Maine Trips January 25, 2023
by Alex Borelli The Charming Town Of Ellsworth, Maine Is Picture-Perfect For A Weekend Getaway
Approximately 30 minutes from bustling Bar Harbor and
Acadia National Park lies the oft-overlooked town of Ellsworth, Maine. Located in the historic region of Acadia, a part of North America populated by the French from the early 17th century until the early 18th century, Ellsworth was settled in 1763 by an English group from southern Maine and New Hampshire who hoped to take advantage of the natural resources in the area. Modern travelers to this coastal New England town will find there are other reasons to visit Ellsworth in the 21st century. This northern Maine town more than makes up for its lack of notoriety through good food and drinks, historic charm, and activities for all ages.
Driving into Ellsworth, Maine, on U.S. Route 1, visitors will be greeted by the striking brick buildings of Main Street.
This area of town suffered the effects of a fire in the early 1930s and many of the buildings were rebuilt in the Art Deco style popular at the time. Along with restaurants, these Depression-era buildings are home to a variety of delightful shops.
Perhaps most prominent of all downtown Ellsworth’s shops is The Dream Catcher located at 107 Main Street in the H.C. Austin Building.
Housed in a former furniture store, The Dream Catcher is a three-story antique store that sells everything from art, jewelry, and pottery to vinyl records, comics, and toys. With 15,000 square feet of space, you could spend hours in this shop and never get bored!
The Dream Catcher, 107 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
Before walking around the downtown area, however, you’ll probably want to unload your bags.
Our top recommendation for lodging in this charming little town is the Eagles Lodge Motel, a beautiful sea-blue, New-England-style property that’s just a five-minute drive from Main Street. Locally-owned, this motel offers such amenities as a free continental breakfast, a heated pool, and a picnic area. If you ask the staff you can also get discounts at local restaurants. Prices range from $95 to $105 based on the size and number of beds in your room.
Eagles Lodge Motel, 278 High St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
After unpacking and visiting some of the other businesses on Main Street – including Sugar Mags, a candy store; The Rock and Art Shop, a unique shop selling local art and semi-precious stones; and one of several boutiques – you are sure to be hungry.
One of the most highly-rated eateries in Ellsworth is The Union River Lobster Pot, a seafood restaurant situated alongside the eponymous Union River which flows through the town. Located across the river from downtown, The Union River Lobster Pot’s main claim to fame is boiled lobster served in the pot in which it was prepared, but also of note are the establishment’s blueberry pie and award-winning clam chowder. After eating you can enjoy views of the Union in the grassy area out back. There is usually a line and the restaurant does not take reservations so we advise you to arrive at least one hour before the Lobster Pot’s opening.
Union River Lobster Pot, 8 South St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
The Lobster Pot, 301 US-1, Kittery, ME 03904, USA
If seafood isn’t your cup of tea or if you consider yourself a craft brewery fan, we would recommend another Ellsworth favorite - Airline Brewing Company.
This Main Street establishment offers a wide range of British dishes, comfort food (including a Reuben quesadilla, one of the eatery's most popular items), and alcoholic drinks in a casual English-pub-inspired atmosphere. Along with Airline’s in-house beers, some of which come in such varieties as peanut butter and oatmeal (not together, of course!), patrons can try hard ciders from local Maine companies.
Airline Brewing Company - Ellsworth, 173 Main St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
For dessert consider Morton's Moo, a purveyor of sweet treats located mere steps from downtown.
This business, which operates out of a former 19th-century house, serves up ice cream made on-site, as well as smoothies, ice cream sandwiches, whoopie pies, and other goodies. The seating inside is limited but there are also picnic tables and a covered porch from which to enjoy your indulgence. Also of note are the two apartments above the shop which can be rented out on Airbnb for quick access to all Ellsworth’s business district has to offer. As with many businesses in this article Morton’s is only open during the town’s tourism season (roughly May to October). Make sure to call or visit the business’ website to verify hours before you go.
Morton’s Moo Homemade Ice Cream, 9 School St, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
Ellsworth offers a wide range of activities for families or couples to enjoy - from history-themed outings to walks in nature and exciting shows.
Folks interested in history would be remiss to pass up a visit to the Woodlawn Museum located mere minutes from Ellsworth’s central business district. Open from June to October, and again during the Christmas season, the Woodlawn Museum offers docent-led and self-guided tours of this beautiful historic home, as well as two miles of trails, an orchard, and a garden to walk through.
Woodlawn Museum, 19 Black House Dr, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
Another activity that is sure to pique the interest of history buffs is a trip to The Telephone Museum located in the far north of Ellsworth.
Founded in 1984 during the breakup of the Bell Telephone System, The Telephone Museum offers visitors a timeline of the advancement of telephone technology from 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for his invention, to the modern age. More than just telephones behind glass display cases, this museum features hands-on, interactive exhibits which include working telephones and old switchboards.
The Telephone Museum, 1661 Massachusetts Ave #488, Lexington, MA 02420, USA
If a walk in the woods is more your thing, we would recommend the 2.6-mile Branch Lake Public Forest Loop Trail.
Just a 10-minute drive from downtown Ellsworth, the Branch Lake Public Forest Loop Trail takes around 90 minutes to complete. Winding through "old forest," this trail features an elevation gain of only 125 feet and rewards those who complete it with amazing views of Branch Lake.
Branch Lake Public Forest, 1185-985, US-1A, Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA
An activity that is sure to interest people of all ages is Timber Tina’s Great Maine Lumberjack Show located just outside of Ellsworth in Trenton and roughly four miles from the town center.
Owned and operated by "Timber Tina" Scheer, who has been competing in lumberjack shows since the age of seven, Timber Tina’s is a 75-minute show featuring ax-throwing, log-rolling, pole-climbing and more in a large amphitheater.
Timber Tina's Great Maine Lumberjack Show, 127 Bar Harbor Rd/Route 3, Trenton, ME 04605, USA
While Ellsworth might not have the prestige or notoriety of its more-popular destinations on Desert Island to the south, visitors to this town will be sure to find good food, a charming place to rest their heads, and countless fun and interesting activities. Have you visited this historic northern-Maine town? Let us know in the comments.
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Address: Ellsworth, ME 04605, USA