Bath, Maine, (population 10,000), is an old seafaring town on the Kennebec River, about 10 miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The town’s maritime history dates to 1607, when the first ship built in the New World by English settlers was launched.
For centuries, shipyards that lined the river’s edge built wooden sailing ships, steel vessels, and yachts. Today, the Bath Iron Works, founded in 1884, carries on that shipbuilding tradition by turning out frigates and destroyers.
Bath’s Maine Maritime Museum offers gallery exhibits, a historic shipyard, educational programs, and narrated boat cruises to points of historic significance and natural beauty. In 2007, the town restored the Bath Railroad Station, built in 1941, as a working train station and visitor information center.
Other attractions include Bath’s downtown area, with its 19th century brick storefronts and narrow streets and guided tours of historic homes. Two self-guided tour brochures focus on the Historic Architecture of Downtown Bath and the Historical Highlights of Downtown Bath, and a podcast tour is also available. The Chocolate Church Arts Center is housed in an 1846 Gothic Revival landmark and offers year-round theatrical performances.
Every July 4, the town hosts Bath Heritage Days, a three-day celebration that includes music, crafts, and art, as well as the Heritage Days Parade, which focuses on Bath’s history.
In 2005, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Bath one of America’s “Dozen Distinctive Destinations.”
Designated a Preserve America Community in August 2008.