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Guide to Maine Cruising - Castine

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East of Rockland across the mouth of the Penobscot River is this quiet town of shipwright houses and the home of the Maine Maritime Academy. Castine is historic—it dates back to 1613 and predates the Plymouth Colony by seven years—and quaint, even by Maine standards, with elm trees bordering a village green that sits on a perfectly picturesque hill. You can explore Castine on foot with the help of a town map, which lays out a walking tour and may take you past an old battleground, as well as the colonial house that poet Robert Lowell shared with his wife, novelist Elizabeth Hardwick in the 1950s. Later, play nine holes at the public golf course. Given the driving distance to the grocery store, cruisers are encouraged to come to Castine well provisioned. If you’re up for gunkholing, head up the Bagaduce River, where seals are often out sunning on the rocks. You might not want to take a big boat up this way, but you should be able to time the current, which can be significant, for a dinghy ride. There are just a few spots to eat in Castine, but this might be just the place to break out those Maine lobsters and boil them in a pot of the salt water they came from. There’s limited dockage in town, but there are moorings. The harbor is lovely and, when compared with other, busier stopovers like Bar Harbor, this one feels much more like the Maine of old.

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