Belfast is a seaport located on the Penobscot Bay, at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River. It was once the territory of the Abenaki Indians, who visited each summer to hunt and fish. In 1630, it was granted rights for English trading posts with the Indians. In 1720, General Samuel Waldo of Boston took ownership of the land, and it was known as Waldo until sold in 1759 by his heirs to Scots-Irish proprietors, and renamed Belfast after Belfast, Ireland. First settled in 1770, Belfast was incorporated as a town in 1773. The British military burned Belfast in 1779, and also held it in 1814 for five days during the war of 1812. Following the war, the seaport rebuilt and thrived. In 1853, Belfast became the 8th city incorporated in Maine, and developed into a shipbuilding center. Shipbuilders became wealthy and built the historic mansions and civic architecture for which the city is noted. 

As shipbuilding faded in 1900, the economy shifted to harvesting seafood for the Boston and New York markets. Following World War II, until the national recession of the 1970s, the Belfast economy had been driven by the poultry industry. However, the collapse of this industry resulted in an exodus of people from the area. Artists and young college graduates arrived at that time. In the 1990s, credit-card giant MBNA established a facility in Belfast, which increased the population significantly. Belfast is a prime coastal village.

  • Your visit may include a stroll along the harbor, or a cruise on a sail or power-boat excursion, or hop on a kayak yourself and get a guided tour of the Bay. Take a walking tour of Belfast's fascinating historic district, or any of the 18 galleries located throughout downtown.
  • Many festivals are offered in Belfast during the summer, including Arts in the Park and Harborfest. A varied selection of community theatre productions are offered by the Belfast Maskers. Belfast has many interesting locally-owned boutiques, gift shops and specialty stores, including the oldest shoe store in the country; Colburns Shoe Store. Perry's Nut House is a unique store, offering countless varieties of candies and amusement displays.
  • The communities surrounding the Bays of Passamaquoddy and Cobscook are built on an unbreakable bond with the sea. A central hub for everything nautical, the waves of Pasamaquoddy and Cobscook Bays lap the shores of Eastport where you’ll find a quaint coastal town with a thriving arts scene that happens to house the East Coast’s deepest port and America’s only remaining mill producing stone ground mustard.
  • Belfast's local restaurants offer the best seafood, as well as other specialty foods, or vegetarian cuisine fresh off the farm. You will enjoy your stay at one of Belfast's fine Inns or B&B's. When you consider your vacation plans, remember to visit us in Belfast Maine.


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