Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Volunteering at Wolfe’s Neck Farm

Betsy and I love the opportunity to volunteer while traveling.  There are so many diverse opportunities whether it is for a season or a one-day event.  (By the way, some of the highlighted links in this post relate to previous blog posts about the relevant experiences.)  A few years ago we signed up to volunteer at the 64th Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland, Maine.  Betsy had a life-long dream to attend the festival (maybe that is a slight exaggeration but she does love lobster) so we journeyed to the picturesque coastal town hosting the event eager to indulge in the fun, food, and festivities that surround Maine’s most popular festival.  We really immerse ourselves in the event by volunteering, plus we got free admission and t-shirts in exchange for our four hours of work.  We had a blast and were so glad we helped! 

Also that summer, I played the role of “sternman” for a day on a lobster boat with a friend’s son-in-law.  I spent a good eight hours stuffing dead herring in “bait bags,” hauling traps, banding lobsters, and relishing the chance to be on the water and partake in a truly Maine tradition. The reward for volunteering was appropriate as Dennis sent me home with a dozen or so lobsters – enough to feed everyone at the dinner party.  My clothes stunk of dead fish and my muscles ached but I loved it.

My dashing captain, Dennis.
What better way to see Maine than from a lobster boat (minus the smell).
Other fun and rewarding opportunities included assisting with a local food bank to sort and give away food over the holidays and last summer’s commitment to camp host at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park in Idaho.  Oh, and there was the week we volunteered to be Inn Keeper’s at the Maples Inn in Bar Harbor, Maine.

Recently, we came upon another fun opportunity that placed us on a working farm in Freeport, Maine.  The Recompense Campground at Wolfe's Neck Farm was looking for volunteers to help with campground cleanup before the upcoming season.  What drew us to this opportunity was that the campground is located on a 630-acre working farm just five miles for downtown Freeport (otherwise known as home of L.L. Bean and their massive Flagship Store).

The mission of Wolfe's Neck Farm is to foster stewardship and promote an understanding of sustainable agriculture, the natural environment, and healthy living.

In return for raking leaves, spreading mulch, and refurbishing fire pits we received free camping and meals.  We arrived Friday afternoon in time to relax by the campfire before going to the pizza party to meet the staff and other volunteers.  The next day we started at 8 a.m. with a free continental breakfast before heading out to work.  The barbeque lunch they provided was a great respite as we were hungry after all the physical work and needed a picnic bench to rest our tired bodies.  Three years on the road with no yard to care for and we forgot how hard raking wet leaves was.  After lunch it was back to work for a few more hours.  The next morning, we were provided breakfast once again and it was back to work.  We were done around noon with plenty of time to hit L.L. Bean and the outlet stores.  The staff was super appreciative (even allowing us to stay two more nights for free) and we loved the experience.

The farm is in a picturesque location complete with pasture, woodlands, and miles of shoreline adjacent to Casco Bay and a great place to camp and work. 

The farm is open to the public for free and they encourage people to venture into the barns, pet the goats, listen to the chickens, and laugh at the cute baby lambs.  There are also beautiful gardens and grounds that are perfect for a picnic or afternoon hike.

We haven’t had a bad experience yet and will continue to seek more volunteer opportunities.  If you know of any, please share we are always looking for new adventures.


  1. When you were out lobster fishing, did you learn how to tell the boy lobsters from the girl lobsters? Something I learned in my Coast Guard days inspecting New England lobster fishermen. The unscrupulous 1% lobster fishermen would scrub the eggs (called berries) off the underside of the females, killing off thousands of new lobsters just to get one more lobster. We had to tell and closely inspect the undersides to ensure the eggs had not been scrubbed. You'd see residue and sometimes even an egg or two. Huge (HUGE!!!) fines. Too bad just a few make a bad name for the other 99% honest lobstermen doing an honest job.

  2. That is a volunteer opp that is right up my alley! That kind of sounds like something that is available through the WWOOFing program.

  3. Beautiful location. I've got a volunteer opportunity for you. Starting this spring in Grayton Beach - bring some of the lobsters with you and cook them for your friends! You'll be rewarded with wine.


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