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Shiretown of Washington County

It’s a comment heard often by residents of the Machias Bay region. Struck by the tidy white churches, family-owned lobster pounds, and workers still picking blueberries by hand, visitors often exclaim, “My gosh, this is the way New England looked 50 years ago!”

Sitting in the heart of Down East Maine is Machias, not quite the town that time forgot, but awfully close. With a population of about 2,100, Washington County’s busy shiretown is crossed by U.S. Routes 1, 1A, and by state routes 92 and 192.

All traffic moving from Ellsworth to Calais must pass by the Bluebird Motel, the University of Maine campus, Helen’s Restaurant, and The Dike, a wide spot on the Machias River that attracts teenagers in hot rods, and vendors hawking sea glass, colorful flowers, and freshly caught fish.

“We love it down here,” said Jim Harnedy, an author and senior editor of Activities Guide of Maine. “Not for a moment have my wife, [landscape artist] Jane, and I regretted moving to Bucks Harbor [in Machiasport], even during the ice storm of 1998.”

To read this article in full and for more historic photos of Machias, pick up the June issue of Bangor Metro available now! Click here for a full list of where to find Bangor Metro on newsstands or better yet – click here to subscribe and get Bangor Metro delivered to your door!

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