Crossing the Deer Isle bridge over Eggemoggin Reach you begin to feel that you’ve reached the essence of the Maine Coast and you’ll not be disappointed. The melding of seafolk, crafts people and artists over the centuries has created a community with a true spirit of cooperation and bonhomie in and around these waters. There are so many opportunities to get outdoors here you might want to do a little research and plan some extra stops hiking, swimming or even taking a boat ride out to Isle Au Haut (the most remote section of Acadia National Park). Here are 4 outdoor locations to stimulate your imagination.
Very near the bridge to Deer Isle is an excellent spot for photography and painting named Caterpillar Hill. There's a pull off here that overlooks Eggemoggin Reach, Penobscot Bay, the Camden Hills and a large blueberry farm. It's on Rt. 15 just a short distance north of Rt. 175 in Sargentville, ME. If you like fresh water you can drive down the road alongside the blueberry field to reach Walker Pond, one of the nicest spots around for a picnic with swimming, fishing, boating and kayaking (details below).
View from Caterpillar Hill
This small recreational area has everything you need for a happy outing. There's a little beach, a swimming area with rafts, picnic tables, boat launch & docks. The lake is a fine size for kayakers and the water is clear and soft. The pond is reached by following a picturesque woodland road that begins alongside the blueberry farm and the Caterpillar Hill pull over on Rt. 15 (see above).
A beautiful light kept in excellent condition, Pumpkin Island light can be viewed from the western tip of Little Deer Isle. Turn right onto Eggemoggin Road (at the Chamber of Commerce building just over the bridge) and follow it to the end. A small parking area and boat launch will be found here. The scene & photography are noteworthy. Walks and bike rides along the roads of Little Deer Isle are excellent and the traffic is always minimal. Kayaking from this lighthouse is the finest kind.
Pumpkin Island lighthouse, Little Deer Isle ME
This lovely beach is small, sandy and excellent for children. It’s also a fabulous spot for kayaking out to several nearby islands and coves. There’s a lot to explore when the tide is out; tide pools and boulders appeal to all ages. Weir Island, just a stone’s throw from shore, is maintained by the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA maintains island camp sites all along the Maine coast.).
The path to the beach is a very short stroll from the parking area (Sand Beach Road, on the west side of the island between Burnt Cove and Stonington village). Walkers, cane and hiking pole users will have no difficulty with access. Wheelchair users should have a strong helper to overcome the sand friction but the view from the vehicle is terrific if you just want to chill out for awhile. The beach is rendered fairly narrow when the tide is high but opens up beautifully when it goes out.
Visitor at Sand Beach in Stonington ME
A trip to Deer Isle wouldn't be complete without a stop in Stonington village. Its unique blend appeals to everyone with the arts, shops, restaurants and fantastic 44 North coffee! Several galleries and small gift shops on the main street are nestled in a harbor that beckons your camera, sketchpad or paintbrush. Photography of the working water front and historic architectural elements is a favorite pastime. Live performance at Opera House Arts ranges from music to theater, open mic, creative community events, and music workshops along with frequent movies. It's a small hamlet with easy strolling for all ages.
Quarry workers memorial statue in Stonington ME
Close to Stonington village (turn onto Oceanville Rd from Rt 15), this excursion brings history, geology and nature together in a preserve that’s fairly easy for most people to manage.
The primary walkway is an old road that goes for about a quarter mile to the quarry; it’s very smooth & well cared for with a slight uphill slope. Please take time to read the excellent information provided by the Island Heritage Trust for important safety concerns, trail maps, markings, etc.
Stonington and nearby islands have always been associated with providing granite for important buildings in Boston, New York, Washington DC and other locations along the East coast.
When the entrance path opens up to the quarry itself you'll want to capture a photo from the highest point - follow the ridge to the right for about 150 yards to find a best-view station on the hilltop. The quarried sections also invite your closer inspection - the access is an easy walk down a driveway or a fun scramble down the open slope. Longer trails meander around the quarry's perimeter.
A detail from Settlement Quarry Preserve in Stonington nME
At the start of your walk a woodland trail to the right branches off the main path looping through dense Maine woods to the same hilltop view mentioned above with a wonderful panorama of the sea and surroundings. The view encompasses several islands, the most distant being Isle Au Haut, (French for High Island) which comprises the westernmost section of Acadia National Park.
Nature lovers, artists and photographers will not be disappointed with the abundance of mammals, birds and wildflowers to be found in this extensive preserve.
Those who can handle a slope and do a little stretching can climb down the hillside to find details of stone work left on the remaining rock and get a closer view of stone that’s still being produced on the island (it's shipped from the pier at the base of the hill).
Keep it Safe - stone becomes very slippery when wet, even in the fog. A note of caution for those with smaller children; keep them close-by as they tend to become adventurous and the stone is sharp with some deep crevasses.