A formal dedication of this truly extraordinary property on the Salmon Falls River in South Berwick was held on a not-so-sunny Saturday in May. The rain held off, sort of, but few were optimistic enough to bring along a picnic. As it happened, the day before, May 30th was the 95th anniversary of the birth of the donor of the property, Simone Savage, who died in 2006. Her husband, Raymond, died 20 some years earlier.
Several neighbors and friends of Ray and Simone Savage came and shared their memories of the people and the place. What came through loud and clear was Simone’s deep, deep love of this 26-acres with its great diversity of field and forest with water frontage both tidal and fresh. She treasured the land and the wildlife – a great variety of birds as well as deer and small mammals – that were drawn to it.The Preserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk and is located at 15 Dover-Eliot Road (Route 101) on the border of Eliot and South Berwick. The small house has been renovated for a tenant/caretaker and we are working on a management plan for the property, including walking paths. We urge you to visit. Take a stroll through the field and out to the point on the river. Bring a picnic. Watch for birds. Eagles, even. You won’t understand the special nature of the place until you’ve been there.
A sugar maple tree was planted to commemorate the event. Bob Eger, the GWRLT Board member who has been overseeing the conservation of the property, spoke eloquently of the land and its situation overlooking the confluence of the Salmon Falls and Cocheco Rivers. Wendy Pirsig spoke of the research into the history of the property that she and another Old Berwick Historical Society member, Norma Keim, have done dating back to the 1600’s. She related stories of more recent times – the summer retreat called Porter Pines that spanned the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, the dance hall called Radio Ranch that was there before the Savages purchased the property in the mid-1950s.