This corner of Maine is full of rural beauty, farming life, and small-town enjoyments. Some of our favorite things include observing birds and pollinators all around, walking around the land under the tall trees, looking closely at the great range of terrain and flora here, taking in a movie at the great local cinema, stopping to pick up fresh produce, ice cream or baked goods, admiring the Sandy River as it wends its way through 73 miles of Maine, making pies with the backyard rhubarb, or pancakes with Maine wild blueberries, watching the fireflies in the summer nights, delicious soup in the nearby Soup for You .
If you want to get out and mingle, there are always lots of events, from local and county fairs, benefit suppers and pie sales, art exhibits, markets, yard sales, barn sales, and much more listed in the local online newspaper’s event pages.
Maine has many agricultural fairs from June to October, and an active farmers market program, pick-your-own farms, and local corn mazes and hayrides.
In the house
- Maine magazines, books, guidebooks
- other magazines on food, gardening; tree ID books
- lots of books
- jigsaw puzzles
- Netflix (coming soon…)
- chess, some board games
- a few toys, books, blocks for little ones
On the property
- star-gazing: check out the night sky
- the beginnings of some veggie gardens: planting rhubarb, chives, blueberries, garlic, raspberries
- bird-watching: we’re planting the property to attract and support songbird life.
- Weber grill, charcoal
Some kinds are legal in Maine. Please read closely, and follow all the regulations!
Fireworks Law & Regulations
Fireworks use information is in this Maine guide.
A local (30 mins.) store: (We have not been there.)
Pyro City Maine Fireworks Store
Maine 11, Manchester, ME 04351
places we’ve tried
Thai Smile – It is nothing compared to good Thai places in a city, but it’s all there is nearby, so if you need Thai, it’s ok. 🙂 Seems overpriced, but, it’s there…. Small discounts given when also going to movie theatre next door.
Soup for You – sweet, local, down-to-earth, packed with locals & students; large selection of homemade soups, and humongo selection of sandwiches. Tea, coffee, some cookies. Cash only. Wifi
Stone Hearth Cafe – new, ok, bistro-style sandwiches, pizza
Homestead – Local, slightly fancier place, with higher prices. Food is not too bad usually.
Farmington House of Pizza – Nothing special, but not terrible 🙂 local small town pizza shop; salads, etc
Java Joes – Coffee joint; supposed to be decent. Small, local.
Giffords Ice Cream – a local chain; very popular
bean/lobster/spaghetti/pancake local fundraising meals
recommended places we have not been to yet
gelato place in Farmington
Snack Shack – behind the movie theatre- gets good reviews on Yelp
Pizza Hut – on the road between farmington and Wilton
Wilton Restaurant – People recommend it; food is not bad. it’s “full of atmosphere” and then pricey
Sandy River farm market – baked goods, beans, ice cream, meats, pies, vegs. on road into Farmington, on left
White Water – organic local meats; many. corner of Cape Cod Hill Road and Rt 2/27 in New Sharon
Farmers markets: in New Sharon, in Farmington
Front and Pleasant – gourmet and interesting choices , tasty local pound cakes. Pleasant St, Farmington Trantens – local independent grocer in Farmington. Decent selection.
Barn Sale – Main St, New Sharon. On Saturdays, there is an easy-going relaxed “barn sale” , on the corner of RT 134 and Water St. It’s a hugely eclectic bunch of offerings – 30% junk, 10% treasure; but lots of interesting and practical things. Owner is local, honest, very friendly and engaging.
New Sharon General Store – Not super old-timey/cool; but just local. 🙂 Offers the usual peculiar range of small town catch-all stores: fishing lures, hot pizza or sandwiches, convenience store stuff, etc. corner of RT 134 and Water St. Formal listing:
Sandy River Farm Supply
20 Farmington Falls Road
New Sharon, ME 04955
Reny’s In Farmington, on Broadway st. A Maine chain; some great high quality sale clothing items (seconds/end of season) from big stores, and also practical winter gear; 3 floors, 2 of clothes/shoes; basement has paper goods, some canned stuff, etc.
Eddie Bauer Outlet In Augusta; if you like this brand (durable, decent style, decent outdoor wear) – good discounts
Farmers Union – grain, seed, tools, etc. Front St, Farmington
Post offices in New Sharon, and in Farmington
decent small bookstore – Broadway St, farmington
thrift stores – Broadway St, Farmington, and a big one on Wilton Rd, and very big Morgies in Augusta
sort of a hippie shop in town on corner of Broadway and Main. The name is Sunshine_______
picking up groceries on the way up from Massachusetts!
