Migis Lodge has delivered a classic Maine summer vacation to families since 1916 – one of those rare resorts that attracts generations of families. After our long weekend stay, it was readily apparent why families regularly return, often choosing the same week and same lodging year after year.
Open from mid-June to mid-October, the vibe is decidedly family lake / boating retreat … with a large helping of fine dining and cocktails. An easy forty-five minutes from Portland, Migis sits unobtrusively among 125 acres of pine forest, hugging a wide expanse of Sebago Lake shoreline. The towering evergreen canopy keeps the air cool regardless of the sun and temperature.
We settled in for a long weekend with our (newly adult) daughter … and immediately decompressed.
Migis Lodge Has Really Cool Cottages
No hotel/motel style rooms at Migis – each of the 35 wood and stone cottages has a fieldstone fireplace, handmade quilts, fresh flowers, porch(es) and an abundance of knotty pine. Yet, they contrast considerably in size, amenities and lake views, ranging from cozy to luxurious.
(Tip: If granite countertops or renewed bathrooms are important, call and ask since it’s difficult to determine specific amenities on the web site).
Our “Topside” cabin’s three bedrooms and two baths were comfortable but not plush or modern, with a simple deck overlooking the lake, decorated by dappled sunlight. The mini-fridge and sink in the main living area were quite handy and will prove valuable for family provisions, such as infant formula, milk, snacks, wine, etc. and stores are only minutes away.
Cabin boys refreshed ice and firewood daily.
Lots (and Lots) of Fresh, Healthy Maine Meals
Migis takes mealtime seriously. Food is plentiful and varies from hearty to hedonistic – three meals are included in the tariff (but not alcoholic beverages) . At the end of three days, we felt like we’d eaten 50 meals. Not that we complained …
Families are assigned a table in the comfy lodge dining room for the length of the stay. Breakfast is cooked to order except on Sundays when it’s replaced with a popular outdoor, lakeside cookout. It was vacation, so we generally over-indulged on fresh blueberries and raspberries and eggs benedict and bacon and homemade donuts and far too much else, to the point that it was difficult to muster the appetite for lunch. But we prevailed.
The midday meal often (not always) is served lakeside, a casual cookout consisting of grilled fish, burgers, barbecue, salads, fruits and drinks – nicely prepared family fare. Meals down by the lake are communal, where guests share picnic tables after moving through the buffet line under the pine trees, so it’s easy to meet and mingle. (We even ran into an old friend who boats over frequently with his family from their nearby home.)
Lots (and Lots) of Lobster at Migis
Dinner usually is somewhat more formal. A friendly cocktail time on the lodge porch precedes dinner as the sun slides behind the hills. Jackets and sundresses take the place of swim trunks and yoga pants – even for the youngsters. No set time, no reservation – simply show up any time between 6:30 and 8:30pm and your table is waiting (the resort even graciously held our table for a slightly late arrival). We chose from chilled and hot soups, fresh green salads, imaginative entrées (including duck, lamb, scallops, fish, steak and sides), assorted desserts… more than we usually eat, but it was impossible to resist.
Saturday evening’s “Buffet Night” is an even more elaborate affair with roast beef, lobster, shrimp and more – most surprisingly well done.
Friday night’s classic lakeside lobster bake is one evening semi-formal wear is not required – but bibs are. Families feast on lobsters, steamed clams, corn on the cob, blueberry pie and more (including hot dogs and burgers for the less adventuresome).
For those with little ones, a complimentary “Zoo” program allows kids of any age to eat, play and meet new friends in a separate dining area while mom and dad enjoy a leisurely grown-up dinner next door (of course, parents may eat with their kiddies). After a group dinner is served, there’s time to play on the playground or in the rec room. The “Zoo” program is available nightly from 5:55pm to 9pm.
Water, Water Everywhere in Maine
A list of each day’s activities, ranging from family bingo to exercise classes on the lawn to bonfires, is posted at the front desk in the main lodge. But much of the resort’s action centers in, on and around water. Complimentary canoes, kayaks, rowboats, sunfish and daysailers – available on a first-come first-serve basis – are popular with guests of all ages. There’s even a slip of a sandy beach at one edge of the property.
Small motorboats can be signed out with a small fee to cover gas. For boaters who want something more substantial, a 22-foot Grady White is also available for rent (for a slightly larger fee).
On Solid Ground at Migis Sports Facilities
Three Har-tru tennis courts sit close by the lake, along with an open-air workout space with some basic but decent equipment.
Lovely hikes through the woods are mapped out, and if your pulse hasn’t lowered enough from that fresh pine air, there’s a cute little massage hut in the woods for some wonderful massage therapy.
Golf and shopping are just off property.
Oh, Yes – The Kids! Migis Treats Them Well
This is summer camp “ooh la la” for kids.
Most kids who are old enough focus on watersports, such as waterskiing, wake boarding, kayaking, paddleboards and so on. Kids ages 5-12 enjoy a complimentary, supervised activity program during summertime weekdays from noon to 5pm, based out of Boulders Cabin, where they are busy with games, crafts, field trips, treasure hunts, storytelling and a weekly talent show. Separated by age and interests, younger kids (4-6) enjoy Kid’s Camp, and kids 7 and up enjoy Adventure Camp. There’s also a very cool playground.
Teenagers have the run of the resort or can follow program directors in Ping-Pong or billiards tournaments, swimming relay games and other organized (as much as possible for teenagers) fun.
The typically youngish employees organizing all this are multi-talented – the same Migis staffer on the dock teaching your teen or tween to waterski may be taking your drink order in the evening.
In the evening, kids and parents often gravitate to Boulders to shoot pool, play games or humiliate themselves at family karaoke. Private babysitting is also available.
And Finally …
A classic Maine vacation like this doesn’t come cheap, but if you’re lucky enough to get a reservation at Migis Lodge, South Casco, Maine 04077 (207/655-4524), you’ll understand why Migis is approaching a century of service.
Despite the boating and dining and games and all, perhaps my favorite Migis memory is one of the simplest: relaxing in an Adirondack chair, cocktail in hand, nestled below the lodge overlooking an idyllic expanse of Sebago Lake and the pines below.
Migis made us slow down and take it all in. It also made us want to come back.