Belfast wasn't always the beautiful little town it is now.

When I was growing up, Belfast was not the quaint little seaside town it's blossomed into the last several decades. It was seen as kind of a grimy fishing village with nothing but a nasty waterfront and a bunch of hardened, drunken lobstermen. People back then didn't brag about being from Belfast. Usually quite the opposite.

You ever hear the way people (undeservedly these days) in southern Maine talk about Lewiston or Biddeford? That's what Belfast was like then. I honestly can't tell you if it was on purpose, or the town just changed on it's own. Although when MBNA came to town, that likely played a big role. Regardless, here we are all these years later, and Belfast is now the best place to live in Maine.

There is literally a bracket challenge for everything these days.

Thanks to college basketball in March, this time of year everything is put in some kind of bracket challenge. If it's March, and you need to choose something, BOOM! Bracket challenge. And of course, there's usually the word "madness" thrown in for good measure somewhere. It really sets the tone for competition.

So Downeast Magazine rose to the bracket challenge with their readers to determine the best place to live in Maine. Their criteria were pretty straightforward. First, no towns that appeared on last year's list. They too into account local quality of life, the absolutely bonkers real estate market, and quality of life in each town.

It started with 16 towns from all over the state.

There was some decent competition. Wells, Blue Hill, South Portland, Windham, and Brewer. All great little towns in their own right, for many different reasons. Belfast's initial battle was against Wells. No trouble there. Then Belfast toppled Blue Hill and Farmington. Ultimately, Belfast took down New Gloucester for the big win.

Downeast says thousands of readers voted in the challenge. This wasn't some lame panel  of judges who are out of touch. This was decided by Mainers and lovers of Maine who know what the real deal is. Say what you want about Belfast's past... it's present and future look just fine from here.


The General Stores Of Downeast Maine

These are the long-time general stores that are spread throughout downeast Maine. The stores that your grandparents picked up milk, beer, and that night's dinner at. For years they had been filled with things like fly paper, clothes, beef jerky, and that morning's newspaper. Now, you stop by for that slice of breakfast pizza, a tasty fried chicken sandwich for lunch, gas,and a handful of lottery tickets.

They're an important part of Maine's heritage, and their numbers are starting to dwindle. But we still frequent them to pick up the day's necessities and to keep up on town gossip.

They may not be owned by the original owners, and they may not look the same as they did years and years ago. But that same hometown feeling is there, the minute you set foot on their wooden floors. More than likely the same wooden floors that your grandparents set foot on.

Vintage Maine License Plates

Here's a sweet collection of vintage and antique Maine license plates from the last 100 years.

Stay In This Maine Airbnb Complete With A Caboose

This train is going nowhere and that's all right with us.

Wow, take a peek at this Airbnb listed at $140 a night in Knox, right down the road in Waldo County. This cool and unique little setting featuring a cabin and caboose is located on farmland and can sleep up to 8 people. With 3 bedrooms and two baths, it's listed at $140 a night and looks like it would be a whole lot of fun.

The caboose itself was a working train car and part of the Maine Central Railroad up until 1992. Just imagine the train workers that stayed within it and the miles that it racked up all across Maine.

How could you not love a stay where chances are that you may interact with an emu and a Great Pyrenees Belly dog?

And the caboose looks to come in real handy if you have kids, who can sleep there while you have the cabin all to yourselves!

95% of the guests that have stayed here have given it a 5-star rating so sign us up! Let's take a peek.

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