When you take a deep breathe your lungs fill with refreshing, crisp air. Maine’s environment naturally feels well-maintained, clean and perhaps one of the few places not tainted by human pollution. Attending Rhody Adventures’ trip to Maine, I had the pleasure of visiting the state for the first time. Embarking early Saturday morning, the school’s bus drove students the 3.5 hour trip to Freeport, Maine.

Upon arrival students were free to explore Freeport for the day. While most hit the Main Street shopping places (i.e. LL Bean, North Face, bouje boutiques), I sought out to begin my adventure in nature. Of-course, being a fairly broke college student, I could only venture as far as my legs could travel to. Hiking along local trails I learned to appreciate how well this community had maintained their town. Hiking trails were integrated so people could ideally walk from their home to the local businesses, parks and schools. Central to the town lies Bow Street Market, a locally owned and operated food market. Advocating for environmental consciousness, guests are asked to bring their own bags and products are locally sourced, thereby decreasing ecological footprint.

Next, I trekked to the Mast Landing Sanctuary, conservation land protected by the Maine Audubon Society. Granted it wasn’t tourist season, I was the only hiker for miles, completely enveloped by nature. No car noises, no buildings in sight, only sounds of birds and the whisper of mother nature.

This experience, being completely surrounded by nature, scares some, but I find comfort in it. Wrapped up in our hectic lives, we may not take enough time to discover the serenity of a forest, depth of towering trees and marvel at the diversity of animals. This sanctuary served to protect wildlife while allowing visitors to appreciate the area. A local flyer informed of community events and walking classrooms. These efforts engaged local hiking trails as an opportunity to teach young students while spending time in nature.

What about dining? Local restaurants served a delicious variety of food. Mostly, they used locally grown ingredients and local specialties. Greeted by a welcoming smile, you got the impression people here care about their community. Overall, everyone was friendlier and happy to help guide directions.

Lastly, to answer any lingering questions, what follows are the logistics of the trip. Cost for the bus was a mere $15, less than what you may have spent on gas alone or train fare. The commute was 3.5 hours each direction, allowing for about 6 hours of exploration in Freeport. You should budget about $40 for food while you’re there, in addition to packing snacks, sandwiches and drinks for the bus rides. The ride has full wifi so bring some homework or cozy up with Netflix and set forth on the next Rhody Adventure!