Difficulty: Easy. All walking trails are short and easy. There is also a 7-mile bike path around Cape Jellison.
How to get there: From US Route 1 in Stockton Springs, turn onto Main Street and follow 0.6 miles to Cape Jellison Road. Follow this road for 2.4 miles to the park entrance.
Information: Fort Point State Park is a beautiful piece of land in Stockton Springs with a lot of history. Today, hikers can enjoy short walks through the woods and along the shore. There are seven separate picnic areas with tables along the water, as well as restrooms. The highlight of the park is the Fort Point Lighthouse, established in 1836 at the west side of the mouth of the Penobscot River to aid vessels bound for Bangor, at the time a leading lumber port. There is also a bell tower, added in 1890.
May through October, the park entrance is open from 9 a.m. to sunset. Visitors are welcome to use the park off-season, but must park their vehicles outside the entrance gate, well off the road, then walk down the paved park road, which is about a mile long. Pets are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash not exceeding four feet in length.
Though the magnificent lighthouse and bell tower steal the spotlight, there’s more history to the park. In 1759, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Pownall brought 400 men Stockton Springs to build Fort Pownal of Fort Point, a fort that he believed would aid the English in their war with the French. Soon after, Quebec fell to the English, ending France’s foothold in North America. Fort Pownal later served as a center for trade. During the American Revolution, British sailors came ashore and removed the fort’s guns to keep them out of rebel hands. In return, the American rebels burned the blockhouse and filled in the moat to prevent the British from occupying the fort.
Fort Point began to draw tourists in 1872 with the construction of the Fort Point Hotel, which could accommodate 200 guests and featured state-of-the-art amenities such as running water, gas lights, stables, a bowling alley and two dance pavilions. The hotel burned in 1989. Park signs now mark both the hotel and fort.
Personal Note: The paved road leading into the park is ideal for people looking for an easy walk or run. It would also be great for snowshoeing.