A few months ago, I got a call from one of my best friends. She said that she had something exciting to show me, and when I coaxed the surprise from her, she revealed that we were taking a drive to Freeport where we’d be visiting The Desert of Maine!
My first response was… What?? We have a desert here in Maine? Sure enough, we do. That very weekend, we piled into the car and took a drive. It was fairly easy to find, and after about two hours of driving (interrupted only by a stop for smoothies) we were pulling into the parking lot.
We wandered into the gift shop, and were informed that the next tour of the desert would be leaving in fifteen minutes. It was perfect -that gave us just enough time to explore their gift shop, butterfly garden, and the sand museum (it was the coolest thing- they had collected sand from all over the word in jars!).
Before we knew it, a jeep pulling a few rows of benches beneath a much-needed roof for shade pulled up. We, along with a few others who had been waiting, piled in. During the tour, we rode through the desert and learned from our guide how on earth it got there.
Turns out, the desert is not a true desert, but rather a large patch of exposed glacial silt. According to our tour guide, it all began back in 1797 when the Tuttle family bought the land and started a farm. Due to the facts that they did not rotate their potato crops, and they overgrazed their sheep, the soil on their land eroded and exposed what was underneath: a giant dune of sandy glacial silt. The longer time went on, the more that patch of exposed silt grew, until it overtook the farm! Eventually, the Tuttles abandoned their land and sold it to Henry Goldrup. He then converted the sandy dunes to a tourist attraction in 1925 (good move!).
After enjoying the tour, my friend and I opted to walk the trails on our way back to the gift shop rather than riding. Though it was rather hot in the sand, the wooded trails provided some shade and we had a great time enjoying the conversation and scenery alike.
Soon, we were back to the gift shop where I purchased a mug for the hubby (decorated with their signature camel!) and we began the drive towards home.
I would certainly give The Desert of Maine five stars. It was both educational and unique, and it’s worth the trip simply to see so much landlocked sand in Maine!! Great for kids, families, and anyone seeking a little adventure.
For more information, and to visit the Desert of Maine check out their site: http://www.desertofmaine.com/
What do you think? Have you ever been to The Desert of Maine? What’s the quirkiest place in Maine you’ve been?