Hop in the car and head for the hills, breathe in all that fresh air with a nip of fall in it, smell the aroma of wood fires from chimneys as you drive down the road, listen to the fall sounds, and put the brakes on for a flock of wild turkeys crossing the road. Bright orange pumpkins are just waiting to be brought home, and look at the trees! Can you smell the aroma of apple doughnuts being made and apple cider fresh from the press? Yes Virginia, it really is the beginning of autumn! Can you tell I like fall?

To celebrate, I recently jumped in my vehicle and headed north – to Route 41 in Readfield and then followed it up and around to Chesterville, going through the towns and townships of Kents Hill, West Mt. Vernon, Mt. Vernon, Vienna and Farmington Falls, then veered down Route 156 to North Chesterville, and then took Zion Hill Road to Chesterville proper, before returning via the Ridge Road and its unusual esker. (More on that later.)

Along the way I found lions and tigers (live ones), great boating areas, bakeries that were full of home-baked goodness, fresh produce, antiques and historical artifacts, and I met a whole lot of really great people along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Get in your car (before the price of gas goes up again), and head for the hills! (Make sure to call ahead to the attractions listed; with the changing seasons, many are reducing their hours.)

Country Moose Antiques

1135 Main St. (Route 41)




Barb and Tom Kozub own this business and run it full time in the summer. But they are both teachers at Kents Hill School, so while the weather holds they will only be open on weekends. Make sure you visit them before winter, look through the shop and buy some of Barb’s home-baked goodies at the Moose Muffin Cafe.

Marie’s Whole Foods

1138B Main St. (Route 41)





This establishment is owned by Kathy Booth and Cricket Blouin and offers up some great whole foods and meals to go. Their menu varies weekly, but one of their recent offerings was a panini with roasted butternut squash, cheddar cheese, garlic aioli and cranberry. Or you can try one of their own quinoa-kale burgers. They also have all-natural cleaning products and Gelato Fiasco gelato.

Taylor Pond

Route 41

West Mt. Vernon


West Mt. Vernon is situated in the lower part of Mt. Vernon between Taylor Pond and Echo Lake. There is boat access to both bodies of water and they are actually just across the road from each other. Easy to find, just look for the tall tower at the falls — you can’t miss it — and take your pick. A great place to put a boat in, canoe or kayak.

DEW Animal Kingdom and Sanctuary

918 Pond Road

Mount Vernon




Bob and Julie Miner are the owners of this nonprofit sanctuary for exotic animals from around the world, as well as being the rescuers of wild Maine animals and operating a working farm. You will love seeing and hearing all the animals there. Stand and hear the lions roar and you’ll know you are someplace very special.

Pine Bluff Farms

183 Pond Road

Mount Vernon




Owner Sandi Wiles and her son Nathaniel were in the store when I stopped in. Sandi and her husband, Jeff, have only been in business for a year, but are doing great. They not only sell fresh produce, flowers and home-baked goods, but also items that local crafters make, such as knitted hats, candles, lotions and soaps, pottery and more.

Vienna Selectman’s House

Route 41



This is a very old building that was donated to the town in September of 1855 by Joseph M Whittier. It is now being used as the selectman’s office. There is a statue in front that is “Dedicated to the Memory of those who defended our Flag” between the years 1861-1865. The town also boasts being the home of Milton Bradley, who founded the Milton Bradley game company. Check out the website to learn more about Vienna and see what it has to offer.


Chesterville Heritage Society

20 Zion Hill Road


Linda Harris – 778-2863


Walk through the door and you walk back into time. Stop in and see not only the carriage and clothes from days gone by, but a wringer washing machine too, along with many photos and town records that have been saved and cared for. There is a lot of history in this building. Hours are limited, so call ahead.


Chesterville Esker

Ridge Road


An esker is a narrow, winding ridge along the earth comprised of stratified sand and gravel. Examples can be found in Europe and North America. One such esker runs through Chesterville and can be seen most dramatically when traveling south on — appropriately named — Ridge Road. Glaciers pushed up the land, creating a narrow ridge with about a 300-foot drop on either side.

Do you know . . .

. . . where this sight is? This garage is on a well-used Maine route and if you spot it you’ll know for sure by its distinctive “Free Hot Dogs – Tomorrow” sign.

(Answer: This is on Route 17 in Fayette about 4 miles east of Livermore Falls.)

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