Just a block or two off I-95, in Portland, are both Trader Joe and Whole Foods. So it’s easy to stock up on the way up. The house is about 1.5 hours after that, so pack your cold stuff in one bag, etc.
necessities, chain groceries, hardware, etc
In the Daily Bulldog, look under the events section for local activities, like these: parades, festivals, bake-offs, hootenannies, road races, readings, exhibits, concerts, book sales, contradancing, horseshoe tournaments, craft sales, farmers markets, hikes, historical society meetings, book talks, classes! (These examples are all drawn from one week’s listings in Aug 2014. 🙂
Lots of friends have asked us about hiking! And there is so much incredible hiking in Maine. A great book is “50 Hikes in the Maine Mountains”
Some good hikes are
- Avery Mountain – near Stratton
- Tumbledown Mountain – Weld area
- Mount Blue – near Weld
- Bald Mountain – Weld area
- Mt Abraham – near Kingfield
- Bigelow Ridge – Avery is a part of this (?)
- Saddleback – near Rangeley
This site also includes many short walking trails.
Their site says:
Maine Trail Finder is a free online resource for people-powered trails in the state of Maine. Search a growing database of four-season trails to find the right trail for your next adventure. Browse interactive trail maps, trail descriptions, pictures, and trip reports.
Here are a few local trails that friends have found:
Wilton (27 W, 156 S)
Kinewatha park (Wilson pond beach, picnic, toilets, natural
attractions on East trails)
Foothills land conservancy (Wilson pond, wild life)
Farmington (27 W)
Flints woods and village woods
Tree of Life
Troll Valley campground trails
Rome (route 27 E)
The mountain trail
French mountain trail
Kayaking, canoeing, tubing, swimming
All around Maine
The “State Parks” website has a page for canoeing, kayaking, paddling activities etc. Their page says “Water flow is generally highest during spring-runoff for most waterways; most listed here can also be paddled during the summer and fall when levels tend to be lower.”
On the Sandy River, nearby
There are several local put-in/take-out spots on the Sandy River near Farmington, for swimming.
swimming, or put-in for canoe/kayak
A good spot is a little north of Farmington, right after Rt 27 splits off from 4. Stay on 4, and you’ll cross a bridge. Immediately after the bridge, on your left, see a small dirt road – a dirt area among the green area. Turn in there, and there’s some space to park. You can swim and the river has a relatively sandy bottom in that area. You can also put in your kayak or canoe, and paddle downriver (to your left), to a take-out spot on the other side of Farmington.
take-out and picnic area
Leave a car down at this spot, for the end of your trip.
There are *many* parks in Maine!
Use this page to search by activity and/or location
parks and lands which are in our area, the “mountains & lakes region”
parks and lands that are to the east of us, in the kennebec valley
Some parks not too far from us:
Whistle Stop Trail has these activities:
Mt. Blue State Park has:
Moosehead Lake Public Reserved Land
Mahoosuc Public Reserved Land
Four Ponds Public Reserved Land
Damariscotta Lake State Park
Colburn House State Historic Site
The Wildlife Park is now open for the 2014 season daily from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; visitors may stay until 6:00 p.m.
56 Game Farm Road
Gray, ME 04039 (About an hour and a half from New Sharon)
Visitor Center – Try a variety of different activities in our visitor center. Feel what some animal furs are like. Make some tracks in our sandbox or see the many different places in Maine to look for Wildlife.
Fish Hatchery – Walk down the hill past the park’s eagles, turtles and wetland trails to the adjacent Dry Mills Fish Hatchery. There is a brand new interpretive building and trout pond here, trout observation tanks and thousands of brook trout are raised annually. Feed the round pond trout for a quarter!
Nature Store – Nature related items for all ages.
Snack Shack – run by The Friends of the Maine Wildlife Park.
Picnic or Barbecue – a large picnic area with charcoal barbecue grills so you can bring your own food.
Tree Trail – see and read descriptions of a variety of Maine Trees. Learn how to use a biltmore stick to measure tree heights and lumber yield. Visit our outdoor classroom and see how much wood is in a cord or how a lumberyard would cut logs.
Wetland Trail – There are many wild animals that can sometimes been seen such as fish, birds and turtles.
Tours – can be scheduled
Warden Museum – Learn about the history of the Maine Warden Service.
Feed the Animals – Although the Wildlife Park no longer allows visitors to bring in food to feed to our animals, there are feed dispensers that take quarters to feed to our bear, deer, pheasants, ducks, geese, and turkeys. The fish hatchery has a quarter feed dispenser to feed the trout.
Gardens – throughout the park.
Events – see list http://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/wildlifepark/events.htm
Free Roaming Wildlife – You never know what wild animals you may find at the Wildlife Park. We have seen: Great Horned Owls, Pileated Woodpeckers, Spotted Salamanders, Wood Ducks, Hawks, Turtles, Squirrels, Chipmunks, White Tailed Deer, Wild Turkeys, Baltimore Orioles, Bald Eagles, many Warblers, and Bohemian Waxwings.
Story Hour – Thursdays at 10:30 in July and August.
Wildlife Talks – On Monday, Wednesday and Friday there are animal talks at 11:00 and 1:00 in July and August.
- snowshoe around the property
- cross-country/Nordic skiing, or snowshoe trekking on local skimobile trails
- skiing at local, inexpensive Titcomb mountain
- big attractions at Sugarloaf, Saddleback
- skiing, snow-shoeing