Winter Harbor, Maine, a classic Down East fishing village in Hancock County in the U.S., got its name for the harbor not freezing over in winter. For obvious reasons, this made it a much desired port for the local fishermen and today, it still has a fully active fleet of lobster boats and scallop draggers.
Originally part of the town of Gouldsboro, it separated and became incorporated in 1895. The year 2010 census placed its year-round population at 516. This is almost a 48% drop in year-round population when compared to the 2000 census and can directly be attributed to the closing of a naval facility in 2002 when the population dropped almost instantly to 492.
A very attractive section of the town is called Grindstone Neck. Its western shore provides spectacular views of Bar Harbor and several of the mountains on Mount Desert Island. The southern part, called Grindstone Point, has views of Mark Island Lighthouse, Ned Island, Turtle Island, and Schoodic Peninsula.
Schoodic Peninsula, part of Acadia National Park, covers the southern section of the town. This is the only portion of Acadia National Park that is on the mainland of Maine. The majority of the park is to the southwest on Mount Desert Island.
Winter Harbor Maine is one of the significant points on the Schoodic Scenic Byway. To get there from Ellsworth, follow Coastal U.S. Route 1 East, then take Maine State Highway 186 south. If leaving Acadia National Park's Schoodic Peninsula, take a left in Birch Harbor onto Highway 186 to return to the town center.
During the summer months, a ferry provides service to and from Bar Harbor. From the Winter Harbor terminal, the Island Explorer bus service provides seasonal transportation to the village of Prospect Harbor as well as to the Schoodic section of Acadia National Park.
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