Belfast Harbor
Cruising and Travel

Tourists tend to overlook the City of Belfast in favor of nearby traps like Bar Harbor and Camden. When the latter two cities are crowded with vacationers, Belfast Harbor is still uncrowded. The town has a bunch of quaint shops and galleries, and accommodations are inexpensive compared to those in Bar Harbor. Recreation is affordable as well. Visitors enjoy sailing on masted vessels, renting kayaks, or just strolling through this "museum in the streets." Belfast Harbor is chock-full of informational signs explaining the history of the buildings and the town.

Belfast Harbor has a humid continental climate with big differences between seasons. Summers are warm and can be hot. Winters are cold, sometimes severely cold. Precipitation ranges from 3 to 4.5 inches from month to month, and snowfall comes every year. Summer rains normally come during thunderstorms or the occasional tropical storm. Temperatures range from an average high of 26°C (80°F) in late July and early August to an average low of around -6°C (20°F) in January. As much as 19 inches of snow may fall in January, and snow is expected from November through April.

One of the most popular pastimes in Belfast Harbor is taking an all-day cruise with Penobscot Bay Cruises. They also offer two-day overnight cruises when possible. Day cruises accommodate six guests, and overnight cruises are for four guests. The yacht Chimera is a 15.5-meter (51-foot) Cheoy Lee cruising powerboat with two private staterooms. Scheduled only by reservation, the cruises offer a variety of adventures depending on what the guest wants to see. You may visit an old island lighthouse or take pictures of osprey or bald eagles. You can explore a deserted island or view old waterfront estates. You may want to cruise the Penobscot River or visit a tiny island fishing village. Leaving and returning to Belfast Harbor, Penobscot Bay Cruises will make sure you enjoy your time there.

Belfast Harbor's Coast to Island Sailing Charters offers adventures aboard the Miss Nina, an 18.6-meter (61-foot) wooden pilothouse ketch that was built by the Story Shipyard in Essex, Massachusetts. She has a big open foredeck and a large open galley with a second dinette and a comfortable settee area. The cabins have almost 2.1 meters (7 feet) of headroom, and the ship has lots of windows with terrific ventilation. With 111 square meters (1200 square feet) of sail, she is a stable sailing boat with quiet twin engines that can easily make eight knots. Carrying as many as six passengers, the Miss Nina offers breathtaking views of Maine's mid-coast bays and rivers.

Based in Belfast Harbor, Coast to Island Sailing Charters offers a variety of experiences. The Yoga Adventure Sail is an hour-and-a-half sail on Penobscot Bay while guests are led in guided meditations before visiting the island. The Sail and Hike Charter visits Fort Point State Park from Belfast Harbor across the Bay to see the 1836 lighthouse, Maine's first river light.

The Dinner Sails charter is a three-hour sunset sail on Belfast Harbor's least crowded restaurant. The Rainy Day Sails allow the kids to learn about and explore the ship while the adults enjoy a warm rainy Belfast Harbor summer afternoon on Penobscot Bay. The Miss Nina is also available for full-day ($600 for 8 hour sail) and half-day ($400 for 4 hour sail) charters designed by the passengers.

Fort Knox is the biggest historic fort in Maine. Located about 22 kilometers (14 miles) northeast of Belfast Harbor, the fort was built from 1844 to 1864. Although it was never finished, it is an outstanding example of a 19th Century granite coastal fortification. It was Maine's first granite fort. While it was never engaged in combat, the fort housed soldiers during the American Civil War and the Spanish-American War. The fort is open to visitors from early May through late October. It has a picnic area and wireless Internet access.

When the federal government put the 125-acre grounds up for sale as excess property, the State of Maine bought it for a little over two thousand dollars. Today, it is a National Historic Landmark and the entry for the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observation Tower. The Friends of Fort Knox, a non-profit group, have been making repairs since the 1990s. Said to be haunted, an episode of the TV show Ghost Hunters was filmed there.

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