My family has visited Maine many times, starting when my son was small, by going to York Beach and experiencing the Wild Animal Kingdom. As he got older it was Old Orchard Beach, or Well’s beach. Each time we visited, I always wanted to bottle up that ocean smell, so I could uncork it whenever I felt stressed.
Several weeks ago, I visited a place that has long been on my bucket list. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is located in Boothbay, Maine. It is a very lovely botanical garden filled with whimsy, fairy houses, a children’s garden, and enough plant specimens to keep you busy for hours as you stroll through the lovely paths.
Botanical Gardens can be appreciated by everyone, not just gardeners. Most I have visited, including this one, create beautiful spaces to sit in, and wander. This botanical garden was very stroller and wheelchair friendly, and had plenty of benches to sit on throughout the park.
Our visit didn’t begin until mid-afternoon, but we were able to see most of the gardens in a few hours, and did not feel rushed in the process. Docents were on hand to talk to us if we had questions about a particular plant, though there were plenty of helpful tags too. One of the best surprises of the day were several Sequoia trees. Certainly not the size of the Redwoods I used to hug in my home state, but seeing and smelling them brought me joy, they were so unexpected!
The children’s garden was so whimsical, I lingered as I watched kids run in and out of the garden spaces and point to the turtles and birds in the pond in their area. On the day we were there, they had a full day of activities around fairies and making fairy houses in the wooded section of the park. Kids ran around with fairy wings looking for the little creatures as they played. I like to think a day in a place like this might encourage gardening interest in little ones.
After a very busy afternoon snapping photos and marveling at the plants, art and sheer variety of different garden spaces, it was time for dinner. Boothbay Harbor is a lovely place to visit, for a day, a weekend or even a week. Less crowded then Ogunquit to the south or Camden to the north, it has much to offer. The harbor itself is a mix of working vessels and pleasure craft, and there are plenty of choices for good food and fun shops to poke around in. Although Boothbay Harbor is very dog friendly, you cannot bring your furry family member into the Botanical Gardens. Can’t get there before the snow flies? I for one plan to head back in November or December for their Garden’s Aglow