The Wilson Museum in Castine ME

The Wilson Museum and John Perkins House

Step back in time with a visit to Castine’s unique Wilson Museum. The museum’s quirky and fascinating collection includes prehistoric artifacts from around the globe, plus the historic John Perkins House, a working Blacksmith Shop, Hearse House, and more. All just a short walk or drive away from our Castine bed and breakfast, Pentagöet Inn. The Wilson Museum is a small and relatively unknown gem of a museum located on the waterfront, just down the road from us, here in Castine. Exhibits in the museum are based around the collections of John Howard Wilson (1871-1936). Wilson was an archaeologist and collector who traveled the globe in search of fossils and other global artifacts. Wilson opened his museum in Castine in 1921, on land donated by his mother. Three other buildings were added to the property in the late 1960s. These include The John Perkins House, a Blacksmith Shop and a Hearse House. Though the museum is only open seasonally and with a limited schedule, it is very much worth your time. Those with an interest in local or world history, in particular, will find much to enjoy. Discover the Wilson Museum Inside the museum you’ll find a splendid display of artifacts gathered from all around the world and Castine, too. The main gallery displays pieces from Europe, Africa, North and South America, and Oceania. These include rocks, minerals, shells, fossils, and tools and other artifacts from the early Paleolithic era onward. Both the evolution of life across the planet and man’s growing ability to fashion tools are beautifully documented. You’ll see 270 million-year-old trilobites, early firearms, Peruvian pottery, ship models, ancient writing tablets, detailed dioramas, and much more. Perusing the exhibits will take you on a magical journey across continents, cultures, and through time. Truly fascinating. The 1763 John Perkins House, located next door, is Castine’s oldest home and part of the museum campus. The home was occupied by the British during both America’s Revolution and the War of 1812. Docent guided tours of the house take you back to colonial Castine and include cooking demonstrations. You can also visit the working Blacksmith Shop, fashioned to represent an 1860’s era smithy, and watch metal working demonstrations. The nearby Hearse House displays antique wooden hearses. Don’t miss the Pump House display for a look at Castine’s firefighting history. You can even push the button for the alarm bell. Fun! Visiting the Museum The Wilson Museum is located at 120 Perkins Street in Castine, ME. As mentioned above, this is just down the road from Pentagöet Inn. Our Maine Coast bed and breakfast is on the corner of Main Street and Perkins, just a little over a half a mile up the street from the museum. It is an easy and pleasant ten minute, water front walk or an even easier drive. The museum is open from May 27th through September 30th, 10am to 5pm weekdays, 2pm to 5pm weekends. The John Perkins House, Blacksmith, and Hearse House are open July through August, Wednesdays and Sundays, 2pm to 5pm. Visit the museum website for more information. You can also find the museum on Facebook.

