Nestled in the heart of Downeast Maine, the small town of Machias is a treasure trove of history, natural beauty, and quintessential New England charm. Often overlooked in favor of more well-known destinations like Bar Harbor or Portland, Machias offers a unique and authentic Maine experience that is sure to captivate any visitor. From its rich colonial history to its stunning coastal landscapes, Machias is a hidden gem that deserves to be discovered.

A Brief History of Machias

Founded in 1763, Machias is one of the oldest towns in Maine. Its name, derived from a Passamaquoddy word meaning “bad little falls,” refers to the powerful rapids that once powered the town’s mills. During the American Revolution, Machias was the site of the first naval battle, where local patriots captured a British schooner in what is now known as the Battle of Machias.

Historic Landmarks

Machias is home to several historic landmarks that offer a glimpse into the town’s storied past. The Burnham Tavern, built in 1770, is one of the oldest buildings in eastern Maine and played a significant role in the Revolutionary War. Today, it operates as a museum, offering visitors a chance to step back in time and learn about the town’s colonial history.

Another notable landmark is the Centre Street Congregational Church, a beautiful example of Gothic Revival architecture. Built in 1836, the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and continues to serve as a place of worship and community gathering.

Natural Attractions

Surrounded by rugged coastline and dense forests, Machias offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventure. The Machias River, which runs through the heart of the town, is a popular spot for kayaking and fishing. The river’s estuary is also a significant bird habitat, attracting birdwatchers from all over the country.

Just a short drive from the town center, you’ll find Roque Bluffs State Park, a 274-acre park boasting a beautiful sandy beach, freshwater pond, and several hiking trails. The park’s diverse landscapes make it a favorite among nature lovers and photographers.

Local Cuisine

No visit to Machias would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. As a coastal town, Machias is renowned for its fresh seafood, particularly its lobster and clams. The town hosts the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, a celebration of Maine’s official state fruit. The festival features a blueberry pie-eating contest, blueberry farm tours, and a variety of blueberry-themed foods and crafts.

Community Events

Machias has a strong sense of community, with several events throughout the year that bring locals and visitors together. In addition to the Wild Blueberry Festival, the town hosts the annual Margaretta Days Festival, which commemorates the Battle of Machias with a parade, historical reenactments, and a craft fair.

The Machias Valley Film Fest is another popular event, showcasing independent films from around the world. The festival aims to promote cultural diversity and understanding through cinema, making it a must-visit for film enthusiasts.


With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and warm community spirit, Machias is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, foodie, or simply looking for a peaceful getaway, you’re sure to fall in love with this charming Maine town. So why wait? Come and discover the historic charm of Machias, Maine’s hidden gem!

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