When you hear Freeport, Maine, the obvious notion is L.L. Bean, famous for their legendary hunting boots and return policy. If you know the area, you’ll also associate Freeport with bargains at dozens of outlet stores. Divert from Main St. though, and you’ll find open countryside, the most organic farms per capita in the state and the spectacular coast of Casco Bay. The fractured northern pocket of Casco Bay is littered with islands, rocky peninsulas and intimate coves and is home to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park. Summarizing Maine is impossible but Wolfe’s Neck takes a stab at it.
Driving into the park, one passes Wolfe’s Neck Farm, a sweeping tract of meadow, dotted with shady groves, rolling into the sea. The farm is a working dairy farm that includes educational tours and agricultural camps. For over fifty years the farm has also operated as a campground with 130 meadow, wooded and oceanfront sites. The 626 acre parcel, with its four miles of seashore, makes a perfect jumping off point to explore the state park and do a little shopping in town. Few campgrounds rival its beauty and charm.
Pulling into the park, one enters a lush pine forest with a floor of dark loam. There are several trails throughout the 200 acre park, some b-lining for the ocean, others meandering through the dense forest and along the Harraseeket River. Giant boulders deposited by glaciers occupy the forest. Rocky ledges heave the uneven terrain and stretch their naked ends into the water.
I’d recommend the Casco Bay Trail to the Harraseeket Trail, the longest (~3mi.) and most interesting route in the park. The path hugs the ocean before winding inland through steep and varied terrain, eventually arriving at a thirty foot precipice above the Harraseeket River. The trail finally loops back through the woods to the trailhead.
The park is spectacular in all seasons with a personality for each. In the winter, the woods thin and one can track deer, moose and perhaps even the eponymous wolf on snowshoe or ski. In the spring, Ospreys return from South America to nest on Googins Island, just offshore from the parking lot. In the summer the woods swell lush with moss and in the fall they burn with color, reflecting fire off the water. The calm bay is the perfect place to dip a paddle and kayakers are welcome to dozens of rocky islands to explore.
A trip to Maine isn’t complete without a visit to L.L. Bean, filled with outdoor supplies and wildlife dioramas. Once you gear up though, the real wildlife is just minutes away. The next time you find yourself in Vacationland, make sure to explore Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park.
For maps and more information, download the brochure here.