A Browser’s Guide to Downtown Searsport

With some new storefronts in its cute downtown, the former maritime hub stays true to its mercantile roots.

Inside Trove in Searsport, Maine
Proprietor Laura Brown curates the inventory of artisan goods and gifts at Trove.
map of downtown searsport
By Alexandra Hall
Photographed by Dave Waddell
From our June 2022 issue

Searsport is no longer the locus of global trade its deepwater port made it in the 19th century, but it’s still got ornate sea-captain’s homes and imposing brick-and-granite commercial buildings, in Italianate and Greek Revival styles, lining Main Street. Today, the historic downtown hosts shops and eateries both artisanal and modern.

1. Trove

Laura Brown’s been going to Maine art and craft festivals for 20 years, and the originality she saw there inspired the gift shop she opened last summer. Her meticulously orchestrated displays — of sculptural Maine-thrown pottery, say, or handmade textiles — are themselves works of art. “The idea is for shoppers to mix and match a few of these contemporary pieces with things they already own,” she says. This summer, she’s turning a room in the store into an art gallery, where she’ll rotate exhibits by local artists, starting with landscape painter Rachel Siviski. 36 E. Main St. 207-548-4073.

2. Hey Sailor!

The new “gastro dive bar” from the owners of Stockton Springs’ acclaimed Hichborn restaurant delivers on its promise of “TACOS ART BOOZE.” We loved the deeply flavorful carnitas tacos and fried smelts with chili crisps, off the snack menu. The cocktail list divvies by region (Caribbean, South Pacific, etc.) and includes winks at local seafaring history (the Searsport Switchel is made with Maine maple syrup and rum from Portland’s Stroudwater Distillery). Vivid optical art by Fredrick Kuhn, of Stockton Springs, brightens up the booths, and new art (all for sale!) hits the walls every few months. 25 E. Main St. 207-306-9132.

3. The Aquarian Gift Shop

Jen Wenz fills her thrift-and-more store with gently worn fashion — including cool hats, belts, and vintage tees — plus all manner of gifts, from candles to books to jewelry. It’s also a one-stop shop for New Age needs: incense, tarot sets, and more. Purchases support Wenz’s nonprofit, Pay It Forward for Kids, supplying Maine kids with warm clothes, school supplies, and other necessities. 28 E. Main St. 207-548-4187.

4. Coastal Café and Bakery

Coastal Café and Bakery

Patrick and Celine Kelley opened their casual breakfast-and-lunch stop in 2014. Locals line up for hand-rolled, New York-style bagels, the slow-cooked corned-beef hash, and delectable pastries. “Everyone comes in wanting a croissant,” Kelley says. “I can never make enough.” Cute mugs and totes with the café’s wind-up puffin mascot make great souvenirs. 23 E. Main St. 207-548-4156.

5. Splendiferous Sweet Shoppe

After years as a candymaker without a storefront, Meryem Rogan opened this whimsical shop with her mom, DeAnne, in 2019. The décor is Alice in Wonderland–themed, and the sweets run the gamut: pretty little bonbons, delicate macarons, handmade turtles, even sundaes, with scoops from Spencer’s Ice Cream, in Bradley, topped with sparkly hard candy. The 1891 building, with its striking mansard roof, is a former bank, and the Rogans have transformed the vault into a kids’ area full of penny candy. “We want everyone to feel they’ve stepped into a magical world,” Meryem says. 21 E. Main St. 207-538-6729.