Three Days Exploring the Moosehead Lake Region of Maine

While we were supposed to be in Scotland in September, COVID had other ideas and instead we planned a last minute staycation. It does help to live in Vacationland during a pandemic.

For this trip we decided to head to central Maine and spend a few days near Moosehead Lake before heading towards Mt. Katahdin and Baxter State Park. It’s an area we don’t explore as often as the coast since it’s further away for us but our revamped vacation plans meant it was the perfect time to explore the North Woods of Maine.

Day 1

We arrived in Greenville Maine on an atypically cool August day with strong winds dropping the temps even lower. We had taken our time driving up and stopped often along the way including a visit to Turning Page Farm Brewery in Monson . My husband and I enjoyed a summer session and brown ale respectively while relaxing at one of the picnic tables in their beer garden. We  enjoyed watching their playful herd of goats while eating a couple of bratwursts along with our craft beers.

We arrived in downtown Greenville in the late afternoon and checked into our suite at the Dockside Inn and Tavern. The accommodations were gorgeous with plenty of space to spread out and relax. Since the weather wasn’t cooperating, we opted to get take out from the nearby restaurant, Flatlanders,  bringing the fried chicken and fresh cut friends back to our suite.  We enjoyed a relaxing evening watching movies in the cozy living room and resting up for our more adventurous plans for the next day.

Day 2

After a quick breakfast in the room, we headed out to Lily Bay State Park for our first hike. Their shoreline trail which goes between the beach and the campground is about 2 miles each way. It’s a relatively flat and easy path getting a little more root infested as you approach the campground but still manageable. The trail hugs the Moosehead Lake shoreline although inland a little so in most parts you’re only getting small glimpses. There were plenty of opportunities to get closer to the water’s edge by following the various offshoot paths from the trail.

After our successful morning hike, we headed to lunch at Stress Free Moose Pub & Cafe located on Pritham Ave just a short distance from our hotel. The wind had finally died down a bit and the weather warmer, so we were able to  enjoy a delicious lunch on their upper outside deck. I started with a cup of their clam chowder. It was a thin style chowder which I actually prefer. It was delicious. Knowing we’d be doing more active pursuits later in the day, I went with something lighter for my meal and enjoyed their spinach, walnut, strawberry, mozzarella and chicken salad. My husband got the smoked trout plate. Both meals were excellent.

We had a few hours before our Moose Safari which we had booked the previous day at Northwoods Outfitters Moosehead Lake so my husband napped while I did a little more shopping in downtown Greenville. After our brief break, we regrouped and grabbed an ice cream from The Dairy Bar and headed to Northwoods Outfitters to meet our guide.

Our Guide, Steve, introduced himself and gave us the rundown on the plan for the trip. Because of COVID, all  tours were private so it was just the three of us. We masked up and headed into the van. Steve drove up Lilly Bay Road crossing onto gravel roads when we hit paper company territory. The tour started at 3:30 pm which is a little early to spot moose as they typically don’t come out to eat until dusk but Steve expertly navigated the unmarked roads checking out various known Moose spots.

Having no luck on our initial pass, we headed to a remote pond and a waiting canoe. My husband and our guide were the paddlers while I sat in the middle, camera in hand. We explored the beautiful, wild lake as we waited for the sun to set. After circle around on of the islands, in a small, shallow cove my husband spotted our first moose. She was snacking along the shoreline and the guide was able to quietly navigate us in for a closer look. She was mildly interested in us but for the most part wrote us off as no threat and continued to eat her dinner. We watched her for a while before paddling back to the launch spot and returning to our vehicle for the ride home.

The sun was setting so as we headed out, and passed the spots we had visited earlier, we had more luck seeing additional moose grazing by the forests edge. First another female, then a mother daughter pair and lastly a small young buck snacking on the salt left behind from the winter snow plows. 

In the end it was a successful moose safari and a wonderful opportunity to really take in Maine in all her remote beauty. 