Boats in Castine Harbor

The History of Castine, Blue Hill, Penobscot Bay & Beyond

“History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man” – Percy Bysshe Shelley Visitors to Maine’s stunning Mid-Coast area end up in Castine for a variety of reasons. From the beautiful harbor, to the inviting natural landscape, to the picturesque small town feel, to the ideal location in the heart of the Blue Hill Peninsula; Castine is a jewel of the Maine Coast in every way.  An unexpected treat that a number if our guests don’t discover until they stay is that Castine has played a more pivotal role in the history of the United States than one would ever guess. Step back in time to discover the rich history of Castine, and The Pentagoet Inn…   Early History of Castine and Establishment First established in the 1630’s by the French, who built a fort here and named it Pentagöet, the region was hotly contested amongst world powers at the time, all hoping to gain a tactical foothold on the area. Destroyed by the Dutch in 1676, 100 years before the fateful events that would create the United States, the fort lay in ruins. Today, the remnants of the fort have long since turned to dust and a Roman Catholic church now occupies its grounds. The former location of the fort marked only by an informational sign and a small plaque, its existence is now but a faint memory in history. By 1713, the land on which it once stood and the area surrounding it were annexed by the British Empire and would slowly build into a small community leading up to the Revolutionary War. By 1760 the earliest permanent resident, a man by the name of John Perkins, had settled here. Building a house, which still stands today and is located on the street named after him in town, he helped grow the community to around twenty homes by the time 1776 rolled around.   The Revolutionary War and The Penobscot Expedition Kept out of the conflict due to its remote location, British soldiers would not establish a presence there until 1779 when they built Fort George. The fort here holds a unique story and was the site of one of the colonist’s most humiliating defeats. The Penobscot Expedition was an operation so plagued by difficulties and setbacks one could even call it cursed. The US colonists could barely muster a proper attack against the relatively small and lightly defended British fort and were held back by bickering commanders who couldn’t agree on a proper plan, soldiers with incredibly poor combat training, and delays that kept piling up the more they attempted to organize the operation. In the end, the attack was an utter failure, one of the largest fleets ever assembled by the American forces was sunk in their attempted retreat with only one ship escaping, and the fort would stand until the end of the war. If you’re interested in learning more about The Penobscot Expedition, and how Paul Revere of the famous Midnight ride was involved, then the book “The Fort” by Bernard Cornwell is highly recommended reading and fleshes out more history of the Castine and Blue Hill area. Now, unlike Fort Pentagöet, much of Fort George’s foundations can still be seen today and a tour of the grounds is an experience not to be missed. All the details of this operation and more can be found at the Castine Historical Society and is a must-visit for any history enthusiast or for those that want to learn more about the area’s past.   From Failure to Success   From the end of the Revolutionary war to the beginning of the Civil war was a time of great growth and prosperity for the town of Castine. Becoming a highly profitable harbor, the sea around the town was rich with fish and it soon became their main export. Built as the Customs House, the oldest U.S. Post Office continuously in service since 1833 resides in Castine. For a time Castine was home to the second busiest customs house after New York City. Due to its advantageous location, boats could reach the harbor several days earlier saving time, resources, and even lives, on a transatlantic journey. As the harbor grew and the town’s residents enjoyed this new prosperity, many merchants settled down and led lavish lives in the now wealthy city, their legacy surviving to today in the form of streets named after the merchant families and the large, extravagant homes that line Main Street, Court Street, and Perkins Street. A walk downtown in Castine can feel like stepping back in time, a distant echo of what was once, according to one source in 1850, the second wealthiest city in the United States. A statue dedicated to the 157 men who left to serve in the Civil War was erected in 1881 to honor their memory and it can still be seen today on the town commons. Around the time of the Civil War, the area’s economy changed as fishing boats gave way to steamboats bringing in tourists or “rusticators” as they were called at the time. Coming to Castine to stay at the numerous luxury hotels and pastoral summer cottages, the tourism industry boomed and brought even more wealth to the now popular destination known throughout America.   Death and Rebirth Though to those who lived in, it might have seemed like it would last forever, all good things eventually come to an end. By the 1920’s, the nature of transportation had changed. America was no longer getting around by steamboat or train and the age of the car had begun. Slowly forgotten by the rest of the world, Castine slipped back into the obscurity it once knew so well. The once lavish hotels that attracted so much wealth in the 1880’s and 90’s were abandoned and torn down. Today only a few remain, a faded memory of a distant time. Conflict would once again bring attention to the small town when the US entered … Read More

