Winter Weekend Escape

Winter Weekend Escape

by Leigh Macmillen Hayes

It’s winter in Maine. Enjoy it . . . in the Sebago and Greater Bridgton Lakes Regions. Alleviate your stress and leave the traffic jams, flashing lights and high-octane experiences behind. Unwind and mellow out while having a fun time. Come explore all that western Maine has to offer.

Get outside and escape into Maine's winter splendor!

Get outside and escape into Maine’s winter splendor! Photo: Carol Savage

You can lodge at the cozy Augustus Bove House on Long Lake in Naples, where the motto is “arrive as a guest, stay as a friend, return as family.” Guests have vacationed here since the 1850s. With your homebase being an elegant, yet homey room at the Inn, there are plenty of places to experience winter. Start on the front lawn by building a snowman.

Before you set out, stock up on deli items, snacks and beverages at The Umbrella Factory in Naples. You might even decide to return later for a brick oven pizza. In addition to grocery items, The Umbrella Factory is an agency liquor store and also offers a wide selection of beers and ales. Be sure to visit The UFO (Umbrella Factory Outlet), located next door, for their extensive wine selection, the Area 51 Dairy Bar and much more!

Make some time for ice fishing and ice skating. And for the Nordic skiers and snowshoers in your crowd, try the 27 kilometers of groomed trails at Five Fields Farm X-C Ski Center in Bridgton. Equipment rentals are available and there is a warming hut.

Recreation includes snowmobiling along the lakes and through the woods. Need a meal or a snack while out on the trail? Stop by Melby’s in Waterford or A.J.’s Everything in Stoneham. We highly recommend the bison burgers at the first and gingerbread whoopie pies at the latter.

Check the calendars of the Lakes Environmental Association, Loon Echo Land Trust and Greater Lovell Land Trust. They all offer guided snowshoe treks and their docents will help you experience the wonders of the winter forest. This is a great way to get outside, get some exercise and get off the beaten track.

If you’re a quilter, you’ll want to drive to Waterford Flats, the historic home of Artemus Ward, who was Mark Twain’s mentor. Visit Kedar Quilts to discover an impressive array of fabric and quilting supplies; their Gallery features homemade and custom-made quilts in a variety of sizes. While there, walk, snowshoe, ski or snowmobile on Keoka Lake and take in the beauty and tranquility of this quintessential New England village.

While in the area, skiers and snowboarders will want to stop by the Ski & Snowboard Outlet in nearby North Conway, NH. Here you’ll find a huge selection of quality gear and outerwear at affordable prices. No matter your age or sport preference, you’re certain to find outfitting to match your taste and preferences. Their sister shop Frosty’s in Glen, NH, offers an impressive selection of gear and rental equipment.

And at the end of the day, complement your getaway with a fine dining experience. Relax over a meal at the Black Horse Tavern in Bridgton and enjoy “casual dining in an equestrian atmosphere.” The restaurant and tavern are family friendly.

So . . . don’t let a snowy forecast stop you from setting aside time for a quick winter getaway in the Sebago and Greater Bridgton Lakes Region of Maine.

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