Mahone Bay

Three vintage churches along a grass-fringed shoreline set a tranquil tone for this pastoral town that wraps around a sweeping curve of water. Of course, life here wasn’t always so serene. Mahone Bay was once a thriving shipbuilding center. Before that, it was popular with pirates and privateers. In fact, Mahone Bay was named for the type of low-lying ship they used: it's a corruption of the French word mahonne (a low-lying bargelike boat).

Mahone Bay's outdoor pleasures include kayaking into secret coves or around the many islands, including Oak Island, reputedly a favorite haunt of the notorious Captain Kidd. Modern-day treasure hunters are better off onshore, perusing the galleries and studios along Main Street and environs. Although Mahone Bay has a population of just 1,100, it supports an enviable assortment of craftspeople.

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