Couple sailing on one of the best Maine cruises

Mid-Coast Maine Cruises, Tours & Kayaking | Get Out on the Water

The best way to discover the beauty of Castine and the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine is by getting out on the water on one of many mid-coast Maine cruises. Whether it be by sail, motor, paddle, or just floating and swimming, you’ll uncover what makes this area truly special when you experience it from the sea. The maritime history of this area has shaped it into what it is today and the only way to experience much of the natural beauty of Maine is from the water. There are so many ways to explore by vessel, and we recommend them all! Cruise Castine Harbor Enjoy a 2-hour excursion on the bay and get a picturesque view of the town of Castine when you book a water excursion with Guildive Cruise. This service offering Maine coastal cruises has been sailing the bay for 10 years and does not disappoint. Each trip is limited to six people so the entire experience is more personal. Explore Holbrook Island or Castine Harbor aboard their new boat, Lil’ Toot, from only $25 per person.* The best part is that guests are welcome to bring their own picnic, beer, or wine along! Isle au Haut Mail Boat Isle au Haut Boat Services operates year-round passenger, mail and freight service between Stonington and Isle au Haut, as well as seasonal service to the Duck Harbor Landing of Acadia National Park. As a resource-based island community, Isle au Haut relies on their water-based transportation to support their residents. Choose from sightseeing tours, lobster fishing scenic tours, or lighthouse cruises, and try to spot the iconic puffins on the way to the quietest and least crowded part of Acadia! Round trip fare for adults starting at $40, children 12 and under starting at $20.* Bring a picnic lunch from Windmill Gardens and make this a day of adventure with an unforgettable hike off the beaten path. Castine Kayak Adventures Explore Penobscot Bay up close on the water when you paddle with Castine Kayak Adventures. Everyone from beginners to experienced paddlers will enjoy their customized sea kayaking tours and instructional clinics. Visit their website to learn more about trip options including their unforgettable bioluminescent trips available all summer long.   Bucks Harbor Marina Bucks Harbor Marina has you covered for your charter, mooring, and marina service needs. If you have your own boat or a license to rent one, this is a must! Bucks Harbor is located at the head of Eggemoggin Reach, one of the most protected and popular passages, making it one of the most beautiful marinas on the Maine coast with unspoiled natural panoramas! Smith Cove If you are looking to jump in and brave the waters, we invite you to take a dip in this nearby swimming hole, known as one of the warmest spots for swimming on the mid-coast of Maine. A local’s secret, but we’ll tell you how to get there when you arrive! For those of you looking to learn about the rich history of boat building and the extensive maritime history of Maine, we recommend a trip over to Brooklin. Learn about the craft of wood boat building or watch a pleasure yacht being built before you get out their and experience the seafaring life firsthand.   The WoodenBoat School If you want to get behind the scenes and learn the craft of boat building at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. You’ll feel transported to a different and simpler time as you discover the art of woodworking. Their courses include; Multihull Seamanship, Building a 15′ Aspoya Faering, Finishing Out Small Boats, Traditional Oarmaking, and Marine Photography in Black & White! Brooklin Boat Yard The Brooklin Boat Yard is a custom yacht builder, yacht designer, Maine boat yard, and brokerage only 30 miles from Castine. The family-run business was started in 1960 by the owner Joel M. White, and continues to be run by his son Steve White. Get a glimpse into the impressive display of craftsmanship by checking out the boatbuilding time lapse on their website! There is no better way to explore Penobscot Bay, the Blue Hill Peninsula, Acadia National Park, or the Down East region of Maine than by sea; So pack up your bags and head to the Pentagöet Inn to start your vacation off right. Each day you’ll be treated to a complimentary breakfast, and then come back, relax and rewind at the Baron Pub & Wine Bar after your day at sea. The perfect place to learn more about maritime history and maybe tell some ‘Fish Stories’ of your own. With a dozen picturesque coastal towns within easy reach of Castine, the timeless charm, fine dining, and relaxed atmosphere are sure to make your vacation memorable. Check Availability. *Rates reflected in this blog are as of Aug 21st, please check the company website for up-to-date rates and schedules.

