Day 1 – Kittery to Old Orchard Beach
“Let’s start at the very beginning . . .”
The route begins at Fort Foster in Maine’s oldest and southernmost town, Kittery, and follow the Piscataqua River west, past Fort McClary, through Kittery Point and along the southern border of the state. The route winds through Eliot and the Berwicks, past the home of poet Sarah Orne Jewett, and inland through West Kennebunk and Arundel, where locally born Kenneth Roberts based his novel of the same name. After heading east, the route passes through the former mill towns of Biddeford and Saco, to the coast and the day’s destination in Maine’s summer play land, Old Orchard Beach.
Mileage: 61 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,389 feet
Old Orchard Beach:
Old Orchard Beach (OOB), famous for its seven miles of magnificent beach, is a community of 10,000 year-round residents that swells to 100,000 on busy summer days. First officially settled in 1657, the town’s name came from an early settler’s abandoned apple orchard. OOB was actually first promoted as a tourist destination in 1636 and called “The Garden by the Sea.” With the start of railway service from Boston and Portland in 1842, the town quickly grew into a major summer resort.
At the center of the town, the historic Old Orchard Pier, first built in 1898, is still bursting with activity. Palace Playland, a four-acre amusement park built on the beach, was originally constructed in 1902.