Photo by Mark Summerfield / age fotostock
CastineStep back in time in Castine, a National Register of Historic Places enclave well off the beaten path. Thanks to its strategic location at the tip of a cape at the mouth of the Penobscot River, France, England, and the Netherlands fought over it for centuries, with last-gasp British loyalists hanging around until 1820. These days, Castine is a serene town favored by architecture and history buffs who appreciate the Georgian and Federal-style homes, eclectic museums, and Dyce Head Lighthouse, along with a handful of inns, restaurants, and shops. Castine's turbulent history is shared on a map and signs, making it easy to explore on either foot or bicycle. A kayak outfitter makes it equally easy to explore the surrounding waters.