I can’t believe I’m sharing this place because it is one of our favorite secrets in Maine. My daughter didn’t want me to share it. Her exact words were, “Mom…It’s like sharing where Smurf Village is. You don’t want everyone to know!” It is one of those places that you go to escape all the craziness of life and just BE… be part of nature, be surrounded by views, and be in the moment. Mackworth Island is about 100 acres and is connected to Falmouth, Maine by a causeway. The island is home to Governor Baxter School for the Deaf but you are not allowed to go on the campus. There are two main things that draw you here…nature and fairies.
The island has a gorgeous trail around its perimeter that is about 1.5 miles long. It is a well maintained, level terrain and wide enough that you could use a jogging stroller. It is an easy walk that is great for small children and older people. The best thing about the trail are the views. There are times when you are surrounded by trees but mostly you have a view of beautiful Casco Bay and Portland. Around the trail there are benches and chair swings that face the water. It is the perfect place to just sit and let all your stress melt away. There are also side trails that lead you right down to the water and you really should take that detour so you can see views of the water even better. Dogs are allowed (always a plus) just make sure you keep them on their leash.
I come for the views but my girls come for the FAIRIES! Throughout your walk you will begin to notice that here and there you will see a fairy house tucked into a tree or a bush. My girls take fairy houses seriously and they insist the most important rule of fairy house architecture be obeyed…everything used in the construction of a fairy house must come from nature! They get so excited when they spot a fairy house on our walk. Then suddenly, about 2/3 into the trail you will come to a clearing of trees and an entire fairy village will be in front of you. The sunlight streaming in through the tops of the trees make a glow in the clearing that it looks magical and even an adult can appreciate how cool it is. There are more fairy houses than you can count and my girls go nuts looking at all the creative houses. After you appreciate all the houses, you can create a house of your own. I usually leave about 45 minutes for the girls to work together and it’s always neat to see what they come up with using simple items from our walk.
UGH…OK…here’s the bad news. Parking for this trail is kind of a nightmare since there are only 30 spots in the parking lot. If there’s not a spot then you are out of luck. You are not allowed to sit in your car and wait for a spot because since the entrance is right at the end of the causeway there would be a line of cars backed up so you have to drive back across. The gentlemen that work the gate are there to make sure everyone follows the rules and although the man we dealt with was quite rude to us I’m going to hope he was just having a bad day. However, you’ve got to take into consideration that because so few cars are allowed it ensures the trail is never crowded and many times you are the only one around.
- Bring a bathing suit and towel if you come in the summer because there are spots to go swimming.
- There is a $2 fee for Maine residents and $3 for out of state visitors. It is cash only and I would bring exact change since you do not pay at the gate, you place the money in a dropbox. Like many trail systems, it is run by an honor system so please pay the fee because it goes to maintaining this beautiful trail.
- There are bathrooms at the start of the trail but then none during the rest of the trail so plan ahead.
- My girls bring small tote bags or backpacks because they like to collect items during our walk to use when they create their fairy houses.