Much of the island is heavily wooded with oak and pine trees, though an open area near the entrance and parking lot is heavily populated with native wildflower species such as baneberry, goldenrod, nightshade, and wood anemones. Within the forested area, wildlife such as foxes, grouse, rabbits, skunks, and squirrels are plentiful, along with bird species such as warblers and sparrows. Several unique structures are located within the forest, including the Listening Tree, which features a growth that resembles a giant human ear. A number of benches and swings along the trail offer places for visitors to rest and enjoy views of the surrounding Casco Bay. Intertidal pool exploration is allowed within the island’s shoreline areas, though collecting is not permitted. The shoreline area also provides opportunities for bird watching for species such as eider ducks, great blue herons, osprey, and cormorants. Though the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf is not open to the public, Governor Baxter’s pet cemetery facility, where his horse and Irish setters are buried, may be explored by visitors.
The island is best known for its Fairy House Village, which is located on the trail’s inland side near the pet cemetery facility. A number of miniature fairy houses have been constructed by the island’s guard, Steve King, and are displayed in the area alongside a sign that offers a fairy poem written by King. Visitors may examine existing fairy house constructions and are invited to create their own houses to add to the village while on the island. All fairy houses must be constructed of fallen materials on the forest’s ground floor, including pinecones, pebbles, twigs, and acorns.
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