As I explore the captivating city of Belfast, I immersed in the rich history and charm that this small yet enchanting destination has to offer. With a population of approximately 7,000 people, Belfast, located in Maine’s Waldo County, serves as both the county seat and a prominent tourist attraction.
Tracing its roots back to the time of the Abenake Native Americans, particularly the esteemed Penobscot tribe, this land has witnessed the flourishing exchange of trade between English settlers and the indigenous people as early as 1630. Over time, Belfast passed through the hands of various proprietors, each leaving their mark on this captivating region.
In 1770, Belfast was officially settled, and its name pays homage to the city of the same name in Northern Ireland. Three years later, it achieved city status, and to this day, Belfast continues to captivate visitors with its wealth of historic districts and impeccably preserved antique buildings.
Allow me to guide you through the tapestry of Belfast’s intriguing past and vibrant present. As an intrepid traveler with an insatiable curiosity for captivating destinations like Belfast, I have compiled a list of 15 remarkable experiences that should not be missed. From strolling through the fascinating streets to discovering hidden gems, this list showcases the best that Belfast has to offer.
1. Take a walk along the Belfast Harborwalk
If you’re seeking breathtaking vistas that encompass the beauty of boats, beaches, rocky landscapes, and the vast expanse of the ocean, the Belfast Harborwalk is an absolute must-visit destination. The Harborwalk offers a picturesque pathway that meanders along the shoreline, allowing me to immerse myself in the serenity of this coastal paradise. The sights of bustling shipyards, graceful boats bobbing in the gentle waves, and the rhythmic ebb and flow of the tides create a tranquil ambiance that is truly soothing for the soul.
The majestic rocks, weathered by time, stand as silent witnesses to the passage of centuries. The golden sands of the beaches invite me to pause and relish the gentle caress of the ocean breeze.
While the Belfast Harborwalk seamlessly guides me into the heart of downtown, where charming shops and delectable eateries await, it is not a necessity to venture there. The true allure of this place lies in the simple pleasure of taking a leisurely stroll, savoring the mesmerizing sunset that paints the sky in a symphony of colors.
2. Go to the Belfast City Park
If you’re a fan of outdoor adventures and taking in the beauty of nature, you’re in for a treat at the Belfast City Park. As I stepped into this serene oasis, I was immediately enchanted by its well-manicured landscapes and the promise of exciting exploration that lies ahead.
One of the highlights of the park is its inviting walking trails, perfect for those who enjoy strolling amidst the tranquil surroundings. While it may not boast the softest sands, it offers a unique treasure-hunting experience for enthusiasts of sea glass and other hidden gems. With every step, I eagerly search for these precious finds, savoring the thrill of uncovering nature’s treasures.
For the little ones, the Belfast City Park becomes a world of endless discovery. Their boundless energy propels them forward as they explore the nooks and crannies of this coastal playground, their laughter and excitement echoing through the air. Meanwhile, adults can find respite on the lush green grass, finding solace in a leisurely afternoon of relaxation, all while indulging in the mesmerizing vistas of the sparkling waters.
3. Shop at the United Farmers Market of Maine
When it comes to finding the finest local products in Maine, my go-to destination is the United Farmers Market Of Maine. From aromatic coffee beans to crusty artisanal bread, from creamy cheeses to nourishing oils, this market truly embraces the essence of farm-to-table goodness. The selection doesn’t stop there – I was delighted to discover a plethora of handcrafted lotions, unique crafts, and other locally sourced treasures that showcase the talents of Maine’s artisans.
One cannot visit the United Farmers Market Of Maine without indulging in the true taste of the coastal region – lobster. With its succulent, sweet meat, locally harvested lobster takes center stage at this market. The sight of the glistening crustaceans beckons me, promising a culinary delight that cannot be missed. And the best part? The price is simply unbeatable, allowing me to savor this maritime delicacy without breaking the bank.
