On a map, rocky 'fingers' claw at Penobscot Bay, each peninsula clad in ancient forests, studded with lonely, windswept fishing villages and fog-wreathed paths through the woods. This is midcoast Maine. But it's also resort towns that cater to wealthy vacationers from the northeast and Canada, cheap lobster rolls, organic farm-to-table restaurants, writing retreats and tall masts creaking in harbors icebound in winter, and sun-kissed in summer. Imagine Maine, a hybrid of mountains, ocean, forests and villages, and this, too, is the midcoast.
The English first settled this region in 1607, which coincided with the Jamestown settlement in Virginia. Unlike their southerly compatriots, though, these early settlers returned to England within a year. British colonization resumed in 1620. After suffering through the long years of the French and Indian War, the area became home to a thriving shipbuilding industry, which continues today.