I usually seek out longer trails with my kids, because well, longer trails mean more time in the woods. Plus, spending time with my kids in an environment free from technology and to-do's means there is absolutely nothing that can distract me from being completely present with them. This adventure was far from long. Still, I'd put it on the list because it's so unique. It's also a sweet little jaunt through a beautiful patch of forest.
Located in York, Steedman Woods is a nature reserve on a forested peninsula, surrounded by the York River and Barrell's Mill Pond. According to the sign, "Richard Steedman gave the land to Old York in 1978 to be kept 'forever wild'". Sounds like Richard would have been fast friends with our man Baxter. Barrell's Mill Pond was created by a dam in 1726. It was once known as Meeting House Creek and was the site of much of York's history for the first 300 years. It was once the site of an old mill and in 1882, the pond was used for cutting ice for the Boston market. Pictures of the old ice house and pier can be found at the entrance to the causeway leading to the Wiggly Bridge. And the bridge, is the coolest part of this walk.
This miniature suspension bridge, built in 1936, carries you across the tidal flow from the pond to the river. A man made causeway leads to the bridge, which continues onto the short, looping wooded path with a storybook trail in Steedman Woods. The Wiggly Bridge is the smallest suspension bridge in the U.S. and possibly the world!
We parked on the shoulder of Lilac Lane (or route 103). From here, it's a short walk to the causeway and less than a mile to cross the bridge and loop through Steedman Woods. To extend your trip, stop at the Wiggly Bridge Distillery and/or the Bagel Basket at 280 York St (p.s they have gluten free bagels and an outside window for ordering).
This is an hour drive from Portland, which may be more of a commitment than you're looking for, but we did leave a heart here for you to find...if you're up for the challenge. Hint, once you cross the wiggly bridge, take the trail to the right. Start looking for a small opening in the woods on your left. Here are some pics to help you out. You can also check "history lesson" off your list, along with reading, adventuring, and gym. A full curriculum, outdoors.