The vendors at the United Farmers Market Of Maine are more than just purveyors of exceptional products – they are friendly, approachable, and passionate about their offerings. With a warm smile, they eagerly assist me in navigating the market, helping me find the perfect ingredients for my culinary adventures. Their genuine enthusiasm for their products shines through in every interaction, making the shopping experience all the more enjoyable.
4. Walk Your dog along the Passy Rail Trail
One of the spots for a leisurely stroll or invigorating jog is the Passy Rail Trail. Stretching for approximately 2.2 miles, this picturesque pathway offers a delightful escape into the natural beauty of the surrounding area. The trail, built upon an old railroad bed, provides a level terrain that is perfect for various activities.
What truly sets this trail apart is the captivating backdrop it offers. Following the course of the river, the trail treats me to a series of breathtaking vistas that showcase the tranquil beauty of the surrounding landscape. The Passy Rail Trail is meticulously maintained, ensuring a pleasant and enjoyable experience for all visitors. Along the way, convenient parking spots provide easy access to the trailhead, allowing me to embark on my adventure with ease. The well-marked path and clearly defined route make navigation a breeze, allowing me to focus on immersing myself in the serene ambiance and natural splendor.
With its manageable length, I have completed the entire trail in approximately an hour or so, making it a perfect option for a quick escape into nature during a busy day. For nature enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike, the Passy Rail Trail is a hidden gem that invites exploration and provides a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
5. Visit the Cuckold Lighthouse (Southport)
As an avid explorer of historical landmarks, another site that has truly captured my fascination is the Cuckold Lighthouse in Southport. Originally built in 1896, this iconic structure has been lovingly restored to serve as both a testament to the area’s rich history and an educational destination for visitors like myself.
Stepping foot onto the grounds of the Cuckold Lighthouse, I was immediately transported back in time, enveloped by an aura of maritime lore and local legends. The lighthouse holds a special place in the hearts of the community, and their unwavering pride and dedication are evident in the meticulous preservation of this treasured landmark throughout the years.
From the vantage point at the lighthouse, I was treated to a mesmerizing tableau—the tranquil islands scattered nearby, the charming coastal houses that dot the landscape, and the graceful boats gliding across the glistening waters. It is a scene straight out of a postcard, and I can’t help but be captivated by the sheer beauty that unfolds before me.
6. Shop at Lupine Cottage
The Lupine Cottage in Belfast, Maine was a delightful discovery. Nestled within this charming cottage lies an artists’ co-op, bustling with the creative energy of over 60 talented artists and craftspeople from the Maine area. The walls, shelves, and displays are adorned with an impressive array of artwork, hats, mittens, jewelry, houseware, and countless other items, each one lovingly crafted by the skilled hands of these local artisans. It is a true testament to the rich artistic community that thrives within the region.
Every item tells a story, showcasing the immense talent and creativity of its creator. From vibrant paintings that evoke the essence of the Maine landscape to intricately designed jewelry that reflects the beauty of the natural world, there is something here to captivate every discerning taste.
What sets the Lupine Cottage apart is the assurance that the items found within its walls are truly one-of-a-kind. Crafted with passion and expertise, these unique creations cannot be found in mainstream stores. They carry the soul of the local community, serving as a tangible connection to the artistic spirit of Belfast and the surrounding area.
7. Visit the Belfast Historical Society & Museum
Stepping into the Belfast Historical Society & Museum, I was instantly transported back in time, surrounded by the rich tapestry of the city’s captivating history. Housed within a magnificent 200-year-old building, this treasure trove of knowledge and artifacts holds the key to unlocking Belfast’s fascinating past.
Exploring the rooms of the museums, I was greeted by a multitude of exhibits that showcase the diverse facets of Belfast’s history. Each room tells its own unique story, painting a vivid picture of the city’s evolution over the years.
One exhibit that particularly captures my attention is a meticulously restored flag quilt from the Civil War era. The vibrant colors and intricate stitching serve as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by those who lived through that turbulent time in history. It is a testament to the resilience and spirit of the people of Belfast.
