A Locals Guide to Calais Maine

Located in eastern Washington County situated on the Canadian border and the St. Croix River, sits the beautiful town of Calais in the intriguing State of Maine

Calais was and continues to be a city of commerce and is recognized as the primary shopping center of eastern Washington County and Charlotte County, New Brunswick. Calais is richly endowed with historic buildings and natural beauty. There is also an array of community parks and recreational facilities.

Lodging and Accommodations

Living is easy in Calais, and so are lovely places to stay during your visit.

Heslin’s Motel on Route 1 is set amidst 60 acres of tranquil Maine countryside and the panoramic view of the St. Croix River and Canada are nothing short of fabulous. Each room overlooks the river and feature air-conditioning, heat and televisions. The accommodations are pleasing and Heslin’s also offer a dining room with a delightful menu filled with hearty fare.

The Greystone Bed & Breakfast has a relaxing and friendly atmosphere in an 1840 Greek Revival home located in a residential historic district near the center of downtown Calais. The house features a double front parlor with black marble fireplace mantles, Corinthian columns, gorgeous windows with interior shutters and beautiful hardwood maple floors. The rooms are named after a local lumber merchant A.H. Sawyer who built this wonderful retreat for his children. Hannah’s room offers a queen size iron bed and a private bath, while John’s room holds a four-poster bed, two wing back chairs and a TV. Lillian’s room is a smaller bedroom that has a double brass bed. There is also a dining room at the Greystone that serves real downeast delights.

The Downeaster Motel is seven miles south of Calais on Route 1 and has clean rooms set in a quiet location. There are also housekeeping units available at weekly rates. Overlooking historic St. Croix Island, rates are incredibly reasonable.

Dining in Calais

Who said you couldn’t get fabulous Italian food in Calais. Bernardini’s Restaurant begs to differ. One of the finest restaurants in the Downeast area, the food and service is ranked “number one” by many who have dined at Bernardini’s. This restaurant is known throughout the area as an excellent place to dine by locals and tourists, and Bernardini’s specializes in Italian cuisine that is absolutely outstanding – A must try is their homemade Italian soup. 89 Main Street, Calais, 207-454-2237, $20+

The Eastport Lobster and Fish House There was once a restaurant called “The Cannery Restaurant” which is now the completely renovated Eastport Lobster and Fish House. It is a true dining experience – just a short drive from Calais. The Eastport Lobster and Fish House has two floors – formal dining on the top, and a bar and cocktail lounge on the bottom. The cocktail lounge also receives full dining service and has a baby grand piano played by a local maestro Friday and Saturday nights. Dining is superb on daily catches, cooked with spices, herbs and sauces that are out of this world. Of course, the lobster is divine and the hot smoked salmon outrageous. Porterhouse steaks, chicken dishes and specialty pastas are also included on the predominantly seafood menu, as are wines and beers. 167 Water Street, Eastport, 1-888-327-8787, open seven days a week from 11:30 am to 9:00 pm. $20+

The Calais Motor Inn has a quaint, licensed restaurant that serves delicious home cook meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every meal has a special offering and lots of locals come to dine, so you now that the food must be special! Like the Motor Inn, the restaurant is known for cleanliness and friendliness. Calais Motor Inn Restaurant, 663 Main Street, 1-800-439-5531.

Activities & Things To Do

There’s nothing quite like a stroll along the Waterfront and Walkway in Calais, where you will witness the greatest tide change in the United States. The Calais Waterfront Walkway is one mile long and is located in the heart of downtown Calais. It is a spectacular promenade that follows the St. Croix River from the library at Pikes Park westerly to Todd Street and southerly to South Street. It is paved with crushed stone and is handicap accessible. 5 Church Street, Calais

The St. Croix Country Club invites golfers from around the world to play on their magnificent course. Since its beginning in 1927, this bilingual club borders the St. Croix River that separates Maine from the Canadian province of New Brunswick. It has enjoyed the honor of playing the easternmost golf in America. St Croix Country Club, River Road, Calais 207-454-8875

The Downeast Heritage Organization offers tours with the scenic St. Croix River as a backdrop and an education that includes the heritage, history and legacy surrounding the splendor of Calais. Participants will enjoy living and learning about the sea, the land and the first explorers, the Acadians and the first people the Passamaquoddy. The tour includes a stop at the ghost of Pierre Dugas, touch sea creatures in our tide pool, hear an ancient language, and visit a woods camp. It all happens in a century-old riverside railway station within sight of the international border crossing between Calais and St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. 39 Union Street, Calais, 207-454-7878, Open everyday, Memorial Day to Columbus Day, donations requested, www.downeasteritage.org

The Saint Croix Island International Historic Site is worth a stop by, as it serves a monument to the beginning of the United States and Canada. It is focused on establishing a quiet atmosphere of respect to promote thought about the heroism and suffering of the French colonists in 1604 and 1605. St. Croix Island, Calais, 207-288-3338, www.nps.gov/sacr/

Nightlife & Entertainment The Schooner Pub is hopping in Calais. It attracts locals and tourists alike and offers an assortment of cocktails and some “mighty fine” brews. The Schooner Pub also serves meals and often has local, live entertainment. 187 Main Street, Calais, 207-454-8055.

Across the way, in St. Stephen, Canada just a short drive there’s fun to be had at the Old Town Tavern. The Old Town Tavern serves great food and drinks and is known locally and throughout Downeast as the place to go for fun, food, drink and entertainment. 48 King Street, St. Stephen, NB E3L, 2C2, 506-466-4646

Located in the same area on 20 King Street is the Celtic Cross Pub and Eatery. It is known as the best local Irish pub the Fundy Coast has to offer.With a great atmosphere, excellent service and a magician who serves as waiter and bartender. It’s a fun place with maritime and Gaelic performed by local and away bands. Prices are very reasonable and the food is said to be incredible. 20 King Street, St. Stephen, NB, 506-466-6430

Insider Tips and Activities Across the Canadian US border from Calais sits Canada’s Chocolate Town St. Stephens, New Brunswick home to the infamous Ganong Brothers Limited. The pride and joy of St. Stephens, Ganong Brothers Limited has a history that is well worth exploring. Here you can shop for some of the best candy anywhere including Chicken Bones, peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries, and Pal-O-Mine candy bars. The stores is fashioned after a classic candy shop with high ceilings, wooden floors and glass display cases. Chicken Bones a real treat are pink cinnamon hard shell candies surrounding semi-sweet chocolate hmmm, hmmm good!


Probably the best warning available about Calais, Maine is that it seems like it is a million miles from nowhere however, absolutely breathtaking and worth the trip!