The Desert of Maine is Awesome!
Desert of Maine is Maine’s Most Natural Phenomenon! If you are heading to Freeport, Maine or anywhere close by you’ve got to take a tour through this natural desert! The Desert of Maine is as real as it gets! It’s a Glacier Desert formed many, many years ago!
Our visit to Desert of Maine began with a 30 minute tour. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the Desert and gave us a detailed history while we rode through the desert in awe of the sands sparkling with mica in the sun. The tour stops twice where our tour guide came and chatted with us more about the history of the lands and passed around historic photos and an assortment of artifacts. On the second stop we were taken to the best spot for a panoramic view of the desert and our tour guide took photos of each group including ours.
The trip ends with a short journey through a typical (albeit, beautiful) Maine forest where wildlife can be spotted on many occasions. We came to a stop at the entrance to the 1797 Tuttle barn – the original structure which is over 200 years old! At this point the children 12 and under were invited to hunt for gem stones in the desert in a special area. There’s no extra cost for the gem stone hunt and the kids are allowed to find “as many gems as you want, but you can only keep three.” We thought that was a fair deal and my little guy set off on his gem hunting adventures with the teenagers eager to join in, but not keep, their own gemstone finds.
Our Desert of Maine Photos
William Tuttle Farm …1797
The history buff in me, with a special interest in 18th and 19th century farm life was beyond ecstatic over the Tuttle Family Farm remains. The Desert of Maine is awesome but I could have spent an entire day just looking at the remnants of an old farm in the Farm Museum (housed in that old barn that somehow still smells of hay and hard work).
Who builds a farm on a desert, anyway? Well, interestingly enough, the desert was hidden beneath what the Tuttle family thought was prime farm land. In fact, in 1797 William Tuttle was excited about his 300 acre farm and even successfully operated the farm with ample productions of potatoes and hay for quite a few years … until soil erosion slowly began to dwindle the livelihood of the crops and surprise! a desert began to be revealed!
Sand Art and Butterflies, Oh My!
After mining for gems and admiring the artifacts in the farm museum (which also contained an incredible sand museum with sand art on display containing sands from different parts of the world), we stumbled upon a great little sand art station. Bowls of the colored sands collected from the desert were ready to be artfully poured into little glass bottles with the Desert of Maine logo ($2.95 each) then corked and saved as the perfect souvenir. There is also a great gift shop featuring Desert of Maine merchandise as well as lots of great little gifts with a Maine focus!
One of Desert of Maine’s newest attractions is the Butterfly Room. This great screened in area is adorned with beautiful flowers and plenty of butterflies. We had a great time in there visiting with them! Plus, there’s no extra charge to visit the Butterfly Room (or the Farm Museum for that matter).
Desert of Maine also offers Disc Golf but it was a pretty hot day in the desert and we had other adventures to get to so we didn’t get the chance to play. We did enjoy a picnic on the grounds while admiring the campground pool of course with many jokes about an oasis naturally begged by circumstance. Desert of Maine also has a lovely campground where you are surrounded by a pine forest adjacent to the desert. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to stay at the campground you’ll receive passes to explore the Desert of Maine on your own, the Farm Museum and great nature trails as well as discounts on the tour.
Visiting the Desert of Maine
The Desert of Maine is just two miles off I-295 in Freeport on Desert Rd. Plan on spending two to three hours at the desert. It makes fora really fun learning experience for the whole family! Visit Desert of Maine on the web or on Facebook for more info. And to learn more right now, watch this video –