If you find yourself needing a peaceful walk during your Maine vacation at our bed and breakfast, try the trails at Dodge Point. This beautiful land preserve along the Damariscotta River is just 3 miles south of the Newcastle Inn on River Road.
The property has some rich history and is important to the region’s ecology as well. It has more than 8,000 feet of shoreline along the Damariscotta River that includes pocket sand and pebble beaches, some great vistas, freshwater ponds and stream-cut ravines. The 508-acre peninsula’s ecology includes old growth trees and some critical plant communities. Native American shell heaps and the site of a brick-making operation from the late 1800s provide evidence of how humans have used the land. During the 19th century, about 200 people worked at some 30 brickyards in the area. Dodge Point slopes gently from a height of 240 feet to the river. At some places, cliffs offer views several miles downriver.
Today the local economy relies on oyster farming along the lower river. Because Dodge Point remains undeveloped, the oyster farms benefit from the unpolluted runoff into the river, which keeps the water quality high. Outdoor recreational activities at Dodge Point include hiking, cross-country skiing, skating, swimming and fishing.
Four loop trails cross the property. The Shore Trail is the longest at 2.8 miles. In summer, visitors can follow a self-guided tour by borrowing a “Discovery Trail map” from the kiosk. The map offers descriptions of 27 different plant species along the trails.
The 1.2-mile Ravine Trail is steeper and more challenging. It’s not as crowded, and quiet hikers can often see fox, raccoon, squirrels, deer and an occasional moose.
The Land for Maine’s Future Board acquired the Dodge Point property on behalf of the State of Maine from the Edward W. Freeman Trust in March 1989. The Damariscotta River Association and the Maine Coastal Program also pooled funds to acquire the land for future generations to enjoy.
There are no facilities at Dodge Point, and visitors are asked to follow a carry-in/carry-out policy.