It’s not every day you cross a swing bridge – unless you’re lucky enough to call the picturesque island of Southport home. Already stunning, the scenery seems to get even prettier as you wind your way along the coast south from Boothbay. As you cross the bridge – and the Townsend Gut – diverging blue waterways and fir-spiked islands create a magical sense of place.
The island reaches south from Boothbay Harbor, flanked by the Sheepscot River to the west and Boothbay and Linekin Bay to the east. Quieter and more low-key than neighboring Boothbay, Southport has a small year-round population and a deeply-rooted summer tribe that stretches back generations. Small wonder, Maine’s natural beauty here has a pull strong enough to persuade the busiest of us to stop and smell the tangy mix of salt and pine on the breeze. And when you’re caught up on your R&R, diversions are easy to find.
Choose your Ocean Adventure
With coves and islands to explore, getting out on the water is an obvious choice. Hodgon Yacht Services on Love Cove makes it easy. Hodgon provides moorings and slips, and whether your boat needs a quick refuel, a new engine, or a major overhaul, you can depend on two centuries of boat-building experience for quality work and friendly customer service.
A bit farther south on the island’s west side, Cozy Harbor teems with Turnabouts and Optis on a summer morning, as Southport’s next generation of sailors learn the ropes at Southport Yacht Club. SYC has been flying its flag on the Sheepscot River since 1923, anchored by a strong junior program. The club hosts a small number of casual social events each year. For boaters who enjoy club dining and need bigger anchorage, Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club is nearby.
The landscape here has inspired many, from environmentalist Rachel Carson who penned The Sea Around Us and spent many summers, to the folks behind the landmark Maine Botanical Gardens. Just seven miles away, New England’s largest botanical garden devotes 17 of its 295 acres to native plants like buttonbush, winterberry holly, and cardinal flower. In 2018, visitors from 63 countries made their way here to explore its treasures and wander the tidal frontage.
All the Tastes of Maine
Whether you’ve been sailing, strolling, or sightseeing, you’re bound to work up an appetite. For fresh seafood, make a beeline for Robinson’s Wharf by the swing bridge. The menu lists lobster just about any way you can imagine it – in salad, quesadilla, BLT, on a roll, with mac and cheese, steamed – and more. Enjoy your meal – and the captivating view – from the deck – or bring lobsters back for a feast at home.
If sandwiches or pizza are in order, head for the Southport General Store. An institution on the island since the earliest days, the store offers pizza – many swear it’s Maine’s best – by the slice or whole pie (get your order in early for dinner). While you’re there, ask the proprietor to suggest a wine pairing for dinner – they stock a fine selection. (And yes, plan to come back for muffins in the morning.)
Oliver’s at Cozy Harbor is another casual option with a varied menu. Watch the juniors pilot their crafts while you settle in for a tasty lunch or dinner on the pier, inside, or on the second-floor deck.
Venture off-island and you’ll find nearly every need met in nearby Boothbay Harbor, along with more hustle and bustle. Stock up at the grocery store. Find stylish teak furniture for your deck. Admire the works of Maine’s talented artists. Watch salt-water taffy get pulled to perfection.
Boothbay is also home to the Boothbay Country Club, a world-class facility with an award-winning 18-hole golf course and what Architectural Digest called “one of the most beautiful clubhouses in the country” in 2018. The club prides itself on optimizing Maine’s natural beauty and providing the latest luxuries, from plush locker rooms to a five-star restaurant to a state-of- the-art spa.
Museums and a multitude of tantalizing restaurants in Portland (about 60 miles south) and Rockland (47 miles northeast) sweeten the deal even further.
Getting to Southport is easier than you might think. Only about 60 miles from Portland, Maine, you make the drive in under 1.25 hours when traffic is light. Commercial flights into Portland and Portsmouth, N.H., make long-distance travel easier.
Some of our Favorite Southport Area Homes
For additional information on selling or buying in the Southport/Boothbay area, please contact the Portland office at 207-774-8518.