Combine paddling on beautiful Fields Pond, only five miles south of downtown Bangor, with a step back into history at the adjacent Curran Homestead and you have the makings of a memorable late summer outing.

The scenic boat launch area is located on the Fields Pond Road, a few hundred yards west of the entrance into Maine Audubon’s Fields Pond Nature Center. Consult the Delorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (Map 23) for help in getting there. This is a popular spot for swimming and fishing. Many Bangor area youngsters have excitedly landed their first perch or pickerel here.

We enjoyed a leisurely three-hour afternoon paddle exploring the perimeter of the pond and the circuitous channel leading three miles north to the East Orrington boat launch park and outlet dam. Except for a cluster of cottages west of the boat launch and a few on the southern shoreline, the pond provides a serene wilderness setting with 1,600 feet of the eastern shoreline part of the Audubon preserve. The 22-acre island down near the outlet channel is also owned by Maine Audubon. This time of year, given low water levels, the island is connected to the mainland by a swath of pickerelweed leaves and marsh grasses. Note the large boulder rising out of the water east of the island. Two bronze commemorative plaques are attached to it in tribute to two men who dearly loved this little piece of paradise. Near here is a large eagle nest with family in residence.

Shaded ledges along the southern shoreline are perfect for pulling out and relaxing. To the north you will see the white Curran Homestead up on the hill. It was dead calm on our visit, and we were treated to endless mirrored reflections in the water.

We saw many blue herons along the southern shoreline and up and down the outlet channel. Red-tailed hawks glided over the treetops keeping an eye out over the vast marsh west of the pond. A number of painted turtles swam under our canoe after tumbling down off grassy perches at our approach. There are many tall white pines right at water’s edge within the Audubon preserve. East of the pond a series of hills and forested ridges rise from the water, culminating in 802-foot Copeland Hill. To the west, marshes and pockets of forest lead four miles to the Penobscot River at Orrington.

It takes about an hour to follow the outlet channel up to East Orrington. We saw a number of other paddlers, some with their dogs with them in their canoe, others fishing out of their kayaks. After a mile you will pass under a wide power line and then under the Brewer Lake Road bridge. From here the channel twists and turns, first west, then due north. Look for migrating songbirds and sparrows, and ever-vigilant hawks across the open expanse of marsh.


As the crow flies you are six miles from Bangor International Airport. We could hear the occasional roar of a jet engine in the distance and would scan the sky to see if we could catch it on its climb to the south. The sound of planes was a lot different in 1927 when Godfrey Field opened. In the 1930s the renowned Amelia Earhart was often the pilot for Boston-Maine Airways on their forays to Bangor. Her star status attracted much attention to the new carrier that later became known as Northeast Airlines. Remember those jazzy Yellowbirds of the mid-1960s?

Up the slope and across the road from the Fields Pond boat launch sits the Curran Homestead overlooking the pond. This living history museum captures the essence of Maine rural living in the early 1900s. Take some time to walk around the property. There are an amazing variety of vintage tractors and farm equipment, including classic Fordson tractors developed by Henry Ford in 1917 and manufactured in Dearborn, Michigan, until production was moved to Cork, Ireland, in 1925. Museum director Bruce Bowden is very enthusiastic and welcomes visitors with a big smile and a wealth of fascinating information. On Saturday Sept. 27 they are holding their annual Harvest Festival, with fresh cider, homemade cookies and many fun events, including the jitterbug pulling challenge that has nothing to do with dancing, Come see what it is all about. You’ll even get to see a working crank style telephone in operation.

Still have lots of exploratory energy left? Stop in at the Audubon Center up the road and hike along the pond or in the meadows and woods. They have many miles of trails to enjoy, and the foliage is just starting to turn.

Michael Perry is the former director of the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools, and founder of Dreams Unlimited, specializing in inspiring outdoor slide programs for civic groups, businesses, and schools.

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