That night, a friend had posted on Facebook that a Moose ran across the road in front of her as she was driving home. You don’t necessarily need to search out moose in Maine but it’s certainly nice to see them relaxing by the side of the pond rather then jumping in front of your moving vehicle.

We made it back to the hotel just before 8 and ordered takeout from the Dockside Inn and Restaurant which we enjoyed back in the room. Exhausted but happy.

Day 3

Before heading to our next stop near Baxter State Park, we had one final day in the Moosehead lake area. We grabbed lunch at Kelly’s Landing on their outside deck overlooking the lake. It was a beautiful spot with delicious food. I especially enjoyed my chicken Alfredo flatbread. It was a brief stop though as we had tickets for the 12:30 pm Katahdin Cruise on Moosehead Lake.

Fortunately, it was a quick drive to the dock and we arrived at the departure location in plenty of time. With COVID, boarding was more structured. They called us onto the boat by passenger groups one at a time allowing ample space between everyone. Seating was outside and we got a spot along the side of the upper deck. It was breezy but beautiful and we enjoyed the leisurely three hour cruise with incredible views of the lake and surrounding landscape.

While sad that we didn’t get to go to Scotland this year, it was a lot of fun to explore some of the more remote regions of Maine. It really is a stunningly beautiful area and it gave us an opportunity to reconnect with nature.

Next stop, Baxter State Park and the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. But, that’s a post for another day.

Have you taken any staycations this year?

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So close and yet so far, only two stops left on the Maine Beer Trail.

We were in the home stretch almost ready to claim our prize and revel in our bragging rights. Our tattered, well-worn beer trail map held together with generous amounts of packaging tape, has only TWO blank spaces left. We planned to finish our visits in the spring but then the world paused.

No stamps from Penobscot Bay Brewery or Sheepscot Valley Brewing Company to add an air of finality to our three year adventure. Both breweries are in the mid-coast. Both are just out of reach for now.

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An infographic on spending a fun filled socially distanced weekend in Maine.

During my first year of blogging, I created an infographic that highlighted how to spend a perfect weekend in Portland, Maine.  Now that we’re all staying home and access to public spaces is more limited due to the pandemic, I thought it would be fun to create a new infographic focused on how to spend a perfect socially distanced weekend in Maine.

Even if we can’t currently visit our local restaurants, breweries, museums, shops and all the other amazing places that Maine has to offer there are still many ways to support our local businesses while practicing social distancing and having a great time.

The links to all of the sites mentioned in the infographic are listed at the bottom of the blog post. Wishing everyone a fun filled virtual weekend!

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#AtoZChallenge | N is for New Experiences and moving my bucket list virtual.

I’ve posted a few annual bucket lists to this blog in the past. However, I didn’t for 2020. I needed to step back and think about what my goals were around my bucket list as typically we’d only cross a few entries off each year. That didn’t make me happy. I’m the kind of person who gets giddy when she finishes a to-do list.

Maybe that was the problem. Had I set them up to be just another thing to cross off?

I’ve read the headlines telling us it is better to invest in experiences rather than things. That it will bring us more joy. I don’t need to be convinced. I definitely would pick an experience over a purchase any day.

Why do new experiences bring bliss into my life? Below are five reasons that I love new experiences:

People. Typically, new experiences involve other people. After years of believing myself to be an introvert, I read Quiet by Susan Cain and realized I’m actually a shy extrovert. Being around other people gives me energy. Often new experiences are something that I do with other people which makes it that much sweeter.

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#AtoZChallenge | I is for Islands and a perfect summer day on Monhegan.

There is something magical about a perfect summer day. It stays in our memory with such a force that we can easily return to it and relive the moments to brighten more dreary ones. Our trip to Monhegan Island was one of those days.

After a foggy boat ride out of New Harbor, we reached Monhegan Island where the sky was bright and clear. We immediately set off on the 4.4 mile Cliff Trail, which circles the outer edge of the island and opens onto one amazing ocean view after another. It is the embodiment of the rugged Maine coastline. Below is a slide show of images from our trip:

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