We’re not the first nor the only ones to declare Castine a tucked-away gem along the scenic coast of Maine. Joining us in affirming the charm of this historic Down East hamlet is Yankee magazine who named Castine one of the 10 Prettiest Coastal Towns in Maine. So it was with great pleasure that we took to walking the streets — not just to immerse ourselves in the ambiance of this tiny but impressive town, but also to look longingly (and enviously) at the architecture and doors of the village.
Our typical morning in Castine found us up before dawn, standing at Acadia Dock to greet the sun, and then hiking uphill to the open door (at 7 a.m. no less) of MarKel’s Bakehouse where the smell of hot-from-the-oven blueberry muffins and rich quiches greeted “the regulars” and visitors like us who quickly made friends.
It would be easy to typify this town of predominately white clapboard homes as just another seaside village. But with the British, French, and Dutch all vying for dominance of Castine’s location at the mouth of the Penobscot Bay and settling troops and families in the village, the architecture took on a decidedly European look with embellishments not seen in other coastal Maine towns. Some white homes in Castine boast painted doors.
But it’s not all white houses in Castine. Colorful homes as well dot the landscape. Under renovation, this deep red home faces Water Street but opens its back to the beauty of the bay. Here are a few we loved.
Swaths of gray mark the age of this shingled beauty that blends in with the landscape.
Dating back to 1796, this home is considered one of the oldest, if not THE oldest, in Castine. Its doorway remains one of its prettiest features, yet one of its darkest.
A few buildings are used for teaching and demonstrating crafts of yesteryear — like this place for blacksmithing with a distinctive red door.
Some cottages are quaint . . .
while others are quite elegant surrounded by walkways, hedges and formal gardens.
But even among the finest, the largest, the cutest, and so forth, we found a favorite: a simple, white Cape Cod with red door and stone wall facing the water. Oh, to have a cup of coffee while sitting in the front window watching the boats sail past.
You know it’s Castine when even the typical becomes the extraordinary.
Every week, you can find more doors at Norm’s Thursday Doors.