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Welcome to Wells & Sanford

Head east off I-95 at Exit 19, and you’ll come into Wells, a beautiful coastal community with seven miles of oceanfront, sandy beaches, antique and rare book stores, and upscale and casual dining options. The communities of Sanford and Springvale are located just eight miles west of I-95. Here you’ll find the origins of Maine’s Shaker culture in Alfred, an historic baseball park in Sanford and, by the end of June, opportunities to pick your own strawberries.

 

1. Wells Beach

Wells Beach

The jewel of this exit is, of course, Wells Beach, a white, sandy beach nearly three miles long. The village of Wells Beach, at roughly the midpoint of the beach’s length, has everything you need for a day at the beach: a few shops and snack bars, an arcade and restrooms. Parking is available here or at either end of the beach for a fee. Most of the rest of the beach is lined with cottages.

2. Trail Rides with Living Wells Farm

Living Wells Farm, a horseback riding and boarding center less than 10 miles from the beach and resort areas, offers trail rides year-round. A staff member will lead the way off Living Wells Farm through miles of conservation land—one of the most relaxed ways to explore Wells. All levels of riders are welcome. (livingwellsfarm.com)

3. Wonder Mountain Fun Park

With a go-kart track (single and double-seated karts), mini-golf, a human maze, a game room and ice cream, Wonder Mountain Fun Park has something for everyone. The fun park is at 270 Post Road (Route 1) in Wells. (207–646–9655; wondermountainfunpark.com)

4. Marsh and Estuary Paddle Adventures

Webhannet River Kayak Rentals makes it easy to explore Wells Harbor in a solo or tandem kayak for a couple hours. One of the suggested routes is what they’ve dubbed the Marsh and Estuary Paddle Adventure. Kayak around the town dock into Wells Harbor, where there are two main estuary “brooks” to choose from. The first, Lower Landing, wraps around Lord’s Lobster Restaurant and carries you into the estuary along the Harbor Road. The second, Upper Landing, heads toward Drakes Island and winds through the estuary. (webhannetriver.com)

5. Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge

Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Gordon Chibroski/Portland Press Herald

The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, established to protect valuable salt marshes and estuaries for migratory birds, is a beautiful place for a hike. The headquarters are just minutes from I-95 on Route 9 in Wells (321 Port Road). The Carson Trail, a one-mile walking trail, is handicapped accessible and is open daily dawn to dusk. The trail is a short, level walk along well-maintained paths through the trees, providing views of the tidal marsh and local birds and wildlife. Pets on leashes are welcome. (fws.gov/refuge/rachel_carson)

6. Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm

Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm. Photo by Lauryn Hottinger

This National Estuarine Research Reserve offers hiking on trails through forests, salt marsh and the beach, and there are exhibits, bird-banding demonstrations and other events. An easy, family-friendly, two-mile hike winds through the estuary and affords views of the ocean, the beaches and marshland. The trail back to the reserve goes through a shady forest and an open field of milkweed and wildflowers. Laudholm Farm is at 342 Laudholm Farm Road, just off Route 1 (the public entrance is near 55 Skinner Mill Road). A small admission fee, which includes parking, is charged in the summer months. (207–646–1555; wellsreserve.org)

7. Wells Antiques Show & Sale

Whether you are a collector or a dealer looking for fine furniture or a tourist looking for a souvenir, there’s something in everyone’s price range at this annual antiques show and sale, Sunday, June 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., attracting vendors from all over New England. Lunch and snacks are available for purchase. Rain or shine. Laudholm Farm is at 342 Laudholm Farm Road, right off Route 1. (800–641–6908; facebook.com/wellsantiquesshow)

8. Sanford Mainers Baseball

The Sanford Mainers will open their home season under the lights on June 7. The Mainers are part of the New England Collegiate (wood bat) League and play their summer schedule at Goodall Park (circa 1915) at 38 Roberts St., Sanford. Followers compare the experience of watching the Mainers to going to a minor league game in Portland, as the best Division I, II and III college players from across the nation become a part of the local community while pursuing their baseball dreams. The roster includes players from more than a dozen states, including Maine. The combination of baseball talent, a historic park (where Babe Ruth played in 1919) and the passion of local fans makes for a great experience. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students, seniors and military. Home games typically start at 6:30 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30. (207–324–0010)

9. Pick Your Own Strawberries

Many local farms begin offering pick-your-own strawberry days in mid- to late-June through early July. In Sanford, check out Lavigne’s Strawberry Farm at 158 Whichers Mill Road. (207–324–5497)

10. Alfred Shaker Museum

Alfred Shaker Museum. Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald

It was at Alfred that Shaker elder Joseph Brackett wrote what is perhaps the best-known Shaker song, Simple Gifts, in 1848. The composer Aaron Copland later made this melody famous in the score of his ballet Appalachian Spring. Simple Gifts is now the official town song of Alfred. Though the remaining Alfred Shakers merged with the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake (near Gray) in 1931, folks in Alfred have preserved their Shaker heritage by renovating a Shaker carriage house as a museum and educational center. The museum at 118 Shaker Hill Road is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 1–4 p.m., through November. (alfredshakermuseum.org)

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