Saturday, April 20 – First Day of National Park Week/National Junior Ranger Day
Sunday, August 25 – National Park Service Anniversary
Saturday, September 28 – National Public Lands Day
Monday, November 11 – Veterans Day
“The entrance fee-free days hosted by the National Park Service are special opportunities to invite visitors, volunteers and veterans to celebrate some important moments for our parks and opportunities for service in those parks,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith.
The National Park System includes more than 85 million acres and includes national parks, national historical parks, national monuments, national recreation areas, national battlefields, and national seashores. There is at least one national park site in every U.S. state.
Last year, 331 million people visited national parks spending $18.2 billion, which supported 306,000 jobs across the country and had a $35.8 billion impact on the U.S. economy.
Only 115 of the 418 parks managed by the National Park Service charge entrance fees regularly, with fees ranging from $5 to $35. The other 303 national parks do not have entrance fees. The entrance fee waiver for the fee-free days does not cover amenity or user fees for activities such as camping, boat launches, transportation, or special tours.
The tiny town of Machiasport is home to about 1000 residents. I don’t think there currently are any stores in the town – that’s how small it is. Machiasport is comprised by several villages including Starboard, Larrabee, Bucks Harbor and the actual village of Machiasport. As you travel down Route 92 through the pine trees, you will go around the bend where the road meets the ocean and there you are… in the village. Currently, the village is home to the Machiasport Historical Society and beautiful Liberty Hall which is being lovingly restored.
According to Wikipedia:
Liberty Hall is set on the west side of Port Road (Maine Route 92) in the dispersed village center of Machiasport. It stands on a rise, facing east toward the Machias River. It is a two-story wood frame structure, with a front-facing gable roof, clapboard siding, and a stone foundation. The roof is topped at the front by a small tower, which has an elaborately-decorated open belvidere (viewing platform) with round-arch openings and quoined corner supports, topped by a mansard roof and weathervane. The roof is a replica of the building’s original, which was at one time replaced by a shallow-pitch pyramidal roof. The main facade is symmetrical, with a center double-door entrance topped by a lintel with bracketed molding. Flanking the entrance are doubled sash windows, taller versions of which rise on the second floor. The central second floor windows have round-arch tops. Similar windows adorn the sides, all capped with stylistically similar lintels. The building corners are quoined at the first level, and pilastered at the second. The interior is arranged with a vestibule area in the front, a meeting space on the first floor, and a performance auditorium with stage on the second floor.
Construction of the hall was authorized by the town meeting in 1873, and the building was completed the following year by Andrew Gilson, a Machias contractor and politician. The hall was used not just for town meetings, but also served as a venue for community events, meetings of community organizations such as the Grange, and as a performance venue for traveling shows. The town closed the building in 2000 due to structural conditions, and renovation efforts are currently underway by the Friends of Liberty Hall. The exterior has been restored (included the restoration of the tower’s original appearance), and funds are being raised to restore the interior
There is no doubt, Maine attracts artists of all kinds — painters, musicians, craftsmen. One store that is a treasure of local art is Expressions Gallery, located right on the main street of Machias, Maine. The Gallery and Studio have over 30 artists and craftspeople displaying and selling their work.
Shoppers can find hundreds of locally made treasures, from photographs of the beautiful local landscape, wool afghans from local sheep, to jewelry and pottery.
As a bonus, the gallery offers tons of special events that are open to the public (with reservations). They hold learning to knit groups and the very popular ‘sip and paint’ nights. Contact them to arrange a private group event.
One of the most spectacular places on earth is the “Bold Coast” of Maine. Cliffs, wild waves and crashing surf make the setting one of a kind and worth a visit. The Cutler Coast Public Lands span over 12,000 acres of bluberry barrens, forests and stunning cliffs over the Bay of Fundy.
Stay on the trail at all times to protect fragile ecosystems.
Open fires are prohibited: cook only on self-contained stoves.
Cut no live vegetation.
Carry out all trash.
• Keep pets under control at all times and on a leash (less than 4
feet) at campsites.
• Camp only at the three designated sites by Fairy Head.
Camping stays on public lands are limited to 14 days in any
• Although hunting is permitted, do not discharge weapons
within 300 feet of any posted trail or developed area or carry
loaded firearms on hiking trails or near campsites.
• ATVs are permitted on the lands north of Route 191 but may
only go on roads and trails posted as open.
• Bureau of Parks and Lands staff may take custody of any
personal property left unattended for more than 3 days (unless
advance written permission is given).
The coastal portion of the property has hiking trips from 3-10 miles.
Wear sturdy footwear and take care near cliffs, particularly in damp and
slippery conditions. The estimated trail times assume a leisurely pace in
good conditions with brief stops.
Coastal Trail to Ocean (2.8-mile roundtrip, allow 2 hours) A forested
path that runs through a cedar swamp and maritime spruce-fir forest
before reaching a promontory overlooking the ocean. This is the easiest
trail segment: the remainder is moderately difficult.
