In the warmer months, visitors to Five Fields Farm in Bridgton wander between the rows of apple trees, reaching into the leaves to pick the perfect Paula Red or Ginger Gold.
But when there’s snow on the ground, the orchard is a playground for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Over the last 10 years, Five Fields Farm has downsized their apple operation to focus more and more on winter activity. Inside the winterized retail stand, there are snowshoes hanging from the walls and cubbies flush with cross-country ski boots. (Rental rates: cross-country skis are $18 a day, $14 half-day for adults and $14 a day and $12 half-day for “juniors.” Snowshoes are $12 a day, $10 half-day.)
The groomed trails start right there, taking skiers and snowshoers past the orchard and its rows of leaf-less apple trees with their craggly branches. There are 27 kilometers of trails here, which loop around the orchards and connect with logging roads and property owned the Loon Echo Land Trust on Bald Pate Mountain.
There are some dips and hills along the way to spice things up, and times when the wide trail is surrounded by tall birch trees and evergreens.
There’s plenty of groomed trail here – for classic and skate skiing – and some backcountry, too. There are also outstanding views of mountains in the distance.
You can ski the afternoon away, gawking at the apple trees and the mountains and the wide snow-covered trails. And then you might want sustenance:
Food & beer at Standard Gastropub in Bridgton
After your scenic ski at Five Fields Farm, take the 10 minute drive into downtown Bridgton and stop at Standard Gastropub. It looks like a gas station, because it is. But inside that unassuming brown building is some delicious brisket, outstanding Brussels sprouts, and more beers than you can shake a ski at.
Five Fields Farm
720 South Bridgton Road, Bridgton
Trail pass rates: Adult: Full day $12, after 2 p.m. $10. Junior: Full day $10, After 2 p.m. $8.
Download a trail map [PDF] | Rental info