Swimminging Damariscotta, Maine
5 'off the beaten path' swimming holes in tourist friendly Damariscotta, Maine. Directions and local information included.
Swimming in a good old fashioned creek or river is one of the best country-life delights that you can experience on your trip to Maine, besides eating lobster and purchasing quilts. I have supplied a leech level to let you know where you will find the least amount of leeches. 0 is least likely to get a leech and 5 is most likely. Let’s say you are travelling into, around or through Lincoln County or the surrounding area, headed north on Rte. 1.
DAMARISCOTTA PUBLIC LANDING (For Lovers)
Leech Level: 0
You can head into downtown Damariscotta for a host of swimming opportunites. Going straight down Main street, you will cross a bridge. After the bridge, take your first right into the ‘back parking lot.’ Here, you will come across a town landing that goes into the Damariscotta River. This is a good place for lovers to take a quick, refreshing dip. Walk down to the end of the pier in your shorts and a tee shirt and just jump in. It is breech water, a mix of fresh and salt, but more on the salty side. After you feel refreshed, you can sit on the edge of the dock and sun dry. Then, walk over and get an A-1 submarine sandwich (they aren’t called hoagies in Maine) at Zecchino’s Sub shop; the brown building which was on your right when you took the right into the back parking lot.
BISCAY POND (For Mom and the kids)
Leech Level: 3
Keep going straight down Main Street, as if you were passing the landing. Continue up the hill and past the church. Keep on going until you approach McDonald’s, the only one for miles. Take a right at McDonalds’ onto Biscay road. Keep on going. Finally, you will see a pond on your right. In the summer, they have swimming lessons there. There are two docks on the pond; the close dock and the far dock. There is a small sandy beach where moms can hang out and read a book on, and the kids can make friends with real Mainers and other kids ‘from away.’ On the bottom of Biscay Pond are gray and red clay pits. It is a great, rich clay with lots of little hidden goodies in it, just right for making stuff, like uneven bowls and paperweights to dry in your oven.
PEMAQUID LAKE (For Families)
Leech Level: 2
OK, now turn back around and head towards Main street, the way you came. A few miles down, you will see a flower store called Pinkham’s Plantation on your left and a road to your right. Take the right, and then veer to the left. On your right you will see Pemaquid Lake campgrounds. This place caiters to the travelling family. You can set up tents and/or park your rv. There are activities and events there such as dances, a pool, a park and stores to shop at. There is a big lake that you can swim around in. It is fresh water and yes, leeches live there. In addition to leeches, this is a good place to go to find other wild life. Many bird watchers, specifically loon lovers hang out here, as loons love Lake Pemaquid. Let it be known that there is a fee, I believe, to swim at Lake Pemaquid. It is like a mini-resort, and not so hidden. It is actually pretty popular among those from ‘away.’ However, I felt it was worth mentioning.
DAMARISCOTTA LAKE (For Adventurous Hippies and college kids)
Leech Level: Bridge - 1 / Frog Island - 3 / Damariscotta Lake Beach - 2
OK, after seeing loons and hanging out in civilized camp-world for awhile, go back out to Biscay road. (From the campground, go left and veer right back to Pinkham’s Plantation.) Go right onto Biscay and back to Main Street. (McDonald’s) At McDonald’s, go right again. Stop at Round Top on your immediate left and get the best ice cream around. Go left out of Round Top and head down to Rte. 1 again. Drive down Rte. 1 for awhile. Keep on going for about 5 miles and you will pass another public landing. Head up the hill and see a big red square building on the right. Across the street from the red building (on your left) is East Pond road. It is a long road with lots of hills, lots of curves, and beautiful scenery. Go left on East Pond Road and go until you reach a four way intersection with a stop sign. Take a left. Go down about a mile, if that. You will see Damariscotta Lake on your left, and you can go there, if you want. It is another ‘from away’ type beach where lots of tourists hang out. ou have to pay five bucks, I think to get in, and it is a fresh water beach. But if you keep going, you will pass the Jefferson Food Basket on your right. Park around there somewhere. Then walk down to the bridge right past the Food Basket and jump off of it. If you are walking to the bridge from the Food Basket, jump off the left side. You can see houses lining the river and the lake in front of you. It is safe and deep enough. It is about a ten foot drop and I don’t suggest you land on your back or belly. If you are a good swimmer, swim down the small river to the inlet. Swim to the right and it immediately gets shallow. This is a place I have nicknamed Frog Island for the ton of frogs that hang out there. You can find horse shoes there, too. I have found dozens of them. If you swim to the left at the inlet, you will be at Damariscotta Lake beach. Walk onto the beach, walk through the parking lot and the gate, and back out to the main road. Walk to the left and around the curve and you are back at the Jefferson Food Basket. Are these some great ideas, or what?
THE MILLS (For Everybody)
Leech Level: Beach - 2 / Rocks - 1 / Bridge - 1
Also known as Damariscotta Mills, this was at one time a real mill. Get in your car and drive over the bridge you just jumped off of. Just keep on going straight forever. This is a very pretty road with lots of nice trees and curves and hills. Don’t speed, it's too curvy. At the end of this great, beautiful long road, take a left. Go around a big curve and you will see water on your left. There is an eagle’s nest there, up in the tall trees. You can just barely see it with the naked eye, so bring binoculars. Continue up the hill and go left. Stay to your left. Around the corner you will see the mill and cars and kids everywhere. The locals love this place. It is best to go early in the morning or at dusk. You can park anywhere along that road. There is a small beach, picnic tables, a bridge (to jump off of) and rocks to jump off of as well. It is a great little place to swim, lay out or eat lunch. After you are done with your day of swimming, go back up the way you came and just keep going straight. This road is known as Academy Hill. Don’t go right (back towards the eagle’s nest). If you keep going straight, you will go past the high school and back into down town Damariscotta. You have made a complete loop. Now, go home and rest. It’s been a long day.