A Moosehead Lake Four-Diamond in the Rough | House for Sale

An award-winning property in the heart of Maine’s North Woods, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake is ideal for those who like their wilderness with a touch of luxury.

By Joe Bills

Feb 21 2019


The main building, built in 1917 as a summer home.

Photo Credit : Jumping Rocks

Photographs can give you a feel for a place, but there are some things you just can’t see without actually being there. Although we had caught glimpses of Moosehead Lake and the view beyond as we drove into Greenville, Maine, the full vista from the Lodge at Moosehead Lake’s perch atop Blair Hill—the lawn rolling down toward the lake and Moose Mountain—is almost too beautiful to describe.

The main building, built in 1917 as a summer home.
Photo Credit : Jumping Rocks

Linda and Dennis Bortis have owned the lodge since 2007. It was Dennis who greeted us and showed us around the property and then to the Allagash Suite, where we’d be staying that night. All of the lodge’s guest rooms have individual themes reinforced with decor and furnishings (including some impressive hand-carved bedposts and headboards); in our suite, the water theme translated into antique oars and paddles as wall accents.

“We weren’t interested in buying an ordinary inn. We agreed we’d only do it for someplace really special,” Linda told us, as we sat by a bank of windows in the comfortable dining room. “This area is still pristine. Even now, there are moments when I just stop and stare at the view.”

A view across Moosehead Lake to Moose Mountain.
Photo Credit : Jumping Rocks/Courtesy of Lodge at Moosehead Lake

The lodge’s main building was constructed in 1917 as a summer residence for a Connecticut banker named Andrew Sloper and his family. Greenslope, as it was called, stayed in the family for several decades and was frequented by Andrew’s children and their families. (An interesting aside: Andrew’s son, William, was a Titanic survivor who was once wrongly believed to have dressed in women’s clothing to gain access to a lifeboat.) In the late 1960s, Greenslope first opened to the public as a restaurant called Lakeview Manor. In a nod to that early incarnation, a vintage restaurant sign now adorns the dining room wall.

In the early 1990s, owners Jennifer and Roger Cauchi welcomed the first guests to the Lodge at Moosehead Lake. Merging rustic decor with high-end accommodations, it was the first inland Maine business to be awarded AAA’s Four Diamond Award for excellence in hospitality, a distinction it has maintained since 1994.

Rooms at the Lodge at Moosehead Lake are themed to celebrate Maine icons such as loons, bears, moose, and, here, trout.
Photo Credit : Jumping Rocks/Courtesy of Lodge at Moosehead Lake

What the various owners of the lodge have long understood is that—since there’s no way to deliver the North Woods to their guests’ rooms—helping visitors get out into the great outdoors is key to success. “Many people who come here are hoping to see moose,” Linda said, “so the lodge started offering moose safaris long ago. We reestablished that and built upon it.” Today, the lodge’s customized outings range from fishing trips and seaplane rides to moonlight canoe trips and hikes up Mount Kineo, where a fire tower provides a 360-degree view that seems to go on forever. (Alas, there would be no time for such adventures during this visit, but we vowed to return.)

Our suite was not in the main lodge but instead in the carriage house, which was first a garage and then a retail shop before being converted into guest quarters. Today, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake features five guest rooms in the main lodge and four suites in the carriage house. Every room or suite has its own fireplace, and all but one has a lake view.

Perhaps the biggest change that Linda and Dennis have made to the property was to construct an innkeeper’s house. This private residence has allowed them to be easily accessible without always having to be “at work”—and naturally it also features a great fireplace and a fantastic view.

The Bortises plan to retire to a house overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. Linda said there’s plenty they’ll miss about living here—the view and the guests, of course, but many other things, too. “There is always something to do, always a room to update. I’ll miss the problem solving and the marketing,” she said. “And the decorating. I’ve loved that.

“But we still want to travel, too. We love the lodge, but it’s time to change roles. We say to our guests, ‘We’ve gotten to the place where we want to be you.’” Having gotten our first taste, we know just what she means. —Joe Bills

Located on 7½ acres of land and including a separate 2-bedroom, 2½-bathroom innkeeper’s home, the Lodge at Moosehead Lake is listed at $2.5 million. Contact Kimberly Swan of the Swan Agency, Sotheby’s International Realty, at 207-288-5818, or go to

Yankee likes to mosey around and see, out of editorial curiosity, what you can turn up when you go house hunting. We have no stake in the sale whatsoever and would decline it if offered.