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  • Elaine Philbrick

Belgrade Lakes


Sunset view of a lake at Belgrade Lakes

Best For

Setting for the book made into the movie ‘On Golden Pond,’ they remain idyllic Maine lakes. Warm (70s in July) despite their very large size, they have crystal clear water, loons that regularly call and carry their chicks all summer, sandy bottom in many places, tubing/water skiing as well as good-sized sailboats, uncrowded even in summer, and you can boat to the village center which has a dining destination restaurant. It’s only a 3-hour drive from Boston, and while on the lake you feel “away,” you have all the conveniences of multiple good-sized towns nearby.

It’s one of the few special places we regularly return to, despite living in a beach town. Dave is from the area, and we are both grads of the local college, Colby, so we know it well. We are happy to share our special place with you!


Hot Tips

Kids tubbing at Great Pond/Day's Marina
Kids tubing at Great Pond/Day's Marina

- 01 -

Great Pond, the largest of the many lakes, rents power boats and tubes and skis at Great Pond/Day’s Marina which is a must if you want to explore its 13 square miles of water.







 


Sign of the Village Inn and Tavern
Village Inn

- 02 -

Dock your boat at The Village Inn, which is charming in the Adirondack lodge style. Although its seafood is great, it sells more duck than any other restaurant in America! Since the 1960s they have slow-roasted their duck and offer great sauces to dip it in (Brandy Apricot and Thai Lemon Grass are our favorites), and it’s not to be missed. Dine on their lawn beside the water with a live band, the casual pub downstairs, or fine dining upstairs.








 

- 03 -

Belgrade Lakes Golf Course. Whether a duffer or a master, try the Belgrade Lakes Golf Course which is a public 5-star course that is ranked as the Best Course in Maine by Golf Digest and is on its Bucket List. It has great views over Long Pond and Great Pond, and best of all it allows you to go golfing with your dog!

Man golfing at Belgrade Lakes Golf Club
Son golfing at the stunning Belgrade Lakes Golf Club

 

- 04 -

For the largest lobster roll in Maine, the Red Barn restaurant in Augusta offers the foot-long Crustacean Elation and lots of other great fried seafood, and has an expansive picnic area that is dog friendly. For quality, the best lobster roll in the world in our opinion is found at H.J. Blake’s (for Goodness Sakes!) in Belgrade: lightly poached big claw pieces made fresh daily with lemon aioli on the bottom and clarified butter drizzled on top in a hot dog roll lightly grilled with butter ($25 in summer). Heaven!

 

- 05 -

Dew Haven Maine Zoo & Rescue. As zoo aficionados who have visited some of the great zoos in the world, DEW Haven Maine Zoo & Rescue in Mount Vernon is absolutely worth a special visit. It’s a great and charming zoo with animals ranging from indigenous deer, free-ranging peacocks, and farm animals you can feed, to lions, tigers, many different wild cats and monkeys, and bears you can feed through a tube, all in spacious clean grounds.





Your Itinerary


SATURDAY Check into your “camp” (in Maine that ubiquitous term is for anything from a rustic cabin to Martha Stewart’s Bar Harbor mansion) on the water, and drop off your bags. Augusta and Waterville have supermarkets for your supplies, but to enjoy some of the amazing local and organic food check for when the farmer's market in Belgrade is scheduled, or just head to "Hello, Good Pie Company" in Belgrade Lakes center and sells cheese and yogurt from dairies in Sidney, and fill up your fridge with their prepared food like pastries, quiche, soups, pasta dishes, and deli salads. The second stop is to Day's Marina to drop off an adult who rents the speed boat and drives it back to your camp's mooring.


SUNDAY Recover from your drive by swimming, sunbathing, fishing, boating, or otherwise relaxing.


Kids tubing on a lake
Tubing
Man waterskiing
Brett Waterskiing
hammock overlooking Belgrade Lakes
Lake Life

MONDAY Explore the lake, and take the boat to Oak Island where there is a long rope swing that you can swing Tarzan style and drop into the lake. Super fun!


