Saturday, June 27, 2020

Deer Isle and Stonington (Pine Hill Preserve, Barred Island Preserve, Settlement Quarry Preserve, Bridge End Park and Reach Knolls Campground)

My younger son and I explored Deer Isle and Stonington this weekend.

We started Friday after work by camping at Reach Knolls Campground in Brooklin. This is a small but exceptionally well run campground located right on the water. It has clean facilities, hot showers, a beach with small swim platform, and caring and friendly management. We were fortunate enough to get a waterfront tent site with electricity and an amazing view. After eating dinner we walked down and explored the beach area, spotting two harbor porpoises feeding off shore. For more information on the campground visit their website at

Views from our campsite
Our first stop Saturday morning was Pine Hill Preserve on Little Deer Isle.  This Island Heritage Trust preserve provides great views with only minimal effort. A short 1/10 mile walk leads to a massive stone wall, the remains of a larger rock formation from which stone was removed to build the supports for the nearby Deer Isle bridge. A very steep but short trail to the right leads to the top, offering views of the surrounding area. 

Our next stop was Barred Island Preserve, a beautiful preserve managed by The Nature Conservancy.   Our hike took us through a coastal forest, across a sandbar (accessible two hours on either side of low tide) and out to Barred Island itself.  While there are no trails on the island itself, we explored the perimeter along the rocky shoreline enjoying views of the area.


Our next stop was the Settlement Quarry Preserve, an Island Heritage Trust preserve in Stonington.  The preserve is the site of a former quarry and has interpretive signs throughout explaining quarry operations and the geology of the area.  The quarry also provides expansive views of Webb Cove.  In addition to visiting the quarry, we hiked the glacial erratic trail (spoiler alert: we had no idea what a glacial erratic was but it sounded cool and possibly massive.  The hike was pleasant through forested woodlands but the erratic itself was a medium sized boulder.  Nonetheless, we learned about the boulder and glaciers from the adjacent interpretive sign so I will count it as a win for us.)  For more information on the preserve visit Island Heritage Trust's website.


Our final stop on the trip was Bridge End Park, a small but scenic municipal park adjacent to the Deer Isle Bridge.  The park has picnic tables, restrooms, a boat ramp, and at low tide provides the opportunity to explore the area directly under the bridge. 

I am not a civil engineer, but I would think at some point the tree growing under the bridge will become a problem?
View from the small island looking back at the parking lot for the park

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sandy Point Beach (Stockton Springs)

For Father's day my sons and I went to Sandy Point Beach in Stockton Springs.  There were only two other cars there when we first arrived despite it being a warm, sunny 80 degree day. During the hour that we were there the park filled up but it never felt crowded. This is a nice family beach with a gradual shoreline and not a noticably strong current.  There are a few short trails in the park in addition to the beach.  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Coastal Maine Trip, Day 3 (Harkness Preserve, Aldermere Farm Ocean Trail, Simonton Quarry Preserve)

Today was the last of our three day camping, hiking and photography adventure.  After spending a peaceful night at Lobster Buoy Campground in South Thomaston, we set out to explore three land trust properties before heading home.

Harkness Preserve

Harkness Preserve is a 23 acre preserve managed by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.  The preserve has well maintained trails that lead to beautiful views of Rockport Harbor.  Here is a map of our hike.


Aldermere Farm Ocean Trail

While hiking at Harkness, we ran into another hiker that recommended this trail.  Aldermere Farm is managed by the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and the main part of the preserve is dedicated to agricultural programming involving cattle.  This trail was not part of the farm, however, and meanders through coastal woodlands before opening up to a rocky beach with views of West Penobscot Bay. 

Parking for the trail is near the clubhouse for the Megunticook Golf Course.  There are signs at the lot advising no trespassing; however, those signs are meant to discourage people from trespassing onto the golf course from the parking lot.  The lot itself is open to the public (although being next to a golf course, there are signs warning that you are parking at your own risk).   The trail itself was 0.7 miles round-trip. 

Here is a map of our hike.

Simonton Quarry

The final stop of our trip was Simonton Quarry, a property managed by the Coastal Mountains Land Trust.  There are no marked trails, although there are short paths leading to the quarries. Here is a map of our walk.  For more information on the quarry visit