Since we’re featuring the resurrection of a classic Maine ski area — Saddleback — in this issue, it seems only fitting that we highlight a classic Maine lodge that has weathered the vagaries of Mother Nature and an unpredictable tourism industry.
The Loon Lodge Inn & Restaurant on Rangeley Lake, one of the few genuine New England sporting camps that remains open through the winter months, has survived several rough patches over the past six decades and continues to thrive due to its commitment to its customers and its embrace of the outdoor ethos that defines this rugged, breathtaking region of western Maine.
The impressive 8,000-square-foot wooden structure is situated on a 5.4-acre parcel and boasts 250 feet of lake frontage and a private beach. A true four-season inn, the Loon Lodge is equally adept at hosting weddings (up to 175 guests) as it does work sessions (thanks to a newly renovated corporate meeting and function room that can accommodate up to 60 guests). Its location provides tremendous access to numerous activities such as alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cycling (including fat biking), hunting (primarily the fall), fishing, hiking, golfing, swimming and boating. The new dock system can accommodate up to 10 boats, allowing guests to arrive by land or water.
In the winter, when Rangeley Lake freezes solid, the lodge’s snowmobile ramp can connect visitors to the region’s labyrinth of snowmobile trails throughout Maine and into New Hampshire and Canada. For skiers and snowboarders, Saddleback, of course, is just minutes away, while Sugarloaf and Sunday River are within a fairly short drive, in case you want a change of scenery (the lodge does offer “ski and stay” packages in conjunction with Saddleback). The Rangeley Lakes Trails Center is a winter wonderland for nordic and snowshoe enthusiasts and even offers dog-friendly trails for those who want to try their hand at skijoring (however, dogs must be on a leash at all times).