Discover Ellsworth


Trails, lakes, historic sites, parks, forests, a scenic railroad, live theater, galleries, markets, and even a Telephone Museum, Ellsworth is prime for exploration no matter your interests, no matter the season. 


Things To Do in Ellsworth

Ellsworth is a year-round community, with activities to keep you busy no matter the season.  Year-round activities include shopping, dining, hiking, fishing, hunting, attending live theater/music, visiting the indoor/outdoor farmer’s market, or visiting one of the City’s art galleries.  Meander through our many small businesses and experience the sights, sounds and smells that await you.  More season specific activities are listed below.

Four Season Fun!


The City boasts excellent cross country skiing trails; the Downeast Sunrise Trail for snowmobiling, dog sledding, or ATVing; an ice skating rink at Knowlton Park; and no winter is complete without sledding down the Woodlawn’s giant hill or ice skating on their frozen pond! The twinkle lights downtown shed magic through the air.


With increasing warmth, spring time in Ellsworth is full of excitement. Spring fishing on one of the City’s ponds or lakes is a dream for anglers. The trails and forests begin to come back to life, with opportunities to see wildlife, mushrooms, moss and ferns.


There is nothing like Maine in the summer, and Ellsworth is no different. Days on the lake or river are relaxing and refreshing, and checking out some live outdoor music with an iced coffee from one of our local cafes or ice cream from a local shop help cool you down.


The foliage in fall is quite the attraction and we celebrate the harvest season here in Ellsworth. We are rewarded with cool nights and mornings, but warmer sunny days that still allow for many outdoor activities. Fairs and festivals begin in the summer months and continue through the fall, bringing the regional communities together to celebrate agriculture, lobster, and much more!



Ellsworth offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures, both in and out-of-town.  Many of the trail systems are beginner to moderate and offer authentic Maine landscapes as a reward.  With six lakes and a river, outdoor adventures can be land-based and water-based.  Below are some options for outdoor adventuring year-round.  Come explore and experience Ellsworth!

Bike & Pedestrian Trail (Rail Trail)

A 1.3 mile paved path which follows the railroad, passes the high school, and acts as a scenic “connector” through the more developed, urban parts of the City.  If feeling adventurous, link up to the Downeast Sunrise Trail, its trail head only ¾ of a mile from the southern terminus of the bike/ped trail.

Downeast Sunrise Trail

87 miles long and the longest off-road trail on the East Coast Greenway through a natural landscape of green forests and vast marshes, habitat for iconic moose, beaver, eagles, osprey, turkeys, and deer.  Open to bicycles, walking, horses, cross country skiing, ATVs, snowmobiles and dog sleds, the trail offers a multi-season chance to see downeast Maine.  The trail begins/ends in Ellsworth, just off High Street near the Comfort Inn / LLBean. 

Branch Lake Public Forest

The forest comprises 239 acres on the shore of Branch Lake.  It contains more than 3 miles of trails to the lake shore.  The trails include rocky and wet terrain, as well as bog bridges and stream crossings.  The land connects more than 7,000 acres of un-fragmented forest.  Bicycles and motorized vehicles are prohibited; hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing are permitted.

Union River Paradise

Situated on the Union River, the City’s history is embedded with the river. The Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes fished and navigated it, schooners were built on the banks to traverse it, and lumber was shipped on it. Today, the Union River is still a gem to Ellsworth residents and visitors alike, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreations, like fishing boating, kayaking and wildlife viewing. The Union River Harbor, walkable to downtown Ellsworth, serves both recreational and commercial boaters and is a safe harbor not far from the open waters of Union River Bay, Blue Hill Bay, and eventually, the Gulf of Maine.

Birdsacre Wildlife Sanctuary

Consists of 157 acres of land, four miles of walking trails, and a museum and many species of birds.

Jordan Homestead and Indian Point Preserves

Two opportunities to hike trails located on the shore of the Union River.

Meadowbrook Forest

Over nine miles of logging roads, including a 5-mile loop, that are ideal for walking, running, biking, cross country skiing or snowshoeing.

Branch Lake Public Beach

Near the Branch Lake boat launch (off of Happytown Road) is a sandy, public beach with picnic tables. There is no lifeguard on duty.

Knowlton Park

Knowlton Park is a gathering place for fun! An open green space with picnic tables, a play ground, and splash pad, it’s almost always bustling with activity.

Library Riverfront Trail

A short but scenic stroll along the Union River and close to downtown, this trail is also ADA-accessible.

Museum in the Streets

This tour highlights the City’s landmarks in a comprehensive sign collection focusing on the downtown district (Main Street, School Street, and State Street).

