By Susan Farewell
Some people go to Maine for the craggy coastline, the salt air. Others seek the serenity of the woods. I go for two reasons at least once a summer. To have a lobster roll and to plunge into an icy cold freshwater lake. Otherwise, my summer’s not complete.
While there are many places to get great lobster rolls (and every local and summer visitor has his or her own favorite), there are just a few lake lodges that stand out from the crowd. Here are my top choices.
One of the state’s oldest resorts, Migis is anything but worn looking. It is made up of a classic main lodge and thirty-five cottages, and set on 125 lakefront acres. All of the cottages—which have been fully renovated over the last couple of years--are exquisitely decorated and range from all-in-one studios to 4-bedroom/4-bathroom homes-away-from-home. They each feature a living room, a fireplace and at least one porch overlooking the water. Some have cathedral ceilings and all have pine-paneled walls and gleaming floors.
Migis (which is pronounced “MY-giss” with a hard G) in the Abenaki Indian language means “place to steal away to rest.” Let's just say, the order is more than filled when visiting.
Three meals a day are served and there’s unlimited use of all the lodge’s boats, beaches, tennis courts, you name it.
Details: On Sebago Lake, South Casco. Open June 14 to Columbus Day.
Attean Lake Lodge
Very remotely located, in northwestern Maine is the magnificently situated Attean Lake Lodge. There are fifteen log cottages set amid towering pines, spruce and birch trees. Each one has a private porch and a wood-burning stove and can’t-take-your-eyes-off-it view of the lake and White Mountains that loom all around.
Activities include fishing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and hiking as well as swimming at sandy beaches. Three home-style meals a day are served here including box lunches for mid-day adventures and a couple of sunset cookouts as well.
Details: Birch Island on Attean Lake, Jackman. Open Memorial Day until end of September..
One of the most beautiful Maine lodges you’ll ever see, the Kawanhee Inn is set on a hill overlooking Lake Webb. It has all the details you’d expect in a Maine lodge: exposed timber beams, an immense stone fireplace, woodsy rooms. You can stay in one of 11 rooms with basic furnishings in the main lodge or settle into a cabin for a week. All 8 cabins have their own fireplaces and screened-in porches along with one to three bedrooms.
Guests can use the small beach and boats and explore the many hiking trails of the spectacularly scenic Mt. Blue State Park right across the lake. The food is really special here as well with all three meals served in the dining room. Though it seems worlds away, the inn is actually just two hours from Portland.
Details: Located in Weld. Open Memorial Day until end of September.
Set on the shores of Lake Kezar opposite New Hampshire’s Presidential Mountain Range, Quisisana is an amazing find. It was founded in1917 as a retreat for music students and music lovers to relax in the cool Maine woods and continues on today, attracting musicians from around the country.
Guest rooms range from lodge rooms to cabins and are spread out over forty-seven acres. Every evening, after a great meal, there’s a musical performance in the lakeside hall (from chamber music concerts to opera). This season’s opera is Don Giovanni; the musical is Damn Yankees. Performances are made up of staff members who are recruited from top music schools such as Juilliard, Oberlin and the New England School of Music. By day they may carry your luggage, by night, perform an aria.
Details: Lake Kezar, Center Lovell. Open mid-June through August.