Moosehead Lake: Part One

Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  
One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, 
yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.
//Diane Ackerman

If you have been following my blog for awhile you may have read one of my very first posts of the recap of our trip to Moosehead last year. We had such a great time last year with all of the cousins and couldn't wait to go again this year, I think the countdown started a couple months ago! Mike and I spent many a childhood summer up there on family vacations and it always holds a soft spot in our hearts. First off, it is just absolutely gorgeous up there, there isn't really a way to even describe it. So calm, so relaxing, and spectacular views everywhere you look. My Grandparents purchased the house in the late 70's as a vacation spot for the family but have lived there full time the last 15 or so years. It is almost near Canada so the summer up there is VERY short, as in about a month. We always like to go late July/early August in hopes that we get somewhat warm and sunny weather. This year actually ended up being better than last year as we went up about a week earlier than we did last summer and got mostly sunny and warm weather all but the first night we got there. We each took so many photos, I think I have about 1700 in iPhoto. I quickly realized that this was going to have to be a two or three part blog post unless I wanted to set a record for longest post ever. This first post is going to outline our first half day/night there on Wednesday and then our first full day on Thursday. We left CT bright and early on Wednesday for the 7+ hour drive, hoping to get there between 2 and 3pm as to still get some of the day. My Mom, Stepdad and Stepsister had gone up on Monday and would be leaving before us on Friday, so we also wanted to get up there as quickly as possible to have as much time with them as we could. We definitely only packed the bare essentials....

Mike and I have had two major "landmarks" since we were kids for the drive up. We would always ask our Mom if we had passed the Leprechaun Hat, which is in Worcester (left pic), and the "Giant Lobster" on the right which is just as you cross into Maine. So glad they are both still there!
We figured we should make a stop at the NH Liquor outlet and it was 100% worth it. SO MUCH CHEAPER. I think we bought things just to buy them because we were in awe of the prices.

You know you have arrived in Maine when you see assless chaps at MCDonalds. Also when you get cut in line with no remorse, twice, at McDonalds.

Welcome to Rockwood! The Heart of Moosehead Lake! ALMOST THERE.
We made it! It's a tradition (and by tradition I mean he did it last year and then this year) that Papa gives us a nice cold beer on arrival, and a Moosehead beer at that! Just what one needs after 7 hours in the cramped car. Ahhh! We set our stuff down in the old side of the Main camp and just got into relaxation mode. Papa thought us how to play Cribbage, which was really fun but intense! It is a cards/counting/points game that I need to keep playing so that I can get better at it and not forget the rules.
View from our bedroom! Pure bliss.

This is the old part of the main cabin, which used to just be on it's own. The next photo shows the addition which is much newer.

After a couple hours we were all getting hungry so Papa made dinner reservations at The Birches just a few miles away. We all headed over, but not before passing our favorite spot from last year "Soup's On", which got foreclosed and is no longer open. RIP Soup's On, we miss you!
The birches is a very secluded and quiet resort on the lake, but they have a really neat and cozy main lodge that serves dinner every night. Our waitress, Laura, ended up being the same waitress we had last year at Soup's On! It was so nice to all be there as a family and dinner was really good. 

After dinner we headed back to the house and decided to make our first trek down to the dock and lake even though it was somewhat rainy and cool. It ended up being really pretty and the lake was as clam as glass. The sky and clouds cast a blue hue over everything and it made for some really beautiful pictures.

Love love LOVE this photo! The clouds looks so cool on the lake, specially with all the blue tones. Looks like a watercolor painting!

Walking back to the dock from the boathouse I heard a splash in the water and looked down and started yelling "A beaver!! LINDSAY!! A BEAVER!!" God only knows why I was so amazed and excited to see a beaver, and even more so why I chose to yell out Lindsay's name out of all the people on the dock? Maybe I just felt that she would be the one to appreciate it most. Anyways, it made for a good laugh and I don't think I had ever seen a beaver in the wild before. He (I just decided it was a boy) swam away really fast so this was the only picture I was able to get, but he was huge.
Had to grab a couple 'gourmet' shots of Mike on the rocks. We have a made up of definition of the word gourmet, but it fits it perfectly. It's basically anything thats overly proper, or trying to be too serious, or explanatory or scientific. We just know gourmet when we see/hear/read it. It's an acquired radar, or 'gourmet-dar' to be exact. Rest assured if we catch you being gourmet, you will be called out.

