For this hike, we went a little urban, and full on traditional Maine. Since we had the girls with us, we were looking for a more casual, leisurely pace. We ended up heading to Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth to check out the Bite into Maine Food Truck and discovered that it was also a perfect spot for our hike.
I had only been to this park one other time as a chaperone for a long ago school field trip. I only vaguely remembered the park, which is more a statement on my memory than on the beauty of the location. But, like so many other people, I have seen the iconic pictures of Portland Head Light which so perfectly advertises the look and feel of Maine.
On this visit, the lighthouse was covered in scaffolding so it was not quite the look we know and love but it didn’t dampen the amazing views throughout the park. It also doesn’t rank as my saddest experience with iconic landmarks covered in scaffolding. That honor would go to Big Ben on my first trip to London. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to go back to London since that visit and have seen it unencumbered by repair work. I appreciate that maintenance is critical to these type of sites to keep them in good condition, and sometimes they have to be covered up for repairs. It happens.
According to WCSH6, the repair work is scheduled to be finished on June 17th so as tourist season gears up it should be back in form.
After grabbing our lunch and enjoying the views from one of the many picnic tables setup throughout the park, we headed out on our hike via the cliff walk. This is a fairly short trail and you can enter and leave at various points making the total distance up to you. We started on the end closest to Portland Head Light and walked towards Ship Cove.
While the walk was short, it was stunning. There was an area where you could hike down to the rocky beach below. This spot was particularly beautiful with many cairns created from the abundant supply of rocks. It is incredibly picturesque. Clearly this was more of a casual stroll than a hike and we made sure to take time to explore and enjoy the park.
After finishing the cliff walk, we walked past the little ship cove area and headed over to the Goddard Mansion to explore a little more. The house has a beautiful facade but only the exterior structure remains and it has been gated off for security reasons so you cannot go inside. It is still lovely to look at and to image what it must have been like when it was in use.
We headed past the Goddard Mansion to spend some time exploring Battery Keyes located a short walk behind the house. This area is covered in graffiti but did have a few fun spots to explore including some narrow halls that were a tad claustrophobic for my taste but didn’t deter my daughter.
The park has many more paths and walking areas but we had other commitments and headed out after this last stop. The Fort Williams Foundation has a great map of the area if you’re looking to plan out your visit.
The park has a carry in / carry out policy so there are no trash cans. Be prepared to take out whatever you bring in. If you’re looking for a place to head on a summer afternoon, you can’t go wrong with Fort Williams Park. It is beautiful and has everything you could want in a Maine scenic destination.
|things to know|
|Fort Williams Park||1000 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME|
|Town Website||Cape Elizabeth Fort Williams Park|
|Hours||Year Round – Sunrise to Sunset|
|Foundation Website||Fort Williams Park Foundation|
|Favorite ♥||Exploring the Rocky Beach|