An award-winning New England resort scores with golfing families and the youngest kids.
Children riding their bicycles like they owned the place and golfers with “life is good” smiles on their faces as they drove their carts to the on-premises championship golf course — the kids and the golfers — those are the ones who seem to enjoy the Point Sebago Resort in Casco, Maine the most.
It must be Point Sebago’s family-friendly style that attracts so many families with more than two children. For parents who want/need to keep their kids occupied, having literally dozens of activities to choose from must be a godsend. It’s not a place to take, as I did, two teenagers who don’t know other kids there. “It’s better for kids 9 and under,” explained my 14-year-old daughter. She conceded that if she was there with kids she knew, they would have had a great time.
She noted, however, that “The grounds just aren’t nice. There are no real woods and it’s not secluded like I expected.” My boyfriend, who drove from New York to the country to join us for two nights, agreed with her that the resort was too crowded. But in all fairness, we don’t play golf and the golf course looked magnificent. In 2003-4 it was the #1 Golf Course in Southern Maine, according to Golf Digest. The resort offers golf clinics for juniors, so all those kids can start playing too.
Point Sebago Resort is on 775 acres and there are more than 550 sites for the relatively upscale Resort Cottages and Vacation Homes; the more modest Park Homes, which is what we had; and RV and camping sites. We stayed at an “All Inclusive Park Home,” which includes linens, a TV, microwave, air conditioner, and all the basic cooking and serving utensils, but not meals like at some resorts. I can’t recommend the Lakeview Restaurant though, because at our one dinner, the French fries were inedible and the salad bar was down to the dregs even though it was only 7:00 p.m. The waitress, however, was charming and efficient.
Being at Point Sebago got us out of the city, but it wasn’t a place to commune with nature. Our home was a 10-minute walk to the lake, passing numerous rows of Park Homes and RVs along the way. While it was clean and not shabby, nevertheless our Park Home was a pre-fab let-down. The deck was small and two other homes were directly in sight. Small trucks, golf carts and cars frequently drove by. “It’s a glorified RV park,” said my 16-year-old son, who spent most of his time reading “Lolita” on the deck.
Moira Jrolf of Milton, Massachusetts, the mother of four children, ages 7, 7, 7, and 6, also found the Park Home too confined. She pointed out that if they’d known how small the home was, they might have brought a tent. “Thank God we’ve had good weather. If it rained, we’d have to eat in shifts,” she added. Still, her kids were having a ball. playing kickball, dodge ball, tee-ball, tennis, and going to the beach every day. There’s no charge for tennis and when they forgot tennis rackets, the resort let them use some for free. In contrast, her family was charged $5 per bicycle to bring their own. Jrolf said the staff and facilities are fantastic and they enjoyed the talent show, but they’re not planning to return to the Point Sebago Resort because it was too uncomfortable.
Activities and Fun
The resort’s extensive facilities include fishing, sailboat and canoe rentals; six tennis courts; miniature golf, nightly entertainment, volleyball courts, shuffleboard courts, a basketball court, playgrounds, and more. I counted the planned activities for one random Monday – 77! Activities ranged from a Family Hayride, a Ping-Pong Tournament and Children’s Bingo to a Medieval Feast, a Teen DJ dance and Ladies Singles Tennis Tournament. My kids made a foray on their own to play mini-golf and enjoyed playing air hockey and skee ball at the arcade. Jrolf liked going on a 2-mile Fun Run every morning at 8:00. At the well-attended Beach Party with Flamin’ Raymin, older kids were exuberantly line dancing to the music. A lovely amenity was getting the Portland Press Herald delivered free to our home every morning.
One activity that didn’t get a big turnout was the Scrabble tournament, where I saw only one game going.
It was a bit exotic for my family that people said “cah” instead of “car” and that many guests (from neighboring Massachusetts) wore Red Sox shirts and hats. We all also agreed that the Point Sebago Resort staff was consistently friendly and helpful. Otherwise we didn’t really click with it, and we ended up using Point Sebago as a base for touring the area.
The highlights of our vacation were:
• Hiking to the summit of Douglas Mountain (a 20-minute climb to reach a spectacular view) – a 25-minute drive from Point Sebago
• Giving my son driving lessons
• Clothes shopping in Freeport (bliss for my daughter). An hour away from Point Sebago
• Touring the bucolic campus of Bowdoin College; a 1-hour 15 minute drive.
• Visiting the Portland Museum of Art. It’s a small gem of a museum, with works by Winslow Homer, the Wyeth family, Frederic Edwin Church, Picasso, Monet, Renoir, and Matisse, among many others. Portland is about 45 minutes away.
• Lunch of fresh haddock and blueberry pie at the Spurwink Country Kitchen on Cape Elizabeth, after walking on Kettle Cove beach. This was about an hour’s drive.
For golf lovers with active children, the Point Sebago Resort would be an appealing choice. It seems like a good place to begin taking children when they’re small, and then keep taking them so they get to know other kids – and feel like they own the place.
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Point Sebago Resort|
|Address:||261 Point Sebago Road
|Seasonal Rates:||$ – $$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||B|
|Bonus:||Friendly staff and fair prices for groceries, boat rentals and other family needs.|
|Note:||Our Park Home was such a tight fit it seemed like a trailer, and there wasn’t a comfortable chair aside from the futon couch.|
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