© John Bald
along Route 26^^^
It is not at all surprising that Route 26 began as a Native American mountain-to-sea trade route. Follow us on our quick northbound tour from where the route intersects with I-95 in Gray to tiny Woodstock in the foothills of the western mountains. Of course, thrilling outdoor recreation can be found along each turn, so take your time. Just one visit to the places along Route 26 will have you coming back for a lifetime.
Gray To be guaranteed a sighting of the state’s beloved moose, you need not go any further than The Maine Wildlife Park. It’s home to 30 of Maine’s indigenous species—many of which arrived at the park because they were orphaned or injured—and provides a valuable wildlife and conservation education resource. Park guides offer scheduled tours and talks, and the park hosts a number of events throughout the year.
New Gloucester Next, visit the cluster of tidy buildings that comprise the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, for a look at life as it has been since the community was established in 1783. There are tours, a museum, library, workshops, and a shop available for visitors. Nearby, Pineland Farms is a pastoral 5,000-acre site that has been transformed into an organic farm, business campus, and welcoming recreational and event venue.
Poland Poland Spring Preservation Park is home to the Poland Spring Water Museum—you can even see the original spring, the Maine State Building from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and the serene All Souls Chapel. Next door is the Donald Ross-designed course surrounding America’s Oldest Golf Resort.
Oxford North of Poland is the community of Oxford, now home to a new thrill— The Oxford Casino. Opened in 2012, it quickly grew in popularity with local and visiting fun-seekers looking to take a chance at going home a winner. Oxford is also home to the famous Oxford Plains Speedway 8
and its Annual 250 held each summer. September welcomes the Oxford County Fair with its demolition derby, rides, and harness racing.
Norway Norway offers the nicest kinds of diversions. Shop at locally owned stores housed in buildings that date from the early 1900s. Or visit the annual three-day Norway Arts Festival in July, featuring more than 120 artists celebrating visual and performing arts. North of town you’ll find Lake Pennesseewassee (Norway Lake) to paddle the day away or fish for brown trout, pickerel, and landlocked salmon.
South Paris The McLaughlin Garden & Homestead sits at the center of this community, with its respected horticultural pedigree including Maine’s largest collection of lilacs. Celebration Barn Theater showcases its internationally known school for physical theater that attracts touring artists, actors, dancers, mimes, jugglers, and storytellers. The town is also home to the Paris Hill Historic District, a well-preserved collection of 19th-century homes and civic buildings worth seeking out.
Woodstock & Bryant Pond Our journey through this part of the region ends at Bryant Pond and Woodstock. This rural town and its pretty pond are well-loved by many native Mainers. A unique claim to fame? It’s home of the last “crank” call ever made—well, the last call with a crank phone ever made. The pond is also home to the University of Maine 4-H Camp & Learning Center.
mainelakesandmountains.com • 1-888-688-0099
Published on Dec 30, 2016
The official vacation planner to Maine's Lakes & Mountains region. Discover year-round adventure in this spectacular four-season destination...