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Blue Hill (Maine)

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Hancock County : Blue Hill
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Blue Hill is a small town in Hancock County, in the US state of Maine, located on Blue Hill Bay, about 14 miles southwest of the county seat of Ellsworth and quite near Acadia National Park. Population is less than 2500 people but Blue Hill is quite busy during the summer tourist season. Visit historic houses and art galleries, shop for antiques, and view the little harbor with boats. There is also a small local hospital on Water Street [1] and a newspaper, The Weekly Packet. Additional information is available from the Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce [2] located at 28 Water Street. Tel: +1-(207) 374-3242. The town web site [3] lists more local attractions and services.

Contents

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Nearest major airports are the Hancock County - Bar Harbor Airport [4] near Ellsworth (about 20 miles), Bangor International Airport in Bangor (about 30 miles) and Portland International Jetport in Portland (about 120 miles). Even if you fly, you'll need to rent a car at one of these airports.

By car[edit]

You will most likely enter Maine on Interstate 95, especially if you are coming from southern New England or U.S. points beyond. The standard routes to Downeast Maine are to either follow I-95 to the capital, Augusta, and then to break east on state highways, or to leave I-95 around Brunswick, Maine, and follow U.S. 1 north along the coast toward Ellsworth and Bar Harbor. The drive along U.S. 1 is typically more scenic, but also generally slower.

By boat[edit]

Blue Hill does have a pretty tidal harbor on Blue Hill Bay that is fairly sheltered from the open ocean. The K.Y.C. yacht club welcomes members of other yacht clubs, to drop anchor there and to come ashore. K.Y.C., however, is located some distance from the center of town, and it might be preferable to ask for a ride to go shopping. There are several boat yards in Blue Hill, offering their services. By road, Blue Hill is approximately 45 minutes away from Bar Harbor. The high-speed car ferry "The Cat" [5] links Bar Harbor with Yarmouth (Nova Scotia, Canada).

Get around[edit]

You'll generally travel around the Blue Hill area by car, as public transportation in the Blue Hill area is nonexistent and the main grocery store, Tradewinds Marketplace, is most of a mile up a steep hill.

Traffic during the summer months is incredibly busy (by Blue Hill standards), although seekers of solitude might want to visit from October to April, when the tourists and summer residents haven't come up yet.

There is a public transportation system serving Blue Hill and Hancock County. It is called Downeast Transportation. This service is offered Monday through Friday, to and from Ellsworth, the county seat. Connections can be made to other parts of the county-wide network.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Bagaduce Music Lending Library [6] - at 3 Music Library Lane on Green's Hill (in Blue Hill). Tel: +1-207-374-5454.
  • Blue Hill Public Library [7] - 5 Parker Point Road. Tel: +1-207-374-5515. Closed on Sundays.
  • Historic Jonathan Fisher House [8] - one of Blue Hill's most famous attractions. 44 Mines Road. Tel: +1-207-374-2459. Not always open. Phone for special appointment.
  • Blue Hill Historical Society [9] - located in the 1815 Holt House at the corner of Main Street and Water Street. No telephone. PO Box 710, Blue Hill, ME 04614.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Blue Hill Falls - watch or try out the rare reversing falls created by the incoming tide funneling into a narrow channel. The water forms a standing wave, up to three feet in height. The Blue Hills Falls is safe to run on inner tube, raft, kayak and canoe, although pedestrians should beware of traffic.
  • Hiking - climb Blue Hill's namesake Blue Hill Mountain (actually, more a hill than a mountain) for nice views of Blue Hill Bay and, on clear days, Acadia National Park in the distance.
  • Kayaking - bring your own canoe or kayak or rent from Rocky Coast Outfitters (Tel: +1-207-374-8866) or the Activity Shop [10] on the Ellsworth Road (Tel: +1-207-374-3600).
  • Blue Hill Golf Course - 9 holes at Parker Point Road. Part of the Blue Hill Country Club. Tel: +1-207-374-2271.
  • The Blue Hill Fair [11] - Held annually around the Labor Day Weekend. A famous local event.
  • WERU-FM [12] - listen to Blue Hill's avante garde community radio station on 89.9 MHz. The station is actually in Orland, fifteen miles outside Blue Hill, but the transmitter can be seen on top of Blue Hill Mountain.
  • Blue Hill Town Park - is at the end of Water Street by the hospital, and offers a beach and a large rock suitable for sunbathing. Although some brave enthusiasts risk it, swimming is not advised due to contamination due to the nearby sewage plant.
  • Woods Pond - is an excellent place to go swimming, it can be found on the Mines Rd. (Route 15) appproximately two miles south of Blue Hill. Parking is roadside, and is denoted by a line of rocks to the right of the road, under the shade of oak trees. The pond itself is 200 yards over the hill, but once found is worth the trek, with high rocks to jump off of and sunbathe on. While there is a house along the trail, public usage has been established, although respect for others is recommended. Dogs and littering are highly frowned upon.

