the Belfast Harbor Walk, which extends for just under two miles along the waterfront.
Thirsty and ready to get off your feet? Find a barstool or booth at Rollie’s, a local watering hole with 32 beer taps and a bar salvaged from a nineteenth-century schooner. On the waterfront, Nautilus Seafood and Grill offers a large list of specialty cocktails, many mixed with local spirits. Back on the road to Lincolnville Beach, it’s well worth swinging by Windsor Chairmakers. Mike Timchak, who purchased the company in 2019, has been with the business since its inception in 1987 and is happy to give visitors a tour of the shop, where every piece of the furniture in the adjacent showroom was made by a small team of craftspeople.
Keeping it local
Just a short walk across the road from the inn, the Whale’s Tooth Pub and Restaurant is an easy choice for dinner after a full day. In the snug bar, you’ll find a warm welcome from the owners, Rob and Dorothee Newcombe, a roaring fire, and a menu focused on seafood, steaks, and pub favorites. This may be the night to wrap up with wine at the Spouter Inn’s honor bar, or watch a movie in front of the fireplace.
Beach walk and browsing
Having packed in so much good food and drink yesterday, you might be inclined to forgo the inn’s full breakfast and take your coffee and pastry to the beach, where you could catch sight of the Islesboro ferry arriving or leaving from the nearby landing. For a midmorning boost, Green Tree Coffee and Tea, housed in a cabin just up the road, serves coffees roasted on-site, plus an impressive selection of loose teas and accessories. The roastery is an ideal stop on your way to Lincolnville Center, where the beautifully restored Lincolnville General Store and a charming seasonal gift shop, The Red Cottage, invite exploration. With a menu of wood-fired pizza, sandwiches, and more, the general store is also a good choice for lunch.
Since she acquired Lincolnville’s Cellardoor Winery in 2007, Bettina Doulton has been an enthusiastic ambassador for Maine wine. A visit to her bucolic estate and pretty hillside tasting room is an opportunity to experience a different aspect of the midcoast, focused on the land rather than the sea. Grab a seat at the tasting bar or, if the weather allows, on the deck, and take in the view of the vineyards and rolling hills beyond. A bottle of Cellardoor Wine makes a delicious memento of your trip, and a welcome gift for your dogsitter or the friend who offered to stay with your kids so you could get away.
Open year-round, The Spouter Inn Bed and Breakfast offers eight spacious guest rooms at its renovated 1832 property in Lincolnville.
An infinity pool overlooking Penobscot Bay, an outdoor hot tub, and a spa are just a few of the luxuries at The Inn at Ocean’s Edge in Lincolnville, open from May to October.
The circa-1950s Lincolnville Motel has been updated without losing any of its charm. The six seasonal cabins and four motel rooms feature quirky, minimalist decor, mini fridges, and record players.
At Dot’s in Lincolnville, owner Susie Barnes offers a wide range of top-notch baked goods, soups, sandwiches, cheeses, and prepared food to eat in or take out.
Newly opened in Belfast’s famous Gothic building, Satori serves sushi, poke bowls, ramen, and craft cocktails in stylish surroundings.
Meanwhile in Belfast is known for its authentic Neapolitan pizza but also offers a tasting menu of Italian specialties and an impressive wine list.
Belfast plays host to an eclectic variety of annual events, including All Roads Music Festival in May, the Maine Celtic Celebration in July, Belfast Harbor Fest and Classic Boat Show in August, and the Maine Wienerfest, a celebration of dachshunds, in September. Year-round, the Belfast Art Walks draw an enthusiastic local crowd the fourth Friday of every month.
The Art Deco–style Colonial Theatre in downtown Belfast recalls the movie palaces of the 1920s and screens both commercial and indie films.