TUESDAY When you’ve had enough sun for a while, it’s a short drive to Colby College to tour the best art museum in Maine. In downtown Waterville we recommend breakfast or lunch at Wild Clover Cafe & Market which has wonderful pastries, protein bowls, and imported supermarket items from Germany. The best local pizza is at You Know Whose Pub. If you brought your mountain bikes or hiking boots, the trails around Colby including the Quarry Road Trails are both single and double track. There are a number of great hiking trails in the area (http://www.belgradelakesmaine.com/about/hiking.html), and our favorites are French's Mountain Trail, Blueberry Hill, and Mountain Loop which are all listed in AllTrails also and have super views. You'll feel like you're in an L.L. Bean commercial!

WEDNESDAY For a fun lunch break, take the boat through Belgrade Stream to the town dock beside the post office. Walk across the street to Day’s Country Store which is an old-fashioned general store. It’s a unique and charming place in which you can get anything from a hunter’s license, Christmas ornament, bait or lures, homemade apple cider doughnuts, home décor and gifts, or general food shopping. A unique and charming little place which you will want to come back to for sure – you’ll never know what you’ll find that will strike your fancy! There are other cute shops and places to eat that are a short walk. There’s a toy store two doors away, and other gift shops on the street that are always fun to browse in and we never leave empty-handed. There's Hello Good Pie bakery for breakfast and lunch, Belgrade Lakes Seafood for lobster rolls and ice cream, Sunset Grill which is an an old-fashioned diner that has superb muffins like their lemon with curd filling, pumpkin with cream cheese filling, or their raspberry that is packed with fresh berries. You will also be guaranteed to hear Maine accents!

THURSDAY After you’ve enjoyed the sun and water during the day, make a dinner reservation at The Village Inn and take the boat into Belgrade Stream again to pull up to the restaurant’s dock. Be sure to head back home before sunset!

FRIDAY For breakfast visit Sand Hill Bagel which has absolutely amazing homemade fresh bagels and delicious well-presented breakfast sandwiches in a renovated mill with a big free parking lot beside the river. While they have plenty of indoor seating, sit outdoors overlooking the mighty Kennebec River and look for 4 to 7-foot-long sturgeons which have made a comeback. The town of Hallowell just minutes away has painted sturgeon statues all along its popular Water Street. For more great local things to do, you can book a tee time at the Belgrade Lakes Golf Course, or have breakfast at either SanFran-worthy Slate's in Hallowell or the new Scapes (formerly the Olde Post Office Cafe) beside a lake in Mount Vernon. The Main State Museum in nearby Augusta is interesting, you can catch a movie at The Marketplace at the same time, or try candlepin bowling at the 1710 Bowling Center. A very fun trip is to the uncrowded and surprisingly expansive DEW Haven Maine Zoo & Rescue which has many large exotic animals. We also highly recommend the tour at Snow Pond Cruises on Messalonskee Lake, which is relaxing and informative.


Sunset at Belgrade Lakes
Boat finally getting a rest by the dock

Every evening you will be serenaded by the haunting sound of loons calling to each other. Massachusetts loons were repopulated from a few loons trapped and relocated from these Belgrade Lakes (Messalonskee). The presence of loons means the water is clean and clear as they hunt by sight. You can even occasionally see bald eagles here!





boy jumping off a dock into Belgrade Lake
Dock jumping

The sunsets are magnificent, and the stars are brighter than at home. It’s an old-fashioned Maine vacation spent sunbathing, boating, unplugged entertainment like reading, cards, or doing jigsaw puzzles, and the kids will have fond memories of endlessly running along the dock and jumping in !















Photo gallery

girl fishing for brown trout
Our daughter fishing for brown trout
loon on the water
Resident Loon

fauna with a nut in its mouth
Local Fauna

sunny day from a dock on Lake Belgrade
Sunny Dock
group of people having fun on a boat
Us boating



Evening view of a dock in Belgrade Lake
Evening dock

Bonfire by Belgrade Lake
Firepit
cabin by Belgrade Lake
Camp
soaring eagle in the sky
Soaring Eagle
gone fishin' sign
Camp Sign
inside view of lake cabin
Camp Inside

bald eagle perched in a tree
Bald Eagle


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