Migis Magic

Migis LodgeAs our world continues to function at an increasingly frenetic pace, I’ve noticed that many of us have been referencing earlier times, eras of gracious living, when life was not quite so hectic and harried. As I headed up to visit my younger daughter at her camp in Maine last weekend, looking forward to seeing her was only a part of my anticipation. When she finally made the decision to try camp this summer, I was secretly thrilled, knowing it offered me the opportunity to hopefully visit one of my all time favorite resorts.

Migis LodgeI say hopefully because reservations at Migis Lodge are a precious commodity in July and August, frequently booked a year in advance. This was my fourth or fifth time staying at Migis, which still qualifies me as a newbie. Since 1916, this woodland paradise has been welcoming visitors who seek a respite from their busy everyday lives. Many things have remained the same over the decades. Except for the fashion, cars and somewhat dated umbrella, these photos above and below from the Migis archives could just as easily be today.

But owners Tim and Joan Porta (who bought it from Tim’s parents in 1978), along with general manager son Jed, have updated the resort appropriately to ensure generations of families still return summer after summer to enjoy the wholesome splendor this classic resort offers.  Set among 125 acres on the shores of crystal clear Lake Sebago, Migis maintains an air of timeless American values – the kind of place Ralph Lauren loves to emulate.

Photos above courtesy of Migis Lodge

But don’t expect fancy designer digs with marble bathrooms. This is luxury of a different sort – of clean air, unlocked doors and no pressure to do anything at all except relax. While the individual cabins and six rooms in the lodge exude upscale casual comfort, the emphasis is on the beautiful natural setting and traditional activities.

Migis LodgeAs soon as we arrived, my older daughter whipped into her suit, running down to the lake for a pre-dinner dip. I could see from my porch view as she walked back to our cabin all smiles, refreshed and ready for the weekly Friday night lobster bake down at The Point – the outdoor barbecue spot on the water’s edge replete with shared checker-tableclothed picnic tables. My daughter was mortified that I was planning to take pictures at dinner so it was fortuitous that I ran into Mary Strain, who shoots many of the photographs for the lodge, their website and took these below that evening.

Every day offers a plethora of activities, from a wide variety of water sports (waterskiing, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, paddle boarding etc.) to tennis, yoga, or massages in the “wellness center” – a cabin-like structure down a leafy wooded path.

Migis LodgeOr you can take a ride to Migis’ private island in the resort’s vintage 1936 Chris Craft. But there are plenty of guests who enjoy doing not much of anything – lounging on one of the three lakeside beaches, reading in an Adirondack chair, or taking a stroll down one of the many paths among the pine trees.

If I hadn’t had other parental duties, I would have been perfectly content to have a leisurely breakfast (the home-made donuts and blueberry pancakes are legendary) and sit and read by the lake. My younger daughter did join us one afternoon for an al fresco lunch followed by an afternoon of swimming. I loved seeing the girls cavorting in the lake. It was such a refreshing reminder of careless summers.

Dinner, however, is the event of the day. Everyone gathers in casual summer attire (jackets for men) before the meal for communal cocktails on the porch above and terrace below. (photo above and below by Mary Strain)

It’s not unusual to see three generations of a family sitting together sipping their Shirley Temples and Gin Martinis.

photo by Rob Karosis
After dinner in the rustic pine dining room, many continue to the main lounge where a fire in the hearth roars no matter what the weather. Tables of chess and backgammon are ready for challengers, deep leather sofas beckon diners who have splurged on the extravagant desserts (the blueberry crumble a la mode is my particular poison) and occasionally someone starts a sing-along at the piano.

I got totally whooped at backgammon by my older daughter, the shark. I think I was even gammoned a couple of times.

Migis’ main season extends from the third week of June through Columbus Day. Before and after the summer season, they are open for special events, including weddings, such as Jed’s own below.

fall and wedding photos by Mary Traina

My few days flew by. I’m already hoping if my daughter returns to camp that I’ll be able to secure a reservation for next summer!!

36 thoughts on “Migis Magic

  1. Sounds like the best possible family vacation. We used to go to a ranch in the Sierras, similar, and the memories are part of our family now.

  2. I love Maine and I love places like this where the luxuries and graciousness of life itself are elevated to it’s best regard. The lure of a sunset, a lake, trees and the laughter of family and friends…truly embodies a beautiful respect for one another. I would love a weekend at Migi’s.

  3. Oh my goodness this place is gorgeous!! Really it is just beautiful. We love places like this and would have no trouble staying there for weeks!! I can see why you have such a special place in your heart for this wonderful resort.

