Round Pond On a BudgetRound Pond is a little village located in the town of Bristol, formerly known as Pemaquid. The area draws visitors for a closer to nature experience along Maine's rugged coastline. Bristol also houses the villages of New Harbor, Pemaquid, Bristol Mills, and Chamberlain, which all make up this popular fishing and resort area.
The town dates back to the 1600s when it was settled by the English as a year-round trading post for fur. Seasonal fishing was also a major trade, as it was with the earlier Wawenock Abenaki Indians before them. Over the years, the town suffered through numerous pirate raids, sieges of the French and Indian War, and even dismantled its own fort to prevent it from becoming a British stronghold during the Revolutionary War.
The town sits on a peninsula, surrounded by the Damariscotta River and Muscongus Bay to the east and west. Round Pond is situated on the eastern side of the landform, right on Muscongus Bay. It is a quiet village with a little harbor of its own, a quaint general store, a seaside bed and breakfast, and a few restaurants.
SightsWhen one visits Round Pond, they come to escape the gaudy attractions of your usual tourist resort. Round Pond is a place close to nature, a charming New England village with few manmade attractions. One could spend an entire day just roaming the streets along the water, taking in the breeze of the bay, and watching lobsters boat reel in their catches of the day. You will find fields rustling with tall grasses and wildflowers, enchanting colonial homes, and maybe even a quarry long abandoned and overgrown with the surrounding nature. You will be pleased to find the intoxicating scent of basalm fir on the breeze as well, a native tree to the area, and if you do your research, you might even stumble upon the studios of a few locals artists. The pace of life in this village on the sea reflects the pace of the surrounding nature, beautiful and effortless.
NeighborhoodsRound Pond is a little neighborhood in itself. The center is marked by Granite Hall General store, a quaint little shop that sells gifts and souvenirs, little toys for kids, knick-knacks, local crafts, and old fashioned penny candy. It is a place frequented by locals and visitors alike, especially with the side window selling unique Maine flavors of Gifford's Ice Cream. The portions are generous, delicious, and always topped affectionately with an M&M. Just across from the general store is the Inn at Round Pond bed and breakfast, open year-round for visitors looking to enjoy a quiet seaside getaway. The rest of the village is mostly residential with a church, a few markets, a post office, and a few places to eat overlooking the bay.
ActivitiesBeyond wandering the village, perusing the Granite Hall Store, and enjoying a hefty cone of velvety ice cream, Round Pond is a great home base for enjoying any kind of water activity. Rent a boat or kayak and have an adventure on the coastal waters. Fish, swim, or just enjoy the feeling of being out in nature with the spray of the ocean at your back. Take a short drive to any of the local beaches and find tidal pools great for watching some underwater critters like crabs and mollusks. Hunt for drift wood, sea glass, and seashells, or just take a walk along the rocky coast. Just south of Round Pond is the La Verna Preserve, a 120-acre area that features about 3,600 feet of shoreline, 2.5 miles of trails, and a diverse array of wildlife habitat, including mixed hardwoods, coniferous forests, forested wetlands, and freshwater streams.
If you drive to the peninsula's southernmost tip, Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is a historic landmark worth the trip. Commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1827, the lighthouse is open for visitors to climb with access to a museum that contains artifacts of local maritime history, as well as items from the lighthouse itself. The light tower is still active and is the lighthouse featured on the Maine State Quarter.
Another worthwhile venture is to take a ferry to Monhegan Island, which you can take from New Harbor just south of Round Pond (ferries to the island also leave out of Boothbay Harbor and Port Clyde). It has been home to a thriving artists' colony for more than a hundred years and is a place truly close to nature with thick woods, thriving wildflowers, and even a population of harbor seals.
Food and DiningAs mentioned before, Round Pond has a handful of markets and just a few places to eat out for locals and visitors. Seafood is of course very popular and abundant, lobster taking the spotlight. If you are renting a place and have access to your own kitchen, you may want to be adventurous, pick your own lobster from a fresh catch market, and boil it to your liking like a true fisherman. If not, there are two restaurants located right on the bay with catches just as fresh.
Muscongus Bay Lobster is probably the more casual option, which offers a picnic-like dining experience on an outdoor deck overlooking the water. The place is family owned and operated serving just about anything you could want in New England fare from chowders and crab cakes, to lobster rolls and dinner specials with buttery corn on the cob, clams, and mussels. The Anchor, located just around the bend, is the option for finer dining. The menu features just about any fresh catch of the day, steak, salmon, pastas, lobster, oyster, and even a selection of burgers and sandwiches. The Anchor offers views of the bay and a classy environment for an evening of wining and dining,
TransportationAs Round Pond is just a small village in Bristol, the best way to get there is by car. Route 1 follows the coast of Maine from which you can connect with 32 South, which will bring you into Round Pond.
The nearest airports to Round Pond include Wiscasset Airport, Merrymeeting Field, and Rockland Knox County Regional.