Norway & South Paris
If you like to dig for treasure, you may want to visit Norway and South Paris in the heart of the Oxford Hills Region. These towns boast gemstone quarries that have earned the area the name "Gemstone Capital of Maine."
The Roberts Farm Preserve—which has land in Norway—is part of the Western Foothills Land Trust. Here you can go hiking, biking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. The preserve overlooks Lake Pennesseewassee, also known as Norway Lake. Each July, the town of Norway holds a triathlon that takes place in and on this five-mile-long lake and proceeds go to support the Western Foothills Land Trust. You can also go fishing for brown trout, pickerel, landlocked salmon, large and smallmouth bass, splake, or white and yellow perch. There are two marinas along the lake and a public boat in launch in Pennesseewassee Park in Norway.
On the Little Androscoggin River, which runs through South Paris, you can paddle along the waterway or take a rafting trip through the more turbulent sections. In South Paris, a bridge crosses Snow Falls Gorge and a 25-foot waterfall off Route 26. Here you'll find views, hiking trails, and a shady spot for picnicking. In Norway, walk through Ordway Grove to see ancient oaks and pines. And hike through Witt Swamp to observe Maine’s wildlife.
Shop on Main Street at locally owned stores housed in buildings that date from the early 1900s. The town is also the cultural center of the Oxford Hills Area. The annual three-day Norway Arts Festival in July features more than 120 artists celebrating visual and performing arts with theater, music, crafts and dance. The town is also home to the nonprofit Art Moves Dance Project, the Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Center, and the Western Maine Art Group. You can also visit the Fare Share Commons ("The Commons"), a center that offers community talks, art shows and events.
In South Paris, can explore two acres of gardens and attend lectures at the McLaughlin Garden and Horticultural Center. The Celebration Barn Theater is an internationally known school for physical theater that attracts touring artists, actors, dancers, mimes, jugglers and storytellers.