I wrapped work up early today and headed to Portland Headlight inside Fort Williams Park located at 1000 Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. We’ve all been to this park during warmer months for birthday parties, picnics, or just to play the role of tourist for a day, but the time to really go to this park is in the winter.
I threw my old Rossignol skis into the backseat and headed down to Cape. One of the best things about this park in the winter is how quiet it is. The space is large enough that you can span the entire park and pass few, if any other people.
While exploring the 90 acre park, you will find reminders of its historical past as an active military installation and the important purpose it served as the first line of defense of Casco Bay. If you park in the lower parking lot, (the first parking lot on your left if you come in through the front gate) you are just a quick walk away from the Goddard Mansion, which was built from 1853-1859 for Colonel John Goddard. In 1900, it was acquired by the federal government, and was eventually utilized as housing for noncommissioned officers.
As I was skiing, I took in the sights – and even though I have lived in this area for over 15 years – the simple beauty and complex history of this park still amazes me. I feel so lucky that we can live in the most populated area of Maine, but still drive 5 minutes away and ski oceanside.
Fort Williams Park is open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year. It is dog friendly – and the list of winter activities is pretty deep: skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and hiking to name a few. If you don’t own skis check out Gorham Bike & Ski at 693 Congress Street, Portland, or www.gorhambike.com.
If you are looking for something to get the family out this winter break, I would suggest you head over to Fort Williams to explore the Maine way of life. For more information on the deep history of Fort Williams Park, or to donate to the park visit fortwilliams.org.