Buxton, a small town in York County, Maine, is made up of many small villages. It found fame in the outstanding Stephen King film ‘’ The Shawshank Redemption.’’ King is a native of Maine; in the movie, the character Red was told to look for a specific oak tree in Buxton. While the film was set in Maine, it was filmed in Ohio.
Buxton was named by the local minister, Paul Coffin, in 1772 at incorporation, but nobody knows why it took the name of a town in Derbyshire, England.
The area was once heavily forested, and the availability of water power helped its development; sawmills and gristmills were built on the Saco River, and business thrived.
Buxton’s population is around 8,000. Its proximity to Portland means that many locals not involved in business in Buxton find employment in the city.
Here are the 15 Best Things to do in Buxton if you decide to pay a visit.
1. Saco River Theater
Once known as the Saco River Grand Hall, this theater is central to the community’s efforts to retain cultural diversity while promoting local talent. You can enjoy drama, music, and much more at the theater, which also runs educational programs.
The building dates back to 1897 when it opened as a Universalist Chapel. A decade later, it was bought by Maine State Grange to become a social center. In some ways, that is what it is today because it is at the heart of the community.
2. The Barns at Flanagan Farm
Another place where locals gather for some different events is Flanagan Farm, where its two barns host gatherings year round.
When you are in Buxton, check to see if there is anything on the calendar. Even if there isn’t, head out to the farm to take a look at the historical setting. The restoration has updated the venue to modern-day standards while retaining the 19th-century features as much as possible; the bar was once the chicken coop.
3. Proprietors Meeting House and Parish House
This single-story Gothic-style building was constructed in 1839, initially acting as the Universalist Chuch of Scarborough and South Buxton. The Parish House was not added until 1914, another single-story, wood frame building.
The complex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. In recent years, it was bought with the aim of transforming it into a Hindu Temple; but in the end, another church in Westbrook was chosen instead.
4. South Buxton Cemetery
An excellent way to learn about the history of a place is to visit its oldest cemetery. This graveyard is located on land donated to the South Congregational Parish in 1761 for a Meeting House. You may be out of luck if you are looking for really old graves; few records exist of the early burials, though English custom was to bury people within the churchyard using simple stones from nearby fields.
When the current meeting house was built, it was necessary to remove some human bones and rebury them. Initially, the plot was an acre and a half, but additional land has been gifted over the years.
5. Bar Mills Community Church
Religion was fundamental to the original settlers in Buxton; the number of churches in the town suggests that this is still the case. This church was built when the congregation split from the Congregational Church in 1798.
Its name has changed several times over the years; it was only in 1995 that it took the Bar Mills name, having been the South Buxton Free Baptist Church since 1913.
The current structure is not much more than a decade old, but it incorporates many of the features that were found in former churches on the site. The stained glass is over a century old, and the bells date back to the 1870s.
6. Carroll Park
If you are looking for a recreational area within the town’s boundaries, check out Carroll Park.
While it is just under five acres in total, you will find parking and a playground with equipment ideal for young children. A basketball court and baseball diamond are laid out for games, and there is a nice picnic area.
A trail goes around the outer perimeter of the park if you want a pleasant stroll after lunch. All in all, there is something for everyone.
7. Buxton Powder House
Built in 1813, the military used this small brick building to store its weaponry and ammunition. At the time, it was one of many such places in Maine, but only three survive today.
It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. You can park just over 200 yards away and walk through the woods. It only measures 10 feet square and has extremely thick walls. Although it has been moved from its original location, that does not detract from its historical importance.
8. Salmon Falls East Historic District
This district is located between Buxton and Hollis, with the Saco River acting as the dividing line. Formerly an important agricultural area, the locals utilized the power of the water from the falls; industry developed in the 19th century as a result.
Old properties still stand here, with the oldest formerly owned by the Elders family. It has been estimated to date from the 1790s.
The most impressive building is the Came-Marshall House, which has two and a half floors. The majority of the buildings are in Greek Revivalist style and originate from the second quarter of the 19th century.
9. West Buxton Public Library
The people of Buxton first got a library in 1925 courtesy of the West Buxton Baptist Church. These days, the library is housed in what was formerly the Old Schoolhouse, built in 1853. It provides services for other nearby towns as well – Hollis, Standish, Gorham, and Limington.
Beyond lending books, there is a link with other libraries within the state. You can also make use of the computers and internet here and rent films and audiobooks.
10. Bunting Hill Arts
If you are interested in art and creativity, you should visit here while you are in Buxton. It is run by a talented local lady who has turned a hobby into a fulltime job.
She began making dolls and quilts before using her skills to create other items. She even makes her own beads these days using a range of materials; metals, crystals, leather, pearls, and wood.
You will find some unique pieces that you are certain to love and are ideal for friends and family.
11. Snell Family Farm
Many farms in Maine now retail their produce direct to the customer; the Snell Family Farm in River Road is no exception. While wintertime is reasonably quiet, there is a sale every couple of weeks. When May arrives, you can go there on a daily basis to buy fruit, vegetables and much more.
The range of herbs is impressive; you can also buy flowers and water plants for your pond. Fruit picking is seasonal, but the homemade cider is available anytime.
12. Skips Lounge
If you are in search of evening entertainment, Skips Lounge is probably the best place to go in Buxton. There is a program of live music at weekends, but there is every reason to go midweek as well. Happy Hour features Daily – from 3 pm to 7 pm.
You can play pool, and if you fancy yourself as a singer, Wednesday is the night for you. Ladies’ Night is Thursday, and the dance floor is large enough to cater for a crowd.
The Drinks Menu is extensive and a good night is guaranteed here during your holiday.
13. Buxton Antiques and Collectables
This retail area of 4,000 square feet contains up to 60 different small vendors selling their goods. If you are keen on antiques, you should pay a visit.
It is easy to spend hours here, but that may not go down well with the rest of the family – the kids would certainly get bored very quickly.
14. The Buxton Common
The Buxton Common on Long Plains Road is a restored 18th-century house-turned-restaurant, where the menu is as rustic as the surroundings.
Its popularity with the locals is a sure sign that you should try it out. The meat and fish on the menu are smoked on the premises, and wherever possible, everything is produced locally.
The menu is extensive and varied, with something for everyone. The bar is open until 10pm, but last meal orders are taken at 9 pm.
Sunday is purely for Brunch, served between 10 am and 2 pm.
15. Donut Hole
If you have a sweet tooth, head to the Donut Hole, where your biggest problem will be deciding what to try from its extensive range of cakes and ‘’desserts.” Different fruit pies, donuts, coconut creme, and cherry-dipped ice cream are all there to tempt you.
The drinks menu includes flavored iced coffee and milkshakes. If you are thinking about a picnic, you can buy your last course here. Is there a better way to enjoy the fresh air of Buxton and a picnic than with cakes from the Donut Hole? Doubtful.