Blue Hill, Maine

In contrast to the western shores of Penobscot Bay, the Blue Hill peninsula attracts far fewer tourists and has much more of a lost-in-time, Maine-as-it-was character. The roads here are hilly, winding, and narrow, passing through forests, past old-time saltwater farms, and ticking the edge of a blue inlet here or there.

The town of Blue Hill, population 2,400, is easy to find—just look for the dome of Blue Hill itself, which lords over the northern end of (of course) Blue Hill Bay. Set between the mountain and the bay is the quiet and historic town, clustering along the bay’s shore and a little stream. There’s never much going on here, which seems to be exactly what attracts repeat summer visitors; it might also explain why two excellent bookstores are located in this dot of a town. Many old-money families maintain lovely retreats along the water or in the hills around here, but the village center offers a couple choices for lodging even if you don’t have local connections. It’s a good place for a quiet break.

Maine’s Folkiest Radio Station

When in the Blue Hill area, be sure to tune into the local community radio station, WERU, at 89.9 FM (and also at 102.9 FM). Started by partners including Noel “Paul” Stookey—the “Paul” in the folk trio Peter, Paul, and Mary—in a former chicken coop (only in Maine), the idea was to spread good local and rootsy music while also encouraging provocative, countercultural thinking. It’s become a little bit slicker and more professional in recent years, but WERU still retains a pleasantly homespun quality and plays some of the best true folk, roots, Americana, Celtic, and blues music of any station in New England. There’s also some from-the-left news and commentary during the dinner hour each day, rock and electronic music late at night, and reggae and spoken-word poetry during other time slots.