The constant lament of Yarmouth restaurateurs and shopkeepers is this: The summer tourists who stream off incoming ferries rarely linger even a few minutes in their city before mashing the accelerator and speeding off to higher-marquee venues up the coast.

There might be a reason for that. Yarmouth is a pleasant burg that offers some noteworthy historic architecture dating from the golden ages of seafaring. But this town's not terribly unique, and thus not high on the list of places to spend a few days. It's a little too big (pop. 7,200) to be charming, a little too small to generate any urban buzz or vitality. It does have the flavor of a handy pit stop rather than a true destination, even if recent redevelopment efforts have spruced up the waterfront and added some evening entertainment options during the summer.

Of course you could linger a few hours while awaiting the ferry (the Maine-bound ferries all leave in late afternoon), or to while away an afternoon while looping around the coast. But it's probably not worth more than a half-day of your time. Take time to follow the self-guided walking tour, enjoy a meal, or wander around the waterfront, which is slowly reawakening from its torpor.