Town of Winter Harbor, Maine 

Welcome to the the Town of Winter Harbor's Web Site!

About Us

Winter Harbor is a small town on the coast in Hancock County.  It is located approximately 25 miles east of Ellsworth, Maine, on Route 186.   Winter Harbor has a total area of approximately 66 square miles of which about 78% is water. 
The Town has three lovely harbors, one of which is filled year round with fishing boats and has a public wharf.  Local fishermen have long maintained their ruggedly independent way of life but co-exist easily with the summer visitors and mariners alike.  The other two harbors are mainly used for seasonal boating, one with a private yacht club on its shore.  The Town has magnificent views westward to the hills of Mount Desert Island, and is the gateway to the Schoodic Point section of Acadia National Park.  All roads in Winter Harbor lead to the ocean with its sometimes spectacular displays of wave and surf, its velvety and mysterious fogs and its breathtaking reflections of both sunset and moonlight on Frenchman Bay.

History of Community

Winter Harbor was settled in 1762 as a plantation originally known as "Musquito Harbor".  It was renamed Winter Harbor in 1854 because the harbor never froze, and it was used by mariners seeking shelter from storms.  In 1856, Winter Harbor Light was constructed on Mark Island to guide vessels to the harbor and to warn of nearby ledges.  Winter Harbor was incorporated on February 21, 1895, as an outcome of an improved economy when the summer colony was developed on Grindstone Neck, Winter Harbor petitioned for and was incorporated by the Maine Legislature as a separate town.  Prior to this it had been simply one more village in Gouldsboro.  Schooners transported lumber and laths back and forth to Boston and the Canadian provinces in the 1830's.  For much of the 1800's, most of the men here were employed in the cod ground fishery.  

Community Profile

According to the US Census in 2010, the year round population of Winter Harbor was 516, but can more than triple during the late spring through early fall months.  Also, according to the US Census, the median age was 51.1 years old.  Most of these people are long time residents of the Town.  Even during this annual increase in population, Winter Harbor retains its unique and vibrant "small town appeal." 
Like many coastal towns in Maine, Winter Harbor is a fishing community of which the lobster industry is the largest and most lucrative industry. Winter Harbor has a town pier at the end of Harbor Road, near where boats moor in the Inner Harbor.  The pier has limited parking and at times during the busy tourist season, the space in and around the pier can get congested.
Winter Harbor has tourist services, including shops and galleries, cottages, condominium and bed & breakfast rentals, restaurants and bakeries. Also, the town has a full service grocery store, bank, Historical Society, Public Library and the Municipal Public Safety Building, which houses the Town Office and Police and Fire Departments.  The Bar Harbor Ferry operates during the spring and summer season.  There is also a private yacht club and golf course located near the Sand Cove.  Also, many original buildings are still maintained and occupied, signifying a nice historic downtown area.
Winter Harbor is also the home of Schoodic Arts for All, a non-profit organization that brings art and culture to the Schoodic Peninsula and surrounding communities.  

Annual Winter Harbor Lobster Festival

Winter Harbor hosts and sponsors an Annual Lobster Festival on the second Saturday in August.  The Festival consists of Lobster Boat Races, Craft Fair (sponsored by the Schoodic Area Chamber of Commerce), Maine Lobster Dinner, Various Food Vendors, Musical Entertainment and a Parade.  The 50th anniversary of the Lobster Festival was held in 2014.
Official Website of The Town of Winter Harbor, ME. Copyright 2013 Town of Winter Harbor. All Rights Reserved.