Horse-drawn carriage tours coming to Bridgton

RIDING IN STYLE — Tiffany Payton, of Carousel Horse Farm, will be bringing her single-horse carriage to Downtown Bridgton for ride tours as a trial run during Fryeburg Fair week, Sept. 28 to Oct. 5.

RIDING IN STYLE — Tiffany Payton, of Carousel Horse Farm, will be bringing her single-horse carriage to Downtown Bridgton for ride tours as a trial run during Fryeburg Fair week, Sept. 28 to Oct. 5.

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

Bridgton Selectmen gave their blessing to Tiffany Payton, of Carousel Horse Farm in Casco, to offer the public horse-drawn carriage rides during Fryeburg Fair week starting Sept. 28.

No permitting is required to offer the curb service, but Payton wanted to inform the town that she would like to add Bridgton to the list of towns where she currently offers the carriage rides. Payton currently services Freeport, Old Orchard Beach and, more recently, began operating on the Causeway in Naples, where she said she has been well-received.

“There’s a lot more here than there was when I started (offering tours) 10 years ago,” Payton said of downtown Bridgton. “I’d like to do this as a pilot during Fryeburg Fair week, and see how it goes.”

Payton won’t be following a specific route through the downtown, but will operate “more or less like a taxi service,” taking people from one destination to another, she said. In Freeport, she offers a 10-minute tour for $20, and that may be how she will operate in Bridgton, depending on what people want.

“I like to work with businesses” in providing transportation from one business to another, such as with bar-hopping special events, she said.

Selectman Ken Murphy suggested her horse and carriage would be a welcome addition to Bridgton’s Festival of Lights Parade, or during the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Carnival.

Payton said she and her other drivers are careful to ensure that traffic does not become backed up behind the carriage. They pull off to the side or speed up the ride so as not to impede traffic flow. She said ideally she would like to have a location where the carriage can be stationed, and it was suggested that she could park on Depot Street near the bridge at Corn Shop Brook.

Naples town officials were initially concerned about traffic safety when she approached that town about offering tours, but all of their concerns were satisfied after everything went smoothly for a season.

“Anywhere there are pedestrians, we work well,” she said. She said 90% of her tours in Old Orchard Beach take place from 6 to 9 p.m., and most of the Freeport tours take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The city of Portland is the only municipality where a license is required to offer horse-drawn carriage rides, she said.

If the public responds well to the tours, Payton said she’ll plan to make Bridgton one of the regular towns that she services.

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