Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park
The best part about these trails is that they're minutes from downtown Freeport...and Bessie's, which I will talk about later. This park offers 5 miles of walking trails, a wheelchair and stroller accessible path, picnic areas, restrooms, and public nature programs. There is a fee upon entry, but you are welcome to walk in and enjoy the park during daylight hours, even when the gate is closed.
Wolfe's Neck opened in 1972 when over 200 acres of ecosystems was given to the State by the Smith family of Freeport. This land includes hemlock forests, a salt marsh estuary and rocky shores of Casco Bay and the Harraseeket River. According to the brochure/map, the park was named after Henry and Rachel Woolfe, the first Europeans to settle here permanently. Why they removed the second "o" in Woolfe we may never know. We do know that they added the "e" in honor of Henry's surname. I often wonder why people choose to complicate the spelling of names. That said, not my chair, not my problem.
There are many different hikes here, but we opted for the Harrraseeket Hike, a 1.8 mile loop that includes woods and shoreline. We left a heart in the middle of this trail, somewhere not too far from the "Of Rocks and Hemlocks" sign shown above. Wish I could give more specifics, but we did this route without looking at a map and I didn't really have a clue where we were. Being "lost" is the thing my 12 year old dislikes the most about hiking with me. Unfortunately, it's the thing I enjoy the most, going wherever the trail takes us. I also realize that we always end up back at the trail head somehow, so in my opinion, we were never really lost. I did look at the trail map after the fact, and highlighted the route we took. See picture below. Maps can be found at the main trailhead from parking lot 1.
After your hike, check out Bessie's Farm Goods at 1 Grace Lane in Freeport on your way home. It's a 7 minute drive, worth every minute. Their store is closed, but they still sell their baked goods, delicious soup and locally sourced home goods from their front porch. I picked up some coconut curry chicken soup for my lunch. The boys, of course, got brownies and crumb cake. What's the point of life if you can't have dessert for lunch sometimes? There is a box to leave cash or check.
For directions from Main Street in downtown Freeport, take Bow Street (across from L.L. Bean). Continue on Bow Street (which becomes Flying Point Road) for 2.3 miles. Turn right at Wolfe's Neck Road and follow it to the park entrance on the left in 1.4 miles. You will pass the main entrance to Wolfe's Neck Farm on your way.