The state of Maine is peppered with many old stone military forts and defenses. They provide for a perfect place to explore, picnic, enjoy the fresh air, and get a little educational history to boot.
Now me? I LOVE exploring. I love climbing around rocks and poking around tidal pools. I follow any path I come across to its end if I have anything to say about it (I’m eventually halted by my husband’s proclamation, “That’s it! I’m not walking any more!”). And when it comes to forts, I want to stick my nose into every nook and cranny I can gain access to.
One such fort is the Fort Popham State Historic Site in Phippsburg, Maine. Located on the banks of the Kennebec River, construction initially began on the fort in 1862, with the intent to defend against the Confederacy’s ironclad warships. Construction halted in 1869, though the fort was briefly garrisoned during the Spanish-American War, and again in WWI.
These days the fort is a popular destination for tourists and locals, and is a sanctuary for multitudes of native wildlife species. Like this guy:
And this guy, who was munching on the same school of fish that the seals were hunting:
The majority of the fort is open for exploration, with only a few precarious areas fenced off from the public. The place is just a dream to photograph, with all sorts of appealing arches and fantastic stone masonry.
Fort Popham is located 15 miles from Bath on State Route 209, in Mid-Coast Maine. The best time to visit is in the spring, summer and early fall. Explore the fort, sit along the rocky shoreline and enjoy the scenery, and stop by nearby Popham Beach for a swim in the ocean (in the summer, of course!)