The Kennebec River flows through the center of Maine starting at Moosehead Lake and running 100 miles south to Augusta. From Augusta, the river is tidal south to Popham where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. From Moosehead Lake to Solon the river is a fisherman’s delight with trout, bass, salmon and shad. The river is a popular whitewater rafting area from Indian Lake to Wyman Lake. The flow here is controlled by the Harris Dam. Below the Wyman Dam the river is known for the landlocked salmon and trout. Striped bass swim all the way up the river to Waterville from the sea.
In addition to excellent fishing, whitewater rafting and canoeing, the Kennebec River is a delight to history buffs.
Fort Western is a 1754 National Historic Landmark fort, store and house on the river in Augusta. It is New England’s oldest surviving wooden fort. Benedict Arnold used the fort as a staging area for his attack in Quebec in the American Revolution. The fort, store and house (an hour from the Ocean Point Inn) are full of interesting information and worth a visit.
Fort Popham is a Civil War fortification at the mouth of the Kennebec River and is on the National Register of Historic Places (an hour from the Ocean Point Inn). Construction of Fort Popham began in 1861 with granite blocks quarried at nearby islands. The design was crescent shape with a 30 foot wall facing the river.
The fort was to have 42 heavy guns and a mix of Rodman guns. However, construction stopped in 1869 and only two tiers were completed. The canon is still there. Fort Popham is only two miles from the lovely Popham Beach State Park. Visiting both makes a great day trip from the Ocean Point Inn.
A fascinating book with more suggestions of places along the Kennebec is Forgotten on the Kennebec: Abandoned Places and Quirky People by David Fiske. It is available on Amazon. The book includes offbeat places such as Fort Baldwin in Phippsburg, Swan Island in Richmond and the former Federal Arsenal in Augusta.
Other activities along the river include a walk on the rail trail in Farmingdale, the Capitol and the Maine State Museum. North of Skowhegan on Route 201 is the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway with great sight seeing and many Scenic Lookouts. If you continue the road will take you to the Canadian border in Sandy Bay. Route 201 follows the old river trading paths of the Abenaki Tribe.
The route is lovely during all seasons but I especially like the fall foliage season. During your next stay at the Ocean Point Inn take some day trips along the Kennebec River and experience the past!