FREEPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The Desert of Maine in Freeport gives tours to visitors curious as to whether the sandy spot is real. Not only does the desert that was formed by a glacial deposit exist, but it's up for sale.
Visitors boarding Tim Ryan's tram at the Desert of Maine need to be prepared to sweat. When you're surrounded by acres and acres of sand, things are going to get hot. As high as 100 degrees some days. That's after you realize that the Desert of Maine is a real thing.
"A lot of people see the sign and they go 'there's no desert in Maine'," said Ryan. "They come just for the curiosity. There's no way there's a desert in Maine, but here we are sweating."
Ryan had his work cut out for him with a group of 50 kids from Toddle Inn Child Care in Scarborough. Explaining the science behind how the desert formed isn't easy for a three year old to grasp, but the group sat politely and listened to how a farmer in 1793 did a poor job of farming the land. Ruining the soil and creating what is now the Desert of Maine.
"Not rotating the crops. He stuck with potatoes, which is the worst crop not to rotate because it turns the soil acidy and those first few years he probably wondered why his potatoes got smaller and smaller. Until finally he couldn't grow anything on 300 acres of land," said Ryan.
Gary Currens bought the Freeport desert 15 years ago after he visited with his wife. They were drawn to the attraction because of it's uniqueness. Nothing else like it on the entire east coast according to the owner. Now it's up for grabs because, as of this summer, The Desert of Maine is for sale.
"Exactly how do you appraise one?" said Currens. "The bank wondered the same thing. How do you appraise a desert?"
The property was estimated to be worth around $725,000. A big chunk of change, but it's still attracting a large amount of interest. A sale to a new owner will be about more than just money. They have to have an interest in sharing the dry land with visitors.
"I want it to succeed," said Currens.
There have been potential buyers from as far away as California show interest in the Desert of Maine. No sales have been finalized as of yet.