GEORGETOWN — Psst . . . this mid-coast island, accessible by a string of bridges, has more than 80 miles of shoreline, pretty coves flanked by sweeping swaths of salt marshes and forests, a wildlife sanctuary, one of the top lobster pounds Downeast, and one of the state’s prettiest parks. Never heard of it?
“When I tell people I live in Georgetown, they think Washington, D.C.,” says Sarah Crosby, who’s been working at the entrance booth of Reid State Park for more than 40 years. “When I say it’s Georgetown, Maine, they say, ‘Where the heck is that?’ ”
That’s exactly why this finger-shaped isle jutting into Sheepscot Bay, about 15 minutes from Bath, has been called one of the best kept secrets in the state.
“Half the people in Maine don’t know about Georgetown,” says Tom Church, owner of the Coveside Bed and Breakfast here. “Maybe they’ve heard of Reid State Park or Five Islands Lobster, but they don’t know they’re both located in Georgetown.”
We discovered Georgetown on a spur-of-the-moment day trip, following winding Route 127 over bridges and down the spine of the island to the waters edge; we had views into harbors and tiny coves along the way. We made a quick stop at the Josephine Newman Audubon Sanctuary (Off Route 127, www.maineaudubon
bon-sanctuary), a 119-acre refuge bordered by salt marshes, and crisscrossed by 2½ miles of trails. The setting of open meadows, tidal mudflats, marshes, and rocky shoreline was serene, and we had the place to ourselves — except for the flocks of birds overhead and on shore.
The island has a handful of art studios and gallery shops. We stopped at Georgetown Pottery (Route 127, 207-371-2801, www.georgetownpottery
.com), with three buildings filled with handmade pottery, painted by local artists with Maine-inspired themes (think: lighthouses, sailboats, lobsters, blueberries). Georgetown General Store, advertising fresh lobster rolls, was just up the street, but we resisted, holding out for Five Islands Lobster Co., which we knew was located at the end of the road.
Our next stop was Reid State Park (375 Seguinland Road, 207-371-2303, www.maine.gov, adults $6.50, children ages 5-11 $1), a gem with 766-acres of sandy beaches, ledges, salt marshes, and woodlands, and one of the island’s biggest draws. Some people actually swim in the chilly waters here, but we opted for a stroll along the beach, flanked by sand dunes and beach grasses, and a visit to Griffith Head, a rocky promontory where we had views of the ocean and distant islands. The park also has a saltwater pond, popular with kids who like to swim in the warmer and calmer water. Next time, we’ll bring kayaks to paddle the park’s tidal river estuary leading out to the ocean.
Savvy travelers make more than a mad dash day trip to Georgetown, staying for a few days or more at one of the inns, soaking up the laid-back, idyllic Maine island atmosphere. The seaside Grey Havens Inn (96 Seguinland Road, 855-473-9428, www.grey
havens.com, $195-$350), with its grand wraparound porch and 13 cheerful rooms, has grabbed five-star ratings from TripAdvisor and been named “Best Classic Coastal Inn in Maine” by Yankee magazine. The turret rooms in this shingle-style mansion are especially nice, with in-the-round windows offering good views of the Atlantic. The expansive front living room with its large fieldstone fireplace is a great place to hang out, and Blue Restaurant, also open to the public, focuses on fresh seafood and locally-sourced dishes.
The sweeping lawn at the secluded and surprisingly elegant Coveside Bed and Breakfast (6 Cotts Cove Lane, 800-232-5490, www.covesidebandb
.com, $145-$225) leads to the shoreline of pretty Cotts Bay and a private dock, with views into Sheepscot Bay. Seven rooms, housed in the main house and separate modern cottage, are bright and airy, with water views, private baths, and plush linens; some have private porches and gas fireplaces. Guests have access to bikes and kayaks (this is a great place to pedal or paddle), and rates include a full breakfast prepared by co-owner Carolyn Church, a former pastry chef.
Offering equally fine water views and comfy digs is The Mooring (132 Seguinland Road, 866-828-7343, www.themooringb-b.com, $150-
$210). Five rooms are uniquely decorated, like the Lighthouse Room with blue and white colors and water views, and the cozy, pink-hued Rose Room, all with private baths. The 1890s house, the original home of Walter Reid, the donor of Reid State Park, also has a light-filled, oceanfront sun porch and terrace.
Maybe next time we’d book rooms and bring our husbands, but for now we followed the meandering road to its end on the shores of Sheepscot Bay, home to Five Islands Lobster Co. (1447 Five Islands Road, 207-371-2990, www.fiveislandslobster.com, market prices vary). This was exactly the kind of place you want to find at the end of a road in coastal Maine. We grabbed a seat at a picnic table overlooking the postcard-pretty harbor, and dined on just-trapped lobsters, enhanced by the tang of the salty sea air — in no hurry at all to leave Georgetown.