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Day 6 – Hartford to Farmington – September 15
Upon leaving Camp Wekeela, the route circles Bear Pond and heads south to Turner Center, where it passes Androscoggin Riverlands State Park and crosses the Androscoggin River. In West Leeds, the route follows River Road for several miles before veering east. After going through Twelve Corners, the route passes Mosher Pond, Norcross Pond and the Chesterville Esker. It then cuts across Chesterville and North Chesterville and into Farmington, ending at Prescott Field.
- Mileage: 51 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2571 feet
Farmington has long been a regional center for manufacturing, trade and agriculture. Once the territory of the Abenaki Indians, the land around Farmington Falls on the Sandy River was first settled in 1781 by a group of people from Topsham. The land proved to be ideally suited for faming and agriculture, and the plantation was incorporated as the town of Farmington in 1794. The town’s dependable waterpower attracted industry and Farmington became one of the largest wool producing towns in New England. It was designated county seat when Franklin County was formed in 1838. Two railroads, the Androscoggin Railroad and the narrow gauge Sandy River Railroad, connected Farmington to the outside world, carrying freight and tourists to and from the town. Farmington suffered a devastating fire in 1886, when 33 houses, 19 stores, 3 churches, the county jail and the post office were destroyed, but its infrastructure and businesses allowed it to rebuild and recover.
Notable town residents over the years include Chester Greenwood, inventor of earmuffs and five other patented inventions; Lillian Nordica, world famous opera singer of the early twentieth century; and Supply Belcher, accomplished violinist and composer of the nineteenth century known as the “Handel of Maine.”
Today Farmington is a college town, home to the University of Maine Farmington. BikeMaine will stay on the school’s well-tended Prescott Fields, located a block away from the town’s bustling downtown. Farmington’s many amenities include the Emery Arts Center, Nordica Homestead Museum, Farmington Historical Society, Farmington Fairgrounds, Titcomb Mountain Ski Area, and numerous hiking and biking trails. Each year, the first Saturday in December is celebrated as Chester Greenwood Day and includes a big parade.