Like most places in Maine, the Audubon is beautiful in summer when the meadows above the Presumpscot River are green and sporting wild flowers…but for Mainers like us, it’s equally beautiful in winter.
We’re not off put by the cold or snow.
We find that sometimes the cold and snow simply enhance our experience…or alter it in an enticing way as we observe the same scene under different auspices.
The scene becomes more peaceful and quiet in winter.
Our snow shoes gave out just several hundred feet down the path – a strap and buckle came loose, and fixing it with cold fingers on the trail proved fruitless. No matter – we just walked the trails of Gilsland Farm at the Audubon in Falmouth in our boots. The paths were already packed down, so we didn’t sink to our knees in the snow.
Sixty-five acres comprising an estuary on the river, open fields, an orchard and salt marsh, woods, hills and a community garden with a weathered barn make up the Audubon’s grounds. The trails meander around the perimeter, up and down gently rolling hills.
In a strange El Niño winter in Maine last year, we had dinner downtown on a Thursday evening in what felt like spring, and then nine inches of wet snow fell the next day. We jumped out of bed early on Saturday when the sun was shining full onto pristine freshly fallen snow. The trees were still heavily laden.
Bright blue sky, a puff of a cloud or two, warm temperatures, and the vibrancy of the still-new snow tempted us to head out, and fast, before the snow began melting off the trees.
I find getting out early in winter is the cherry on the cake – nearly always, the best part of the day.
At the Audubon, mom-friends with papooses on their chests, dads pulling babies in wooden sleds, toddlers sledding on the short slopes all joined us.
Like all outdoor winter spots in Maine, there are not crowds. There are just enough “neighbors” partaking and enjoying the space. We are always respectful of one another. In the north, we politely say hello, share a quip about the weather, and then continue on our way. We don’t want a long conversation, or at least my husband and I don’t.
We just want to be kind and respectful and let them enjoy the outdoors alone, as we wish to.
The Audubon is off Route 1 in Falmouth, just five minutes from downtown Portland.
In addition to nature for all to enjoy, there is a modern environmental center that offers programs to the public year-round in addition to day camps, a Children’s Discovery Room, and a Teacher’s Resource Center.
Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action.