Sunny yellow forsythia on the right and sparkling blue water on the left bordered Route 209 as we travelled from Bath to Phippsburg on a recent Sunday. Our destination was The Constitution Tree which has stood on a hilltop in front of the Phippsburg Congregational Church for over two hundred years. The English Linden Tree is approximately 75 feet high and is said to have been planted in 1774. In 1988 the tree was recognized by the National Arborist Association as “The Constitution Tree.” A plaque has been placed on the tree describing its significance to an earlier parishioner. The tree is surrounded by a wrought iron fence with a unique tree motif.
As I stood looking up to the top of the tree I thought of all the blizzards, rains and hurricane winds that this proud tree has withstood. Standing in the presence of something of this size and age has the effect of cutting one down to size – an experience that I think is good for the soul now and then!
The Constitution Tree shares the hilltop mound with a cemetery plot where Maine’s first Congressman from the district, Mark L. Hill, is buried.
The church, of classic New England style, dates from 1802; a stained glass window in the front bears that date. There are several other old houses nearby that are also historical and very picturesque. Of particular note is “The 1774 Inn.”
The journey to The Constitution Tree traverses some beautiful scenery in both Bath and Phippsburg. To reach the Tree, take Route 209 out of Bath, past the Hyde School. The road takes a sharp left at Winnegance (love that name!) with water on both sides and continues along beside the Kennebec River inlets. In approximately 5 miles, turn left onto the Parker Head Road. The Phippsburg Historical Society is on the left and soon you will see The 1774 Inn. The next left is Church Lane. There is a parking lot on the right. I would advise parking there and making the short walk up the hill to The Constitution Tree and the church. Be sure to look out onto the Kennebec from the top of the hill; the views are well worth it.
Now it’s time to eat! Head back down Route 209 and bear north, across the Sagadahoc River Bridge into Woolwich. Just a mile across the bridge is The Taste of Maine restaurant on the right. On Sundays in the spring and fall (but not during the summer months) they have an excellent buffet with choices to please everyone. Their extensive menu is always available, and seniors, check out the “Young at Heart” selections. We have always enjoyed every meal choice we have made at this restaurant and recommend it highly.
In front of the restaurant is their “osprey cam” which streams live views into the restaurant onto their 42″ TV. You can observe the ospreys nesting on their egg(s) and, after they are hatched, watch the parents coming back to feed the young birds.