George

History is brought up to date at Medawisla, a sporting camp with a beautiful new lodge and cabins on Second Roach Pond, along with great opportunities to hike and bike, canoe and kayak, swim, fish, experience the north woods and enjoy wonderful meals in the lodge.

Linda and I called it our “books and birds” getaway as we spotted an astonishing array of birds and relaxed on our cabin’s porch, reading. It is so peaceful here.

The Appalachian Mountain Club has restored three historic sporting camps on their 70,000 acres northeast of Greenville. After operating Medawisla for several years, they determined that the old cabins and lodge could not be restored, so they spent $6 million building their magnificent new lodge, two bunkhouses and 10 cabins, some of which have kitchens if you want to prepare your own meals.

But I can’t imagine why you’d want to, because Chefs Nathan and Brian prepare tasty meals for breakfast and dinner, and pack lunches for their guests so you can eat in your cabin, on the trail or at the many waterfront picnic tables spread throughout the beautiful grounds.

Several of the cabins and the lodge are handicapped accessible. The camps had only been open for two weeks, but people from all over the country were already finding their way here. One guest from Florida was spending two weeks enjoying all three of AMC’s camps.

We got a friendly welcome from manager Sarah and her assistant, Brandon. Then we carted our gear into our cabin and returned to our vehicle to discover we had a flat tire. When I told Sarah, she quickly responded that she and Nathan were going to Greenville the next day and they’d try to get the tire patched.

And they did, for just $15. I expected that tire to be placed next to our Subaru, so I could put it on, but the next morning, I was astonished to find Nathan putting the tire on for us. Now that’s a great chef.

We enjoyed a two-hour easy hike to the other side of Second Roach Pond, and an invigorating paddle in a 2-person kayak, where Linda paddled me around the pond. She didn’t know she was doing that, because she sat up front and couldn’t see that I didn’t do much paddling.

We came out of the lodge after breakfast the first morning and found fresh moose tracks where a moose had walked right by the lodge while we were eating. Several guests saw moose during their visits here. One lady from away said the bull moose she saw was so huge it frightened her.

Medawisla is open year-round and is only about a 45-minute drive into the woods north of Greenville. We can’t wait to return next winter to enjoy snowshoeing.

Linda

Our cabin, number three, was one of the five waterfront cabins facing the Roach River. As we walked around, we noticed that the rest of the cabins on the hilltop also had a nice view of the water. There are no bad views here and the cabins and outlying buildings are nicely spaced around the property. The waterfront cabins share a bathhouse, while the hilltop cabins have bathrooms, (with showers located at the lodge).

Our cabin was finished in knotty pine with a sink, two-burner stovetop and a gas refrigerator. All of the furniture is beautiful, and the cupboards are filled with blue metal plates, stainless pots, new glasses and silverware. Comfortable L.L. Bean chairs and rockers will make you want to spend time on the screened porch.

I tried to read there, but was totally distracted by all the birds calling and zipping by. I couldn’t get over the fact that they were active all day long. I noted many warblers, and ended up with 16 species of birds in a short time.

The one full day we had at Medawisla was warm and sunny, so we took full advantage of it by enjoying a bag lunch at one of the many picnic tables overlooking the lake.

Multi-course dinners are pretty impressive here. Serve yourself a bowl of soup if desired, then enjoy bountiful plates of food served family-style at long tables. It was really fun to meet and talk with other guests who were also blown away with the amenities and surroundings.

One night was herbed chicken and the next was an incredible pork roast. Fresh vegetables, potatoes and warm bread round out the meal. But, you definitely need to save room for the desserts. The cheesecake with strawberries was a highlight.

To start off your day, breakfast is as almost as decadent as dinner. A yogurt station with different toppings is available, as is a large bowl of fresh cut fruit and oatmeal. Then comes a full breakfast: French toast and bacon on day one and a veggie frittata with sausage on day two.

This is one of the most peaceful places I have been to. If you want to get away from it all and enjoy all that nature has to offer, Medawisla is calling.

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.