  4. This great posting reminds me of my own happy summers in Maine, in the 1950s. My family vacationed at Pemaquid Point, and I remember the thrill of building fires on August mornings and then having pleasantly warm afternoons. My poison even then was to go antiquing, and in Maine in the 1950s, one could find barns filled to the rafters with antiques!

  5. Such fun to read this post. This truly is what makes America so great. The magnificent outdoors, great food, the water, and on & on. You had me @ lobster, water skiing, and Chris Craft boats; runners up were blueberry pancakes and cocktail hour. Your daughter will have such tremendous memories that, as we all know, will last her life-time. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I feel like you just let us in on a well kept secret! I had no idea places like this still existed – and am relieved to know they do. I think the further we get from the simplistic joys of a life well lived…..the more we crave it.

    Do you think my boys might trade New Hampshire in for Maine? Hmmmm…might start working on them now!

    xo E

  7. I remember the camp times. This place would be one I would return to over and over again too. Delightful. Kinda reminds me of the Cape Cod days…everyone attending had been attending for decades…except us. Big hug, Stacey…..

  8. How enchanting. I would love to stroll and read and my husband would be water skiing all day long – of course I could coax him with the simple notion of blueberry pancakes :)
    I also want to learn how to play backgammon so seriously, this sounds like heaven to me.

  9. My lake of poison is Flathead lake in Montana, which I have started returning to every summer after spending 16 months of August as a child, and completely unplug, even the cell phone, for a week of 95 degree days and 65 degree water and 5 hour dinner barbecues. You visit everyone by boat, swat deer away from your flowers – 20-30 at a pop, and occasionally a bear will swim up or invade your porch for barbecue. 3 minutes of Jet-ski lessons and you’re off

  10. I want to go!! That looks so heavenly to me. I use to love swimming in a lake, I remember jumping in and the water was cold but felt soft!! I miss my summer camp days!! If I ever go to Maine I must check this out. Thank you for your visits to my blog you are always so thoughtful and supportive, Have a wonderful weekend. I just bought a bunch of blueberries, I will be thinking of YOU when I eat them, Kathysue

  11. quite a lovely area..but it looks sooo like the resorts and cottages around Leelanau County and Charlevoix County…lots of resorts and lake and cottage and sand and activity and boating and sailing…and I live here year round…
    glad it was fun..and I love backgammon too…

  12. This is my kind of place! Reminds me of summers in Northeast Harbor, ME! Do I spy any of your family in these pictures?? What luck to have such beautiful weather and time with your family. I can see us going there.. Northeast Road Trip..???

  13. Oooh, definitely my kind of place! Those first few pictures had me, but then I saw lobster bake and I was really hooked : ) Off to explore the website. Thanks so much for sharing – definitely on my travel list! x KO

  14. LOVE this!
    Reminds me a bit
    of some of the grand
    lodges here in Minnesota.
    I love the idea of the
    generations vacationing
    together; magic. All of
    the pics were wonderful.
    xx Suzanne

  15. What a charming place!! I love when things remain the same. Just back from glorious days on Swan’s Island. No stores, or restaurants… just beautiful, peaceful nature and great friends. So happy you had a few days at Migis! ox

  16. Jackets for men…I LOVE it. And my husband would love it too. I went to the mountains in Maine every summer, growing up in Philadelphia, and loved it. Alas, no more.
    Hi: I just came over from High Street where I saw your comment re. the Kravet bench.
    This is what is so wonderful about blogland: discovering new, like minded people!! I’ll go subscribe now.
    A bientot!

  17. Stacey, I have stayed at Migis Lodge and I adore it! When my younger daughter was a freshman at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, we couldn’t find a hotel to stay in for Parents Weekend in October, at least not one that was close to campus. They were all booked. And so we stayed at the Migis Lodge and were in heaven! Everything you say about it is true. I remember the amazing breakfasts in the morning. And it was gorgeous in the fall. I could easily go back there. And by the way, we love Maine as well. We go there every year because I am on a board at Bates College.

  18. this looks and sounds like heaven on earth.
    my mom lives in maine for the past 12 or 15 years.
    i have spent time on the shore all my life……
    but this is so alluring to me.
    maybe mom and i will take a ride…

    xx thanks for the comment

  19. Oh Stacey what a gem of a place. We have a few family gathering spots out west and those vacations are where great memories are made. Just beautiful.
    xo Lisa

  20. Woodland paradise indeed….what a lovely spot, it’s wonderful to know that places like this do exist in the world. It seems like you did stepped back in time to that gracious, summery era of long ago!
    xo J~

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