Posted by: Jack Spratt | October 28, 2009

Getting Lost in Rangeley Lakes in Maine and Enjoying it

Can you picture a place where getting there and around takes just a little longer that elsewhere and the local folks just like it that way? Where the outdoors is King and what you sleep on and eats isn’t exactly shoddy but is basic and no frills. And you wonder if any other place in Maine away from the coast can be as scenic with the mountains and lakes as a backdrop.

If you wonder all this when arriving at your destination then there’s a good chance you’ve landed at Rangeley Lakes in the western mountains region of Maine. This place is no secret to hikers and fly fisherman who’ve been enjoying this scenic region for years. But for a Massachusetts town boy like me it can be refreshingly startling.

A friend told me about the rustic charm of the area a few years ago and while it took awhile to get there I made a trip during last summer and I can’t wait to go back.

If you’re the kind of person who gets excited at visiting places where the “wild” in “wildlife” really means trekking through overgrown trails and stepping on “bear scat” and taking a refreshing dip in cool pristine water then Rangeley Lakes is for you.

If I’ve made Rangeley sound like a place where civilization took a hike and visit only if you want to sleep and lounge in a hammock because there’s not much else to do then listen up – the activity list is deep.

While I certainly didn’t have enough time to do everything you can – and some things I don’t do – here’s what’s in store if you want an active summer vacation in addition to sleeping in: fishing, bird watching – this is big in Maine – boating, camping – and I mean tent my buddy – canoeing and kayaking, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, moose watching, mountain biking – this is getting big in the region – swimming – well there’s all those lakes – tennis, and whitewater rafting.

And in the winter there’s plenty of opportunity for downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling and dog sledding – I’ve never tried this either.

I’m told in spring the area streams are a magnet for fly fishermen seeking Salmon and Brook Trout and in the fall hunting season the game is good. Neither of these are my scene but evidence of both abounds at every nook and cranny.

The largest towns in the region are Rangeley and Oquossoc. This is where folks go for supplies and where a lot of the comfort accommodation such as hotels, inns, and bed and breakfast are located. Realty places can also help with rental cabins and cottages on the lakes. Rangeley also has the usual selection of restaurants offering pizza and lobster dinners.

Allow about 2 and ½ hours from Portland to get to the region.

I did find out though why the roads are slow and why it takes so long to get to anywhere from anywhere – direction and signs can be sparse, but more of a slowdown is because the scenery is so beautiful you just have to keep stopping. It’s like being on one endless scenic drive!

I probably have not done justice to Rangeley Lakes but here is a resource that provides a lot more details for you:

Jack ” humbled by Rangeley” Spratt


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