Black Point Brook Loop (5.5-mile roundtrip, allow 4-5 hours) Wooded
trails and rocky cliffside hiking lead to a small cobble beach at Black Point
Cove (accessible via a log ladder). The return route, via the Inland Trail,
is somewhat rocky but over fairly gentle terrain.
Fairy Head Loop Trail (9.2-mile roundtrip, allow 6-7 hours) This trail
provides the most extensive shorefront hiking with 3.8 miles along the
water. At Fairy Head, the trail turns inland through open meadows and
forest, passing by a freshwater grass marsh and a large beaver pond.
On the forested northern portion of the property, across Rt. 191, there
are 19.5 miles of shared-use roads and designated ATV trails, many of
them maintained by the East Stream Trail Riders ATV Club. A portion
of this system passes through the Ecological Reserve: please remain on the
trail to protect the Reserve grasslands and fragile peatbog ecosystems.
Cliff tops are often undercut and can be dangerous (particularly in
wet conditions). Stay on the trail and supervise children closely.
The three permitted campsites are 4-5 miles from the parking lot.
Carry in food, water and camp stoves (campfires are prohibited).
When to Visit
The Cutler Coast lands are open year-round but take extra care in
wet or icy conditions. The summer months offer the best likelihood
of spotting whales offshore and birdwatching opportunities are
excellent from spring through fall. Mosquitoes and black flies are
thickest in late May through early July. Wild blueberries ripen in late
July and early August.
In East Machias, turn
right onto Route 191 and
proceed 16.9 miles (3
miles past Cutler village)
to the trailhead and parking
area marked by a large
From Lubec, take Route
189 to Route 191. Turn
left and travel 10 miles to
the parking area/trailhead (marked by a blue/white sign).
If the parking lot is full, park alongside Route 191 or consider
returning at another time.
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands
106 Hogan Road, Suite 5
Bangor, ME 04401
Services & Facilities
• 20-car parking lot
• 10 miles of hiking trails
• Three primitive campsites at Fairy Head with a pit toilet.
Camping is only allowed at these three sites which are firstcome,
first-served with no reservations.
• Privy at main trailhead
Machiasport Maine is home to one of the most unique beaches on this planet. It is comprised of billions and billions of smooth, water-shaped stones. Indeed, even the dunes are formed of rocks. Although it’s not a beach to walk barefoot, if you ever get a chance, put on your walking shoes and walk this beach – you muscles will thank you for it. Every step slides you through a mountain of rocks. Trust me, you’ll feel it in all of your muscles tomorrow.
Although very few of the rocks are actually Jasper rock, they are in all sizes, shapes and colors and textures — besides greys and browns, you can find gold and red and green. Many will be variegated with stripes of white cutting throughout. Or speckled. Although beautiful dry, their real beauty comes when they are wet from the ocean waves and shimmer and shine. Times a billion or more. Don’t forget that.
One of the best features of the beach is the lack of people. Think summer and ocean beach and you might have images in your head of the Jersey Shore. Nope. Not here. A busy day here at this beach comprises of about a dozen people. Most days you can walk the mile long without running into another person. There aren’t many beaches in the United States that can boast that.
Probably my favorite quality of the beach is the music the waves make as they rush onto the rocks. Hard to describe, but it’s very musical and rhythmic. Many days, the rushing of the tide is punctuated by the soothing lull of the distant foghorn.
Jasper Beach has just a few parking spots (almost never filled to capacity) and no facilities. Please take out what you bring in. It is located about 10 miles from the town of Machias, down Route 92 as it winds its way through pine trees and the various villages of Machiasport. As you head downhill, you’ll see the large Jasper Beach sign on the left.
There are just so many different ways to explore the area. One of the most popular is a tour via boat to several lighthouses in the area. Robertson’s Sea Tours offers two — one that visits two lighthouses and an autumn tour that visits three. During the trip, you may also get a chance to see seals, eagles, and, of course, the scenic Maine coastline.
Did you know that Machiasport, Maine was the site of the one of the first naval battles of the American revolutionary war? It was fought off-shore from Fort O’Brien in Machiasport between the citizens of Machiasport and the British ship, the Margaretta.
The 1775 battle resulted in one death, several woundings and several residents captured.
The fort is now a park with rolling ‘bunkers’ and a signature cannon — a great little stop to visit history.
Worth a stop and you can find it open during daylight hours next door to the elementary school.
I owned property for at least a year in Machiasport before I ever stopped at Bad Little Falls Park in Machias. What a treasure. If you are heading east on Rt 1, it is the last right turn before you go over the river into downtown. There is a small parking area for 4-5 cars. The park is hidden — not really visible from the road — there is a pedestrian bridge over the falls. The falls are spectacular as they crash over the rocks — you really can’t appreciate them unless you are on foot. There are several decks, gardens and picnic areas.
Since I discovered it, it’s become my go-to spot to pack up a lunch and eat in a beautiful setting before running my other in-town errands.