Morse Mountain (and what they don’t tell you)

The real secret to Morse Mountain (in Phippsburg, Maine) is not the mountain – it’s the beach! It (Seawall Beach) is over a mile of beautiful sandy beach – the beach is on the south side of the Morse River which seperates it from Popham Beach – equally beautiful – but more crowded (and not free) The Maine Geological Survey lists it as one of Maine’s “finest beaches”.

Directions

Follow Route 209 South for 11.6 miles. Where Route 209 turns sharply left to Popham Beach, continue straight ahead on Route 216 for .4 mile.

You will see NO PARKING signs on both sides of the road as you approach the entrance to Morse Mountain. Turn left on Morse Mountain Road.

Drive about 350 feet to the entrance of the parking lot on the left. In the summer, there is a gatekeeper and booth at this lot. When the lot is full, no more vehicles are permitted to enter until parked vehicles leave. Vehicles may not park on Morse Mountain Road or on Route 216.

(Note – when we visited on 7/30 there was no attendant)

The hike to the beach took us 40 minutes at a leisurely pace. The mountain is a shorter distance (but not by much)

NOTE: There are NO facilites, dogs are not allowed at any time, and I’d recommend bug spray for the walk.

You can also rent houses (including one in the winter) within the preserve.

The preserve is maintained by Bates College
Google Map

“The Rez” in Hallowell

“The Rez” (for the Reservoir) is a public recreation area for Hallowell, and includes a swimming hole, playing field, picnic tables, rest facilites, but also connects to miles of trails which run through the woods, around a quarry pond, connecting to snowmobile trails, etc. It’s so close to home (for us) that I often don’t think of it as a “destination” for hiking at all.

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After the walk

There’s so many choices in the area that I can’t pick just one. Slates, a Hallowell institution, always has excellent food – you can’t go wrong. Saturday and Sunday brunch is great. A little further down the road (in Gardiner to be precise) is the A1 Diner (Don’t be fooled by their website – which needs a little work). A classic diner from the 50’s, the food is anything but – my favorite is the Greek salad with Calamari – but you can get anything from Macaroni and cheese to Morracan stew, etc.

Wolf’s Neck Woods State Park

Wolf’s Neck Woods has been one of our stand-by’s – you can get more information than I want to repeat at the Department of Conseration’s website (where there are listing on all State parks – some of which I will be reviewing for walks later) Wolf’s Neck has extensive well groomed foot trails, picnic areas, restrooms and more. It’s trails meander through the woods, or along the rocky coast. There is a fee – $3.00 in-state, 4.50 out of state and 1.50 senior.

And after the walk…

The Harraseeket Inn – Broad Arrow Tavern provides great fare at reasonable prices. Be careful of your timing – there can be a waiting list if you arrive at peak hours.

Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center

bowdoin-coastal-studiesWe read an article in the KJ about Bowdoin’s Coastal Studies Center and decided to check it out. It’s on Orr’s Island, near where we first lived when we came to Maine. We spent and hour and forty-five minutes following one of the trails. There were several other trails left for another day. You could probably spend several more hours investigating all the trails. It’s 118 acres and 2.5 miles of coastline. Trails tend to run along the shoreline, with many spots where you can sit and rest. Most trails were groomed; a few had wet spots (we first walked this in March).

Rating: 4 of 5

Directions

  • From Route 1 in Brunswick take Route 24 S for 8 miles
  • Cross bridge to Orr’s Island and continue for another 2 miles
  • Take Right on Bayview Road and follow it for 1 mile to parking area.

And after the walk…

A reasonably priced restaurant we recommend after your walk is Scarlet Begonias. Located in Brunswick, they recently moved from Main Street to 16 Station Avenue located near where the new train station will be located. To be honest, most of our experience was in their old location (which we liked a lot) – the jury is still out about whether their eclectic decor and food will survive the move into their new quarters. Feel free to comment if you have more recent experience.