For the last 12 days I spent my days relaxing at The Pines Lodge near Grand Lake Stream in the wilds of Maine. The Lodge and cabins, some of which date back to the 1800s, are located on the 9 mile long Lake Sysladobsis in Washington County , ME. and are run by Steve Norris, his wife Nancy (the cook extraordinaire) and his two children. I’ve been going there for the last 11 years. Days are spent simply relaxing by reading, swimming, fishing or exchanging experiences, tall tales or other fish stories with other guests. The Pines facilities accommodate about a maximum of about 20 30, guests, but the dining room is also visited by local townspeople looking for a good meal out on the Town.
A typical day at The Pines goes like this: At 7:30 am you hear the first bell. It’s your wake up call for breakfast. At 8 the second bell rings and you better be at the table in the main lodge because breakfast is being served. It’s first come, first served so it pays not to sleep in. Every morning you get a basket with fresh muffins, donuts or coffee cake and it’s all home made. You get your choice of either eggs, french toast, pancakes, bacon or sausage, hot or cold cereal, or if your a fisherman fish you caught the day before.
After breakfast your free to do whatever you like. There’s no dishes to do but there also isn’t any electricity, phones (cell service is limited to US Cellular), tv, or internet so don’t plan on doing any work. I was able to charge my computer a few times and do some offline work cleaning up my photos and writing but that’s about it. There’s motor boats, canoes and kayaks to rent if you want to get out on the water. A beautiful sand beach is just a short walk away for those wanting a day at the beach. If your a fisherman like me there are plenty of Small mouth bass to catch but there’s also Trout, Salmon, Perch, Pickerel, and Perch.
Hammocks blow in the breeze in front of cabins calling for you to bring a book and relax. Dirt roads cut through the dense Maine woods connecting you to the surrounding lakes and streams. As a runner it’s an off-road spider web of dirt roads to explore. At night you can go for a drive and look for moose or other large animals like bear, dear, coyotes or cats.
Lunch is made while your eating your breakfast. You fill out a lunch card at dinner the night before and by the time your done with breakfast your cooler and thermos are waiting for you. Lunch is basic, your choice of sandwiches served with a fresh piece of fruit and yet another homemade dessert.
At 6:30 PM the dinner bell rings and it’s time to see which type of fresh baked roll is in the basket waiting for you at the dinner table. Along with the steaming rolls you get a hot or cold appetizer. The dinner menu is your classic American menu. Turkey dinner one night, Italian Wednesdays, steak Saturday, seafood, pork loin and more await you depending on the day of the week. Every meal is accompanied by an appetizer, fresh veggies, and of course more homemade desserts.
If youve still got room, some evenings you can have some SMORES around a campfire on the beach under a sky that is so densely populated with stars that it can leave you breathless. (There certainly is no light pollution in this part of the country).
A certified Maine Guide can be hired to take you out in one of their unique Grand Laker canoes for a day of fishing, or one can go to Moosehorn Reserve a wildlife preserve where you’ll see Eagles, Osprey, ducks, perching birds, otters, deer and many other critters, or you can make the drive to St. Andrews in Canada which is about an hour away.
If your one who can’t sit still or need to check your email every 10 minutes you’ll probably have a hard go of it at the Pines, and the other guests probably wouldnt want you there anyway. Though if you like to get off the grid and slip into a simpler life for a few days or more then there’s no better place to do it then here.
Get out there!