Boating in Harpswell, Maine:  The Best Places and Events to Visit

Post by - Published on 07/13/16 12:00 PM

From historical sites to outdoor adventures, this little hamlet has it all. For those looking to explore Harpswell, Maine, by boat, check out our guide below!

Cruise by Halfway Rock Light

One hundred twenty-eight square miles of area, but only 24 square miles of that is the land? It sounds like my kind of town, Harpswell! Roughly 5NM due south of Harpswell, you'll cruise by a picturesque, well-marked rock that is Halfway Rock. On September 20, 2014, purchased at auction for $283,000, Halfway Rock Light is owned and maintained by Ford Reiche, a businessman from Auburn with a passion for historic preservation. He has since invested a significant amount in restoring the lighthouse. Read the full history of Halfway Rock Light here.

Explore Eagle Island State Park

The easiest way to visit Eagle Island State Park is by way of the Marie L, which departs right from the Dolphin Marina dock Friday through Sunday at 10 am and 12 pm. Built in Falmouth, Maine, in 1950, the Marie L is a 36' Handy with sleek lines and reliable design. Marie L has been a fixture on Casco Bay since her first launch and holds the longest standing contract with the US Postal Service from when she delivered mail from Freeport to the residents of Bustin's Island for more than 50 years. 

Guests aboard the Marie L embark on a brief coastal tour before being escorted onto the island, where they explore the museum and trails for ~2 hours. Pack a picnic and enjoy lunch overlooking some of the best views on the Maine coast. If you keep binoculars on board, bring them along: the coasts and islands of Maine provide habitats for a diverse population of nesting seabirds, including the eider duck, black guillemot, greater black-backed gull, herring gull, and osprey. 

Kayak the Reversing Falls & Mill Pond

The George Trues Grist Mill, built in 1867, operated through tidal power. Today you can visit the dam's remains at Tide Mill/Grist Mill Road on Harpswell Neck, which has created a reversing fall effect. Chris Saxon from Dolphin Marina gave us a great suggestion: Take a dinghy excursion through the Reversing Falls, which dump into the Mill Pond, or use their complimentary kayaks to explore the local waters.


Become a Harpswell History Buff

Harpswell's Bailey Island Library Hall (pictured above) was built in 1911 as a lending library and social hall to provide a library to the local islanders. Unfortunately, the latter was separated from the nearest library on Orr's Island by a ferry crossing. They bridged the islands together in 1928 once the Bailey Island Bridge construction was complete. Bailey Island Library Hall now functions solely as a social hall, hosting weddings, lectures, dances, and concerts. Of note: Psychoanalyst Carl Jung gave his first seminar in America, on dreams, at Library Hall.
Harpswell's Old Meeting House was built in 1759 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1968. The Harpswell Historical Park and Museum are open Sundays, 2 pm - 4 pm Memorial Day to Columbus Day. For the complete history of the Meeting House, click here for the account from the Harpswell Historical Society.

Enjoy the Live Music

Harpswell has more than its fair share of musicians! Each week a new band takes the stage in the Harpswell Bandstand by the Sea Concert Series at the George J. Mitchell Field. June through August, concerts take place Thursdays 6 pm - 8 pm, then switching to 2 pm - 4 pm Sundays in September. Click here for the full roster of bands & their descriptions.

Wax Poetic

Ragged Island off of Harpswell is the former home of poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923 for "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver." She was born in Rockland, grew up in Camden, and purchased Ragged Island with her husband Eugen Jan Boissevain in 1933, where she summered until she passed away in 1950. Peruse some of her works as you relax on your dock or mooring; her life in Maine inspired them.

Take the Harpswell Hiking Challenge

In conjunction with National Trails Day from the National Hiking Society, the town of Harpswell laid out a challenge to all residents and visitors. Download the Hiking Challenge guide to get started. Harpswell has other fun outdoor activities for kids as well, click here for their animal track finder, bug finder, and coloring sheet!

Check out more great hiking trails from the folks at the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, including Dolphin Marina-recommended Curtis Farm Preserve.

Take yourself on a Bike Tour

Dolphin Marina guests have access to complimentary bicycles, so take a tour of the area. There are plenty of great dining options, with the Dolphin Marina's on-site restaurant being no exception. Then, pick up dinner to cook yourself at Potts Harbor Lobster on Ash Point Road around the bend. Finally, have a beach day; a 20-minute bike ride will get you to Stover's Cove Beach on Bridgewater Lane.

A Night at the Theater

While the Maine State Music Theater's performance of EVITA wraps up this weekend, there's always more magic. If you're able to access a car to make your way to North to Brunswick, make a night of it! Check out the full schedule here.

Dock at Dolphin Marina

Dolphin Marina & Restaurant has all the bells and whistles, and their Active Captain reviews speak volumes on their behalf! From Ken Gifford of Eliot, Maine:

We cruised the coast of southern Maine for about 10 days last summer (2015); we stayed at many fine places and had lots of good food. Our stay at the Dolphin stands out. Great setting; great facility; great staff; the meal we had in the restaurant was the best of the week.

Another testimonial:

Just dined and stayed for the fourth time this year. Crew and staff are always spot on. We tested the chef this time with a guest who has onion/garlic allergies... The guest was extremely pleased with the entree - way to go chef! The Key Lime pie is among the best we've ever had.

Click here for more of the same glowing reviews on Active Captain.

DownEast_Magazine.jpegTo boot: Dolphin Marina & Restaurant recently won two Down East Magazine's Reader's Choice awards for "Best of Maine: Restaurant With A View" and "Best of Maine: Chowder."

BoatUS Members get 10% off transient slips and 15% off repairs, and fresh-baked muffins await guests every morning (swoon)! We hope you'll include Harpswell, Maine in your summer float plan with a stop at Dolphin Marina.


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