Washington County offers several nice public parks including the following:
Washington County Maine -
Washington County - A Look At Downeast Maine
- Roque Bluffs State Park: Turn off Route 1 just west of Machias and drive six miles to the park which features a 900-yard-long white sandy beach. Here you can swim in the salt water or cross the road and swim in a fresh water pond. There are picnic tables, grills, bathhouses, toilets and a children's playground. And views looking out to many islands.
- Jasper Beach is located eight and a half miles from Machias just past Buck's Harbor. Here the ocean's waves have built up a wall of a beach where you will be able to pick up some nice specimens of jasper. This is an opaque, usually red, brown or yellow variety of quartz which has been highly polished by sea action or it may be dull as mud and you can polish it yourself. It makes nice jewelry or you can keep it in your pocket as the local fishermen do for a "feelin’ stone".
- Cobscook Bay State Park is located four miles north of Whiting on Route 1 in Edmunds Township. Here you have more than 800 acres of woods and fields bordering beautiful Cobscook Bay. The park offers fine hiking and some beach-combing. There is a boat launching ramp, picnic spots and excellent sites for tenting, trailers, RV’s or sleeping bag.
- Further north on Route 1 in the Town of Pembroke is the Reversing Falls park operated by the town and state. Turn off Route 1 in Pembroke at the post office. Drive about 400 yards, turn right 200 feet, turn left and drive a little over three miles. Turn right and drive a mile and a quarter. Turn left and go a mile and a half to the park and you’ll be glad you did because these reversing falls tumbling and roaring over the ledges on either tide are truly awesome.
- For the rugged outdoors type there is a toilet. For the active person there are beaches to roam and trail to hike. Fireplaces and grills and picnic tables make life easy in this 140-acre park. If you find the right rock on the beach – black and kind of smooth – and you break it open, you have discovered a fossiliferous rock bearing imprints of ancient shell forms.
- Gleason’s Cove in Perry is a well-hidden local secret although it is a state-operated park. There are no signs to it but there’s a restaurant in Perry and across Route 1 is a road. Take it ad drive about half a mile. Turn right at an old two-story brick building and drive down this dirt road three quarters of a mile and there it is – a park complete with great beach-combing, broad vistas of Passamaquoddy Bay and nearby Deer Island, N. B., fishing weirs and picnic sites. For boaters there is an excellent launching ramp. A fishing weir is a fish trap developed centuries ago by the Indians and copied by the white man to capture herring.
A Little Washington County History -
At Machias the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought - a land and sea action which resulted in the British schooner "Margaretta" being captured by the American residents with the loss of only one man on the American side. The captain of the British craft died that night in the Burnham Tavern, a well-preserved example of a colonial inn now open to visitors. The oldest building east of Bangor, it's maintained by the local D.A.R.
Everyone Loves Blueberries -
Washington County, responsible for more than 90 percent of the nation's blueberry crop, is the world's largest producer. The glacially formed "barrens", vast rolling plains of sandy soil, are perfect for raising wild, lowbush blueberries. Thus, the growing, harvesting and processing of the blueberry is a major industry in Washington County. Nearly a quarter million acres of barrens yield an average of 30 million pounds of blueberries annually, all of which are canned within the county.
Sport Hunting in Washington County -
The face of this land is a succession of valleys with ridges between, stretching from the Narraguagus to the St. Croix and beyond. The rivers that drain the valleys are born of spring-fed lakes and ponds that lie embossed in the highlands to the north, hidden away in the forests of pine and spruce, of balsam fir and hemlock. These are the haunts of the whitetail deer, the black bear and the moose, and this is the land where they are sought by the hundreds of hunters who venture forth come fall.
Native American Indian History -
Although the earliest European settlers found Indians of the great Algonquin stock throughout Maine, evidence unearthed and correlated in the last fifty years has firmly established the belief that these Algonquin tribes had been preceded by an earlier, different group of men who are called Pre-Algonquin or Red Paint People. Red Paint People have been so named because each of their ancient graves contains from less than two quarts to a bushel of brilliant ocher, usually red but occasionally yellow or brown. The burial with the bodies of ocher (a mineral from which paint may be made) and stone implements, which are unlike Indian implements, distinguishes these people.
Natural Wonders -
TIDES: The greatest rise and fall of tides on the shores of the continental United States occur along the Washington County coast. The tall pilings at Jonesport, Lubec and Eastport attest to the gigantic fluctuations of the ocean's level where 18-foot variations are average. Actually, the greatest tides occur way up the St. Croix River at Calais where the average is 20 feet. At certain times of the year, however, the water level will vary 28 feet every six hours or close to one inch every minute!
