How to Experience the Breathtaking Edgar M. Tennis Preserve

If you’re looking to enjoy the natural Maine coast, look no further than the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve. This 145-acre patch of coastal land looks like it has remained untouched for decades besides the wear in the trails. The occasional sign of evidence left by the people that previously lived there is the only reminder that it was once inhabited. This oasis of greenery is perfect for a day of hiking. Immerse yourself in the forest as you embark on trails lined by towering pines scattered with the rocks typical to the geography of the Maine coast. The preserve is just 10 minutes away from Pilgrim’s Inn, making it the perfect hiking destination during your stay!

If you’re planning a trip to Downeast Maine, our free Vacation Guide can be a great resource. Planning a vacation can be hard, so we created a guide that has great recommendations for everything to see and do in Deer Isle. Learn about great places for hiking like the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve or the Barred Island Preserve, plus restaurants, shopping, and more! It will even tell you about seasonal events and festivals, so you’ll never miss anything during your stay at Pilgrim’s Inn.

Edgar M. Tennis Preserve History

The first use of the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve dates back all the way to the first inhabitants of the U.S.: the Native Americans. Archeological discoveries have shown that Native Americans camped along the shores 2,000 years ago, most likely during the winter season. The strong tidal currents provided them with a great seafood harvest. In more recent times, the property has gone through multiple owners, the last being Edgar Tennis. He and his family donated the preserve to the state, and it is now taken care of by the Island Heritage Trust. Pause for a moment by the shore and imagine the land as the previous settlers once did. Not much has changed for centuries on the beautiful preserve.

Edgar M. Tennis Preserve Hiking

There are enough hiking trails and lookout points on the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve for you to spend the entire day exploring. It is never crowded so you might not see anyone for miles, making you feel like you are completely alone in this enchanting forest.

There are 2 trailheads on either side of the road at the entrance to the preserve. If you choose to hike the eastern side, you will encounter 2 miles of trail filled with stunning ocean views, a hidden beach, and the foundations of an old farm complete with a cemetery of its previous inhabitants. On the western trail, you’ll find dense forest and more views along the shore, and another farm and homesteads with tombstones of its previous owner. The two sides of trails are similar and are generally easy except for some portions by the shore that are steep and difficult. During your Deer Isle hiking, keep an eye out for birds and wildlife as you trek through the towering firs, old apple trees, and fields of wildflowers.

Tips for Visiting the Edgar Tennis Preserve

The Edgar Tennis Preserve is free for public use, however, the Island Heritage Trust asks that visitors stay respectful and leave it exactly as you found it. Make sure to bring back any trash you may have carried in, and do not remove anything from the forest. If you are looking for a souvenir, a photograph will do just fine! Or, you can pick up some great Deer Isle memorabilia at Nervous Nellie’s Jams & Jellies just down the street. Other tips are to wear sneakers and bring water and snacks. The terrain is sometimes rocky and filled with tree roots, so proper footwear is a must. If you’re planning on wading at the beach, just pack a pair of sandals!

After Exploring the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve

After exploring the Edgar M. Tennis Preserve, retreat back to Pilgrim’s Inn for some rest and relaxation. At our Deer Isle bed and breakfast, you can continue your nature retreat. Located directly next to a large mill pond and within a short drive to some amazing hikes and coastal habitats, you can choose from a variety of cozy rooms with amazing views. The comforting atmosphere is sure to provide a soothing oasis after your adventures!