Plate of food at Pentagoet Inn

Best Places to Visit in Maine: Food Guide to the Blue Hill Peninsula

Summer is the perfect time to pack up your bags and head to the beautiful Maine Coast, and the charming Pentagoet Inn is the ideal retreat for your next vacation. With warm hospitality, flowering gardens and a central location to the best places to visit in Maine, the Pentagoet Inn is the quintessential basecamp to eat your way through Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula. Here is our Insider’s Guide to some of the best food experiences to be found in this off the beaten path area of Maine   44 North Coffee After a refreshing sleep and a phenomenal breakfast at Pentagoet Inn, start your morning out right with a cup of ethically-sourced, custom-roasted, organic Arabica coffee at 44 North Coffee on Main street in nearby Deer Isle. Delight in the aroma of seasonal organic beans and taste the eruption of flavor in each drop.   El El Frijoles Since their opening in 2007, El El Frijoles has always made their entire menu from scratch each day. Their deliciously rich Mexican fare depends on lots of fresh, locally-sourced components and offers bold and interesting flavors. To top it all off the restaurant is located in a converted barn offering a truly unique and off the beaten path dining experience.   Aragosta Chef Devin Finigan of Aragosta grew up planting gardens, churning butter, and making ice cream with her sisters using milk from the family cow. Today, her youth is her inspiration for Aragosta’s farm to table dining that is brought to life by the working harbor and surrounding farms in the picturesque coastal Maine town of Stonington.   Bagaduce Lunch Bagaduce Lunch is a local favorite lunch spot thanks to their award winning menu that features a tremendous lobster roll, fried clams, and a variety of daily soft serve ice cream flavors such as watermelon, vanilla, black raspberry, and pistachio! The perfect side of the road spot in Brooksville where no nonsense summer food and a quintessential Maine setting are on the menu.     Local Farmer’s Markets Get a glimpse into the life and people of the Blue Hill Peninsula when you walk around the local farmer’s markets in Maine, offering fresh local produce, live music, . Stonington Farmer’s Market takes place mid-May through mid-October each Friday from 10am to 12pm. Night Market is open mid-May through November each Tuesday from 4 to 6pm in Deer Isle Village. Castine Thursday Market runs late-June through August from 9am to 11:30am only a short walk from Pentagoet Inn & Restaurant. Blue Hill Farmer’s Market Saturdays 9-11:30, Blue Hill Fairgrounds   Windmill Hill Gardens Market Stop by the Windmill Hill Gardens market in Castine for all your picnic lunch essentials featuring pie, slow roasted ribs, rotisserie style chicken, local BBQ sauce, specialty wine and more!   Other Uniquely Maine Offerings The Sow’s Ear Winery  Their Tasting Room in Brooksville is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm until fall. Tinder Hearth Wood-Fired Bread is also in Brooksville and serves wood-fired naturally leavened bread, pastries, and pizza all season long. Arborvine Fine Dining in Blue Hill is the perfect location for a romantic dining experience with intimate tables, cozy fireplaces, knowledgeable staff, and creative thoughtfully prepared food. David’s Folly Farm practices sustainable agriculture and is a great spot for community and family events such as farm dinners, private parties, movies, and workshops! Perry’s Lobster Shack in Surry is a waterfront restaurant staple for locals and tourists alike who are looking for a fresh-off-the-boat lobster.   Aquaculture in Maine When you think East Coast you think great seafood and rightfully so. Aquaculture, as it’s locally known, is the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish and plants, and has been present in Maine since the 1800’s. This cultivation of marine and freshwater species is at the heart of almost all east coast dining experiences and scallop, oyster, and lobster dishes are abundant. If you want to learn more, we highly recommend a tour of a local oyster farm or an authentic lobster boat experience. Pentagoet Inn   Both inn guests and the public are welcome to enjoy a drink, or two, in The Baron Pub and Wine Bar, a favorite spot for many guests. Call 207-326-8616 for reservations!   So the next time you are looking for a Coastal Maine Getaway, check in to the Pentagoet Inn to kick start your dining experience.

