Classic Barns of Maine | Sense of Place
“The barn is lined with them,” Gray says. “Carl even found some hidden away. She was laughing when he shared that with me.”
Located on U.S. Route 202 on the way to Lewiston, the Morin Farm is a veritable agricultural island in an area that’s largely been turned over to home construction in recent decades. Although the farm’s longtime owner, Carmel Morin, has been slowed by age and Parkinson’s disease, his family visits often, helping with the property’s upkeep, including the animals. Overseeing the farm’s menagerie are Tootsie the St. Bernard, whose favorite pastime is chasing the chickens, and Pepper the cat.“What you see at a place like the Morin barn is how central the animals are to people’s lives,” Gray says. “When I was there, Carmel’s family came over, and his nieces and nephews were feeding the chickens, cleaning out the horse stalls. They weren’t sitting in front of the TV; they were outside. This barn brought the family together, kept it engaged with the land.”
Morgan Hill Farm
Morgan Hill is probably the farm that Sara Gray knows best. Beginning in 2001, she boarded her horse, Thelma, there for seven years. Now owned by Judi and Laird McClure, who bought the place in 2008, the farm sits high on a hill—a 265-acre property with sweeping views of the New Gloucester area.
Like many New England farms, Morgan Hill’s story is an evolving one. Originally settled in 1779, the first farmhouse burned in 1840 and was rebuilt a year later. Two decades after that, two more barns were added to aid a growing dairy operation.
Today, farming is still at the heart of Morgan Hill. Judi grows vegetables and makes homemade baked goods, which she sells at local farmers’ markets. She also teaches yoga in what used to be the tack room of the boarding barn. Laird takes care of the animals, which include Scottish Highland cattle, chickens, goats, and a pig. While he’s going about his chores, Laird’s dog, Bucky, a 4-year-old Australian shepherd, is his constant companion.
“They’ve brought new life to the farm when it had the potential to fall into the hands of developers,” Gray says. “The land is gorgeous, and it’s so amazing to be there and to see what it’s become.”