"I'm all set...." I don't think think there is a higher concentration of spiders anywhere else in the world than there is on Moosehead Lake Maine. I think the ratio is about 100,000:1 for spider to human. If you have serious arachnophobia, this is not the place for you. It's an absolute guarantee you will be touched by a spider at some point during your trip, whether you are aware of it or not.

Once it got dark we headed up from the dock and us "kids" played some Yahtzee and Buzzword by candle light in the dining room. 

Before walking Emily back down to the Blue Camp we stopped at the dock to check out the stars. The night sky up there is unlike anything you have ever seen. Amazing stars. Countless! You can even see satellites pass and the belt form the Milky Way strewn across the sky. Our cousin Chase ended up coming over late-night and we stayed up chatting until we could chat no more.

Thursday morning we woke up early for two reasons, one was because it was the only full day we would have up there with my parents and step-sister, and two because I had a surprise for Nick that morning :-). We headed down to the Blue Camp where my parents were staying and made some bacon and eggs for breakfast. Us kids stayed in the Blue Camp last year and we definitely missed it this year! It's so cozy and charming.

Hence the reason why it's called "The Blue Camp". I think back in the day it used to be totally blue, and nowadays just has the blue trim.

A side view of the main house and the inside of where we stayed in the old part of the main house.

So I had told Nick about 3-4 weeks prior to going that I had a little surprise planned for him. I was very proud of myself because for once I actually didn't ruin a surprise or give it away. Some of my family also knew and they didn't spill the beans either! He had so many ideas as to what it was but thankfully none of his guesses were correct! We drove down to Greenville and right when I put my blinker on and turned into Currier's he looked straight at me wide-eyed and goes "A SEAPLANE RIDE?!!" He was so excited! I was really happy to see him so excited and that it truly was a surprise and something he had never done before. I on the other hand was terribly nervous for the gift I gave because I really do not like flying. At all! Anxiety, worry, nausea, sweaty palms- I had it all. I mostly just psych myself out leading up to it though because once we took off I was totally fine and absolutely loved it and felt totally safe. Taking off and landing on the water is pretty cool, and the views from the ride were just amazing.

This was our plane- The Beaver!
We're off!

You could tell our pilot, Roger, was an extremely seasoned flyer and he just made me feel completely safe and comfortable. A great guy all around, I definitely would recommend Currier's to anyone!
We had another couple with us who were from Massachusetts as well and even drove a silver Prius! Such a small world sometimes. I was a little bummed at first that Nick didn't get to sit up front but I actually think we had way better views and bigger windows from the back. 


Yes, please! So many islands on Moosehead lake, it's 40 miles long! This one had the perfect little secluded cabin.

 Loved how we could see the shadow of our plane on the lake! 
The whole flight had 360 degree amazing views of the lake and greenery and the surrounding mountains. Roger pointed out some key landmarks here and there and gave us some basic info of the lake and area without having it feel touristy at all.

It was seriously amazing and so pretty! We went up the east side of the lake and then did a cut back right in front of Mount Kineo which is right near where my grandparents live.

First sight of Mount Kineo! Its such a cool mountain right on a peninsula in the middle of a lake. It has a 9 hole golf course which is though to be the second oldest in New England, built in the 1880's. We hiked it last year but decided not to do it this year to allow time for others activities.

So beautiful!

As we banked in front of Kineo we started to head down the west side of the lake and a few seconds later passed RIGHT OVER my grandparents house! You can see the white boathouse, thats us :-). My parents and step sister were on the dock at the time and they saw us fly over as well. Emily even snapped a pic of our fly-by!

Kind of a bad angle, but from a certain view these three mountains look like a pregnant woman laying down.

A little video clip from our flight! So much fun.

We could see another seaplane off in the distance.

Passing back over the bustling town of Greenville. 

Getting ready to land! I got a little nervous at this point again, but all went smoothly.

Back on the water! Hallelujah!

The Beaver! Such a cool old pane. My Papa said that this one was his favorite, so I am glad that it was the one we got to go on.

The Seaplane ride was so fun and I was really glad I got to surprise Nick. Definitely something we will always remember. We headed back to the house afterwards after making a quick stop to pick up lobsters for dinner later that night. We got into our bathing suits and headed down to the dock, but not before Nick did the rope challenge again and climbed to the top with no legs. The first time you do it Papa gives you $20- but it's only a one time deal so this year he did it just for a WOD fun!

