Friday, September 28, 2012

Hilton Winn Farm Offers Fall Fun Day

Kids decorate pumpkins at last year’s Fall Fun Farm Day (courtesy photo)

The Youth Enrichment Center at Hilton-Winn Farm will be hopping again this year on Saturday October 6. The whole family can enjoy a beautiful day on the farm with games, nature hikes, arts and crafts activities, scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, and more. The farm is located at 189 Ogunquit Road in Cape Neddick.
The Youth Enrichment Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to positive youth development, nature-based education, and stewardship of the unique agricultural landscape of New England. It s based at Hilton-Winn Farm, a King’s Grant farm dating back to the 1600s.
Over its 400+-year history, the Hilton-Winn Farm has been a witness to the changing cultural and environmental landscape of southern New England. Its early inhabitants were likely participants in the colonial French and Indian Wars, and since then the property has supported a range of economic activity that reflects Maine history. It has been used variously to cultivate many different kinds of vegetables, fruit orchards, raspberries, and blueberries, to run a logging sawmill and a blacksmithing operation, and to raise chickens and dairy cows, among other activities. Today, it provides the perfect setting for the Youth Enrichment Center.
The land that comprises the Hilton-Winn farm has a rich history, starting with the first known inhabitants: the Algonquian-speaking Armouchiquois tribe of Native Americans who were based in what is today Saco, Maine, according to its website.
The farm’s site first came under English colonial influence in 1620 through a land patent from King James 1 to the Plymouth Council for New England. It appears that English settler Edward Winn acquired a royal land grant of the property in or about 1640, and by 1710 his grandson Josiah Winn had settled 10 acres of land there. The property—which grew to over 200 acres—was farmed by eight generations of Winns, and then Clifford Hilton (Ada Winn’s son) purchased the farm in the 1940s.
In the 1990s, as the rural qualities of southern Maine life were being threatened by rampant development, Ethel Hilton, the 9th generation of the HiltonWinn family, was dedicated to preserving the woodlands, wetlands, and agricultural character of this historic property for future generations to enjoy. In 1998 she donated 185 acres of the property to the York Land Trust, which now forms the HiltonWinn King’s Grant Conservation Area.
In 2002 Youth Enrichment Center executive director Nancy Breen purchased the remaining central forty-eight acres of rolling fields and forests with one goal in mind: to establish a safe, peaceful, and fun environment for children to connect with the land, learn about the science and art of farming, and be transformed along the way.
The Fall Fun Farm Day is one of many offerings that looks to achieve this mission.
Admission for the Fall Fun Farm Day is $5 for adults and $3 for kids; the day starts at 10 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m.