FORT WILLIAM HENRY AND COLONIAL PEMAQUID
Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site is located at the entrance to Pemaquid Harbor, Maine, one of the earliest sites of European occupation in North America. It was used as a seasonal fishing station as early as the 1610s and was the location of a permanent village settled between 1625 and 1629. In 1677, Fort Charles, the first of three forts on the site was built. Extensive archaeological excavations have unearthed 14 foundations of 17th- and 18th-century structures and the officers' quarters for Fort William Henry and Fort Frederick. A museum displays hundreds of artifacts found on the site, dating from prehistoric times through the colonial period. Musket balls, coins, pottery, and early hardware are among items of interest.
The site includes an early 20th-century reconstruction of Fort William Henry housing a permanent exhibit titled Guns, Politics and Furs.
In addition to the historic buildings and sites in the park, spectacular scenery, boat launching and docking facilities (requiring registration with the park manager) and a picnic area make Colonial Pemaquid a wonderful destination during your visit to Maine.
PEMAQUID POINT LIGHTHOUSE PARK
The Pemaquid Point Light Station, built in 1827 above spectacular granite cliffs, gneiss (volcanic rock) and tilted (sedimentary) layers, has been the subject of countless paintings, photographs and the site of many marriage ceremonies. Today the lamp is automated and the adjoining Keeper's House is home to the Pemaquid Fishermen's Museum containing exhibits of the local lobster-fishing trade. Tours of the tower are available. At the new Learning Center, The Town of Bristol Parks & Recreation Commission offers summer lectures, movies, classes and concerts - all designed to help visitors to Lighthouse Park better understand the area's history, environment and culture. The park is open 365 days a year. A nominal admittance fee is charged, and restrooms are available during summer and autumn months.
PEMAQUID BEACH PARK
Pemaquid boasts one of the very few fine sand beaches north of Portland on the Maine coast. This beautiful crescent-shaped white sand beach is open to the public seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from the first week of June to mid-September. The Beachcombers' Rest Nature Center, run by the Pemaquid Watershed Association is open each day in July and August, weather permitting. The park also includes a community room, bathhouse, restrooms, refreshment stand, picnic tables, the town ball field and plenty of parking. A nominal admittance fee is charged.
This monument, quarried in the Town of Bristol, was erected in memory of Chief Samoset of nearby Loud's Island (also known as "Muscongus Island"). He greeted the Pilgrims at Plymouth, MA and also sold land to John Brown in what is now New Harbor, ME. This was the first deed executed in New England. The monument is located on Route 32 at the west side of the entrance to New Harbor.
HARRINGTON MEETING HOUSE
The Meeting House was built from 1772-75 and contains a small museum of old photographs, clothing and books. The adjoining cemetery contains gravestones of historical interest. It is maintained by the Pemaquid Historical Association and is open July and August, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2:00 p.m. -4:30 p.m.
THE OLD ROCK SCHOOLHOUSE
This is a one-room school house used from 1835 to 1899 and was one of 20 school districts in the Town of Bristol at that time. It is located on Rock Schoolhouse Road accessible off the Upper Round Pond Road from either Route 130 at Bristol Mills or Route 32 just south of Round Pond Village. On summer Sunday and Wednesday afternoons, volunteer docents dress in period costume and open the schoolhouse for tours. Inside, visitors find actual textbooks used by 19th century students and can attend a "class" given by a docent, recording their answers on their personal slates. Restrooms are available.
RACHEL CARSON SALT POND PRESERVE
The Salt Pond Preserve honors environmental pioneer Rachel Carson whose 1962 book, Silent Spring, exposed the impact of pesticides on the environment. She is credited with initiating the environmental movement. In an earlier work, The Edge of the Sea, Ms. Carson details her tide pool research on the shore of Muscongus Bay, near the southeastern tip of Pemaquid Point. This spot was designated as the Rachel Carson Salt Pond Preserve by The Nature Conservancy in 1966.
When you visit the Preserve, you can enjoy 40 acres of preserve lands and several hiking trails as well as observe the tides flush and replenish the water and life within the salt pond. The Preserve is a few miles north of New Harbor village on Route 32.
