Span History on a Covered Bridge
A bridge is just a way to get from point A to point B, but a covered bridge is a shelter, an invitation to linger, to soak up the pastoral surroundings, and (if it’s closed to traffic, anyway) to step inside and shout “hey!” just to see what it sounds like. Maine’s back roads host 14 wooden covered bridges, half of which are retired works of beautiful 19th-century engineering. Take, for instance, the 1872 Sunday River Bridge in Newry, with its curved gable ends and cross braces running along both sides. Or the 1876 Parsonsfield-Porter, a 152-foot double span supported by massive arches. Or the Lovejoy Bridge in Andover, pictured here. Find one that speaks to you (start at coveredbridgemap.com/me), then pack a picnic, head out, and watch the river flow.
Stand with the covered bridge behind you — from the side or, only if it’s safe, at its entrance, so we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
End Up at Land’s End
Lobsterman Elroy Johnson has obtained a kind of immortality in triplicate. In 1939, artist Victor Kahill used the Bailey Island fisherman as a model for a lobsterman sculpture that represented Maine at the Hall of States at the World’s Fair. That original was just a plaster mold; decades later, the state finally commissioned three different bronze replicas. One went to Portland, another to DC, and another sits at the southernmost tip of Johnson’s home island. Of the three sites, the rocky point of Land’s End, at the edge of Harpswell, is unquestionably the best spot to admire Kahill’s work. ► Follow Rte. 24 south through Harpswell until you can’t follow it any more.
Make sure old Elroy is in the photo with you — and that you’re not in Portland or Washington, DC.
Live the Good Life in Brooksville
The nonprofit Good Life Center in Brooksville honors the homesteading legacy of the property’s one-time owners, Helen and Scott Nearing, pioneering back-to-the-landers and authors of 1954’s Living the Good Life. Thursdays through Mondays, from late June through Labor Day, visitors can tour the center’s organic “forest farm” and the Nearings’ impressive stone house, hand-built on an idyllic spread on Cape Rosier. Tours are led by homesteading residents who can speak to the Nearings’ philosophies of simple living, social and economic justice, and vegetarianism. A Monday night summer speaker series welcomes farmers, writers, academics, and others who share the Nearings’ ideals. ► $10 suggested donation for tours. 372 Harborside Rd., Brooksville. 207-326-8211. goodlife.org
Get the iconic stone house in your selfie. If you think the scavenger hunt is difficult, remember, the Nearings built that when Scott was in his 90s and Helen in her 70s.
Lay Anchor at Walker’s Point
The late George H. W. Bush called his family’s Kennebunkport summer estate “my anchor to the windward,” a place where he could find peace even when he was busy being the most powerful person in the world. “The sound of the sea, the salt air, even the foghorn of Goat Island Lighthouse calms the soul,” he told Down East in 2015. You can get a glimpse of the Bushes’ Walker’s Point retreat and enjoy some of the same sights, sounds, and smells at the Anchor to Windward tribute on Ocean Avenue. If you’re hungry after, the monument is just a mile down the road from Mabel’s Lobster Claw Restaurant, “Poppy” and “Bar’s” favorite place to dine out. ► Ocean Ave., just north of Endcliffe Rd.
Take your selfie with Walker’s Point in the distance and the 6,000-pound anchor behind you.
Wonder at the Wyoming
When it was built in Bath in 1909, the six-mast schooner Wyoming was the largest wooden sailing vessel ever constructed in the U.S. When Maine Maritime Museum and local sculptor Andreas von Huene erected the metal replica of the Wyoming’s bow and stern in 2006, it was (and still is) the largest sculpture in New England, spanning 440 feet on the very site where the original was built. Von Huene’s conceptual replica wasn’t completed until 2013, with the raising of six 120-foot “masts.” The original Wyoming was lost with her crew in a storm off Nantucket in 1924. As it happens, this summer’s fascinating Shipwrecks & Salvage exhibit explores the technology, policy, and ethics of wreck preservation. ► Shipwrecks & Salvage opens May 18. 243 Washington St., Bath. 207-443-1316. mainemaritimemuseum.org
Get some of the huge Wyoming sculpture in your frame, either from the street or the museum’s yard, where kiosks explain the significance of each flag atop the gargantuan masts.
Paddle Past Norwood Castle
At the tail end of the 19th century, a young lawyer from Foxcroft (not yet merged with Dover) designed an, um, idiosyncratic lake house to impress his new bride. He’d just been to Europe and had castles on the brain, so he found a flat boulder on the western end of Sebec Lake and built a wooden castle, with tower and parapets, right at the water’s edge. Some 130 years later, the camp he called Norwood (that is, “north woods”) is still in remarkably great shape, a short paddle from below Earley Landing Falls in Willimantic (or a longer one from Peaks-Kenny State Park in Dover-Foxcroft). ► Put in from the public launch on Big Wilson Stream, off Sebec Lake Rd. (Rte. 150) in Willimantic and follow the shoreline east, then south for less than a mile.
The Norwood castle is still seasonally occupied, so be polite and discreet as you shoot yourself paddling by.