Plenty of folks come to Blue Hill, at the intersection of routes 172, 176, and 15 adjacent to the Blue Hill Harbour, simply to relax in the quietude. Still, there are livelier activities available, particularly with the town's bustling music scene – it runs a well-loved chamber music festival every summer (Web: www.kneisel.org ), in addition to being the "Steel Drum Capital of Downeast Maine" (Web: www.peninsulapan.org ). The best time to visit is Labor Day weekend (the last weekend in Aug), when oxen pulling, sheep dog trials, fireworks, and carnival rides are all in effect at the Blue Hill Fair ($5; Web: www.bluehillfair.com ). The fairground was also the basis for the county fair featured in E.B. White's beloved Charlotte's Web – White was a longtime resident of the area.
It's a 30 to 45 minute walk up to the top of Blue Hill Mountain, from which you can see across the Blue Hill Bay to the dramatic ridges of Mount Desert Island. The trailhead is not difficult to find, halfway down Mountain Road between Rte-15 and Rte-172. South on Rte-175, Blue Hill Falls is a good spot to give kayaking a try: the Activity Shop in Blue Hill at no. 61 Rte-172 (Tel:207/374-3600, Web: www.theactivityshop.com ) has canoe and kayak rentals that they'll even deliver to your door ($25 a day and up; reservations recommended). In summer, the Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI) at 55 Main St (Tel:207/374-2135) runs eco-cruises ($40 for adults, $20 for kids) and island excursions ($60 for adults, $40 for kids) where you might spot a seal or pull lobster traps from a people-free shoreline.