Located just 5 minutes from Higgins Beach, this preserve offers wildflowers, monarch sightings, open fields, woods, wildlife, wetlands, and a gorgeous old metal barn. The 161 acres and 1.5 miles of trails found here also includes a .25 mile Universal Access/ADA Trail named Eleanor's Trail. This rare open space contains headwaters of the Spurwink River and abuts the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Rescue. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed on Eleanor's Trail.
We came here for the first time several years ago and opted for Monty's Trail, a 1.25 mile loop that starts at the old Swallow Barn and winds through gorgeous fields and forests. We spotted two monarch butterflies during this walk, along with a field of milkweed. Good to know there are places keeping these gorgeous pollinators alive and kicking. Another good thing to know: most monarchs leave Maine in mid to late September for their final destination in Mexico. You still have time to observe them this fall.
Now for some history. This preserve, with abundant water for growing crops and raising livestock, was farmed continuously for over 180 years. In 1826, the Robinson family created the first farmstead. Three generations of Robinson's lived here until 1955. The Coulthard brothers purchased the farm in 1955 and grew vegetables for Hannaford and Shaw's. The Eastern end of the property was owned and farmed by the Lund/Johnson family, who raise dairy cows.
Jerrerd Benjamin bought both properties in the 1960's to raise cattle, which he did here for 40 years. My husband remembers driving by this farm as a kid on his way to Higgin's Beach, and seeing Jerrerd in his old, crumbling barn as an old man. He died at the ripe old age of 92 and it sounds like he farmed until close to the end of his life. According to the Scarborough Land Trust, "it was his dream to conserve this beautiful property."
In 2014, the Scarborough Land Trust purchased the property from Mr. Benjamin's children through the allocation of a town land bond and community campaign. We are so glad that they did.
When we visited this trail a few years back, we left a goldenrod heart filled with acorns on the trail. Here are some pics of it...with a picture of Henry as a young lad.
I will leave you with a few old pictures of this absolutely stellar preserve. For trail maps and details, visit the Scarbrough Land Trust's website here. I really hope you can make it to this one!