My new hometown of Scarborough is much more than just a place for spending time on the beach, having some fried seafood and eating ice cream from one of the many stands located on US Route 1 (I highly recommend the Dairy Corner). There is much more to this community and this year’s fine fall weather has provided me with the opportunity to get the bike out, grab the camera and photograph my surroundings. So, let’s go for a ride!
Scarborough Marsh is Maine’s largest contiguous tidal marsh system and I’ve been visiting it for many years. Its unpleasant aroma at low tide is its trademark and early mornings in the fall are particularly nasty as the fog banks seem to trap the smell and prevent it from dissipating. The only saving grace is that the mosquitoes have disappeared for the season. Sadly, so have the Snowy Egrets, one of my favorite birds – second only to the bald eagle.
I especially enjoy watching the Amtrak Downeaster cross the marsh in the evening as the setting sun glistens off its silver cars. Try as I may, I’ve yet to capture that scene in a manner that does it justice.
The Maine Audubon Society maintains the Scarborough Marsh Center located on Pine Point Road. Here, you can rent canoes and kayaks for guided and self-guided tours of the marsh along the Nonesuch River. I’ve always wanted to take advantage of their moonlight paddling excursions and now that I live nearby I have no excuse. Certainly a must-do on next year’s activity list.
The Eastern Trail
The Eastern Trail originates at Bug Light Park in South Portland and cuts through Scarborough on its way to Old Orchard Beach, Saco and beyond. I find the section just west of Pine Point Road to be the most picturesque. The trail is road, hybrid and mountain bike friendly and one may occasionally spot one of the new “fat tire” models. Shouts of “on your left” are about the only sounds that disrupt the tranquility of the Scarborough section of this very popular walking, running and riding path.
Just off the Eastern Trail is Mill Brook Pond – a popular swimming and fishing hole.
The Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-Op area is a bustling place just before sunrise. Pick-up trucks arrive in rapid succession, each carrying one or more commercial fishermen ready to set out for another day on the water. With some donning the traditional yellow rubber coveralls, they haul their equipment and supplies onto their vessels. The smell of diesel permeates the air as they fire up the engines and chug-chug-chug out to sea. I sense that it’s a hard life, but an honest one.
Fuller Farm Preserve
Fuller Farm is a 220 acre preserve now maintained by the Scarborough Land Conservation Trust. It features walking trails that cross hay fields filled with nesting birds and wildflowers and then head into the woods. The trails are well-marked and fairly easy to navigate. In fact, this summer my wife and I encountered a group of senior citizens – many of whom had canes and walkers – on a field trip well into the woods and a fair distance from the parking area. Watching these spirited folks plodding along in the heat served as a good reminder that life is what you make it.
Dogs are welcome at Fuller Farm. Seldom have I visited when friendly pooches weren’t enjoying this glorious site.
Sewell Woods Preserve
Not far from my home is the Sewell Woods Preserve on Ash Swamp Road. This is a 35 acre parcel donated by Albert G. Sewell to the Scarborough Land Trust in 1995. In its heyday, the woods on the property provided the raw materials for Al and his father’s woodwork products business.
The trail is less than a mile long and forms a Figure 8. My golden retriever, Emmie, just loves it there and runs around like a banshee whenever she visits.
OK, so Scarborough’s main attraction is its beaches and all four of them haul in crowds of tourists on hot summer days. That’s why I like to visit them before the sun rises or after it sets – there’s usually no one else there! Beaches take on a magical glow as the first and final light of the day subtly gleams off the sand and water. The sound of rippling waves and squawking seagulls is music to my ears.
I’m very happy to be living in Scarborough. I just wish the Dairy Corner didn’t close after Columbus Day and was open year round.