Road Trip: Damariscotta
Take in the history, heritage, beauty and fun of Maine’s midcoast.
By H. Joie Crockett
Special to b
Damariscotta is in midcoast Maine between Bath and Rockland. Some of the first inhabitants of the Damariscotta area were the Wawenock (or Walinakiak, meaning “people of the bays”) Abenaki Indians, who left behind 2,500-year-old oyster shell middens along the banks of the Damariscotta River. The Whaleback Midden, as it became known, was a “dump” comprised mostly of oyster shells, some 12 to 20 inches long, and is now a state historic site. There is also a smaller oyster midden at Glidden Point on the Newcastle side of Damariscotta River — Damariscotta believed to mean “place of little fish.” The river produces more oysters then any other area on the Maine coast, so it is no surprise that you can also find many oyster bars in the area.
The area is rich in history, including Pemaquid Light, which was first built by an architect who used salt water to form the mortar: The lighthouse, located at the end of the Pemaquid peninsula, didn’t last. The second builder was instructed to use only fresh water for the mortar.
Fort William Henry, at Pemaquid Beach in New Harbor, also had mortar problems, so to speak. It crumbled under an attack by the French and American Indians in 1696. The water supply was outside of the fort, forcing the English to surrender, and the fort was destroyed. The bastion that stands now was built in 1908.
Some current residents of the area of note include: Glenn Chadbourne, an illustrator whose first published work was in the late 1980s for the Stephen King-related newsletter “Castle Rock.” His murals can be viewed locally at DaVinci’s Eatery and Lewiston Pawn Shop, both in Lewiston, and some of his artwork is at The Old Goat Pub on Main Street in Richmond. Vince Clarke, songwriter and founder of both Erasure and Depeche Mode. Maurice “Jake” Day, artist and cartoonist who helped bring “Bambi” to life on the movie screen. And Bud Blake, a cartoonist best known for his comic strip “Tiger,” to name a few.
So read on for a taste of the many things the Damariscotta area has to offer, with a promise that we’ll return to explore more soon.

North Cottage Coffee
77 Main St.
A warm and inviting coffee shop where you can sit and have your coffee and indulge in world famous sticky buns made by the Cupboard Café in New Harbor.

King Eider’s Pub and Restaurant
2 Elm St.
Don’t miss out on visiting this pub and restaurant. They have a raw oyster bar upstairs in their establishment, along with outside seating in good weather.

Serendipity House
93 Main St.
A great shop where you can find everything from dishes to bathing suit-clad flapper-era shelf sitters.

Cottage Gardens in town — Essentials for Home and Garden
132 Main St.
You won’t miss this establishment when you drive into town: The entire sidewalk area in front of the building is adorned with flowering plants, and inside you’ll find everything you may need or want for your garden, plus things you’ve never thought of.

Dodge Point Preserve
3.5 miles south of intown Newcastle on River Road
A 521-acre land preserve that features beaches, freshwater ponds, ravines and interior uplands. Recreational use consists of hiking, cross-country skiing, skating, swimming and fishing. An easy hike for anyone.


Shaw’s Fish & Lobster Wharf
Route 32
New Harbor
Visit this restaurant on the docks in New Harbor, with both indoor and outdoor seating, an open-air raw oyster bar, and a great menu to choose from. Sit on the patio and take in the views of this working harbor as you enjoy your meal.

Hardy III Boat Tours
Route 32
New Harbor
They not only offer puffin and lighthouse tours, and foliage tours in autumn, but also ferry service to Monhegan Island.

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
Take Route 130 south to Pemaquid Point
This is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine with its stretch of rock formations worn smooth by ancient ocean tides. Also one of the few lighthouses where you can go inside and walk up a spiral staircase to the Fresnel lens. This light is one of the most visited places on the Maine coast.

Fort William Henry
Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site
P.O. Box 117
New Harbor
Colonial Pemaquid is 14 miles south of Route 1 and one mile west of Route 130. Visit the stone Bastion and climb the stairs to the roof for an unparalleled view of the bay. Then visit the Fort House, and the remains of Pemaquid Colonial Village nearby. The bastion stores many historic artifacts found on the site.

Also check out: Glidden Point Oyster Sea Farm on River Road in Edgecomb,, and The Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta,

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