8. Get some Local Goodies from the Belfast Maine Farmers Market
The Belfast Maine Farmers Market is local gem, like many others in the area, offers a delightful array of farm-fresh goodness. Every corner of the market is brimming with an abundance of culinary treasures. From succulent meats and artisanal cheeses to farm-fresh eggs and a kaleidoscope of colorful fruits and vegetables, the offerings cater to every palate and dietary preference. The tantalizing aroma of freshly baked goods fills the air, tempting me to indulge in their delectable creations.
What truly sets this farmers market apart is the warm and welcoming nature of the vendors. With genuine smiles and a passion for their craft, they eagerly share their knowledge and stories behind their products. Engaging in conversation with these local artisans is not only an opportunity to learn more about the food I’m purchasing but also a chance to connect with the heart and soul of the Belfast community.
No matter the season, the market remains a haven for food lovers, consistently offering a wide selection of top-quality products. From the vibrant hues of summer’s harvest to the comforting flavors of fall, and even the hearty offerings of winter, the Belfast Maine Farmers Market ensures that its stalls are always brimming with the best the region has to offer.
9. Try something new at the Belfast Curling Club
Whether you’re a seasoned curling enthusiast or simply curious to try something new, the Belfast Curling Club promises hours of fun-filled entertainment for all.
The club provides all the necessary equipment, ensuring that newcomers like myself feel comfortable and well-prepared for the game ahead. If I ever find myself in need of guidance or directions, the friendly and knowledgeable staff are always on hand to assist.
To enhance the experience further, the Belfast Curling Club offers a well-stocked bar where players can unwind and savor a refreshing beverage between games. The friendly chatter and laughter reverberate through the club, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared enjoyment.
Before bidding farewell to this unforgettable experience, I couldn’t resist stopping by the club’s merchandise area. Here, I discovered an array of delightful souvenirs, including shirts, stickers, and pins, all proudly bearing the Belfast Curling Club emblem. These mementos serve as cherished reminders of my curling adventure and inspire fond memories of the time spent on the ice.
10. Get your hands dirty at the Good Karma Farm
If you’ve ever been curious about farm life and the intricate process of creating yarn and soap, then a visit to the Good Karma Farm is an absolute must. As soon as I arrived, the welcoming owners guide me through each section of the farm, offering a fascinating glimpse into their craft.
Walking through the farm, you’ll be introduced to the various steps involved in dyeing, spinning, weaving, and creating a multitude of yarn items and soap. The owners generously share their knowledge and expertise, providing insights into the meticulous techniques that result in the farm’s high-quality products.
As I continued my exploration, I was delighted to encounter a delightful array of animals that call the Good Karma Farm home. Among them, the graceful alpacas steal my heart with their gentle presence. I had the opportunity to feed these beautiful creatures or simply observe them in their natural habitat, forging a deep connection with the farm’s inhabitants.
The highlight of my visit is undoubtedly the chance to acquire some of the exquisite yarns produced on the farm. The Good Karma Farm boasts a wide selection of premium yarns, each crafted with care and precision. The thought of incorporating these fine materials into my own knitting and crochet projects filled me with excitement.
11. Shop for antiques at Ambiance
If you have a love for all things antique and are on the hunt for unique treasures that can’t be found anywhere else, then a visit to Ambiance is an absolute must. The shop is a treasure trove of eclectic and elegant items, offering a wide range of antique and vintage pieces that cater to every taste and style. From funky gifts that bring a touch of whimsy to sophisticated and timeless pieces that exude elegance, Ambiance truly has something for everyone.
What sets Ambiance apart is not only its remarkable collection but also the warm and friendly staff who are always ready to assist and share their knowledge. Their passion for antique items is evident as they offer insights and guidance, making the shopping experience all the more enjoyable.
One of the things that particularly stands out about Ambiance is the reasonable pricing. Despite the exceptional quality and uniqueness of the items, the prices are acceptable, allowing me to indulge in the joy of acquiring special pieces without breaking the bank.
