Desert of Maine

Geological and Historical Tour of the Dunes and Old Tuttle Barn

Desert of Maine

Freeport, Maine 04032, United States

Created By: Desert of Maine

Tour Information

Learn how Maine's glaciers formed sand dunes in the middle of old growth forest and discover how the dunes were reactivated when the Tuttle family farmed the land in the 1800s. Henry Goldrup had the vision to purchase the land in 1925 and create one of Maine's first roadside tourist attractions. Learn about the host of quirky characters who were involved in popularizing and capitalizing on the Desert of Maine throughout the years.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The trees you're looking at are not growing from the top of the dunes; they are partially buried by sand. If you were to dump sand on a tree all at once, it would die, but here the sediment has been blowing around since it was exposed u... Read more
According to Freeport lore, a farmer by the surname of Tuttle got mad about a heated remark at a town council meeting in the neighboring town of Pownal. The story goes that he dragged his barn across the line into Freeport with a team of ... Read more
The dunes you are looking at were once fertile farm land. As we learned in the barn, John Tuttle bought this property in 1827. With his sons, we ran a large dairy operation, grew potatoes and hay, cultivated an apple orchard and logged so... Read more
Imagine seeing this land covered in sand dunes in 1925 and deciding to buy it. That's just what young Henry Goldrup did. He was working with his buddy Everett Jamieson at the American Canning Factory in Portland when the land fell into Ever... Read more
From the beginning, Henry noticed many natural springs bubbling up from the sand and in the woods around the property. Taking a cue from Poland Springs Inn, Mark Polakewich decided to build a spring house that was completed in 1938. For a... Read more
What created the clay you see here in the clay mounds? Clay is defined by its very small grain size, and this clay was created through glaciation. 25,000 years ago, there was a glacier covering the entire state of Maine and much of New Engl... Read more
From the top of the 90 foot dune, you will observe many interesting facets of the Desert of Maine. First, you'll see how the wind carving out a wind tunnel and shoring up the dunes on either side. You'll also notice the many interesting ada... Read more
Notice the different species of moss and lichen of various shades of green and lavender. They are playing the important role of returning nutrients to the soil and helping create new topsoil. One day the forest will retake these dunes.  We... Read more


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