One of my goals after my comprehensive exams was to get away for a day or two. This never quite happened due to some scheduling conflicts, but we did manage to meet some friends for dinner in Belfast.
Belfast is roughly 30 miles southwest of our home. Belfast was once the summer fishing grounds of the Penobscot tribe and was settled by Scots-Irish proprietors in the 1770's. The town was a center for shipbuilding and seafood harvesting throughout the nineteenth century. Belfast also became active in the poultry industry, but this businesses collapsed in the economic recession of the 1970's. People began to return to Belfast in the 1990's and 2000's thanks to the natural beauty of the area, the "back-to-the-land" movement, and the abundance of inexpensive houses and land. Today Belfast is once again active in ship manufacturing and is known for its many street art exhibits and unique stores.
There are a number of things I love about Belfast. First, I like that Belfast still has a working waterfront. It is fun to watch the various boats come in and out of the harbor. Second, I love the number of unique shops that are in downtown Belfast. Many "tourist" towns are filled with your typical sweatshirt/key-chain/mug souvenir shops, but Belfast hosts a variety of stores. My personal favorites include Left Bank Books, Coyote Moon, Brambles, and Eat More Cheese. Last, I love the many places there are to walk in Belfast. The footbridge across the Passagassawakeag River is particularly beautiful.
Belfast will always be one of my favorite towns to "escape" to when Bangor begins to feel too claustrophobic. I would highly recommend visiting if you want to visit a coastal town with less tourists.