Buy[edit][add listing]

There are a number of art galleries and antique shops in the area:


  • Blue Hill Antiques - at 8 Water Street. Tel: +1-207-374-8825.
  • Blue Hill Bay Gallery [13] - fine arts gallery at 11 Tenney Hill in central Blue Hill. Tel: +1-207-374-5773.
  • Gallery 66 [14] - contemporary fine art at 110 Beach Hill Road. Tel: +1-207-374-8853.
  • Handworks Gallery [15] - representing Maine artists for 30 years. 48 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5613.
  • Jud Hartmann Gallery [16] - fine arts gallery, specializing in bronze sculptures. 79 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-359-2544.
  • Laura Balombini Studio [17] - sculpture at Wattson Lane. Tel: +1-207-374-5142.
  • Leighton Gallery [18] - recently voted best gallery in Maine. 24 Parker Point Road. Tel: +1-207-374-5001.
  • Liros Gallery [19] - specializing in Russian icons, since 1966. 14 Parker Point Road. Tel: +1-207-374-5370.
  • Randy Eckard Gallery - local water color artist at 29 Pleasant Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2510.
  • Rebekah Raye Arts [20] - studio located in East Blue Hill, on Route 176, towards Surry. Tel: +1-207-374-5944.
  • LaFreniere's Nature Art of Maine - Tel: +1-207-374-5773.

Other local shops include:

  • Andean Downeast - alpaca wool products, jewelry, pottery and textiles at 27 Water Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2313.
  • Bella Colore - hand-crafted gifts and jewelry at 27 Water Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5343.
  • Blue Hill Books [21] - 26 Pleasant Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5632.
  • Blue Hill Co-op Community Market & Cafe - community-owed natural food store, plus cafe, at 4 Ellsworth Road. Tel: +1-207-374-2165.
  • Fairwinds Florist [22] - flowers and Christmas wreaths since 1975. 5 Main Street. Tel: +1-800-339-5621.
  • Harbor Weddings of Maine [23] - local photographers. Tel: +1-207-374-5174.
  • Ken Woisard Photography [24] - 15 Schoolhouse Lane. Tel: +1- 207-374-5174.
  • Mainescape Garden Center [25] - plants, shrubs, gardening supplies, Christmas wreaths and gifts, plus fresh local breads, desserts, fruits, jams, pickles, coffees and locally grown organic produce. Located at 48 South Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2833.
  • New Cargoes [26] - Blue Hill's little department store at 49 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-3733.
  • North Country Textiles [27] - hand-woven clothing and home accessories at 36 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2715.
  • North Light Books - 58 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5422.
  • Portraits from Pics [28] - unique hand-drawn pictures of people and pets. 45 Falls Bridge Road. Tel: +1-207-374-5439.
  • Rackliffe Pottery [29] - classic pottery mugs, blueberry ware, bowls, plates and gifts, made from native clay. Located at 132 Ellsworth Road. Tel: +1-888-631-3321.
  • Rowantrees Pottery - on Union Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5535.
  • Tradewinds Marketplace - small supermarket & shopping center at 15 South Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5137.
  • WEM Woodworks [30] - handmade Shaker tables at 64 Penny Lane. Tel: +1-207-374-3763.

Yard sales are popular in the summer. Look for roadside signs.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Situated right on the ocean and in Maine, fresh seafood is widely available and often a specialty here. There are few chain restaurants in town, so you should be prepared to eat at local establishments, unless you want to drive in to Ellsworth. Here are a few:


