I'm taking a vacation the week of 6/29 - 7/5 at Ocean Park (the southern "quieter" end of Old Orchard Beach), so I thought I'd invite the Couch Potato group to discover the trails of Ocean Park with me and my husband. (significant others are welcome)
Besides the beach and the quaint streets of Ocean Park, there are 2 walking trails maintained by the Ocean Park Association. There should be time to do both trails. Afterwards, we can pick up a sandwich at the Ocean Park Sub Shop (they have great wraps, lobster rolls, and baked goods) and eat on the beach in front of the Billow House where I'm staying. After dinner, some of us might want to get a treat at an old fashioned ice cream parlor (Ocean Park's famous Soda Fountain).
I can't find any pictures of the trails themselves, but they are nice, easy trails away from the throngs of people on the beach. We will have to take some pictures, so that the Internet will have some in the future! Anyway, here's some pictures of the Ocean Park beach and community.
Red & Blue Dot Trails:
(length 1 mile loop, estimated walking time 30 minutes)
These trails loop through the Ocean Park Association's Guild Park, an area of tall, majestic, rare old-growth hemlocks and white pines known locally as the Cathedral Pines. The Red Dot is the main loop trail, and the Blue Dot is a spur that offers an alternative crossing over Hemlock Brook.
Ted Wells Memorial Trail:
(length 1/2 mile round trip, estimated walking time 45 minutes)
This trail leads through a forest of white pines, red maples and cinnamon ferns, transitions through an area of mixed shrubs and pitch pines, and ends at a platform with bench overlooking the salt marsh at Goosefare Brook.
Take a Trail Guide from the sign-in box and begin walking the trail. Try to find the plants pictured in the Trail Guide, and read why this upland area is important to the salt marsh ecosystem. Look for Arbor Tags identifying red maple, Eastern hemlock, witch-hazel and white pine trees.
At the edge of the woods, the trail moves onto a 350-foot wooden boardwalk. Notice how the vegetation changes as you move through this transitional area and get closer to the salt marsh. The trail terminates in a raised observation platform from which you can enjoy spectacular views of the marsh. While on the platform, examine the educational sign that identifies the different birds that may be seen.
We can meet at the parking lot at 4 pm, or you can meet me on the beach in front of the Billow House anytime during the day if you want to get a few rays on the beach before the walk. We will have chairs, umbrellas, and sunblock. I'll have my cell phone with me, so call me anytime.
If the weather is bad, we can try again the next day.