Information compiled by Linda Galway
Photos by Linda Galway


The mountains, lakes, farms and fields of Western Maine serve as the perfect backdrop for numerous activities geared toward children and their families. Here is a partial list to help you plan some activities in the Oxford Hills, Rumford and Farmington areas.

Waterfalls and picnics:

Screw Auger Falls, Grafton Township: If you’re inclined to travel toward the far western reaches of Oxford County-just a bit north of Newry on Route 26 – you’ll find a natural wonderland known as Screw Auger Falls at Grafton Notch State Park.
Sightseeing, picnicking, and hiking on its 3,000 acres of varied terrain with somewhat limited access to certain areas. There are several picnic tables, bathrooms and a large parking area. Sights include Screw Auger Falls, Spruce Meadow, Mother Walker Falls, Old Speck Mountain and Moose Cave.
According to the Maine Department of Conservation, interpretive signs explain the glacial sculpting of Screw Auger Falls and the formation of Mother Walker Falls. A quarter-mile loop trail leads to Moose Cave with its “narrow gorge and lush lichens and mosses.” Both short and long day hikes pair with the Appalachian Trail, which makes it way through this part onward toward Mt. Katahdin. In the winter, a main artery snowmobile trail (ITS 82) traverses the park and is maintained by a local snowmobile club.

Ellis Falls, Andover: Not far from Grafton Notch, there’s a lesser known and more secluded waterfall arising from the Ellis Meadow Brook. According to the web site, newenglandwaterfalls.com, at the top of the falls “a 5-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide block fall(s) into an oblong-shaped pool. From here the falls horsetail and cascade the additional 17 feet into a dark-tea colored pool below.” Look for a pull-of-the-road parking area on Route 120, about two miles east of Andover.

Snow Falls, West Paris:
A personal favorite for resting, picnicking and a short hike after lunch, Snow Falls features the geography of the Little Androscoggin River, as it cuts its way through a narrow gorge alongside Route 26. There’s a pleasant picnic area with trails on both sides of the gorge, picnic tables, rest rooms and enough parking to accommodate quite a few visitors.
Four cascades send the peaceful waters gushing downward; however, the gorge, at least 30 feet deep, is surrounded by a fence, making this a great place to bring the family.

GRCC, 50 Congress St., Rumford:
The Greater Rumford Community Center is a nonprofit organization providing affordable, quality recreation programs and services for all residents of the River Valley Area. The facility houses a basketball court, gymnastics, fitness room, running track, racquetball court, sauna, program rooms, game room and locker rooms. 
Low cost membership is required to participate in all indoor programs and some outdoor programs. For more information about programs, a calendar of events and programs, visit http://www.rumfordgrcc.com or call 207-369-9906.

Washburn-Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Road, Livermore, ME 04253; 207-897-4366; [email protected]

From history to farming to everyday life, history comes alive at “the Norlands,” which has served as an exciting field trip for area students for decades. According to the web site, http://www.norlands.org, the Center is offering living history tours done by interpreters in period clothing portraying people of the neighborhood. In the schoolhouse, learn first hand about rural education in 1853 – the three R’s. Children can try using a quill pen or test their skills in mental arithmetic or spelling.
In the mansion house you can chat with the youngest Washburn, daughter Caroline as she shows you through the family home. She enjoys telling about her famous family and sharing family stories.
The Washburn kitchen is always a busy place. There might be cooking, ironing, playing games, an artifacts game, story telling, spinning, other neighbors dropping by or most anything else.
There is a guided tour in the buildings and self guided on the grounds. Go at your own pace, stay and visit where you wish. Bring a picnic lunch; Norlands provides the lawn, the picnic table and the beautiful setting.
Tour Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays, through September 3, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


SIDEBAR:

? Farmington Fair -September 20-26
Large midway, exhibit halls, livestock exhibits, animal pulling events, harness racing. Contact: Neal Yeaton, P.O. Box 652, Farmington, ME 04938, 207-778-6083

? Fryeburg Fair – October 4-11
Maine’s largest agricultural fair. Beautiful setting in prime foliage time. Exhibit halls, museum, harness racing and livestock shows. Contact: June Hammond
Box 78, Fryeburg, ME 04037 207-935-3268 http://www.fryeburgfair.org

? Oxford County Fair – September 13-19
Livestock shows, animal pulling events, midway, crafts, exhibits and harness racing track. Contact: Susanne Grover, Box 193, Norway, Maine 04268
207-743-9594 www.oxfordcountyfair.com

? Rangeley Lakes Logging Museum, 291 Route 16, Rangeley, Me 04970; 207-864-5595. FMI: Margaret (Peggy) Yocom. [email protected]
A three-story main muilding on an 18-acre site open on weekends in the summer and by appointment. Hundreds of artifacts from regional logging operations; exhibits on traditional art by western Maine lumbermen and the chain saw carvings of Rodney Richard and Rodney Richard Junior. Every year on the last Friday and Saturday in July, the Logging Festival Days celebrate the region’s timber heritage.

? Wilton Parks and Recreation Department, Contact: Frank Donald, Rec. Dept. Director, 645-4825; email: [email protected]
Kineowatha Park: Located on the shores of Wilson Lake, this 63-acre park is Wilton’s largest, featuring a beach with a dock and a float to accommodate swimming lessons,  play space for the younger set,  a basketball court with six hoops, two tennis courts, a volleyball court, a Little League field, a practice field, a multi-purpose field and two sets of horseshoe pits;30 picnic tables and a cookout area;  an ice skating rink and walking trails.

? Oxford Plains Speedway, 825 Main Street, Route 26, Oxford, ME. FMI: (207) 539-8865, www.oxfordplains.com
A 3/8-mile paved oval with short straights and wide, sweeping turns. The Speedway plays host to a Saturday night Weekly Racing Series, a Wednesday night Summer Racing Series, a Friday night Miniature Motorsports Series and occasional Motor Mayhem events on Sundays. According to the web site, it’s the largest spectator facility in the state of Maine (seating for 14,000). OPS is home to the TD Banknorth Oxford 250. OPS offers JARRacing Go Kart activities for children 8 and older.
? Oxford Plains Snow Tubing, Route 26, FMI: 20-539-2454 or 539-8865; http://www.oxfordplains.com
Opening December 20. Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during school vacation week. Riders between the ages of 3 and 6 MUST have an adult co-rider and must wear a helmet.
? Black Mountain of Maine, 39 Glover Road, Rumford, 04276, FMI: 207-364-8977, http://www.skiblackmountain.org
Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing for all ages. Lessons available. Opening date to be announced. A tobacco-free facility dedicated to providing family activities at reasonable rates.


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