Hope Is In The Fresh Air – Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary

This weekend the weather here in Maine, was up and down – per usual of Maine.  Saturday, we were stuck inside all day with cloudy, rainy weather.  That is enough to make this “work from home/remote learning day teacher/housekeeper/family manager” ready to get us outside and get us some fresh air as soon as we could.

Sunday, we woke up, and it had all changed overnight. Some sun, no precipitation, and about 40 degrees – we will take it!  We decided to pack up our family and head up to Lewiston (about 45 minutes north of Portland) to do some hiking at Throncrag Bird Sanctuary. Thorncrag is located on Highland Spring Road. The location is really fascinating to me. You drive through the city of Lewiston – which has a very urban vibe  – and then all of a sudden you pull into Thorncrag and you feel like you have been transported to the country. There is a large parking lot, and at the end of the parking lot there is a board that displays all the birds that are in the nature preserve, and pictures of dozens of animal tracks to be on the lookout for. Thorncrag is comprised of 450 acres of wildlife preserve. It is at an elevation of 510 feet – the highest point in Lewiston. 

There are miles of trails and each trail is incredibly maintained and very wide. Each trail is color coded. We ended up walking on the yellow and green trails. One really cool attribute is that on clear days – you can see Mt. Washington from the stone bench at the Height -of-the-land (on the green trail.) You get to the bench, and there is this long corridor that is cleared – and it makes the view of the mountain spectacular. 

We met my in laws and it was fun to see my daughter’s enthusiasm and eagerness to soak up all there is to learn in this outdoor classroom. Her grandparents pointed out different trees to her. She got a kick out of how out of all of the trees; hundreds and hundreds, each tree was a little different. “Look at this one!” We heard, multiple times throughout the hike. 

One of my favorite things about being in the woods – is the peacefulness that can be felt. When you stop walking, listen, and hear nothing – there is something about that, that is so relaxing. You can literally feel your stresses and worries melting away. 

This past year with the pandemic has been the most challenging year for all of us. Many of us have put on multiple hats in order to keep our families safe. Some of us have not been able to see our friends and families, or worse – have witnessed them becoming ill. This Sunday – as we were walking, for the first time in a long time, I felt a huge sense of hope. Hope for the future, hope that the pandemic is improving. Getting outside and moving helps us all feel better.

Passive recreation is encouraged at Thorncrag, such as hiking, birdwatching, picnicking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sledding, skating, and taking pictures of nature. 

They also are very involved with the community – hosting several community outreach programs throughout the year. 

One of my other favorite places in Lewiston, that we usually visit every time we are up there is Davinci’s Eatery at 150 Mill Street. This is some of the best Italian food I have ever had (minus the exception of course of my Mother’s cooking who is 100% Italian 😉 They are doing dine in or curbside pickup right now. So you could spend hours hiking and getting some fresh air – and treat yourself afterwards with an amazing Italian lunch or dinner!

For more information including a trail map visit:



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