Reid State Park is one of the most beautiful places in Maine. It has sandy beaches with birds nesting in the dunes, a lagoon, forests and views of nearby lighthouses and lichen-covered islands. The park alone is worth the 55-minute drive from Portland — heck, the drive is worth the drive. About half of the car ride is down Georgetown Island, which is wooded and offers peeks of the rivers and bay. While you’re there you might want to take a stroll through Bath, which is on the way. Or, if nothing else at least grab a quick lunch and poke around Ed’s Stuff.
DESTINATION: Bath and Georgetown
HOW MUCH: $14 for lunch and a walk in the park, a paperback and a sack of candy.
WHO: Photographers, people who just need some solitude someplace stunning.
WHY: It’s close by, but feels far away. It’s also pretty and not many people go there in the fall/winter (quiet). But Bath is on the way, which offers food and some quirky shops.
WHEN: The park is open year round and serves the tourists with their big umbrellas and wheely coolers in the summer, and the quiet nature-lovers in the fall and winter. Be careful if you go after a storm because the steps to the beach are slippery and your car will need to slide over a couple of bridges to get to Reid State Park.
This is the Mile Beach, one of two connected sandy beaches. Geese took off and flew into frame.
There's rocks to climb on.
Deer hang out by the grills and picnic area, it seems.
Rocks jut toward the ocean.
A flock of sanderlings.
The snow, sand, sea, sky looks like a Rothko.
A rainbow is caught in the mist of a wave.
A lagoon! The park beaches separate the bay from this lagoon, which makes for a great little-kid swimming hole in the summer.
This park has a few places where people can sit and enjoy the view.
Dogs are allowed on the beach, but they must be on leashes. Endangered birds live in the dunes and free-running dogs further endanger them and their nests.
$4.50 per Maine adult | Open daily, 9 a.m. to sunset | 375 Seguinland Road, Georgetown — 55 minutes from Portland | maine.gov
That photo slideshow demonstrates the top reason you should visit Reid State Park in the off-season: It’s serene. Summer is for the lotioned toddlers and frisbee-tossing teens, but this time of year is for people who want a bit of peace. On the day I went, a flock of sanderlings were chasing and then running away from the waves and pecking hungrily for sand-dwelling bugs.
This is pretty much everything you want from a park. It has well placed benches, picnic tables, grills (see you next summer, grills), bathrooms, ample parking and the chance to take a 3-mile round-trip walk on the sandy beach or, if you prefer, a long walk through the woods. You can cross-country ski and fish in the park. Also, if you keep him/her/them on a leash, you can bring your dog.
Open daily until 5:30 p.m. | Corner of Front and Centre streets | facebook.com
Cafe Creme is a great place to refuel before exploring Front Street (the main drag of downtown Bath). They have Coffee By Design coffees, plus fresh baked goods (pie, cookies, cupcakes, date bars …) and a small, ever-rotating lunch menu of sandwiches, quiches and salads. A half panini and a salad will run you about $5 to $6. The cafe is only a few hundred feet off of Route 1 and is the cornerstone meeting place of downtown Bath. It’s bright enough (when the sun is out), but dark and worn-in enough to feel cozy. Add in the free magazines and Cat Stevens backdrop music and you’ve got a good way to burn 20 minutes … or a few hours …
19 and 27 Centre St., Bath | Maine-made candy and cheap books | bathsweetshoppe.com
Two fun, cheap shops sit on the same block of Centre Street as the cafe. Both of them will bring out your inner teenager (if too much of your inner teen comes out, there’s a skatepark down the road). The first one down the hill is Bath Sweet Shoppe, which makes a lot of its own candies including chocolate ships (yes, ships). I picked up a bag of cinnamon red hots and a pack of teaberry gum (total bill of less than $3), but envied the house-made peanut brittle, candy ginger and fresh jumbo turtles. Most of the candy comes in small bags ranging from $1-4.
Next door is Paperback Trader, which has tons of DVDs and CDs for $5. Books are $1.50 and up. It lacks the coziness of a small-town book shop (and the day I went the overbearing incense gave me a headache within three minutes), but it has unbeatable prices and a good selection. The B-52’s Greatest Hits will set you back $5 and season three of Buffy The Vampire Slayer will be $10.
Bath has a bunch of other shops on Front Street if you have time, including: bookstores, antique shops, a kitchen store, Solo Bistro for dinner, Reny’s and some clothing shops.
97 Main St., Woolwich | 443-2732 | eds-stuff.com
Ed’s Stuff is a few hundred feet from the turn-off to Reid. It’s one of my favorite if-I-have-time pitstops. A sign on Ed’s door says, “Rain, hail, sleet or snow … I probably will not show!!!! But call if you need” — which explains why he wasn’t there on a more-or-less pleasant Monday after that snow storm. Lucky for you, I’ve been to Ed’s before. On the outside it’s sort of a heap. A heap of bicycles, sinks, toilets, ironing tables, buoys, trunks … and if you can find a price tag, you could buy those things in Ed’s off-hours by dropping the tag and some cash through the slot.
If you do get in, you’ll find the seemingly-small building stuffed to the gills with furniture, antique tools, Coca Cola memorabilia, mirrors and photo frames along with lots of odd knickknacks. One day I went and he had a stack of silky buckskin-colored leather. You never know.
Get out of dodge (at least for a little while) with a mini adventure. These excursions can be done in a day – sometimes an afternoon – and will hopefully lead you to places you’ve never been. This is Maine, after all, and we all need some adventuring.