  • Arborvine [31] - Fine dining and brewpub. Tel: +1-207-374-2119.
  • Blue Hill Co-op Community Market & Cafe[32] - at 4 Ellsworth Road. Tel: +1-207-374-2165.
  • Blue Hill Subway - submarine sandwiches within the Tradewinds Marketplace at 15 South Street. Tel: +1-207-374-3269.
  • Captain Isaac Merrill Inn [33] - nice restaurant as part of a bed and breakfast, at 50 Union Street. Tel: +1-877-374-2555 . Also a Wi-Fi "hot spot."
  • Fish Net - take-out sea food restaurant at 162 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-5240.
  • Merrill and Hinkley - Blue Hill's oldest grocery store, still in original building. Offers pre-made sandwiches and a delicatessen, however the convenience of being downtown comes at a tradeoff of higher prices.
  • Pantry Restaurant - breakfast and lunch at 27 Water Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2229.
  • The Blue Moose Restaurant [34] - family dining at 50 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-3274.
  • The Surry Inn - [35] Fine dining and lodging in on Route 172 in nearby Surry. Tel: +1-207-667-5091.
  • TradeWinds Marketplace - Hannaford grocery store with deli, also houses a Subway and Baker's Cafe.
  • Marlintini's, [36]. 10-9. Marlintini's is 1 mile South of Blue Hill and offers great food at good prices. Famiy friendly with plenty of parking.  edit
  • The Boatyard Grill, 13 East Blue Hill Road (across the road from the Merle Grindle Agency), 207.374.3533. Wed-Mon. A casual, family friendly restaurant and bar located on the water. There is lots of open-air seating as well as inside seating. Specialties include steamed lobster, grilled fish and burgers, fresh, locally procured salads.  edit
  • The MIll Stream Deli, Bakery & B.B.Q., 58 Main Street (Open year round. Down Town Blue Hill on Main STreet), 207-374-12049. 7A.M.-5P.M. Tues. - Sat. Sun 8 A.M . - 3 P.M.. Home style deli features in house smoked B.B.Q. Vegetarien deli dishes, bread & swewets made & baked on site daily. In side & out side dining with aview of Blue Hill Bay. Quality food, affordable prices. Local Love-be apart of it!  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

  • The Blue Hill Wine Shop - 138 Main Street. Tel: (207) 374-2161.
  • The Blue Moose - on Main Street. Restaurant and full bar. Tel: (207) 374-5226.
  • The 66 Restaurant, 66 main st, 2073741055. excellant steak and seafood with locally bought seafood  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Blue Hill has a number of inns and bed and breakfasts. Even more numerous than those options, however, are private vacation homes for rent, although for many these are cost-prohibitive. Blue Hill is typical of Downeast Maine in this regard. You often have more choices of lodging in renting private homes than you do for motels, hotels and inns, especially in small towns like Blue Hill. Backpackers and those looking to take the path less travelled, camping out on their own are unlikely to be hassled, as long as they pack light and keep out of sight of houses. The edges of blueberry fields are excellent in this regard.

  • Auberge Tenney Hill [37] A top bed & breakfast inn built in 1869, with art works and antiques, run by an ex-CIA author. At Tenney Hill. Tel: +1-207-374-2169. raguay@adelphia.net
  • Barncastle Hotel and Restaurant [38] - Building listed on National Register of Historic Places. 125 South Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2300.
  • Blue Hill Farm Country Inn [39] - bed and breakfast, open year round. Route 15. Tel: +1-207-374-5126.
  • Blue Hill Inn [40] 1830s building, high-quality bed & breakfast establishment, operating continuously as an inn since 1840! Featured on TV. Tel: +1-207-374-2844.
  • First Light Bed and Breakfast [41] - unique opportunity to stay in a lighthouse in East Blue Hill! Tel: +1-207-374-5879.
  • Coastal Cottage Rentals [42] - 1 Music Library Lane. Tel: +1-207-374-3500.
  • Davis Agency [43] - 70 Greene's Hill in Blue Hill. Tel: +1-207-374-5850.
  • Maine Vacation Rentals [44] - 107 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2444.
  • Peninsula Property Rentals [45] - 15 Main Street. Tel: +1-207-374-2428.
  • The Gatherings Campground - just off Route 172 in nearby Surry, directly on the ocean. Tel: (207) 667-8826.

Get out[edit]

  • Acadia National Park - the first National Park east of the Mississippi. Busy during tourist season but one of the most beautiful parts of the Maine coast.

History[edit]

From George J. Varney's A GAZETTEER OF THE STATE OF MAINE, published in Boston, MA in 1886:

"Blue Hill was first settled in 1762 near “Fire Falls,” where Blue Hill Bay communicates with a salt-water pond. The pioneers were Capt. Joseph Wood and John Roundy. The third family in town was formed by the marriage of Capt. Wood’s daughter with Col. Parker, who had served at the siege of Louisbourg. The family of Samuel Foster was the fourth, and the next were Col. Nicholas Holt, Ezekiel Osgood, and Nehemiah Hinkley. The first child, Jonathan Darling, was born in 1765; the second child, Edith Wood, in 1766. Several citizens of Blue Hill served in the Revolutionary war. Christopher Osgood, one of the first setlers, was at the battle of Bunker Hill. Nehemiah Hinkley served through the war, and was honorably discharged at West Point. The town furnished 196 soldiers to the Union army during the Rebellion, and paid out in bounties $17,995. Among the notable citizens of a later period, but now deceased, were John Peters, Eben. Floyd, Nathan Ellis, amid Andrew Witham. There are several residents above eighty years of age, and one over ninety."



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