My grandparents house is so beautiful!
As you may have seen in the first photo of this post, we brought up the "Tropical Tahiti" float that Linds bought and blew it up for the lake. It was really nice to sit on the float and relax with the fam. We wanted to just spend the whole day at the dock because it was the only full day we had there all together. It was definitely relaxing and great to have the whole fam all in one place at one time. My step sister Emily headed off to her first year of college last week, so it was bittersweet to have her there for a last family trip before she left. 
The most interesting man in the world. No, not the Dos Equis man, but Snagle!! We love our stepdad :-) As long as he knows NO ZOOBAZ print will be allowed at any future wedding of any child, step-child, or grandchild.

Last year Nick pulled a Greg Focker and completely broke the zipline on the first run. So he had to fully redeem himself this year- and he did!

Certainly no lack of fun things to play with at the dock! We are very spoiled Grandchildren, but we definitely appreciate everything we have and get to use up there.
Such a fun day at the dock with the fam!

We headed back up to the house when it started to look like it might rain, but luckily it was later in the afternoon anyways and was time to start getting ready for our lobster bake. We had to prep the lobsters and get the table set and ready. Papa was also going to make his famous caesar salad- the best caesar you will ever have, period! We also brought up corn from Bob's, which is the best by far in our area at home. So it was going to be an all around amazing dinner.

How could something so ugly be so good!? Has anyone else ever wondered what daring soul was the first to attempt to eat a lobster?
"Playing" with our food. 

There was a quick rain and thundershower before dinner which kind of stunk but it made for a gorgeous rainbow over the lake! 

Set and ready for dinner!

The meal was so good and it was so fun to be with the whole family digging in and chatting. A bummer that we couldn't eat outside due to the rain but the view from the dining room is just as spectacular. 
We had wanted to take family photos before dinner but because of the rain we had to wait until afterwards. It ended up being a bit too dark by then so excuse the bad shadows and coloring in these photos but it's the best we could do! I think they still came out great and I am glad we have them as memories to look back on.

 Trying to sneak his head behind mine again!!

Not sure where the family kissing idea started as we all aren't big fans of PDA, but it started. Sorry to gross you out! But we were feelin' the Moosehead love.

Pretty sure this is Mike and Linds' first kiss. They have been dating for 8 years but up to this point, I don't think I had ever seen it. 

Then, Grandma Kathy came out and surprised us with some sparklers! It was a fun little surprise and made us all laugh. Love these pictures!

Best picture.
Watch out Linds, the big bad sparklers might get ya.

My cute little Mommy!

Papa and Kathy came out to join the photos so we took a bunch with them as well! They were forced to partake in the kissing photo too. I smell Christmas card!

Always interesting trying to get a dog to partake in pictures, but Lexi was a good girl and posed for a few.

Lexi did however manage to stick her tongue out for the last one! Sneaky girl.

I'm not sure what was so funny, I think Mom was up to something!

After the photos we had everyone sit back down at the dinner table as Nick and I had a little surprise for papa. Nick had found a Moose Lodge sign in an abandoned warehosue and brought it up for Papa to hang in the barn or the boathouse. Also, we brought him a bottle of Linie Aquavit as last year Papa had given us all a shot of the Norwegian liquor and did his "Oh So" chant. We really wanted to do it again and learn the song since I have heard the adults sing it since I was little. It is a traditional Norwegian drinking chant/cheers that has been longstanding between the Covies in Moosehead. It's sung at weddings, parties, family dinners, etc. and I am so glad Papa was able to teach us it this year. It goes "Og sa svinger vi pa seidelen ig jen, SKAL!" and means in a rough translation "Oh, we're swinging the mug again, Cheers!". The best part is the first two words "og sa" which you hold out extra long and sing like "OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Papa has the lyrics painted onto a piece of wood and he went down to the barn to grab it so that it would be easier for us to see and learn. Nick and I want to make one now too. I am so glad we learned it and have it memorized and can keep it in the family and pass down. Next time the four of us kids are at a bar we are going to start it and see if anyone else chimes in. We then taste tested a few of Papa's single malt scotches and listened to a bunch of his stories from back in the day. We always tell Papa he has to write down his stories because they are so good and definitely worth remembering and passing down. 

Checkin out the single-malts!

Gotta call out Nick and Mike right here for being completely gourmet. Mike is for sure describing the body of the scotch and it's peaty-ness. Nick is getting the nose and undertones. CAUGHT.

It was the perfect way to end the time in Moosehead with my Mom and Stepdad and Step-Sister. Everyone gathered around the table and candle light telling stories and sipping wine and scotch. We made some great memories and laughs that I will cherish forever! We were so sad that they had to leave the next morning. Thank you for reading part one of our Moosehead trip! Like I said, we took SO many pictures and fit so many activities into a short time frame so bare with me as there will definitely be at least two more parts. SKAL!

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