Attractions Category: Portland/Freeport
The Desert of Maine is a 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract of exposed glacial silt (a sand-like substance, but finer-grained than sand) surrounded by a pine forest near the town of Freeport, Maine, in the United States. The Desert of Maine is not a true desert, as it receives an abundance of precipitation, and the surrounding vegetation is being allowed to encroach on the barren dunes.
The Desert of Maine originated when the Tuttle family purchased and began farming the site beginning in 1797. Failure to rotate their potato crops, combined with land clearance and followed by overgrazing by sheep, led to soil erosion, exposing a dune of sand-like glacial silt. The initial exposed small patch of sand gradually spread and overtook the entire farm. The Tuttles abandoned the land in 1919 when it was purchased for $300 by Henry Goldrup, who converted it to a tourist attraction in 1925.
The site is preserved as a natural curiosity, hosting a gift shop, a sand museum, and a farm museum.