I’d read quite a bit about it, of how it had recently been acquired as part of the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, but I had no idea where Timber Point was until a good friend of mine took me there. We spent a pleasant couple of hours walking along a well-maintained tote road that led into woods, and from there, along a path that eventually opened onto a rocky beach on the point’s southern tip.

As described in the promotional literature, it is indeed an area of multifaceted beauty, offering the best of all worlds to anyone looking for a quiet walk along the shore as well as through dense woods. The landscape is broken here and there by marshes, small meadows, fallen trees and outcroppings. There’s a good mix of deciduous and evergreen trees, including sapling to Christmas-tree-sized firs, hemlock, maples and plenty of oaks that have spread their boughs wide in this undisturbed place. My friend, an avid hiker who also loves hunting for and identifying wildflowers, pointed out lady’s thumb, a member of the smartweed plant family, and Indian pipes ”“ small, white trumpets poking through a carpet of leaves along the path. Purple, blue and white wild asters were everywhere, as were the familiar and ubiquitous goldenrod and Queen Anne’s lace.

As we rounded a corner leading toward the southern end of the point, a stand of faded mullein lined both sides of the path, their tall, narrow, seed-laden stalks standing eerily against larger shrubs and trees. Beyond this, a narrow boardwalk rose slightly above the delicate grasses, and in spots, it was clear that deer or other wild creatures had blazed trails and also bedded down for the night.

It isn’t often that one comes upon this much diversity in such an unlikely place ”“ from a crescent moon-shaped white beach that borders a small inlet called Curtis Cove through deep shadowy woods and back out onto a rockier shoreline draped in seaweed and fringed with beach grass that overlooks Goosefare Bay ”“ and I’d be hard-pressed to select a preference from this array of beauty.

Is it the small beach with its sugar-fine white sand whose distant shores wrap around the small bay like an embrace? Is it the long, tree-shaded path into deeper dappled woods that partly hide two small apparently unused shingled buildings, the quaint boardwalk made up of half-logs nailed to stringers to protect the grass, or the eventual emergence onto another beach, this one rocky and weedy and smelling strongly of the sea?

I left there newly amazed at what splendors exist in this humble part of the world. For just when I think I’ve seen it all and there isn’t much left to lure me from my armchair and books, some new idea presents itself, and I have yet to find any venture that wasn’t worth my time or interest. Nature pens a new poem that simply must be read or freshens the paint on part of an old, faded painting, and in the process, shows me yet another side of her multicolored self.

Aside from the sociological and environmental implications of its acquisition, Timber Point is simply a nice place to visit and spend time in. As we left, gulls cried out overhead, and crows communicated from trees lining the private residential section of the point. My friend and I finished our excursion by hunting for interesting rocks and sea glass on the beach that, as we were told by another stroller, is indeed open to the public. The treasures I acquired that day now sit on a shelf in my kitchen where they remind me often of my wonderful, new discovery along Biddeford’s coastline, one that I will hopefully revisit before the snow flies.

— Rachel Lovejoy, a freelance writer living in Springvale, who enjoys exploring the woods of southern Maine, can be reached via email at [email protected].

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