Hallowell is a humble city of around 2,000 people, located in the Kennebec County of Maine. It is a part of the larger Augusta Maine New England City and Town area and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its culture and intriguing architecture.
The town is named after Benjamin Hallowell, a merchant and one of the Kennebec Proprietors. In times past, he owned a sizeable chunk of land here, initially gifted to him by the British monarchy.
The first settlers arrived here in 1762; it is said that they initially lived in their overturned cart. They planted crops of corn and rye, and eventually, more and more people came to live here.
1. Enjoy a meal at The Liberal Cup
The best rated Hallowell restaurant on TripAdvisor, The Liberal Cup creates delicious food and the staff are friendly and welcoming. Serving sizes are generous and the wide range of dishes are freshly made.
Because of its popularity, it can get crowded here, but the staff cope well even during busy times. Try out the unique beer cheese soup which is served with large pretzels.
2. Indulge your sweet tooth at Scrummy Afters Candys Shoppe
The kids will absolutely love this place, but adults are welcomed as well. This bright and cheerful establishment has a wide variety of candies, chocolate and all sorts of sweet treats.
The owners are very creative and organize various events on special occasions like Christmas and Easter. You should definitely try their hand-crafted chocolates and the retro candies.
The kids will be amazed by all the delightful products, while adults will enjoy a trip back in time to their childhood.
3. Visit the Harlow Gallery
Located in the historic part of the city near the river, this gallery has been promoting the works of artists from Maine for more than 60 years. They host a variety of exhibitions, some focused on far-reaching and hard-hitting topics like global warming, mental health or domestic violence.
Spread over three levels, there is plenty of art to admire. The Harlow Gallery was even recognized as one of the best galleries in the state of Maine, so it’s definitely worth a visit.
If you’re spending some time in Hallowell, check out what’s going on, as they often offer classes, poetry readings, and other interesting events.
4. Shop at the Hallowell Antique Mall
Not only can you admire the works of art at Harlow Gallery, but you can also buy them – as well as various items from long ago. The gallery extends into an antique mall, selling furniture, dishes, paintings, sculptures and more.
Sprawling over two buildings, the mall is packed with everyday treasures. It contains an eclectic assortment of everything you can imagine, so you could easily spend a few hours shopping here.
5. Meander along the Hallowell Reservoir
This is a hidden gem of Hallowell that few people know about, but which definitely deserves more attention. There are plenty of beautiful trails that go along the river and into the woods.
Here, you can walk, jog, ride a bike, or play with your dog while admiring the beautiful scenery. The main trail spreads over 1.5 miles and is a pleasant and easy walk to suit any fitness level.
6. Have a drink at the Easy Street Lounge
Looking for a fun place to go out with friends or family that still feels like home? Check out the Easy Street Lounge.
Located near the Kennebec River, it has attractive and comfortable couches and chairs to relax in, and inviting decor.
Hang out inside if you feel like being cozy, or if the weather is good, head out to the porch to enjoy the view.
Keep an eye out for their karaoke or dance nights for some added fun, or challenge the locals to a game of pool at the included table.
7. Explore the Maine State Museum
Located in the nearby city of Augusta, this museum has some amazing exhibits; some of them are as old as the Ice Age, while others are more recent.
Inside, you can admire various paintings depicting how people used to live in the past, replicas of homes with authentic clothing and items from that period, taxidermy, old cars, trains, ships, and other vehicles – and much, much more.
8. Walk on the Kennebec River Rail Trail
Located close to Hallowell, this walking trail winds along the Kennebec River and has some enchanting scenery to admire. Take a walk, run, ride a bike, roller skate, or exercise your dog.
The trail is paved and there are plenty of benches and good picnic spots along the way. It is 6.5 miles long, which is quite enough for most people, but if you want more, you can continue to the waterfront in Gardiner.
Along the way, you will be able to admire the homes of four different cities: Augusta, Hallowell, Farmingdale, and Gardiner.
9. See the Maine State House
Located in the nearby city of Augusta, this structure is really impressive. While the exterior is simple, the inside features plenty of old paintings, flags, and various antique items.
Inside, you’ll find commemorative plaques for America’s past presidents and veterans who served in the World War II. The guides are very knowledgeable and will tell you everything about this building and the history of the city.
Even if you miss the guided tour, you can still go by yourself; there are written signs to guide you throughout the building.
10. Stroll through Capitol Park
After you visit the State House, feel free to wander through the beautiful botanical gardens surrounding it. With 20 acres of charming trees, plants and monuments dedicated to the lost soldiers, it’s a serene way to enjoy an afternoon.
The park is attractive no matter the season. During the summer, people play soccer here, have picnics or hold various classes like tai chi.
11. Admire the Viles Arboretum
This large garden covers 224 acres and contains more than 200 labeled species of trees and shrubs. It is open year-round, so you can admire the trees in all phases of their life.
There are six miles of marked trails, so you can take a walk or jog while admiring the beautiful flora. You will also find the largest outdoor sculpture in the state of Maine here, along with plenty of birds, dragonflies and other wildlife.
There is a nice gift shop at the front office area, so you can get some souvenirs to remind you of your trip.
12. Visit Fort Western
Here, you can visit the oldest wooden garrison building in the country, built in 1754. The place is now a history museum that offers tours to groups and individuals, providing interactive experiences related to the history of the area.
The guide is a master at telling stories and will fascinate you with interesting facts and tales. This really is a special place for anyone passionate about history.
13. Take the kids to the Children’s Discovery Museum
The young ones will adore this museum. Featuring a variety of interactive exhibits and crafts, it’s a great place to ignite curiosity and celebrate learning through play.
Dedicated to kids from as young as six months up to age eight, school groups and summer youth programs are also welcomed. Even though it’s not large, it can keep the young ones entertained for a few hours.
14. Attend a wedding at Governor Hill Mansion
If you happen to be invited to a wedding or a special event held here, you should definitely attend it. While the exterior looks just like any other old mansion, the interior is absolutely divine.
Everything has an antique feel to it, yet you still have all the modern facilities. Located in the downtown area, it has a large parking area for guests.
The food is delicious and everything is arranged nicely. And who knows… maybe you will like this place so much that you will decide to stage your own special event here.
15. Relax at The Senator Spa
If you are looking for a full day of relaxation at a luxurious venue, head over to The Senator Spa. You’ll find all the essential facilities to make you feel amazing, including an indoor pool, an outdoor pool, a Jacuzzi, gym, saunas, massage therapists and much more.
Close to the spa is a hotel and a restaurant, convenient for spending a few days here and fitting some pampering into your vacation.