An Insider’s Guide to the Blue Hill Peninsula

Discover the Hidden, Quiet, Wild & Wonderful Side of the Maine Coast Looking for a true gem of a vacation and a memorable getaway off the beaten path? Get a real slice of New England heaven with a visit to a secluded part of the coast that still exudes a real “Old Maine” feeling of yesteryear when you book a stay at the Pentagöet Inn & Restaurant in Castine, the heart of the Blue Hill peninsula! Just pack your bags and leave the planning to us with this comprehensive guide of some truly wonderful and sometimes unexpected treasures! Explore the Great Outdoors From relaxing excursions to exciting adventures, there’s a perfect summer activity for everyone in this unspoiled section of Mid-Coast Maine. GRAB BIKES FROM THE INN Explore the town on two wheels; get up close to historic Dice Head Light, pedal down to the harbor and marvel at the historic schooners that grace our waters daily, or cycle past the house of famed author, Robert Lowell on our beautiful town square. Complimentary bikes are available for all guests at the Pentagöet Inn. GET OUT ON THE WATER You can’t really see what makes this area so truly special if you don’t set sail, motor, paddle, float, or swim.  The maritime history of this area has shaped it into what it is today and the only way to experience much of the natural beauty of Maine is from the water. There are so many ways to explore by vessel, and we recommend them all! Guildive Cruises: Enjoy a 2-hour excursion on the bay and get a picturesque view of the town of Castine Isle au Haut Mail Boat: Try to spot the iconic puffins on the way to Isle Au Haut, the quietest and least crowded part of Acadia. Castine Kayak Adventures: Paddle the peninsula with expertly led guided tours and seasonal bioluminescent night paddles! Old Quarry Ocean Adventures: For the more adventuresome paddler, kayak the Stonington archipelago, Isle Au Haut, and beyond. Bucks Harbor Marina: If you have your own boat or a license to rent one, this is a must! Located a short drive from Castine, Bucks Harbor is one of the most beautiful marinas and unspoiled natural panoramas on the state’s coast. Smith Cove: Take a dip in this nearby swimming hole, one of the warmest spots for swimming on the mid-coast Maine. A local’s secret, but we’ll tell you how to get there! If you’re a boat lover, be sure to head over to Brooklin and see the craftspeople at work at the Wooden Boat School and the Brooklin Boat Yard!   HIT THE TRAILS Due to some remarkable conservation efforts by the Blue Hill Heritage Trust and The Nature Conservancy, we are blessed with nearly endless hiking trails in and around the Blue Hill Peninsula, and there are a few real gems that we highly recommend. There are some excellent trail guides available when you arrive, and Pentagöet Inn offers a Hiking Adventures Package to enhance your experience: Barred Island Preserve: Time it right and you can hike over to a tidal island Peter’s Brook:  If you like a short stroll with a waterfall payoff, this is it! Holbrook Island Sanctuary: A gorgeous area that offers abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. Witherle Woods Preserve: Our favorite easygoing hike right in Castine with over 6 miles of trails Crockett Cove Woods: If you want to get up close with the dense Maine forest, this is it! TAKE IN THE VIEW While you’re out exploring, pack a picnic lunch with all the essentials from Windmill Hill Gardens and Market and enjoy it with some fresh air and beautiful coastal vistas. Pull off the side of the road near the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse to enjoy a picture perfect backdrop for your meal or head over to Horton Emerson Park in Blue Hill. You might have this idyllic place all to yourself and if you play your tides right, you will be able to picnic on a sandy beach. GET IN A ROUND OF GOLF Designed by Willie Park, Jr. in 1922, the Castine Golf Club’s 9-hole par 35 course is a unique and fun experience for our golfing enthusiasts. Get Your Culture On History, art, literature and music abound in Castine and around the Blue Hill Peninsula. HISTORY From the rich culture of the native tribes and the battles of the Revolutionary War, to the pivotal role Castine played as a U.S. Customs House, the history of the Blue Hill Peninsula is truly remarkable. A short walk from Pentagöet Inn will take you to the steps of the Castine Historical Society on the town common featuring exhibits, speakers, and an eager staff. Step into history with a stroll over to Fort Madison State Park right on the harbor in the heart of Castine and an important part of U.S. history. A recommended read before your trip is The Fort by Bernard Cornwell. Learn all about the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 and the worst naval defeat of the Revolutionary War. History buffs will be richly rewarded! ART There is a rich local art scene here in Castine, but as you explore the peninsula, you will find hidden gems everywhere you look. There are art galleries featuring local artists and their beautiful work across mediums. We highly recommend checking out the phenomenal paintings at the Adam Gallery and Gallery B, fine earthenware at Rackliffe Pottery, or Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, a non-profit group that has seasonal tours and events MUSIC & THEATRE Stonington boasts Opera House Arts on the National Register of Historic Places and delivers excellent productions, concerts and films all summer long. Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School & Festival brings together world class musicians to put on beautiful events through the season. If you’re visiting Pentagöet Inn during the week, be sure to join us for Jazz on the Porch Tuesdays! The Night and Day Trio performs from 5-8pm and there are specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a special menu available. A favorite of locals and visitors alike. Eat, Drink, and Shop Get a real flavor of Maine’s coast from freshly caught seafood to locally roasted … Read More

Old Settlement Quarry sign

Hiking the Settlement Quarry

This granite quarry was first used in the early 1900’s and produced granite for the Williamsburg Bridge in New York, the Manhatten Bridge, the New York County Courthouse, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the JFK Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery. It once was a major industrial site employing hundreds of men and was a forest of stacks, masts, booms and derricks. The Quarry is now a part of the Island Heritage Trust and is an excellent place to explore and hike. The Grout Pile Trail and Glacial Erratic Trail guide you around the quarry and through the woods where you can view a panorama of Webb Cove, Merchants Row, Isle Au Haut and the Camden Hills. Visit the IHT site for details.

Lighthouse by the water

Pumpkin Island Lighthouse

The Pumpkin Island Lighthouse is one of our favorite local lighthouses to visit. Good Morning America came to Castine and visited the lighthouse as part of their tour of the Blue Hill peninsula. It was a great way to end the day with the sun setting over Eggemoggin Reach.