Covering 40 acres of forest and wetlands, the Secret Garden in Kennebunk, Maine is a magnificent, immaculate location untouched by civilization. From the Evergreen Cemetery car park, visitors can follow a 1.5-mile looped trail around the park. The tree sheltered trail follows a natural path, covered in pressed dead leaves and twigs, passing between tree trunks and thick fern shrubs.
While the trail is a relatively easy one, the conditions can make it challenging especially in winter. Following rain, the ground can get extremely muddy at points. To make the trail less messy, wooden footpaths have been installed in the boggiest of spots, but getting mud on your shoes is rather inevitable in such situations. At points along the trail identifying the path can be a bit of a struggle as bushy shrubs of fern conceal and constrict the main path. On a sunny day, the sunbeams passing through the top branches gives a warm feeling. However, the Secret Garden is outstanding all year round. In the fall the landscape takes on the most beautiful orange and yellow hues, while in winter snows seem to color the tiny blanks between the trees. No matter when you visit the stillness and the tranquillity of the forest is entrancing, the deeper you get the more you forget the busy city life.
The Secret Garden is owned and protected by the Kennebunk Land Trust (KLT), whose aim from its formation in 1972 has always been to protect the natural environment and human communities. This is probably the reason why the forest and the marshes are still untainted. Some tips to keep in mind are that there are no restrooms along the trail, camping and fires are not allowed and hunting is only allowed in its specific season with special permission from KLT.
The name of this park can be rather misleading, mainly because of the connection we make to the magical, well-kept garden described in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s book. However, this Secret Garden couldn’t be far more removed from this description and yet the name still fits perfectly. If you had to fly over the park via a helicopter, you would not imagine the beauty hidden under the thick, dense foliage so in reality it really is a secret, unless you already know about it of course.
The Secret Garden offers a marvelous experience in a raw and wonderfully preserved environment. It presents the ideal scenario to be one with nature as it allows the mind to sink deeper into a calmer and more peaceful state.