[dropcap letter=”S”]ee that little island on the left, just offshore? Golden Age Hollywood’s “Viking god over whom the females swooned” spent some of his formative years there in the 1930s. As a young malcontent, the future actor (you may know him best from his grizzled years, when he had roles in Dr. Strangelove and The Godfather) dreamed of escaping his family by sailing off to sea. That’s not the way things usually flow in this lovely harbor town: This is a place people escape to. Yachtsmen regard it as one of Maine’s finest ports, and together with seasonal residents and vacationers, they quadruple the population to around 8,000 in summer. Travelers come first and foremost for this intoxicating view, which they can soak in from a famous wooden footbridge, a whale-watching cruise, or the cockpit of a sea kayak (paddlers like to head for the bigger island on the right, where a living history museum focuses on Maine’s second-oldest lighthouse, built in 1821). As for the Hollywood heartthrob’s island, it’s got a funny name that might bring to mind a cocktail, a gymnast, or a wave that laps the shore and makes the beach stones sing.
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