Nestled in the west side of the Blue Hill peninsula in the Harborside area of Brooksville is a quiet state park that goes overlooked by many. Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park offers long or short leisurely walks through dark stands of softwood, clearings that were once the grounds of an estate, and along a shore that is quintessentially Maine with a mix of rocky headland, cobble and sand beaches.
Although it is close to Castine as the crow flies, the sanctuary – which is on Cape Rosier and not an island – is a 20-minute drive away from the town. It takes some careful study of the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (Map 15) and some heads-up driving to find it.
There are two access roads, the first one a right turn soon after you drive onto Cape Rosier. My wife and I prefer to drive around the sanctuary to Goose Falls Road and park near the small bridge. A longer walk begins there; follow the gravel road, then turn left at the first intersection. Or you can drive in and park near the small beach and stroll across the isthmus to the adjacent beach, enjoy the picnic area or just sit and enjoy the quiet cove.
A brochure featuring a map is on the sanctuary’s Web page at maine.gov.
What’s especially attractive about the sanctuary is the richness of its offerings – trails that skirt a marsh, pass through an old family plot cemetery, lead to a small pier, a rocky bluff overlook and more. The sanctuary is attractive in all seasons; some of the trails are ideal for exploring on snowshoes.