A Way of Life

Embrace local culture, heritage & Authenticity

Lumber and boat building were primary industries in Ellsworth’s modern history, with the City focused around the coastal inlet of the Union River.  Evidence of the City’s rich architectural heritage that includes Federal and Colonial influences can still be viewed today.  The Great Flood of 1923 and the Great Fire of 1933 altered the City’s landscape, introducing newer buildings, mainly built in the Art Deco style.  This unique mix adds to the City’s charm and vibrancy. The City’s rich past and culture is celebrated through various sites, museums, and offerings.

The Grand

The Grand is an iconic Art Deco theater in Downeast, Maine that fosters social interaction and growth in artists and audiences through the arts, entertainment, and education.

Ellsworth Public Library

The Federalist-style building built in 1817 for Colonel Meltiah Jordan is listed on the National Register of Historic Houses. The house has been a public library since 1897 when George Nixon Black gave the remodeled building to the City of Ellsworth with the enduring condition “That the premises conveyed shall be always used for a public library”.

City Hall

Built in 1934-35 after a devastating fire destroyed the old city hall and part of the business district, it is a municipal building with Georgian Revival features unusual for Maine. The building was designed by Philadelphia architect Edmund Gilchrist, and is reflective of that area.

Downeast Scenic Railroad

A trip on the Downeast Scenic Railroad not only takes you back to a time of elegant travel in lovingly restored rail cars but also travels through a truly beautiful part of Maine.


The museum has two miles of trails and a picnic area adjacent to their parking lot. Museum grounds also include perennial gardens and competition croquet court.

Old Jail

The old Hancock County Sheriff's Home and Jail, planned by Portland architect Francis Fassett in 1885, is one of few remaining jails designed to incorporate a residence for the sheriff and his family.

Telephone Museum

The museum was created in response to the loss of an uncommon switching system known as “Panel.” Its fate encouraged museum founders to continue to collect, before all evidence of a wired network, especially the larger switching systems, vanished.


Community Fun

Community events take place year-round throughout Ellsworth, with various themes celebrating a holiday, season, or the City’s history and heritage.  The list below provides some of the events that occur regularly in the City, though pop-up events are known to happen too.  The Ellsworth Area Chamber, Heart of Ellsworth, and City of Ellsworth all have newsletters that promote these events, so make sure to sign up for mailings!

Spring and Summer Events

March Dine Around

The March Dine Around event is a delicious celebration of the city’s culinary scene! During this exciting event, local restaurants and food establishments come together to showcase their finest dishes and offer special deals and discounts to diners. With a diverse range of cuisines and dining options to choose from, there’s something for everyone during the March Dine Around event.

Memorial Day Parade

The Memorial Day parade in is a heartwarming celebration of the sacrifices made by those who have served our country. This event brings together marching bands, local organizations, and community members to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have given their lives in service to our nation. With music filling the air, and flags waving in the breeze, the Memorial Day parade is a moving display of appreciation for the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.

Maine Maple Sunday

Maine Maple Sunday is a sweet celebration of one of the state’s most beloved traditions – maple sugaring. On this special day, local sugarhouses open their doors to visitors, offering tours, tastings, and demonstrations of the art and science of maple sugaring. With the scent of fresh sap in the air and the taste of warm syrup on your tongue, Maine Maple Sunday is the perfect way to experience the rich cultural heritage of maple sugaring in the state of Maine.

Ellsworth Concert Band

The Ellsworth Concert Band is a talented ensemble of musicians who bring the beauty of music to life for audiences of all ages. This dynamic group of musicians, under the direction of a skilled conductor, performs a wide range of musical styles, from classical to contemporary, and everything in between. With their passion for music and their commitment to excellence, the Ellsworth Concert Band always delivers a memorable and moving performance.

Waterfront Concert Series

The Waterfront Concert Series is a summer tradition that brings together music lovers from all over the state. This vibrant and lively series features a lineup of talented musicians and bands performing a wide range of genres, from rock and pop to jazz and blues. With the beautiful waterfront as the backdrop, this event is the perfect way to enjoy a warm summer evening in the company of good friends, great music, and beautiful scenery.

Ellsworth Farmers Market

The Ellsworth Farmers Market is a vibrant gathering of local farmers, artisans, and food vendors who come together to showcase the best of the region’s bounty. This bustling market is the perfect place to find fresh, locally grown produce, handmade artisanal goods, and delicious prepared foods. With live music, food demonstrations, and activities for the whole family, the Ellsworth Farmers Market is much more than just a place to buy fresh food – it’s a community gathering place and a celebration of local culture and tradition.

