Located in Maine’s Cumberland County, New Gloucester has a population of slightly more than 5,000 and is home to the last active Shaker settlement in the world.
Originally founded in 1735 as a trading outpost of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the town’s original tract of land consisted of just a few square miles and was inhabited by settlers from the coastal colonies of Gloucester and Cape Ann.
New Gloucester is conveniently located close to some of the state’s largest urban areas, as well as its Atlantic Coast and inland areas that are known for their forests, lakes, rivers, and mountains.
Below are 15 of the best things to see and do in and around New Gloucester, Maine.
1. 7th Annual Lake Region Car Show
For the last seven years, the New Gloucester area has hosted an annual car show that’s been steadily growing in popularity since its first year.
Featuring a variety of classes broken down into the decades spanning from the ‘30s and ‘40s all the way to the present, the event is held at the Lake Region Vocational Center on Roosevelt Trail in nearby Naples.
Admission charges are dirt-cheap for competitors and spectators alike, and kids under 12 get in free.
It’s full of great cars, tasty food, and lots of fun and family-friendly activities, so mark June 2nd on your calendar.
2. Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum
New Gloucester is home to the last remaining Shaker village community in the world. For those interested in learning about this interesting sect, there’s no better place to do it than the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Museum.
The museum was established nearly a century ago in an attempt to dispel many of the myths that persisted about the Shaker people, their lives and customs.
The museum and grounds are comprised of nearly 20 buildings that are open to visitors and encompass the almost 200 years of existence of this unique community.
Sign up for a tour at the visitor’s center to get the most out of your visit.
3. Pineland Farms
Located on Farm View Drive in New Gloucester, Pineland Farms is the perfect place to spend a few hours for those looking to immerse themselves in farm culture and get their hands dirty in the process.
From milking cows to collecting eggs, farm visitors will see the side of farm life that is rarely seen by outsiders; it’s especially fun for kids.
Pineland Farms has a wide variety of animals including goats, cows, and alpacas. There’s a comfortable café onsite offering a variety of reasonably priced dishes, including some that are vegan.
It’s a good idea to sign up for tours in advance of your trip if possible.
4. Maine Wildlife Park
With so many pristine forests, rugged mountain ranges, lakes, streams, and rivers, it’s no wonder that New England is home to such an amazing number of animal species.
Located just a few miles outside of New Gloucester in Gray, Maine Wildlife Park is just a short drive from Exit 63 on I-95 and is full of some of the state’s most interesting native animals.
Mountain lions, bears, moose, and bald eagles are among the park’s most popular residents, but there are dozens more that wow guests as well.
The park is open from April to November and is comprised of nearly 200 acres.
5. Intervale Preserve
The Intervale Preserve in New Gloucester is run by a trust that’s dedicated to preserving the vital wetlands, bogs, and marshes that play such vital roles in the area’s ecosystem.
The preserve features a variety of trails, and it’s not uncommon to see some of the area’s animals while hiking, especially if you’re out in the morning or evening hours when many of them are most active.
This is a particularly important area for the migrating and wading birds. During their annual migration, they stop along their routes to rest and feed in the preserve’s massive tract of land that includes more than 1,000 acres.
6. Range Ponds State Park
Located near the town of Poland in Maine’s Androscoggin County, Range Ponds State Park is open to the public and provides a variety of outdoor recreation options for those looking to spend a little quality time with Mother Nature.
Fishing, hiking, and kayaking are a few of the favorite warm-weather attractions, and there’s a beautiful sand beach staffed by trained lifeguards that draws quite a crowd, especially during the dog days of summer.
The park has a way of making visitors feel like they’re in the middle of the wilderness, even though they really aren’t that far from some of the state’s largest urban centers.
7. Sebago Trails Paddling
Sebago Trails Paddling Company is the region’s one-stop-shop for those looking to hit the water, see some fantastic sights, and burn a few hundred calories in the process.
Maine’s water-filled landscape is the natural place to perfect your paddling skills, and the Sebago Lakes Region is one of the most beautiful areas you’re likely to see on your trip.
Located on Roosevelt Trail in Windham, they offer a variety of tours and programs to fit most levels of physical ability.
