Beech Hill Preserve
Protected: 1987, by conservation easement; became a preserve in 2003
- Beech Hill Intern
- Arts on the Hill
- Beech Hill blueberries
- Preserve & Blueberry Farm events
- Beech Nut Centennial commemorative poster and notecards
- Beech Hill Quest (for kids!)
Description: The Beech Hill Preserve offers ready access to one of the most scenic and multi-faceted conservation properties in the western Penobscot Bay region. As the only bald hilltop in the area, Beech Hill is an extraordinary hiking, picnicking and birding destination that offers panoramic views of Penobscot Bay, the Camden hills and the St. George peninsula. The Preserve has the honor of being one of the official stops on the Maine Birding Trail, with over 125 species on its checklist. The conservation program of this Preserve protects nearly 300 acres of land managed for grassland bird habitat, organic blueberry production, and scenic and historic preservation values.
Located approximately 1.5 miles from Rockport village, between Routes 1, 17 and 90, Beech Hill is a large hill dominated by open grassland habitat and a commercial organic blueberry operation. The open fields of the summit, capped by Beech Nut, a sod-roofed stone hut listed on the National Register of Historic Places, are visible from miles around. The lower portion of the Preserve is dominated by a mixed hardwood forest.
Originally protected by a conservation easement in 1986, the summit of Beech Hill was purchased in 2003 by Maine Coast Heritage Trust with support from the Land for Maine's Future program, the MBNA Foundation, and individuals who have long appreciated this dramatic and beautiful property and then transferred to Coastal Mountains Land Trust.
Check out this wonderful Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine article on Beech Nut by Carol Des Lauriers Cieri, with photographs by Brian Vanden Brink (November 2009).
Poet Gary Lawless, who will be our artist-in-residence on Beech Hill this June 21 - July 28, has a website devoted to Beech Hill-inspired poetry: beechhillpilgrimage.blogspot.com.
Watch this short video of architect Meg Barclay telling the story of Beech Nut at the 2014 Fork Tales story-telling event held in the hut.
Preserve-Specific Use Guidelines:
1. Thank you and your dog for staying on the trail
Beech Hill's fields are managed for grassland bird habitat and organic blueberry production. People and pets in the fields are detrimental to both birds and blueberries, which is also why we emphasize that dogs need to be on leash at all times. The on-leash requirement applies to the forested areas of the preserve, as well, which are home to deer, bobcats, coyotes, bears, and other wildlife. Please remember that on conservation property, nature comes first!
2. Pick blueberries only as part of our annual Free Pick event
The Free Pick usually takes place on the first Sunday in August, with a Members Only pick on the first Saturday. These events are the only dates and times when the fields are accessible to the public. We run a commercial organic blueberry farm to help financially support the Preserve and to demonstrate organic farming practices. Please support our efforts by respecting our fields and the use guidelines above.
3. Beech Nut is not available as a rental for private functions
Our Board has made a conscious decision to not rent out Beech Nut for private parties and events, so that the hut and its surrounding landscape may be visited by the public at any time. We close access to the hut one evening a year, when we host a party for the first prize winner of our Annual Raffle.
Public Access Information:
Download Beech Hill Preserve Guide and Trail Map This includes directions! (354kb)
See the inside of the stone hut! Public open houses with docents happen twice a month May through October of each year.
Photo Credit: Judy Berk