Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick
Blueberry fields, farmer's markets, miles of wooded trails, and a labyrinth. I could not be more jazzed about this discovery! Warning, this post may be long as I tend to ramble when I get excited.
This 331-acre farm includes 5.9 miles of trails passing through forest, pasture, and working farmland. Between 1994 and 2008, it was acquired with strong community support and has since become a model for active-farmland protection. Hunting is allowed here, so please remember your blaze orange. Dogs are also allowed (woot!), but must be on leash and are not allowed in the labyrinth.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust (BTLT) has worked hard to return this historically important dairy farm to active farming. They lease the open farmland and farm buildings to a family that cultivates and manages the agricultural lands. Crystal Spring Community Farm manages over one hundred acres of organic wild Maine blueberries, supplies local restaurant and offers agricultural education programs. BTLT operates the Saturday Farmers' market here from May through October. In addition to building over five miles of public trails, creating a community garden, supporting the establishment of a community solar energy project, and building a public outdoor labyrinth. B T L T!! You can't see me, but I am pumping my fist in the air as I shout those letters. They are really do some good work out there.
There are two different parking areas for these trails. North trails can be accessed from a parking lot off of Maurice Drive. South trails can be accessed by the parking lot off of Pleasant Hill Road, near the farm. I chose to park near the South trails. You can choose to go any which way you'd like, as long as you make it to the labyrinth.
From the parking off of Pleasant Hill Road, you will see a BTLT shed and the trailhead marker to the right of it.
This is the start of the East Trail. Here's a map to help orient yourselves.
I followed the East Trail through the woods until it connected with the Blueberry Loop.
The light in these woods is divine. As you leave the woods and arrive at the open field, you will see fall colors on the ground and blue skies above. This was my experience and I am hoping the same for you.
From here, cross over Pleasant Hill Road and connect with the Field Trail. Once you've arrived at the intersection with the Main Loop, go right. This will lead you past more farmland until you reach the community garden.
To find the labyrinth from the garden, take the yellow trail. There is a trailhead just past the far left of the garden. The labyrinth is off to the right of the yellow trail. You really can't miss it if you stay on yellow.
If you are new to labyrinths, the sign here will explain the purpose. This is what it says, "The ancient practice of walking a labyrinth has been known to nearly all cultures and religions around the globe. The path, marked with stone, is to be walked deliberately. From the entrance, a single route winds its way to the center. It is not a maze - there are no dead ends. Return by the same path."
Though I love the suggestion, I did not take my time or walk deliberately here. In fact, I didn't walk the labyrinth at all, because I'd left Romy tied to a tree so that I could hide our Seek'em. Dogs are not allowed this deliberate walk, which is wise, because "deliberate" and "walk" do not belong in the same sentence when referring to dogs. Not mine anyway. My only option was to dash across the well planned pathway to the three benches in the center. Look under the bench to the left and you will find the Seek'em.
These trails are well marked and filled with educational signs including: the Wabanaki of this land; the sandplain grasslands; and farming history. I learned some fascinating facts from these signs and could really write for days about what I learned. But it's time for me to wrap things up. You will have to visit and read the signs in person.
As you leave the labyrinth, return by the same path, or forge a new one. We returned by taking the Main Loop until it connected with the Pleasant Hill Trail. This crosses the street to connect with the East Trail, leading back to the parking lot. There are maps throughout these trails and you could travel a hundred different ways. Enjoy!