What to do when you get hereAn insider’s guide to interests and attractions in the area surrounding The Cliff House Resort & Spa.

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Labyrinths of Maine

The labyrinth at The Cliff House is spectacular! It measures 30 feet in diameter and is composed of Maine stones: tiny ones for the path, larger ones for the pattern. It is located on the cliff with a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean and is a replica of the labyrinth in Notre-Dame de Chartres. I could imagine standing in the nave of that magnificent French cathedral its labyrinth paved into the floor. Sometimes visitors are surprised to see the labyrinth covered with chairs, but I imagine the most transforming moment is when it is glowing with candlelight.

Once at dawn, while standing in the center of the labyrinth at The Cliff House, the sky was pink and yellow, and the horizon vibrated with orange neon. I could barely keep my balance. The experience made me wonder if there were more labyrinths in Maine, and I was surprised to learn that there are 26! One is located near York’s Wild Kingdom, just down the road from The Cliff House. A 40-foot labyrinth sits beside Unity Church in Windham on the River Road. The labyrinth on the campus of University of New England in Portland is behind the art gallery. There, in a pine grove, nestles a 28-foot structure designed with local field-stones, its path redolent with pine needles.

The mid-coast area is home to several labyrinths. One in Brunswick is a Baltic design built in the grass among the trees, and open daily to the public. Many of these are on private property, and the information is available through the website referenced above. There is a Maine Wild Blueberry labyrinth in Lovell, just off Route 5. And, although it is on private property, if the Welcome sign is up, you can go right in. The Cliff House labyrinth is available to the public every day during the Spa’s business hours. Just stop at the Spa desk for permission to enter the labyrinth terrace. You can pick up a brochure there about labyrinth walking.

In medieval times the labyrinth was a symbol of the path of the soul through life. Today it is often a walk to one’s inner solitude. The labyrinth at The Cliff House may be as close as I will ever be to Chartres, and in my mind I can almost see the cathedral spires from the cliff.