Ginger and Gary Currens of Freeport loved the Desert of Maine so much when they first saw it as tourists in 2004, they bought the place.

The Currenses, who are from Florida, have lived in Maine since 1998, when his corporate company moved to the state.

“Then in 2004 we came for a tour at the Desert of Maine and fell in love with the beauty and history of the property and was told it was sale. Needless to say, we’ve owned it since then,” Ginger Curren said. “We have lived in Freeport since we bought the property but at one time lived in Belgrade. It is a family-owned business – private property with no support from the state.”

The Desert of Maine, famous for its stretches of sand and sand dunes, is not only a tourist attraction with a lot of historical information and geology, but also is a campground with about 50 sites, from full hook-up to tent sites, with woods all around.

“We are a seasonal business,” Ginger Currens said. “We open the second week in May and close middle of October.”

The Desert of Maine is open at 9 a.m., with first tours of the day at 9:30 and final tours at 4:30 p.m.

“In April we start looking for people who would be interested in giving tours – driving a Jeep and talking at the same time – or doing some maintenance work around the campground, clean-up, etc. “We are open seven days a week plus holidays.”

Ginger Currens answered questions regarding this unique Freeport attraction for the Tri-Town Weekly.

Q: The Desert of Maine is known throughout the state and beyond. People are really curious, aren’t they?

A: We are known all over the world either by advertising, travel shows or word of mouth. It’s really surprising to see and talk to the different people and cultures that come see us, a lot from Germany and India. Of course, most of our guests come from the New England area for long weekends or day trips. We get a lot of school groups, summer camps and senior trips.

Q: What are a few of the questions you hear most?

A: Of course, everyone wants to know if we brought all this sand in by the truckloads. That would be impossible and very costly. We explain that it’s glacier silt and how it all works together to become the Desert of Maine. We didn’t name it ­– it has been in business for 85 years so a lot of history, people and events have gone on here, not only on the Desert but in Freeport and surrounding area.

Q: What’s the most popular activity?

A: The narrated tram tour is the main attraction for adults, but for the kids 12 and under it is hunting for the tiny gemstones we throw out each day. There’s no value but for the memory they give to the kids and family it’s everything. We do have a couple of nature trails to meander through, just enjoying the woods, flowers, birds and quietness.

Q: Tells us about the 1783 Barn Museum.

A: We have a barn that is over 225 years old that is the original barn from the Tuttle family, who bought the first 300 acres. The quilt and barn historians came last year to tour the barn and came up with very interesting acts about the barn.

Q: How do you do a sand painting?

A: For our sand design we use our own sand from the desert. Right now we’re using seven different colors but someone once told us at one time there were over 100 colors due to the pulverizing of the rocks while the glacier was moving.

Ginger Currens stands in front of the sign that welcomes visitors to the Desert of Maine, at the end of Desert Road in Freeport. Currens and her husband, Gary, have owned the tourist attraction since 2004. Staff photo by Larry Grard


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