BRISTOL AREA LIBRARY
The Library is located on Route 130 in Pemaquid. Wireless Internet service is available and visitors to the area are most welcome. Hours are Monday, 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.; and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to noon.
FISHING VILLAGE OF NEW HARBOR
This is a true working harbor now home primarily to lobstermen. Bartholomew Gosnold, commanding the British vessel 'Concord', visited this shore in 1602. The harbor can be viewed from Southside Road in New Harbor Village or from State Route 32.
ROUND POND HARBOR
Round Pond is also a working fishing harbor. Legend states that this land-locked harbor was used by pirates, including Captain Kidd. It was known in the past for fish canning, quarrying and boat building.
Pemaquid Harbor is best viewed from the Pemaquid Lobster (Fishermans) Co-Op on the Pemaquid Harbor Road, off the Harrington Road. The summer-only "lobster pound" (restaurant and restrooms) affords a wonderful view of Fort William Henry and Colonial Pemaquid.
Monhegan Island may be seen from the Lighthouse Park and other sites on the eastern shore of the Peninsula. It is said that Mohegan was visited by Norsemen about 1000 A.D. and was a seasonal English fishing camp by the early 1600s. Boat trips are available from New Harbor.
South Bristol is a working fishing village on the western spur of the Pemaquid Peninsula. It is home to the famous 'swing bridge' over The Gut, a narrow body of water separating the north and south parts of the village.
The Bristol Recreational Trail was created in 2006 by the Town of Bristol and the Pemaquid Watershed Association (PWA), with assistance from the Maine Conservation Corps. The path is about one-mile long and is an easy thirty-minute walk. It starts at Route 130 just south of the Bristol Consolidated School, leads back to over 1,800 feet of Pemaquid estuary shoreline, then returns to the highway just north of the school near Lupine Road.
The Crooked Farm Preserve is a 130-acre natural area with more than a mile of shoreline on the Pemaquid River and Boyd Pond in Pemaquid. It is owned by the Pemaquid Watershed Association. Take Old County Road in Pemaquid by the Bristol Area Library for 0.8 mile. The parking area is on your left.
The LaVerna Preserve encompasses about 130 acres protecting some 3,600 feet of rugged shore and a diversity of upland habitats, coniferous forests, forested wetlands, freshwater marsh and gently sloping over-grown farmland. It is owned by the Nature Conservancy and maintained by the Pemaquid Watershed Association. The main trail to the shore is 1.2 miles long; two additional trails totaling 1.5 miles allow you to explore the northern and southern reaches of the Preserve. The parking area is about 3 miles north of New Harbor Village on Route 32.
THE SWIMMING HOLE AT BRISTOL DAM & BRISTOL VISITOR CENTER
The Swimming Hole at the Bristol Dam provides a warm-water alternative to the bracing seawater at Pemaquid Beach. This town tradition has continued for two centuries, and is located at Bristol Mills Visitor Center, just upstream of the dam. Parking and restrooms are available, and it is free to all.
Fine picnic areas with spectacular views of Muscongus and John's Bays are located at Colonial Pemaquid, the Pemaquid Lighthouse Park, Pemaquid Beach Park, and Moxie Cove in Round Pond. Picnic tables and restrooms are provided.
BOAT LAUNCHING AREAS
Several boat landings are available in Bristol, including:
.. Colonial Pemaquid (just past the museum at Fort William Henry, contact the Park Ranger for a sticker)
.. New Harbor (on Southside Road)
.. Hanna Landing (at the end of Cozy Cottage Road off the Huddle Road in New Harbor)
.. Pemaquid Falls Park (at the end of Town Landing Road off the Harrington Road)
.. Round Pond Harbor (and the end of Landing Road, $2 fee collected)
.. Bristol Mills, kayak and canoe launch on Route 130 at the Visitor Center
.. Moxie Cove Picnic Area on Moxie Cove Road, off Route 32 south of Round Pond village. Kayak and canoe launch only and not suitable at dead low tide.