Anyone who has frequented the Whale’s Tooth Pub & Restaurant in the past several years has likely seen the much-talked-about cover of Outside Magazine framed on one of its walls.

The cover is from an August 2004 issue in which the magazine announces its pick of Top Dream Towns in America — rustic, under-the-radar towns where the communities are small and intimate and the quality of life is tethered more to the mountains and rivers than to the local economy.

Lincolnville was on that list, along with Salida, Colo., Lander, Wyo., and Hood River, Ore., and it was lauded both for its outdoor adventure appeal and for its idyllic landscape.

“With its alluring contrast of mountains giving way to Penobscot Bay, on Maine’s jagged central coast, Lincolnville attracts people who could live anywhere,” the article boasted. “Artists, writers, boatbuilders, and Silicon Valley icons like Ethernet inventor and 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe.”

The sudden recognition had the potential to lure in much-needed tourism, some residents thought. David Kinney, Lincolnville town administrator, said the town received a flurry of inquiries shortly after the story was published. But in the years that followed, Lincolnville remained quaint and quiet — heavily trafficked in the summer months, but in general a town that would close its shops in the off-season.

But that is slowly changing.

Thanks to an influx of new small businesses, most of them pioneered by relatively young and skilled entrepreneurs, Lincolnville could be in the midst of a revitalization.

The possibility for change and renewal is most palpable along Route 1, where a slew of new businesses have recently opened, among them Dot’s Market, Bay Leaf Cottages & Bistro, Green Tree Coffee & Tea, and Salt Water Farm, a recreational cooking school that has attracted locals and visitors from as far away as California.

Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Rosey Gerry, whose family has lived in Lincolnville for many generations, said he was “tickled to death” by Lincolnville’s “new guard.”

“Lincolnville at one time was completely self-sufficient,” Gerry said. “It was a booming place with all sorts of industries. But things died down after the Civil War. I don’t think it could ever be as booming as it was, but it’s wonderful that we have young, vibrant entrepreneurs bringing interest into the town. They each offer a different voice and different kinds of expertise to Lincolnville.”

Other residents, including some who are established business owners in Lincolnville, expressed similar sentiments.

“The variety of businesses that have been here and that are starting up here is something you don’t always see in small towns,” said Dorothee Newcombe, whose Whale’s Tooth Pub & Restaurant has been on Route 1 for 17 years. “Variety makes people happy.”

Natasha Dame of The Edge Restaurant at the Inn at Ocean’s Edge said the new shops had expanded not just what was available to tourists but also what was available to the community.

“I can send my guests to Dot’s and they can buy wine and groceries there,” said Dame. “They can take classes or taste something unique at Salt Water Farm. That wasn’t an option a year ago, even a few months ago, when people in Lincolnville had to go to Camden or Belfast to get things they needed.”

A handful of the new businesses, coincidentally started by former Outward Bound instructors, are drawing in a different kind of clientele outdoor enthusiasts, sailors, adventure-seekers. Newcombe said having this new element in town is exciting.

“That’s the kind of thing I would like to see in the area, that younger crowd,” she said. “That’s our future.”

Thorfinn Expeditions, which offers sailing, rock climbing and kayaking adventures and has a storefront across the street from the beach, was launched by Thor Emory, 34, and his wife, Sarah Wickenden-Emory, also 34. Their former Outward Bound colleagues Ladleah Dunn and Shane Laprade, both 31, recently built a barn on Tanglewood Road, where, as Kallisté Yacht Services, they specialize in cosmetic restoration and systems upgrades for boats. And in Lincolnville Center, Aimee LeClerc and Ben Hoops have established Blockhouse Pursuits, where they offer winter dog-sledding adventures.

Dunn, a native of Vinalhaven, said none of her Outward Bound contemporaries planned to collectively settle in Lincolnville, but it made sense that they did.

“I don’t think Lincolnville itself is a fantastic place to make money,” said Dunn, who also works as farm manager for Salt Water Farm, “but it’s a great place to live, and that’s why we are here. I do think Lincolnville has the potential to be a destination town, but more than us creating reasons for people to come here, I feel that we are just exemplifying what has always existed here.

“Lincolnville has a sailing as well as an agrarian community. There are people here who love food, people who are sincere outdoor enthusiasts. In our own way, our businesses represent the essence of what Lincolnville is.”

Bettina Doulton, owner of Cellardoor Winery & Vineyard, said she thought the reason more business was developing in Lincolnville was that people were attracted to the small community feel that still exists there.

“It is a reflection of people trying to develop businesses they feel passionate about and people trying to find places they can feel connected to,” she said. “As towns like Rockland, Camden and Belfast become increasingly dense, the smaller scope of Lincolnville begins to make tons of sense.”

Cathy Hardy, a member of the Board of Selectmen, said the town was excited by and supportive of business in Lincolnville.

“As long as people are respectful of the fact that the Lincolnville way of life was there before they were,” said Hardy, “if businesses recognize and support that, rather than steamroll ahead, they’re very well received.”

Katie Snow, a physical therapist who owns Snow Sport & Spine in Rockport, was born and raised in Lincolnville and has seen the town slowly transform. It used to be the kind of town, she said, where riding a bicycle along Route 1 as a child was not out of the question.

“During my grandmother’s time, you referred to people’s homes by the last name of the family who lived there,” she said, “for example, ‘the Rankin house.’ This was back when a few generations of one family used to live in the same house. Now people move around so much.

“But Lincolnville still has that village feel. I think part of why Lincolnville has maintained and is able to maintain this is because there are enough nearby towns that are these sort of small urban settings, like Camden and Rockland, that there isn’t a need for Lincolnville to reproduce that.”

It might also be due to efforts by the Lincolnville Small Business Group, by selectmen and by members of the various town committees to create a healthy balance of progress and tradition, dialogue and action.

“There are so many possibilities here,” said Laprade. “It really is like a blank canvas. I think the town is trying its best not to discredit any ideas that come their way but to also work with businesses to expand and create a vision for what Lincolnville is.”

Dunn, who has traveled along the Eastern Seaboard, said part of what makes Lincolnville a special place to live is its soul.

“You see everywhere that communities are taking control of the direction of where their town is going,” said Dunn, who was recently elected to the Lincolnville Planning Board. “Lincolnville is at an interesting ‘hump’ point where we are trying to figure out who we are and where we are going.

“The most important thing here is that feeling that you know everyone and that the things that exist in your space are of high quality. Personally, my goals for the town would be to make sure that things are worthwhile, rather than filling up space to appeal to the masses.”

Dame, who acknowledged that older residents might be worried about the change that is happening to Lincolnville, said she didn’t think the town would ever become overly commercial in feel.

“That just isn’t Lincolnville,” said Dame. “Lincolnville will always be that quaint, rustic sort of town that people who live here love. The change that is happening is very exciting and it’s prosperous. If anything, the town is just going to be a better place for people to live.”

The town may even return to some of its former glory, according to Dan Bookham, executive director of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re seeing stores on the waterfront being full again,” said Bookham, “and we’re seeing a new surge of energy. That’s something to be happy and proud about.

“Young folks starting businesses and investing in the community — and bringing high-quality craft to the town — that only bodes well for the continued progress of the local economy.”