One of the secrets to getting my kids on trails, is to pair our nature walk with an activity they enjoy. Last Saturday, that meant poppin' tags with Finn - and I'm not talking about the Jay-Z version of shopping. We were poppin' tags Macklemore-style, at Goodwill Buy the Pound. Thrifting "the bins" is one of Finn's favorite things to do. If this language sounds foreign to you, don't worry, I'll shed some light on the pastime. I will also share details on the Shaw Cherry Hill Farm Trails that are conveniently located 3 minutes from Goodwill in Gorham. Finn found some thrift store treasures, then I found some of my own on this family friendly trail.
If you enjoy digging through piles of random items in search of the occasional vintage gem, you will love Goodwill Buy the Pound. Located in the Gorham Industrial Park at 34 Hutcherson Drive, this warehouse-like facility is more than your average thrift shop. The giant space is filled with at least 20 deep bins on wheels. Every 15 minutes or so, a handful of staff slip into the room from the doors out back, gracefully roll the bins out, then replace them with new bins. The bins are a giant mess of junk and treasures, you never know what you'll find. People spend hours here and some make it their occupation. You can easily spot the experts - they know exactly what they're looking for and which brands will make the best online sale. Finn loves finding brand name clothing and paying next to nothing for it. Some people go for the nostalgia of finding items from decades past. Either way, it's a trip.
The trails at Shaw Cherry Hill Farm are a quick drive from Goodwill. They are also adjacent to Sebago Brewing, so you really could make a day of this.
This 258-acre, public recreational area was built by the Shaw Brother's Family Foundation (owners of Shaw Brother's Construction). It includes a large parking lot, seven trails , an ice skating pond, a children's storybook walk, and access to the Presumpscot River for hand carrying kayaks and canoes. The trails are groomed in the winter for cross-country skiing, snow mobiling and sledding. This is a great place for biking, especially for those early bikers, since the trails are wide and mostly flat. Dogs are allowed on-leash and the trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. It truly is a place for all ages and abilities.
Soon after starting your walk, you will arrive at the giant bear carved from a pine tree stump by Tim Pickett from Elliot. He also carved six benches that are placed along the trails for resting.
When you arrive at the bear, do as it says and "bear right" for the storybook walk. This is the Eco Maine Trail, which winds through the woods on the right side of the property. This trail will circle back to the open fields, connecting with the Burleigh Lovett Trail. You will eventually return to a section of woods and the Canal Trail, which leads all the way to the water's edge.
For your return trip, you may choose to take a right onto the Cherry Hill Trail, which will connect with the Burleigh Lovett Trail then lead you past the Red Angus cows that arrived here in May - the first cattle on this property in 65 years.
I love how these trails transition between cozy woods and expansive fields. There's so much variation here, which makes you feel as if you've done much more than a couple of miles.
I plan to return here with our boys for skating this winter. Of course we'll stop for some thifting along the way...and likely a hot chocolate for them, coffee for me. It is possible, some days, for everyone in the family to get their needs met. Saturday was one of those days for us. The key is to acknowledge the harmonious days, amidst the challenging ones. Find the treasures in the mess and focus your attention there.