I was in need of a short vacation to totally chill, and Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake in Southern Maine checked all the boxes. Our family had visited this classic resort several times when our boys were small, and the simplicity and timelessness of it was what called me back. Migis has been a Lakefront resort since 1916, and while the “model” is for families to stay for a full week, they make the exception for shorter stays in June and September. Think of summer camp for families, but families in 1950. The predictability and classic accommodations, food and friendly service is like stepping back in time, and I mean this in the best way. Before we made it to Migis, we made a stop at Chauncey Creek Lobster Pier, a gem dating back to 1948 located just over the Maine border in Kittery Point.
I suppose the theme of the weekend was “old school”, and Chauncey Creek fit the bill. One note, it was raining, not just a drizzle, but a true deluge. I suppose that was in our benefit, because the restaurant was not as busy as it would normally be on a summer Friday. Simplicity is the name of the game here, place an order from the very brief menu, and grab a spot at a brightly colored picnic table (there is a covered portion). Wait for your Lobster and Steamers to be cooked to perfection and then dig in (along with some steamed shrimp and excellent coleslaw in our case). You are also able to bring along beer and wine if you so desire.
Satiated and ready to continue our journey we pointed the car towards Migis, with a couple of stops at antique shops along the way (York Antiques Gallery was particularly successful). Migis is officially located in Raymond, Maine (not a very noteworthy town), about 45 minutes from Portland. We turned down the lush green driveway to Migis at 4pm, noting that it appeared even more vibrant from the incessant rain, while glimpsing the lake in the distance shrouded in a gauzy film.
The Full American Plan model is a a rarity these days, a resort where everything is included, all three meals and activities with the exception being alcoholic beverages and motor boat excursions. There is also a staff of masseuses available (for an extra fee) to make your stay that much more relaxing.
Upon check-in we were brought down to our Cabin, Cove 1, a small two person cabin located just by the lake. The cabins are basic, including everything you need, but not too many extras. There is no coffee maker or mini bar, no over the top amenities, but there is a view of the lake, a fire set up in the hearth, and a comfy bed with loads of pillows. As long as you manage expectations, you will be very happy.
There are endless opportunities to be as active or relaxed as you prefer, I was craving relaxation while my husband wanted to cram in as many activities as he could; though the rain on the first day forced us to spend some quality time in front of the fire together.
One thing you can be sure of, at Migis you will not go hungry! Before dinner, you must be sure to enjoy a drink on the porch, by the lake, or if the weather is bad, in front of the fire in the living room. There is a dress code at Migis, jackets for men and dressy attire for women. Children under the age of 5 are not permitted in the main dining room, instead there is a family dining room, or a “zoo program” which is a supervised meal/activity time for younger guests. When our sons were little they loved the children’s meal time as much as we enjoyed our adult time. It is VERY civilized.
Our first evening at Migis was a Saturday night, traditionally the extensive buffet. There is no shortage of lobster, or perennial favorites such as deviled eggs (one of my all time faves- and these are delish), or desserts!! I was especially delighted by the abundance of tempting gluten free (and often vegan) choices all made in house.
Sunday morning brought clearing skies, and we were able to set out and explore before breakfast. Usually there is a breakfast cookout on Sunday mornings, but although the rain had stopped it was deemed a little too damp to eat outside.
Breakfast is generally my favorite meal of the day, and at Migis it may be yours too. The best part? Insanely good gluten- free blueberry pancakes. Perfection.
Like a luxury cruise, we seemed to bounce from one meal to another. By the lunchtime the sun had done its job and dried the cookout area enough that we were able to enjoy a BBQ down by the lake. While it is always atmospheric to eat outside, I think the food suffers a little. My veggie burger was slightly hard and dried out, but the ice cream with chocolate sauce helped to make up for it. My husband was happy as can be with hot dogs, chicken and pickles.
Following lunch my afternoon consisted of finishing my book on the porch, and my husband enjoyed a massage. We also took a boat out to explore Sebago lake, which is both vast, and very beautiful. Before we knew it, it was mealtime again, and luckily due to clearing skies we were able to sip cocktails outside before dinner.
A “normal” dinner at Migis is a 5 course affair, with lots of choices, and of course…more lobster. The food at Migis is not groundbreaking, it is a throw back to another time, and it is tasty, and plentiful. The best adjective that I keep coming back to is old school, and sometimes that is just perfect.
One more opportunity for gluten free blueberry pancakes (and a loaded Belgian waffle for my husband), and it was time to leave this very special spot. Migis is a wonderful place to get away from it all, whether with your partner or your family. If you are able to wrangle a reservation (which is often a challenge as most people rebook for the same time next year) it will be an experience you won’t soon forget.
On the way home we took a detour into Portland which has historically been one of my favorite cities. Over the years I have fantasized about moving to Maine, specifically right outside of Portland in Cape Elizabeth, so I feel as though I have some perspective. Sadly this trip proved to be disappointing, not in the quality of the food, which is always outstanding, but in the encroaching homeless/drug problem. Like any city Portland has always had it’s share of grittiness, but it was on the outskirts. During this visit it seemed very pervasive, not in the very touristy areas, but just about everywhere else; that coupled with a number of vacant storefronts was sad.
One bright spot which was cheerful and very busy was Tandem Coffee and Bakery which I have written about before. I have been dreaming of the Chocolate Horchata pie since my last visit, and it did not disappoint. Literally, one of the best things I have ever tasted (note I only ate the filling, my husband happily ate the crust). In addition to amazing coffee my husband also purchased a blueberry scone and a spicy ginger molasses cookie with white chocolate chips. The amount of butter that soaked it’s way onto the brown bag during the trip home was a good indicator of just how scrumptious it was. Tandem Coffee and Bakery is worth a detour (be mindful that they close at 2 pm and certain items sell out).
The Standard Baking Co. has an extensive bread and pastry selection which my husband took advantage of by picking some up to bring home. Their baked goods are appealing, but not as tempting as Tandems.
Although we had a lunch reservation at 1 pm my husband just had to nab a piping hot slice of pizza from Micucci Italian Market as an amuse bouche. There is always a line of hungry folks waiting for a pie to come out of the oven, though we were lucky to arrive just as one had finished baking, Exhibiting tremendous self control my husband ate just a quarter of the massive slab and then then we walked over to our actual lunch, (the rest of the pizza was devoured as we drove home later that afternoon).
We had made a reservation at The Honey Paw, a perpetually packed (with good reason) Thai spot from the owners of Eventide Oyster , which also has a cult following. The lunch at Honey Paw was very good, I had the Kale Salad which was a little like munching on lawn mowing clippings, and my husband had the Mee Goreng which were tasty noodles mixed with smoked pork, crab and bok choy which he enjoyed very much. We ordered charred broccoli as well, but they forgot to bring it which ultimately was ok since all I REALLY wanted was the Honey Soft Serve with the hard chocolate shell and bits of homemade honeycomb candy. Really outstanding! My husband, who is generally not an ice cream lover ended up eating about half of it (all I would allow him to steal from me).
All in all we had a terrific long weekend in Maine. I cannot recommend Migis enough, and Portland still dazzles in many ways, just be sure to stay within the more heavily trafficked areas while wandering around downtown. We did not end up taking a Duck Tour, but I could have been convinced to join the fun.