Meander around Mitchell Field
By Ed Robinson
October 22, 2001 was a big day in the life of Harpswell. On that date, the Federal government transferred ownership of the Navy’s “Defense Fuel Support Point” to our town. With the stroke of a pen, Harpswell was the new owner of nearly 120 acres of ocean front land with 2,630 feet of prime shoreline looking over Middle Bay.
There have been many advantages for the town from this acquisition, and no doubt a few headaches. But the recreational benefits to Harpswell residents and visitors are without question. Not only can you enjoy the beach, but you can also till a garden or take in an evening concert. On top of that, you can choose from more than three miles of trails to get your heart moving. And if the sky is clear, you can enjoy distant views of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington.
Depending upon how much time you have, and the type of walking you enjoy, you have three choices. After parking your car, you can walk on a paved loop that is just short of two miles. The northern section of the loop offers elevated views across Middle Bay, and then takes you close to the shoreline and the old pier. The day I walked here, there were numerous butterflies and song birds working the vegetation in the undeveloped field, and I enjoyed watching the sea roll in to the shore.
If you are looking for a quieter off-road trail, there is a three-quarter-mile graveled section through the forest on the south end of the property that follows the shoreline and then turns back toward the entrance to the Field. Finally, there are two woodland paths that wind through the trees for a total of half a mile. By mixing and matching, you can vary your route and scenery every time you visit. All of the trails are fairly level and the degree of difficulty in walking here would be considered easy to moderate. If you are adventurous you can stroll in the field itself, but be careful of uneven or wet ground and a few old standpipes and concrete pillars.
To find Mitchell Field, drive south on Route 123 from Brunswick, about 4.5 miles. A large water tower on the right hand side provides early notice, and the entrance to Mitchell Field is well marked with a large sign. The Field is open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Parking is available just off the highway or near the shoreline.