Beaches And Tidal Pools -
No visit to Washington County would be complete without the thrill of discovering the beauty of the beaches and rocky cliffs that form the boundary between the pounding sea and the land. This narrow band between the low and high water mark is a world of its own populated with plant and animal life peculiarly adapted to living part of each day submerged by the ocean water and the rest of the time exposed to the drying sun and wind. The scene is an ever changing one as each tide slowly rearranges the pattern of the rocks, the sand and the residue from the sea.
Campobello Island -
Campobello Island, N.B. is nine miles long and about three miles wide. It has two fishing villages, Welshpool and Wilson's Beach, both of them home port to many colorful vessels which go out many miles to catch fish. After you go through customs and get a friendly nod you'll climb a hill. When you get to the top, stop and turn around so you can take in the view of Lubec, Maine across the "Narrows", where, according to the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, the strongest tidal currents on the east coast flow --around 12 knots or 15 miles an hour.
Ten Exciting Places To Enjoy Yourself Absolutely Free -
There are several excellent facilities in Washington County which are open to the public at no charge. All that is asked is that visitors leave the areas clean and unspoiled. Depending on the location of the site, provisions have been made so that people of all ages may enjoy picnicking, tenting, boat launching ramps, fishing, hiking and swimming.
Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge -
The Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, an area comprising 28,686 acres, was established in 1937 for the protection, study, perpetuation and management of certain species of wildlife, particularly waterfowl and other migratory birds, in the area. Moosehorn is the only one of more than 540 national wildlife refuges that is devoted to the study and management of the American woodcock.
Five Great Places To Hike -
If you're looking for some interesting hiking trails, you've come to the right place. Here are five locations you might want to try some of these.
Washington County Wildflowers -
From the time the first Mayflower blooms between the patches of melting snow on the sunny hillsides until late in the fall the great natural lands of Washington County are filled with hundreds of varieties of wild flowers and greens. Plants have structures and abilities which suit them for living in particular environments and therefore each distinct area of seashore, woods, fields and roadsides brings forth its own individual bouquet.
Points Of Interest -
When the phrase Down East came into common usage is unknown but some historians feel the description goes into the early 1600's. It is rather a puzzling phrase but as you can see from examining a map, the coast of Maine does go east but, at the same time, it runs northward too, or up. However, what early explorers quickly found out was that the prevailing winds blew from the southwest, as they do today. Therefore, they most frequently sailed with, or down the wind, as they moved to the eastward. Thence, Down East.
The Glaciers Did It -
A million or more years ago the world grew very cold. Great sheets of ice formed over the northern lands, retreated, grew again, drew back and for the third time advanced far south of what is now Maine. As recently as 15,000 years ago there were tongues of the huge glaciers extending into Washington County.
The Communities Of Washington County -
St. Croix Island, set about midway between the United States and Canada in the beautiful St. Croix River, was the scene of the first white settlement in the New World north of St. Augustine, Fla. It was here, in 1604, that Samuel Champlain and his fellow French explorer, Sieur de Monts, led a band of about 100 soldiers and traders and spent the winter. It was from this island that Champlain explored the coast of New England as far south as Cape Cod.
Boat Launch Sites -
Washington County has some pretty good boat launching ramps on lakes and the salt water. Here is a fairly complete list of the fresh water launching sites.
Salt Water Fishing -
A salt water sports fisherman, to borrow author Kenneth Roberts' words; "has always with him the clean, salt tang of the sea, the roar of waves on the ledges, the fatalistic scrutiny of clownish seagulls and is never annoyed by mosquitoes, black flies, midges or horseflies." A description which should knock fresh water fishing into a cocked hat, but won't. Nevertheless, salt water fishing in the county can offer every member of the family some wonderful thrills whether you cast from a ledge or wharf or dangle a line from one of the charter boats that ply from Red Beach, Jonesport, Cutler or Eastport. The fish to be caught include flounder, sculpin, cod, pollock, smelt, mackerel, halibut, sea bass or "stripers" and tuna, although tuna are very rare. In fishing for flounders, we notice that the most successful fishermen use worms, either the garden or sand variety; this keeps the bait from being eaten by the sculpins.
State Parks -
Washington County offers several nice public parks including the ones listed on this page.