Yesterday, we mentioned that the magazine Conde Nast Traveler had named Camden to a list of the prettiest towns in America. While we don’t disagree that Camden is great, we felt we had to point out how out-of-state publications always name the same few Maine destinations. Camden. Bar Harbor. Portland. And maybe the average Conde Nast Traveler subscriber would enjoy Camden more than any other place in Maine, but is there really, objectively, a prettiest town in Maine?
So we asked you, and found there were almost as many different places as there were responders.
The top answer was some variation of “I’m not telling,” with lots of readers concerned about big crowds invading the quiet places they love. We get that, but this list is more for Mainers looking for a cool place to take a day trip.
And the winner is: Belfast, with just 8 votes. That was about 10 percent of the vote, and it’s a great pick. You have to leave Route 1 to go downtown, so it’s seldom congested, and between the Museum in the Streets, one of the best breweries in the state, some good hiking and its close ties to Waldo County’s back-to-the-land attitude, there’s a lot to love about Belfast.
Stonington was the runner-up with four votes, and a few people vehemently defended Camden as Maine’s prettiest town.
The rest of the suggestions came from all over Maine, from York County to The County, from the western mountains to Lubec. Note: This is completely unscientific. We tallied all the answers from comments on the original post and on Facebook and ignored a couple joke answers. Here they are in order from most votes to fewest.
Isle Au Haut
East Grand Lake
And our favorite, from MarLa Jandreau Landry on Facebook:
Even this extensive list leaves out a few mainstays. There was no mention of Brunswick, Bath, Freeport or Boothbay in the southern midcoast, no mention of Bridgton, Harrison, Paris, Norway, Otisfield, Sweden or Bethel in Western Maine. No Buckfield, Hallowell, Gardiner, China or Alna, although they’re all great places for a drive. No Winter Harbor, Jonesport or Beals, even though they’re fantastic, quiet places to enjoy the coast. No Orono, Newport, Pittsfield, Hermon, Hampden, Holden or Dedham. No Mars Hill or Van Buren, even though either one would charm the hell out of any out-of-staters who bothered to drive that far.
See where I’m going with this? For Mainers, the prettiest places aren’t far from the dooryard.