It’s a safe, inexpensive, and unique way to experience Maine’s outdoors, so check out their website for the program that’s best for you.
8. Bradbury Mountain State Park
Having the distinction of being one of Maine’s five original state parks, Bradbury Mountain State Park has been drawing visitors for decades, and you’ll understand why when you see it.
The park is full of scenic multi-use trails that are open to walkers, hikers, joggers, and bikers. They’re open year-round, so snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are options as well.
The park is located in the town of Pownal in Cumberland County and is the perfect place to stretch your legs and enjoy the state’s natural splendor.
It’s free to use, and there’s ample parking just inside the park’s entrance.
9. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park
Located on the shores of scenic Casco Bay near the town of Freeport, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park is one of the area’s most wild and beautiful parks.
It juts out into the water on a thin peninsula near the mouth of the Harraseeket River that combines with the bay to form some of the area’s most picturesque shorelines and important marshlands.
The park is open year-round and is an easy drive from the city of Freeport. After exploring the park’s trails and taking a few pictures, consider a self-guided walking tour of Freeport’s quaint and historic shopping district.
10. Bustins Island
Also located in the eastern portion of Casco Bay, Bustins Island is actually part of the town of Freeport and is comprised of about 100 summer cottages used by vacationers.
Though there’s not much on the island other than quaint dwellings and remarkable natural beauty, there’s no better place to get a taste of coastal life than Bustins Island.
There’s a ferry that runs between the island and mainland between Memorial Day and Columbus Day; it’s a fun and inexpensive way to get a unique look at Maine’s rugged and picturesque coast.
Dress accordingly, as the weather on the water can be much different than it is on land.
11. Maine Maritime Museum
Maine has one of the longest maritime histories of any state in the union, and the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath is the best place to learn all about it.
Many of the museum’s exhibits deal with the state and region’s history, but there are also international portions – some of which date back hundreds of years to the era in which the region was first explored and settled.
The museum covers nearly 7,000 square feet of space and was recently renovated.
Located on the shores of the Kennebec River, one of its most popular exhibits deals with the state’s commercial fishing and lobster industries, which were means of sustenance and financial support from the very beginning.
12. Bath Farmer’s Market
Though its hours change slightly with the seasons, Bath Farmer’s Market is open year-round and is full of seasonally available fruit, vegetables, and dairy products, nearly all of which are grown locally.
The market is always open on Saturday mornings and isn’t closed even during inclement New England weather, which is pretty common during the winter.
You may need waterproof boots and a heavy parka, but you’ll be glad you didn’t pass it up when you see all the great products they offer.
They carry a variety of prepared food items, tasty baked goods, wool products, and even seafood, so stop by and take a look.
13. The Bath Golf Club
Set among the green, rolling hills around Bath, the Bath Golf Club is one of the area’s most scenic and popular courses.
Designed by a famous golf course designer in the ‘30s, it features 18 holes that are challenging enough to make it interesting, and picturesque enough to make you wish there were a few more.
The building that’s now the clubhouse was built in the 1850s and includes a pro-shop that carries all the things you’ll need, like balls, tees, hats, and spikes.
Book tee times in advance, especially if you plan on playing during the warm summer months.
14. Doubling Point Lighthouse
In an area with so many stunning lighthouses, standing out isn’t easy, but that’s just what the Doubling Point Lighthouse does best.
Built in the late 1890s on an island in the Kennebec River, it was only one of four built to guide maritime vessels into Maine’s ‘City of Ships,’ Bath.
The lighthouse has had its share of renovations over the years, but it still retains its original form and charm and is one of the most photographed in the area.
The whole area is full of fascinating maritime history that could easily fill a day or two.
15. Bath Waterfront Park
The Kennebec River winds its way through many of Maine’s most scenic towns, and the Bath Waterfront Park is one of the most convenient places to take it all in if you’re staying in New Gloucester.
Full of walking paths that are the perfect way to get your fill of fresh air, exercise, and nature’s splendor, it’s near enough to Bath’s downtown to make it an easy side excursion.
The park is particularly beautiful at sunset and is located just north of the Route 1 bridge.
There are seated areas that are great for a picnic or an hour with a good book.