Get Out on the Maine Coast this Winter
Are the short days getting you down? It’s time to get outside.
Whether a long Nordic ski is your thing or you just need to plunk down in the snow and look at the water for a while, we want to help.
We work alongside your local land trust and other conservation organizations to make sure you have places close to home to visit in any season. Places for skiing, walking, fishing, snowshoeing, plunking—whatever’s needed to fend off cabin fever.
Here are some tips on where to go and what to do on the Maine coast this winter, brought to you by the staff here at MCHT.
Robinson Woods Preserve, Cape Elizabeth Land Trust
Streams, marsh, pond, open fields, rocky oceanfront, mature woodlands—Cape Elizabeth Land Trust’s 146-acre preserve offers all of this and three miles of trail for your snowshoeing pleasure. Maine Coast Heritage Trust was happy to pitch in to help CELT preserve this place.
Witherle Woods Preserve, Castine
If you love Nordic skiing and live on the Blue Hill peninsula get yourself to the groomed trails of Witherle Woods this winter. In 2014 Nancy and WG Sayre of Castine founded the Blue Hill Peninsula Nordic Ski Club to foster a love of cross-country skiing in local kids. The club meets 10 a.m. – 12 a.m. every Saturday there’s snow on the ground. Don’t have skis? No problem. The Sayres have generously collected skis they loan out to club members. Visit their Facebook page for more information or email .
Kittredge Brook Forest, Bar Harbor
Strap on your snowshoes and head to our largest Mount Desert Island preserve, located next to the high school in the center of the island. The preserve’s three miles of hiking trails wind through dense forests, over low ridges, and by numerous wetlands. Wear the right boots, and keep an eye out for wildlife.
Kelley Farm Preserve, Bernard
Open fields and gentle slopes make Kelley Farm Preserve a nice place to pass a sunny winter afternoon on Mount Desert Island. You’ll often find people skiing or walking along the preserve’s perimeter enjoying the water views. When the conditions are right, little ones can catch some speed on a sled. We keep the 4-5 car parking lot plowed.
East Machias Sliding Hill
People have been sledding (the plastic toy, not the snowmobile) on the hill at the intersection of Route One and Scotts Hill Road for decades. When the land went up for sale in 2015, we helped ensure the sliding hill would always remain open and accessible to the kids and families of East Machias. In 2016, we helped built a parking lot and transferred the newly conserved land over to the town. If you live in the area, be sure to head to the sliding hill this winter! With a good incline and a beautiful view of the East Machias River, it’s a pretty special spot.
Hamilton Cove Preserve, Lubec
If you’ve got little ones or it’s bitterly cold out or you aren’t up for a long slog, Hamilton is great because it’s a fairly short distance from the (plowed!) parking lot to the cobble beach. Feeling adventurous? Make your way along the coastal trail to the platform with panoramic views of Grand Manan Island and the Bold Coast or a half-mile further to a fabulous bench. As always, take care—the peaty soils hold water and water turns to ice. MCHT land steward Melissa says, “Be on the lookout for small splashes out on the water. Gannets can be seen close to shore during the winter. The straight-down plummet of these large white seabirds with black wing tips looking for fish is a sight worth seeing.”
Sipp Bay Preserve Preserve, Perry
Sipp Bay offers beach walks, a small sliding hill, trails to walk, snowshoe or ski and plenty of wildlife. Bring your binoculars and look for feeding wintering sea ducks such as Black Ducks, Eiders, Buffleheads or Mergansers. You might even see an occasional Loon wintering in the protected waters of Sipp Bay. Even after a big snowstorm, parking is always available at the end of the town road at the top of the hill at the entrance to the preserve. Look for tracks of wildlife such as deer, snowshoe hare or the playful otter who likes to slide in the snow.
More Stories from the Coast
Sharing the work of Island Housing Trust, a nonprofit organization and frequent partner of MCHT working to increase access to housing for teachers, first responders, and other workers on Mount Desert Island.
Kate Stookey, president and CEO at Maine Coast Heritage Trust, introduces a new MCHT publication and shares information about the organization’s strategic planning process.
On this particular August day, we collected 860 pounds of plastic buoys, rope, and trash, From (only two) packed boatloads.
Take a closer look at wood frog and spotted salamander eggs and egg masses found on MCHT preserves this time of year
“This place, and the people who also call this place home, made me who I am and instilled in me a desire to care for this land and the lives and livelihoods it supports. For me, that’s what conservation is all about.”