Fall Events

Autumn Gold

Autumn Gold is a vibrant celebration of the fall season. This delightful event showcases the best of the region’s bounty, with local farmers, artisans, and food vendors gathering to offer fresh produce, handmade goods, and delicious culinary creations. Against the stunning backdrop of the changing leaves, visitors can enjoy live music, food demonstrations, and family-friendly activities. Autumn Gold is a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty and richness of the Ellsworth community and experience the joys of fall in all its glory.

Art of Ellsworth

The Art of Ellsworth event brings together local artists, artisans, and galleries to showcase their work and share their passion for creativity and self-expression. With a wide range of styles, mediums, and subject matter on display, this event is the perfect opportunity to discover the talents of the region’s artists and immerse yourself in the rich cultural scene of Ellsworth. Whether you’re a local resident, an art lover, or just visiting the area, the Art of Ellsworth is a must-attend event that offers a glimpse into the creative spirit of the community.

Trunk or Treat

The Trunk or Treat event is a fun and festive way for families to celebrate Halloween in a safe and enjoyable environment. Children of all ages are invited to trick or treat from car to car, discovering the unique and imaginative costumes and decorations created by local businesses and organizations. With live music, games, and activities for the whole family, the Trunk or Treat event in Ellsworth is the perfect way to experience the magic of Halloween in a safe and community-focused setting.

Trick or Treating on Main Street

The Trick or Treat on Main Street event is more than just a Halloween celebration. It is a symbol of the strong community spirit that thrives in our town. On this special night, businesses and organizations come together to create a magical and inclusive environment where family and friends can make memories and connect with one another. Whether you are young or old, dressed in costume or not, there is something for everyone at this spooktacular Halloween event on Main Street in Ellsworth!

Early Bird Day

The Early Bird Day event is a special opportunity for shoppers to get a head start on their holiday shopping. With local boutiques to national retailers offering exclusive deals and discounts, customers get a unique shopping experience that has something for everyone. With festive decorations and a lively atmosphere, this event is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and get a jump on your gift-giving list.

Downeast Cider + Cheese Festival

The Downeast Cider + Cheese Festival celebrates a revival of two traditional foods, hard cider, and cheese. The festival honors the rich tradition of Maine’s historic apple industry, our local Ellsworth heritage, by hosting cider and cheese makers from all over the state. Enjoy live music, cooking demonstrations, and a festival market. This festival is the state’s first and only event of its kind.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a community-wide event that celebrates and supports the local small businesses that make our town unique. This day-long event features special sales, promotions, and activities at participating small businesses, as well as food and drink, live music, and other festivities throughout the downtown area. Whether you’re a lifelong resident or just visiting, come out and show your support for Ellsworth’s small business community. By shopping local, you’ll be investing in the future of our town and helping to build a thriving and sustainable local economy.

Tree Lighting Festival

The Tree Lighting Festival is a magical, holiday-themed event that brings the community together to celebrate the season. With twinkling lights, holiday music, and plenty of festivities, this event is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Watch as the town Christmas tree is lit up, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, enjoy hot cocoa and other seasonal treats, and shop for unique gifts at the local small business vendors. 

wINTER Events

Christmas Parade

The Christmas Parade is a festive, holiday-themed event that brings the community together to celebrate the season. This fun-filled parade features marching bands, colorful floats, and plenty of holiday cheer, making it the perfect event for families and children of all ages. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the season as the parade makes its way through the streets of downtown Ellsworth, and get into the holiday spirit with live music, hot cocoa, and other festive treats.

Ugly Sweater Day

Ugly Sweater Day is a fun and festive holiday event that encourages participants to break out their most outrageous holiday sweaters and embrace the spirit of the season. With a variety of holiday-themed activities, games, and contests, this event is the perfect way to spread some holiday cheer and have a good time with friends and family. Whether you’re rocking a light-up sweater or a hand-knitted masterpiece, Ugly Sweater Day is all about having fun and embracing the quirkier side of the holiday season.

Christmas in Ellsworth

Christmas in Ellsworth, Maine is a holiday-themed event that celebrates the spirit of the season with a variety of festive activities, events, and performances. From caroling and tree lightings to holiday markets and live music, Christmas in Ellsworth has something for everyone. With a warm and welcoming community atmosphere, Christmas in Ellsworth is a holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss.

Winter Marketplace

The Winter Marketplace is a seasonal event that celebrates local artists, makers, and small businesses. This indoor market features a diverse range of handmade and locally sourced goods, including artisanal foods, handmade jewelry, and one-of-a-kind gifts. With live music, festive drinks, and delicious treats, the Winter Marketplace is the perfect place to find unique and meaningful gifts for loved ones and support local businesses during the holiday season.