One of the wonderful things about living in Maine is we have a lot of space. Even in cities like Augusta, there are beautiful and refreshing places to get outside and take a walk, even now in March, with, or without a dog. Mine of course will be with my buddy Ozzy, my chocolate lab.

Here's a couple places I enjoy year round. Yes, even now while waiting for spring...to spring.

1) Kennebec River Rail Trail - From the Augusta side, the trailhead starts off water street, under Augusta's Memorial bridge. This is a great scenic trial right along the river that will take you all the way to Gardiner if you're up for the walk. It's a great multi-use trail that is available year round.

2) Viles Arboretum - This is a great 224 acres of botanical garden and arboretum with 5 miles of trails, open year round without charge. The plant collection contains over 300 species or varieties of trees and shrubs. It's truly a breath of fresh air located at 153 Hospital St (Rt 9) right in the city it is a hidden gem!

3) Vaughan Woods - Right outside of Augusta in Hallowell, there is parking available at the corner of Litchfield Road and Middle Street. There are several natural trails that include great stone bridges and it has long been known for its natural beauty and fascinating history. In fact, local residents call it “Hobbitland”

4) Bond Brook - Located on a hill behind the airport the Bond Brook Recreation Area offers a large network of trails. Some of the trails are more geared towards mountain bikers but there are also some nice flat areas in the 270 acre parcel. Head to 25 Bond Brook Road which is the junction spot for Tall Pines Way, a dirt road that leads to the main parking lot and kiosk.

5) Howard Hill Conservation Area - 164 acres that are crisscrossed by an informal network of old carriage roads and woods roads that provide amazing views over the State House and the Kennebec River valley. The best place to access the 3 miles of trail is at the end of Coos Lane, where you can park at Effie L. Berry Conservation Area kiosk.

Let me know where you like to frolic with your furry friends around Augusta?

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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