Machias Area Information
This coastal community is endowed with dramatic natural
beauty. Machias is an Indian word meaning “Bad Little Falls.”
- Settled in 1763
- County seat for Washington County
- Population 2926
- Area 14.3 square miles
- Airport: Machias Municipal Airport – runway 2900 ft.
Downeast Community Hospital, Court Street
The economy in the Machias Bay area is based largely on several seasonal industries.
Natural resources are the basis of a robust and diverse economic climate. Traditional activities such as fishing and wood harvesting are now supplemented by such varied enterprises as salmon aquaculture, processing blueberries, cranberry farming, and the productions of Christmas wreaths.
Maine is the largest producer of wild low bush blueberries in the world. The berries thrive in the glacial soils and northern climate of our coastal region. Unlike the high bush or
cultivated blueberry, area blueberry plants grow wild on blueberry barrens or fields. Blueberries are grown on approximately 45,000 acres in Washington County. The fields have been developed from native plants which occur naturally in the undergrowth of the forest. Several large area companies are involved in producing the tasty fruit, but many independent growers and families also supplement their income by caring for and harvesting the plentiful berries.
driving in the area, visitors will see great fields of flat rolling land. In the spring these fields are a blanket of which and pink flowers. Harvest time begins in late July or August, when most of the berries become ripe. The berries are harvested by hand raking, using a metal rake or by a mechanical harvester. The harvest season last about 4 weeks.
After the first frost the blueberry fields turn into beautiful carpets of crimson hues and for the most part stay that color until spring once again arrives.
Visit the Annual Machias Maine Wild Blueberry Festival the 3rd weekend of August each year.
90% of evergreen Christmas wreaths are produced in Washington and Hancock Counties. The fragrant balsam fir tree, used in making of wreaths grow abundantly in this part of Maine. “Wreath Season” begins in early November, when individuals take to the
woods and gather bundles of balsam fir boughs. This is called tipping. Tips are then sold to wreath makers. Large companies then buy the wreaths, decorate them an then ship them to the customer. Checkout Bessey Ridge Wreaths for the finest fresh, fragrant Maine balsam fir wreaths and centerpieces.
The American lobster is synonymous with the Maine Coast. Seventy percent of all Lobsters harvested in New England are caught in Maine.
A lobster hatches from an egg no larger than the head of a pin. Thousands of eggs are suspended from the female’s tail being held together by a jelly-like mass. Eggs that do not stick to the lobster will not hatch and will probably be eaten by fish. When the eggs are extruded, the lobster lies on its back and cups its tail or catch the eggs. Lobster eggs take about 9 months to develop from the time they are extruded.
When the lobster first hatches, it has no claws and looks like an insect. It is about a month before the new lobster is recognizable as a lobster. Most of the early life of the new
lobster is spent hiding. Male or Female? It is easy to tell a male from the female.
Turn the lobster on its back and look at the first pair of swimmers. these are hard and bone-like in the male, but soft and feather-like in the females.
Catching Lobster – The lobsters are tricked into traps by using the same method with which they find food. A lobster uses something similar to our sense of taste and smell, even though they do not have a nose. They located the food based on its being partially dissolved in the water. They use four small antennae located on the front of their head. Many parts of the lobster are covered with tiny little hairs, these hairs are used for finding food.
Lobsters have been caught in Maine since 1605 from earliest reports. Commercial lobstering really started some time around the mid-1800’s.
Fishermen make it possible for us to enjoy the succulent taste of lobster.