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Whaleback Shell Midden State Historic Site

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Address: US Route 1 Business/Main Street, Damariscotta, ME 04543

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Easy to get to and interesting.

The midden is close to route one and easy to get to. The history is interesting and educational. A good short stop. Nice walk down to the river.

Reviewed 2 September 2015
Tom G
Brunswick, Maine
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21 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 21: English reviews
Monticello, Florida
Level Contributor
57 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 March 2017 via mobile

The shell middens were left behind by local Native American. They are mostly oyster shells. Take the lovely walk through an apple orchard down to the shore. The middens are much larger on the opposite side of the river. You can see them from this side of the river. They are historically important to the local history of the Damariscotta... More 

1 Thank Bashaboo
Damariscotta, Maine
Level Contributor
141 reviews
61 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2016

While this is an ancient spot, the shell middens are mostly on view 'across' the river with only some on the side you can walk to. Sadly, there isn't much there, but if you like a short rest (to eat your round top ice cream) on a bench by a beautiful spot in the river - then do stop here.... More 

2 Thank Peregrine1111
Brunswick, Maine
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 2015

The midden is close to route one and easy to get to. The history is interesting and educational. A good short stop. Nice walk down to the river.

1 Thank Tom G
Mount Vernon, New York
Level Contributor
109 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 August 2015

Unique spot where Native Americans over 1300 years ago began to toss their oyster shells, so that at one point the mounds were 30 feet deep. You really get a sense of people having lived here - a truly deep, internal feeling that any archeological site will bring. And if you go here, in the late afternoon, you'll have that... More 

3 Thank poemweaver
Garland, Texas
Level Contributor
189 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 June 2015

Trail was a little grassy and I would suggest using Off but it was an interesting walk especially since we were with a couple named Glidden who were able to look across the river and see the midden with their namesake. This is interesting but do not expect too much---it is1000 years old. 30-45 minutes is plenty of time.

5 Thank Robert M
Level Contributor
83 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2015

My wife and I had more fun reading about the midden on the informational sign and strolling through the apple orchards than actually seeing the shell piles. The midden used to be gigantic, but most of it was mined in 1886 to be added to chicken feed to strengthen their egg shells. What's left are small mounds of shells covered... More 

3 Thank PAsunshine90
Level Contributor
83 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2015

If you think a long walk through tall grass to a native American garbage pile sounds like fun, then this is the spot for you! Seriously, I love this place. It is a beautiful location, and you can contemplate how the native Americans lived in the region, and make jokes about how many oysters you want to eat later at... More 

4 Thank jdub89
Edgecomb, Maine
Level Contributor
59 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 January 2015

This site is an old oyster shell heap from the Native Americans. Nice walking trail through the field-there is a section that is rather steep but you can avoid that if you need to. Apple orchard on the site makes for deer sightings sometimes.

2 Thank dakotamia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2014

I thought this might be interesting, but it didn't amount to much, unfortunately. The trail guide online shows a loop, but when we got there, the sign for "Shells" pointed off to the right, across a field. The field was being mowed and the only indication there was a path to follow was a slight variation in the color of... More 

1 Thank lucy23st
Marlborough, Connecticut
Level Contributor
42 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 August 2014

We were looking for a nice place to have a picnic lunch and looked online to see what was in Damariscotta. We found the Whaleback Middens and decided to check it out. I have never heard of middens before. The guide online said it was a 1.5 mile loop, so we figured why not! We had to ask for directions... More 

4 Thank Carrie P

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