12. Have a coffee at the Northport Landing Gallery & Espresso Bar
If you’re like me and have a deep appreciation for both art and coffee, then a visit to Northport Landing Gallery & Espresso Bar is an absolute must. The gallery space is filled with an impressive collection of fine arts, crafts, and captivating curiosities. Joy, the owner, has a discerning eye for selecting pieces that showcase exceptional talent and creativity. Each artwork tells a unique story and evokes a range of emotions, allowing me to immerse myself in the world of art.
While I admire the beautiful displays, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, enticing me towards the Espresso Bar. Joy’s expertise extends beyond the realm of art as she masterfully crafts a cappuccino that is truly a work of art in itself. The rich and velvety texture, coupled with the perfect balance of flavors, leaves me craving another sip.
Even if you’re short on time, I highly recommend stopping by Northport Landing Gallery & Espresso Bar, if only for a few precious moments. The combination of exceptional artwork, delightful curiosities, and heavenly coffee creates an experience that nourishes both the mind and the soul.
13. Try Your luck at Tarratine Tribe IORM Bingo Games
In the mood for a laid-back evening filled with fun and the possibility of winning some extra cash? I suggest my go-to destination- the Tarratine Tribe IORM Bingo Games. This local gem offers an exciting Bingo experience that will have you on the edge of your seat, hoping to shout “Bingo!” and claim your prize. The Bingo games are held four times a week, providing ample opportunities to join in on the excitement. To satisfy hunger during the game, they offer delicious homemade meals. From savory dishes to mouthwatering desserts, the menu is sure to please even the most discerning taste buds. The best part is that the prices are incredibly reasonable, allowing me to indulge without breaking the bank.
It’s a space designed specifically for adults, ensuring a focused and enjoyable Bingo experience. For those who prefer to stay connected, the availability of free Wi-Fi adds an extra touch of convenience.
14. Watch a play at the Cold Comfort Theater
My first choice for an evening of captivating theater is always Cold Comfort Theater. Since its founding in 1971, this remarkable theater company has been dedicated to producing exceptional and distinctive theatrical productions. The stage is set for an unforgettable experience, whether it’s a heartwarming family play, a side-splitting comedy, a captivating musical, or a thought-provoking drama. The range of productions they offer ensures there’s something to suit every taste and preference.
One aspect that sets Cold Comfort Theater apart is their commitment to both classic and contemporary plays. They skillfully bring timeless masterpieces to life, honoring the rich theatrical heritage while also embracing the fresh perspectives of emerging artists. This dynamic blend of traditional and innovative performances ensures a diverse and enriching theatrical experience.
The talented actors, directors, and production team at Cold Comfort Theater pour their hearts and souls into each production, delivering performances that are nothing short of extraordinary. Their dedication to their craft shines through, captivating audiences and leaving a lasting impression.
For theater enthusiasts like myself, Cold Comfort Theater is a haven of artistic expression and storytelling. It’s a place where I can immerse myself in the magic of live performances, transported to different worlds and experiencing a wide range of emotions.
15. Ride on the Back and Forth Boat
Whenever I find myself in Downtown Belfast, I always hop aboard the charming Back And Forth lobster boat. This adorable vessel shuttles passengers back and forth between Downtown Belfast and the renowned Young’s Lobster Pound, offering a unique and enjoyable experience. Not only is the captain an expert in navigating the waters, but they are also well-versed in the rich history and local knowledge of the city. It’s always a pleasure to engage in conversation and hear fascinating anecdotes about Belfast while enjoying the gentle sway of the boat.
Safety and comfort are of the utmost importance on the Back And Forth. The captain ensures that every passenger feels secure throughout the journey, and the boat is equipped with all the necessary safety measures. The Back And Forth provides not only a convenient mode of transportation but also an opportunity to appreciate the picturesque waterfront and breathtaking views along the way. The gentle breeze caresses my face as the boat glides through the shimmering waters, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere. It’s a truly enchanting experience that allows me to appreciate the natural beauty of Belfast from a unique perspective.