Can You Name This Maine Mystery Spot?

This month's Where in Maine is a little-visited gem of an island.

Great Wass Island Preserve, Where in Maine April 2020
Photographed by Benjamin Williamson

This verdant isle, near the convergence of the Gulf of Maine and the Bay of Fundy, attracts naturalists of every stripe. Botany buffs search for rare plants, such as beach-head iris, marsh felwort, and bird’s-eye primrose, birders watch for purple sandpipers, harlequin ducks, and razorbills, and the entomologically inclined hope to find Rambur’s forktail damselflies, spot-winged glider dragonflies, or exceedingly rare crowberry blue butterflies. In 1978, the Nature Conservancy acquired the 1,600-acre island, plus some 40 others in its eponymous archipelago, and established a preserve. Today, the environmental org maintains a 4½-mile loop trail through damp, evergreen-scented woods (the island is home to a large stand of jack pines) and along the pink-granite shore. To reach the trailhead from the mainland, visitors cross a bridge to an island fishing village, then cross a causeway to the island preserve. On the way back, they might stop in the quiet village, where locals contend that their annual lobster-trap Christmas tree is the largest in the world. In warmer months, the main draw is the estimable lobster rolls served at the island takeout, best consumed at one of the picnic tables with a view of the working waterfront.

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