A Memorable Trip to Migis Lodge
written by and photos courtesy of Cathy H. Burroughs
Deep in the woods of southwestern Maine, two-and-a-half hour’s drive from Boston or 45 minutes north of the Portland airport, nestled on the edge of the effervescent Sebago Lake is a hidden treasure. From mid-June to Columbus Day weekend, travelers, families and friends, year after year and generation after generation find a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of life at the luxurious and rustic six-room lodge and 35 log cabins of Casco, Maine’s Migis Lodge.
This classic lodge (some might consider to be on the endangered list) first opened its rough-hewn doors in 1916, and has shared the Maine’s second largest lake and its history since with such notables as author Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose lost boyhood diary from the early 19th century offers a glimpse of his early writing days on these self-same shores. Comedian Henry Clay Barnabee, once called the funniest man of his time, too would bring his cronies here for relaxing lakeside summers to rest up their vocal cords around the same time the Lodge opened.
Beyond Serenity: Rambunctious Activities for All
The Lodge still offers restoration nearly 100 years later. But if you crave something more than contemplative relaxation (go even further with a massage and sauna), there are more rambunctious options for the most active family vacation with tennis and every kind of water sport imaginable: water ski all day and boat to your heart’s content (motor, canoe, sail or kayak). Hike in the neighboring trails or take a mail boat for candy with the owner who is part Santa Claus and part quiet woodsman. You would never know he ran the place as he rolls up his sleeves and chips right in. By all means bring the kids.They have their own program with arts, crafts and movies that even the adults sometimes envy.
Each family or adult couple stays in a stylish solitary log cabin (mine was named “Bittersweet”) with fireplace, stocked with fire wood and a vase of fresh flowers daily, comfy feather beds for some serious slumber and each cabin has its private porches, rockers and a lake view with easy access. You may also book a stay in the Main Lodge with high sloping ceilings, fireplaces and balconies with panoramic lake vistas and the lodge’s legendary sunrises and sunsets over island speckled waters.
The Migis crew know what they’re doing when it comes to made-from-scratch breakfasts, lunches and dinners – all-inclusive on the American plan with sublime takes on New England fare and more. Nighttime there are s’mores and marshmallow bon fires and during the day down by the lake is a multi-coursed, not to miss outdoor cookout. The piece d’ resistance is the Saturday night buffet to end all buffets, with heaping portions of roast beef, lobster, sushi and a dozen plus more entrees with homemade desserts including Magis’ own signature cookie. Each meal can be customized to your liking by the ultra gracious staff who are always willing to pack you a picnic if you plan to be gone all day.
Our family came to celebrate dad’s 90th. Migis made the entire Boulders Hall available to us complete with video projector and screen, and a roaring fire, fresh flowers, piano and even helped decorate and run the video. We couldn’t have known this would his last. Made up song lyrics (“You are My Sunshine”), a piano sing-a-long, a “This is Your Life” video, and each child sharing their own anecdotal recollections about life with our invincible dad.
Such is the enchantment of Migis Lodge. Part nirvana, part glocca morra, and part a brand of nearly lost resorts we remember from such films as Dirty Dancing, Migis harkens back to a by gone era. It is the stuff that vintage New England post cards are made of with its picturesque lake and mountain backdrop – all tucked away, blanketed from any sort of recognizable civilization, nearly lost but never forgotten in the heart of Maine’s innermost 125 acres of Pine forest.
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