Frenchboro, Maine is a special place. So much so, that Oprah Winfrey featured it on one of her shows. And this picturesque, tiny fishing village will probably find a special place in your heart too if you are lucky enough to include it on one of your Maine vacations.
Remotely located, 8 miles offshore from Mount Desert Island – in Maine’s Downeast region – is a chain of 12 islands: Black Island, Crow Island, Drum Island, Great Duck Island, a couple of Green Islands, Harbor Island, Little Duck Island, Long Island (formerly Outer Long Island), Mount Desert Rock, Placentia Island and Pond Island.
Together these islands create the town of Frenchboro, Maine, and are home to the Village of Frenchboro. Year-round, several dozen people live here, each connected to the mainland only by boat. The children, K-8, attend the one-room Frenchboro School, while their parents, for the most part, make their living from fishing and lobstering in the chilly waters of Blue Hill Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Life in Frenchboro, Maine can be challenging, for sure. But it is the exceptional natural beauty, and the solitude of the area, that keeps many of the islanders here and attracts hundreds of visitors to its harbor each summer.
Visiting Frenchboro, Maine Attractions
Maine tourists and locals alike depend on either a private or commercial boat to take them to and from Frenchboro. Year-round, the Maine State Ferry Service makes the 50 minutes crossing between Bass Harbor and Frenchboro, Maine.
There are a limited number of days when passengers can disembark for extended periods of time and return to the mainland on the same day. The ferry schedule changes seasonally and should be read carefully.
From mid-June to mid-September, the “The Morning Lunch Cruise”, aboard the 40 foot R.I. Gott, departs daily from the Little Island Marine, in Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. The 49 passenger boat sails past the Bass Harbor Head Light and amongst the islands of Blue Hill Bay as it makes its way to the Town Dock in Frenchboro. The three and one-half hour excursion provides enough time in the quaint village for sightseeing or lunch and promises to “haul a lobster trap or two” on its return trip.
On the island, nestling along the harbor are the Town Office, the firehouse, the Outer Long Island Congregational Church and Parsonage, the Harbor House Inn, the Frenchboro Library, and the seasonally open Frenchboro Historical Society – with a museum displaying artifacts and documents from Frenchboro’s long history, and crafts from local artisans.
Frenchboro’s only grocery store, Offshore Store and More, provides the local fishing community with a selection of day-to-day provisions, hot and cold sandwiches, lobster dinners – and when duty calls – marine repair services.
Fresh baked goods, chocolate candy, jams, and jellies are a specialty at the Frenchboro Bakery and Island Candy Shop, open year-round and located appropriately at 99 Happy Place! The shop’s owner, Marissa Rozenski is happy to ship your purchases for you, or you can enjoy her creations from home by visiting her online store at www.frenchborobakery.com.
At the dock with its namesake, locals and visitors can find fuel, water, and fresh live lobster at the Lunt & Lunt Lobster Company, and during July and August – lobster rolls, fish chowder, and other specialties are served at the Lunt & Lunt Deli.
Hiking trails in Frenchboro are plentiful, are well maintained, and provide exceptionally beautiful views.
Frenchboro Lobster Festival 2021
If you are lucky enough to visit Frenchboro, Maine in August, you may catch the Lobster Festival – a rain or shine event. To help get you out to the island, the Maine State Ferry makes a special run on the day of the Festival.
The Lobster Festival in Frenchboro includes a “beautiful boat ride and some of the best lobster in the world” along with a Maine lobster dinner at the Outer Long Island Congregational Church, with lobster, chicken salad, hot dogs, coleslaw, chips, soda, and homemade pies.
The Festival is typically held on the second Saturday in August, meaning the Frenchboro Maine Lobster Festival 2014 will take place on August 9th. More information can be found on the Congregational Church website at frenchboro-dinner.org