Located along Coast Route 1, Wiscasset, Maine is a perfect little town and a great place to stop and enjoy a quintessential day in mid-coast of Maine. This Maine town is packed with historic buildings, offers amazing antiques, unique stays, and top-notch lobster rolls.
Just north of Boothbay Harbor and south of Augusta, Wiscasset sits on the Sheepscot River. It is a short drive to ocean waters and located at the bottom of one of the craggy fingers of the Maine coast jutting out into the Atlantic.
1. Take a walk through a scenic state park
A picnic or a walk along the bluff at Fort Edgecomb State Historic Site is a wonderful place to enjoy a sunny day. Overlooking the Sheepscot River, the historic blockhouse is perfectly placed for panoramic views of incoming ships. The high hill provided an excellent vantage point for the soldiers to watch out for unwanted ships entering the harbor. The rolling greens to the edge end with the cliff where wildflowers dance on the shores.
The green is dotted with picnic tables and blanket spots where patrons can lazily watch the boats go up the river. Grab your morning coffee and find a spot to watch the sun shine over the water. This state park is a great way to start your day. It might even inspire you to practice outdoor yoga or tai chi.
There is a minimal charge to enter and a small parking lot next to the blockhouse.
Adventurous visitors may want to explore other water-centric features in Maine. You can start your research with our article on Maine’s 10 Most Scenic Waterfall Hikes.
2. Stay in a historic mansion
The Nickels-Sortwell House in downtown Wiscasset is a beautiful representation of a Federal-style house. Built in 1907, it is a National Historic Landmark and is available for hire via turnkey. The house can accommodate five people and is furnished with traditional period decor that matches the modern amenities required for a great stay. Located on a beautiful tree-lined downtown street, this lovingly restored home gives you a taste of what it was like to live in a turn-of-the-century Maine coastal village.
When the house is not rented, it is open for guided tours. Prior registration is required.
3. Take the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington railway
The Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway (WW&F) is home to a narrow gauge steam railway. It served the towns of the Sheepscot Valley from 1894 to 1933. You can take a fun ride on this historic trail or hit the rails for one of its special events. Located just outside of Wiscasset in Alna, a ride on the WW&F is a journey back in time exploring the beautiful valley and countryside of the small town.
For visitors looking for something more adventurous and physical, the WW&F Railway has got you covered. You can test your skills and take the self-driving hand car along the tracks for a scenic drive as you pump the car along the rails. As you glide steadily down the track, creating your own locomotion, imagine a time and place where self-driving hand cars were a real form of transportation, not just a fun afternoon activity.
4. Visit Tucker Castle
Sitting perfectly on a rolling outcrop overlooking the Sheepscot River, Castle Tucker is a living story of Maine shipping tycoon Richard Tucker and his family. The past of the house is a historical timeline reflecting the economic ups and downs of the estate of the owners before the Tucker family took possession of it. In 1997, Castle Tucker and its contents were awarded to Historic New England for Preserving the History of the Coast of Maine.
Exploring the museum is like taking a walk through the lives of the rich and famous at the turn of the century. Regular guided tours of the house are available for a small fee and usually take place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Special events, such as the Behind the Closed Doors of Castle Tucker tour and cocktails at the Castle, are regularly scheduled and can be found on the Castle Tucker webpage.
5. Go to Jail, Don’t Go Go
The Old Wiscasset Jail, dating from 1811, is a look at the dark and cramped living spaces of the prisoners of Wiscasset. Attached to the prison is the jailer’s house where you can learn about the hard life of the jailer and his family. As you enter the cell, you can feel the anguish of the guilty prisoners and the agony of the innocently accused.
The prison is a short walk from the city center. There are guided tours during the summer months.
Many pretty boutiques and art galleries line the downtown area and await day-trippers and weekend guests to explore. Heading up the hill from the river you’ll find quaint shops, historic homes, and famous spots for a classic lobster roll. Maine’s antique hunters and gatherers have galleries filled to the brim with beautiful wooden furniture, an array of fascinating artwork, and matching accent pieces.
Marston House Wiscasset is a nice antique and textile store and also serves as a bed & breakfast. Located on Main Street, the accommodation is in the shed behind a beautiful sunken garden. Marston House presents a collection of exquisite French antiques and fine textiles. It is open seasonally from May to October.
At Peter Eaton Antiques, you will discover beautiful antique pieces. Buying antique Federal and Colonial period furniture as well as artwork and rugs will give a piece of New England history to your home decor. Peter Eaton Antiques is a gallery of beautiful and beloved antique pieces that have a story to tell. It is recommended to call ahead for an appointment as the shop has irregular hours.
The Maine Art Gallery offers spectators a range of exhibitions including one Contemporary realism exhibition created in a variety of mediums. Other exhibits include a Beautiful photograph exhibit celebrating the state of Maine and contemporary exhibits like Acquired symbols. The exhibits are interesting and stimulating as they explore the artist’s interpretation of the wonders of Maine.
For antique lovers who want to visit other fabulous stores across New England, our list of the 13 Best Antique Stores in New England will help you start your own antique roadshow.
7. It’s all about the lobster
Eating the perfect Maine lobster is one of the many reasons people visit the Maine coast. Two great restaurants await you to help you stock up on the classic lobster roll. Both are in the city center. They are located opposite each other, thus intensifying the culinary competition.
Red’s Eats have been offering incredible lobster rolls and other seafood for over 80 years. The food delivered from this little cabin is absolutely amazing. Frequented by well-known foodies, Red’s Eats has been presented by many, including The Zimmerman List with Andrew Zimmerman, the king of great food. As you traverse the coast of Maine, stopping at Red’s Eats is a must for any lobster enthusiast on a mission to discover all of the best lobster rolls on the planet. Don’t worry, you’ll probably have to queue, but it’s definitely worth the wait!
Another great local spot is Sprague’s Lobster. Located on the dock with a stunning view of the river, you can enjoy an alfresco lobster dinner on a picnic table with all the accessories. No need to worry about fancy table linens, Sprague’s is the perfect place to eat lobster. Surrounded by cute little boutiques to browse after dinner, Sprague’s has been a staple in the city for over 35 years.
Whichever location you choose, enjoying a fresh, expertly prepared lobster is one of the best parts of the coastal Maine experience.
8. Indulge your sweet tooth at Mammy’s Bakery
Mammy’s Bakery is the pastry to satisfy your sweet tooth. Delicious delicacies line the cases, tempting even the most demanding dessert aficionado. Let your fancy wander among the rows of delicious treats, but seriously consider the cookie or cheesecake of the day to experience the freshest seasonal taste sensations. With so many candies to choose from, you might have to pick a few items and share them with friends. More than just a sweet spot, Mammy’s offers delicious savory dishes like pizzas, salads and sandwiches.
Pro tip: Arrive just before lunch and line up for your extravagant lobster dinner. After lunch, take a stroll around the city and explore the wonderful history and beautiful galleries. Then, when you’re done with lunch, stop by Mammy’s for a delicious dessert – a fitting end to your day in beautiful Wiscasset.
You’ll find other wonderful Maine coastal stops along the 12 Fantastic Stops on a road trip from Boston, Massachusetts to Bangor, Maine.
If you enjoy shopping and LL Bean items, be sure to visit Freeport at its flagship store. You’ll find plenty to do in Freeport, starting with researching How to Have a Fantastic Day in Freeport, Maine: Shopping, Eating, and Relaxing.
Maine has its share of unique destinations: