An enormously tall construction crane dominates the horizon at the shipyard in Bath, the "City of Ships." It's your clue that this town 20 mi/32 km northeast of Portland has been building seagoing vessels for more than 300 years—since the settlers of the failed Popham colony needed to build their own transport home to England. Now the shipbuilding is mostly for the U.S. Navy, with nuclear vessels and other large ships on the ways at Bath Iron Works.

The town has a number of lovely Federal- and Victorian-style houses, some of them now operating as bed-and-breakfasts. Downtown also has a maritime museum, restaurants and no big-box stores.

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