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Welcome to Gray-New Gloucester

This area is worth a trip for hikers, golfers, bikers, antiques lovers, animal lovers and history enthusiasts. You’ll find the only active (albeit small) Shaker community in the world; an oddly shaped granite building originally built for the 1893 Chicago World’s fair; and an animal park—not a zoo—that rehabilitates wildlife. You’re sure to sight a moose there.

 

1. Harvest-Fest at Maine Wildlife Park

Enjoy a variety of old-time harvest games and activities for the whole family Oct. 13–14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at Maine Wildlife Park. Old-time harvest games includes favorites from the past such as the giant spider legs, pumpkin long jump, rodent barn maze and lil’ hayride. Come ready to crawl, dodge, jump, search and maybe get a little wet. Regular admission rates apply. The park is at 56 Game Farm Road, Gray. The last day for the season is Nov. 12. (207–657–977 or mainewildlifepark.com)

2. Spring Meadows Golf Club

One mile off I-95, exit 63, you’ll find an 18-hole championship golf course with a versatile design and amenities to entertain everyone. At each hole, there are four sets of tees to meet the different abilities of everyone, from seasoned pros to newbies. Swing by for a round of 18 or 9 holes; rates for play depend on the time of day. In addition to the golf course, Spring Meadows Golf Club offers a full driving range, a practice putting green and a bar and lounge area with indoor and outdoor seating. Spring Meadows is located at 59 Lewiston Road, just across from Cole Farms Restaurant in Gray. (207–657–2586 or springmeadowsgolf.com)

3. Cole Farms Restaurant & Pub

Cole Farms Restaurant & Pub. Courtesy photo

With seating for 235 people, Cole Farms is one of the busiest spots in Gray. It’s the place to go with multiple generations, some wanting country dinners and some wanting burgers or flat-bread pizza. They’re open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 64 Lewiston Road in Gray, just across from Spring Meadows Golf Club. (207–657–4714 or colefarms.com)

4. Maine State Building at Poland Spring Resort

It’s hard to believe such a building could be constructed in the late 19th century from granite and slate, sent from Maine to Chicago and later moved back to Poland Spring by train and ox cart. The Maine State Building was originally built in 1893 for the Chicago World’s Fair (also known as the Columbian Exposition). The first floor is square-ish, but then the second floor is shaped like a stop sign. It’s truly worth a ride out to Poland Spring Resort, one of the gems of Route 26, at 37 Preservation Way, Poland Spring. Fall hours are Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 9–11 a.m. through October. (207–998–4142; polandspringps.org)

5. Electric bike rentals

See New Gloucester on electric bikes from Norumbega Green Rentals. An electric bike will allow you to visit New Gloucester’s scenic lake beaches and historical sites while getting exercise. The bikes work by sensing when the rider needs an extra push (like on a steep hill,) and kicking in a little power. Norumbega Green Rentals is at 402 Woodman Road, New Gloucester. (norumbegagreen.com)

6. Fall Harvest Festival at Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village

The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in New Gloucester, the only active Shaker community in the world, is hosting its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The free festival includes wagon rides as well as face painting and gourd decorating for the kids and woodcarving and cider pressing demonstrations. Be ready to shop for freshly picked apples, homemade apple fritters, mums and other late-season bloomers, as well as Shaker treasures from the gift store. The village is at 707 Shaker Road (Route 26). (207–926–4597; maineshakers.com)

7. The Market at Pineland Farms

Pineland Farms is a 5,000-acre working farm in the hills of New Gloucester that offers a variety of educational and recreational activities year-round. And they also have an incredible market, worth the drive out of your way for locally sourced produce, meats, cheeses and baked goods and a great selection of beer, wine and gifts. The market is at 15 Farm View Drive, New Gloucester, and is open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and weekends 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (pinelandfarms.org)

8. Morgan Meadow Wildlife Management Area

Located in Gray and Raymond, Morgan Meadow is a good place for hiking, hunting and canoeing. Over 1,000 acres of land, owned and maintained by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, includes both mixed forest and significant wetland habitat, representing one of the largest pieces of open space in this region of southern Maine. Eagles, deer and water birds can be observed from the wilderness habitat, and there are 5.5 miles of hiking trails with scenic views. Also of interest is Glover’s Wig, a unique boulder ridge that offers the perfect opportunity for exploration. Parking is available on Egypt Road near the town line of Gray and Raymond.

9. Range Pond State Park

Range Pond State Park. Photo by Shannon Bryan

Range Pond State Park in Poland has 750 acres of land, a picnic area with grills, a playground, ball fields and a wide sandy beach. The park, operated by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at 26 State Park Road. There’s a small entrance fee. (207–998–4104)

10. Jack o’Lantern Spectacular

The century-old McLaughlin Garden & Homestead has massive stone walls and a huge barn, a unique setting for the Jack o’Lantern Spectacular Oct. 21–22. Be warned: This landmark is upwards of 30 miles off the Interstate at 97 Main St., South Paris. The homestead closes for the season Nov. 1. (207–743–8820; mclaughlingarden.com)