old view of manchias

Introduction

This coastal community is endowed with dramatic natural beauty. Machias is an Indian word meaning "Bad Little Falls."

Settled in 1763 | County seat for Washington County
Population 2926 | Area 14.3 square miles
Airport: Machias Municipal Airport – runway 2900 ft.
Hospital: Downeast Community Hospital, Court Street

Industry

The economy in the Machias Bay area is based largely on several seasonal industries. Natural resources are the basis of a robust and diverse economic climate. Traditional activities such as fishing and wood harvesting are now supplemented by such varied enterprises as salmon aquaculture, processing blueberries, cranberry farming, and the productions of Christmas wreaths.

blueberry fields

Blueberries

Maine is the largest producer of wild low bush blueberries in the world. The berries thrive in the glacial soils and northern climate of our coastal region. Unlike the high bush or cultivated blueberry, area blueberry plants grow wild on blueberry barrens or fields. Blueberries are grown on approximately 45,000 acres in Washington County. The fields have been developed from native plants which occur naturally in the undergrowth of the forest. Several large area companies are involved in producing the tasty fruit, but many independent growers and families also supplement their income by caring for and harvesting the plentiful berries.

When driving in the area, visitors will see great fields of flat rolling land. In the spring these fields are a blanket of which and pink flowers. Harvest time begins in late July or August, when most of the berries become ripe. The berries are harvested by hand raking, using a metal rake or by a mechanical harvester. The harvest season last about 4 weeks.

After the first frost the blueberry fields turn into beautiful carpets of crimson hues and for the most part stay that color until spring once again arrives

Visit the Annual Machias Maine Wild Blueberry Festival the 3rd weekend of August each year.

Wreaths

90% of evergreen Christmas wreaths are produced in Washington and Hancock Counties. The fragrant balsam fir tree, used in making of wreaths grow abundantly in this part of Maine. "Wreath Season" begins in early November, when individuals take to the woods and gather bundles of balsam fir boughs. This is called tipping. Tips are then sold to wreath makers. Large companies then buy the wreaths, decorate them an then ship them to the customer.

Checkout Bessey Ridge Wreaths for the finest fresh, fragrant Maine balsam fir wreaths and centerpieces.

lobster boat

Lobster

The American lobster is synonymous with the Maine Coast. Seventy percent of all Lobsters harvested in New England are caught in Maine.

Lobster BoatA lobster hatches from an egg no larger than the head of a pin. Thousands of eggs are suspended from the female's tail being held together by a jelly-like mass. Eggs that do not stick to the lobster will not hatch and will probably be eaten by fish. When the eggs are extruded, the lobster lies on its back and cups its tail or catch the eggs. Lobster eggs take about 9 months to develop from the time they are extruded.

When the lobster first hatches, it has no claws and looks like an insect. It is about a month before the new lobster is recognizable as a lobster. Most of the early life of the new
lobster is spent hiding. Male or Female? It is easy to tell a male from the female.
Turn the lobster on its back and look at the first pair of swimmers. these are hard and bone-like in the male, but soft and feather-like in the females.

Catching Lobster – The lobsters are tricked into traps by using the same method with which they find food. A lobster uses something similar to our sense of taste and smell, even though they do not have a nose. They located the food based on its being partially dissolved in the water. They use four small antennae located on the front of their head. Many parts of the lobster are covered with tiny little hairs, these hairs are used for finding food.

Lobsters have been caught in Maine since 1605 from earliest reports. Commercial lobstering really started some time around the mid-1800's.

Fishermen make it possible for us to enjoy the succulent taste of lobster.

Area Attractions

Bad Little Falls Park is located in the center of Town. This is a series of small waterfalls from the Machias River.

Burnham Tavern Museum in Machias, MaineBurnham Tavern Museum, Main St. Machias. Built in 1770, is the oldest building in eastern Maine and the only one with Revolutionary War History. Open Summer months.

University of Maine at Machias, founded in 1909, the eastern most college campus in the United States. The campus is located on a beautiful 42-acre site in the center of the town of Machias.

Jasper Beach, Bucks Harbor, Machiasport, Maine. Jasper Beach is a gravel beach forming a crescent almost .5 miles around Howard's Cove on Machias Bay. On both sides, low forests slope down to the ocean. The beach is a habitat for seabirds and other wildlife.

Roque Bluffs State Park – This beautiful park offers ocean swimming, freshwater swimming, bathhouses, picnic tables, grills, playground, fishing and parking. Located 6 miles south of Machias, one can hike the mile long sand beach.

Porter Memorial Library, Court Street, Machias. Built in 1892, it contains a fireplace constructed of stones used as ballast in the Margaretta, the British ship captured here in the fist naval battle of the Revolution.

Fort O'Brien – The fort was constructed in 1775 and a large garrison was maintained there until late 1777. It was held by the British in 1814. When re-built in 1863, it was named Fort O'Brien. Purchased by the state of Maine in 1923, the Fort overlooks the site of the Battle of the Margaretta and is open to the public as a state park during the summer months. Rt. 92, Machiasport.

Gates House is a museum and Machiasport Historical Society headquarters. A federal style house build circa 1807, it was bought by Nathan Gates, a trader and remained in his family about 120 years. This is the oldest home in the town that is bordering directly on the river.

Western Head is a beautiful wooded trail emerging onto a scenic ocean front setting with spectacular views of the bold coast, ocean, and dramatic rocky coastline. The trail passes through unspoiled maritime spruce forest and coastal vegetation. it is an easy 304 mile loop trail. Destiny Road, Cutler.

Bold Coast Trail has spectacular views of the bold coast and ocean. The trail is approximately a 5 mile loop and is moderately difficult. Located 4 miles from the Cutler Harbor in Cutler.

Reversing Salt Water Falls Park – In and outgoing tides strike a series of rocks creating an actual set of saltwater falls. Arrive just before high tide for best effect. Take Route 1 into Pembroke, then take Leighton Pt. Road right at 2nd Crossroad, then left to park. About 6 miles from Rt. 1.

West Quoddy Light built in 1809, the famous red & white striped lighthouse, is located at the Easternmost point of land in the United States. The lighthouse is the feature attraction at West Quoddy State Park, offering outstanding hiking trails, beaches & picnic areas. Located in Lubec.

East Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Campobello. Hike to a very picturesque lighthouse only accessible at low tide. Trail is difficult.

Roosevelt Campobello International Park. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's summer home. Visit the "cottage," see films, natural areas, bogs and beaches. Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. Open late May to mid-October.

45th Parallel Perry Maine. Halfway between the North Pole & the Equator.

Raye's Mustard Mill Museum, Washington Street, Eastport, Maine. A working turn of the century mustard mill. Open weekdays 9-5. Tours given when production allows.

Explore the beautiful coast on a lighthouse cruise with Coastal Cruises www.cruisedowneast.com

Visit the surprising underwater world with Dive Downeast www.divedowneast.com

This information is provided to you by the Blue Bird Ranch Family Restaurant.
For more information visit the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.