The coast of Maine is home to many of the finest spots in the state to visit, whether it be the ports in Rockport, the hiking trails in Bar Harbor, or the bustling city of Portland. Located in Hancock Country alongside the famous Penobscot River, Bucksport, Maine, is no different, with offerings for tourists and Mainers alike.
The rich history of Bucksport dates back to around 5,000 years ago when the Maritime Archaic people were the first to settle in the region. The Indigenous people are known to bury their graves with weapons, tools and a distinctive red paint. The region would later become the settlement of the Penobscot Nation.
In 1792, six townships were granted by the colonial General Court of Massachusetts, one of which was granted to Jonathan Buck of Newbury, Massachusetts. After setting sail and landing near the west side of the Penobscot River, the newfound town was named “Buckstown,” but would later be renamed Bucksport in 1817. Only three years later, Maine was established as its own state, now separate from Massachusetts.
When it comes to visiting Bucksport, there are plenty of dining places available for a variety of different tastes. Such locations include the Bucksport House of Pizza, a noteworthy local avenue for Italian cuisine, the Friar’s Brewhouse for its excellent drafts, and MacLeod’s restaurant for seafood options such as fresh Maine lobster and mussels, as well as vegetarian dishes.
The town’s history can be further observed with one of its most noteworthy historical attractions. Across the river and located on the edge of Prospect, the Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory is a popular attraction for visitors to Bucksport. The earliest origins of Fort Knox date back to 1844. Fort Knox was initially constructed along the Penobscot River as a means to defend its residents from any potential British takeover.
Today, Fort Knox is known as one of the United States’ best-preserved coastal forts, with outer park grounds allowing visitors to view the fort’s exterior. If visiting between May 1st and October 31st, visitors are given the opportunity to participate in some of Fort Knox’s Halloween-related events, including the “Fright at the Fort” ghost tour. All funds from the Halloween events go directly towards continued repairs and maintenance of Fort Knox, as well as related preservation projects.
Adjacent to Fort Knox is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which is one of only four bridge observatories in the world and the only one located in the United States. At a towering 430 feet high, the bridge allows for a beautiful view of the larger Bucksport, Prospect and Verona Island area. Whether it be high off the ground or close to the water, Bucksport offers plenty of options when it comes to breathtaking views.
For those more interested in taking a trip out to Penobscot River, the Back and Forth tour boat company has recently opened up a new venue at Bucksport Harbor. The Out and About lobster boat is roughly 34 feet in length and allows for a variety of short tours up the Penobscot River with views of Fort Knox up close to the water. While on nature tours, local wildlife, including seals, harbor porpoise and eagles can be spotted.
Lisa Gant, founder and current owner of the Back and Forth boat tour company, originally began operations in Belfast with the “Back and Forth” boat tours in 2018. The decision to expand to Bucksport allows residents and visitors the opportunity to reach many popular locations, from Bangor to Castinet. With the first season of Out and About tours concluded, Gant hopes to appeal to the lifestyle and interests of the broader Bucksport community.
“The most rewarding aspect of running this small business is becoming a part of the communities that we operate in, creating unique experiences that in turn create memories that will last a lifetime and also being able to offer enjoyable jobs for several experienced local Captains, historians, guides and also college kids that are looking for summer work,” says Gant.
From boat tours to great sights, as well as local restaurant spots to a rich historical history, the town of Bucksport offers many opportunities to experience the town’s laid-back coastal environment.