If you are in search of peace, wildflowers, monarch sightings, open fields, woods, wildlife, wetlands, and a gorgeous old metal barn, do I have a trail for you!
The Pleasant Hill Preserve is located off of Pleasant Hill Road in Scarborough. It includes 135 acres and 1.5 miles of trails, including a .25 mile Universal Access/ADA Trail named Eleanor's Trail. This rare open space includes headwaters of the Spurwink River and abuts the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Rescue. We opted for Monty's Trail, a 1.25 mile loop that begins at the old Swallow Barn, winding through gorgeous fields and forests. We spotted two monarch butterflies during this walk, along with a field of milkweed. Good to know there are places keeping these gorgeous pollinators alive and kicking.
Time for some history. This preserve, with abundant water for growing crops and raising livestock, was farmed continuously for over 180 years. In 1826, the Robinson family created the first farmstead. Three generations of Robinson's lived here until 1955. The Coulthard brothers purchased the farm in 1955 and grew vegetables for Hannaford and Shaw's. The Eastern end of the property was owned and farmed by the Lund/Johnson family, who raise dairy cows.
Jerrerd Benjamin bought both properties in the 1960's to raise cattle, which he did here for 40 years. My husband remembers driving by this farm as a kid on his way to Higgin's Beach, and seeing Jerrerd in his old, crumbling barn as an old man. He died at the ripe old age of 92 and it sounds like he farmed until close to the end of his life. According to the Scarborough Land Trust, "it was his dream to conserve this beautiful property."
In 2014, the Scarborough Land Trust purchased the property from Mr. Benjamin's children through the allocation of a town land bond and community campaign. We are so glad that they did.
Now for your heart clue. Take Eleanor's Trail to Monty's Trail. At the intersection of Monty's Trail and Swallows Field Trail, you will find our heart made out of acorns, bordered by goldenrod...just below the trail signs. Our directions to the last heart we left for you at Wolfe's Neck Woods were a bit harry, so I'm trying to redeem myself here and throw you a bone. :)
I will leave you with a few last pictures of this absolutely stellar preserve. I couldn't put my camera (my phone) down during this walk. I really hope you can make it to this one!