Leave civilization behind at these scenic and remote New England wilderness lodges.
By Kim Knox Beckius
Jun 18 2018
A treetop escape crafted by students at the famed Yestermorrow Design/Build School welcomes grown-up campers at Moose Meadow Lodge and Treehouse.Photo Credit : Carolyn L. Bates Photography
There’s a tempo to life in the digital age that the wilderness defies. Join the resistance by bunking down in the midst of a pristine landscape, where unfettered waters and old-growth trees hold more wisdom than a flood of texts or a backlog of email. The following New England wilderness lodges make outdoor immersion accessible and unforgettable—no gear hauling or roughing it required.
Board the shuttle boat, and you’re off on an all-inclusive island escape that’s utterly wild in a Maine—not Caribbean—way. The blueberry-fringed shores of 2,880-acre Attean Pond are undeveloped; the game fish–filled waters, untamed. And this fourth-generation-run retreat is a pinch-yourself place where vacations haven’t changed much since 1905. Unscheduled days dissolve into intensely starry nights, and forever memories and friendships are sparked over cookouts and beach bonfires, lobster feasts and puzzle-building marathons. You’ll get the hang of igniting your cottage’s gas lamps … of motorboating to hiking trails such as the vigorous climb up Sally Mountain … of drifting to sleep as gentle waves murmur and loons trill.
Atop Massachusetts’s Mount Greylock, with 12,500 acres of leafy wilderness spilling out below, there’s a wizardry school called Ilvermorny, aka North America’s own Hogwarts (if you believe J.K. Rowling’s short story, that is). But the culinary sorcery that happens nightly atop Greylock, in chef John Dudek’s kitchen at Bascom Lodge, is conjured by a whisk, not a wand. Even if you haven’t booked a bunk or private room in this 1930s summit house, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps from fieldstone and red spruce plucked from the mountain’s slopes, make reservations for sunset drinks and a globally inspired, locally sourced three-course dinner. In this land of rare birds and black bears, of quietude and starry nights, you’ll keep company with Appalachian Trail hikers and escapees from every sort of Muggle grind.
Where would a teddy bear sleep in the wild? This luxe log home on 86 forested acres is a posh and playful den for low-key adventurers. Antiques, art, and handcrafted wood furnishings bring the lodge rooms’ themes to life; spalike bathrooms redefine “creature comfort.” A private, two-story, eco-sensitive treehouse is the dreamiest escape. Pluck a rainbow trout from the pond stocked with keepers; cook it in the woodsy custom kitchen. Hike up to the window-filled, mountain-view Sky Loft gazebo; an indoor hot tub awaits upon your return. You’re in a region known for outdoor sports, farm-to-table dining, and beer, but there isn’t much else your soul needs that you won’t find right here.
Comforting aromas, local antiques, the great room’s stone fireplace—you’ll feel so at home here, you just might roll out of your custom-built log bed and head to breakfast in your jammies. Khristine and Jameson Boucher have taken a 1920s-built sporting lodge from foreclosed to fashionable, and their dreams for expansion are as vast as the 1,000-mile-plus network of off-road trails directly outside the door. Local outfitters will deliver your rental ATV or snowmobile to the lodge. You’re steps away from fishing the Androscoggin, and an expert tip from Jameson away from spying a moose. And even if you opt for a campsite at this 31-acre outpost, the resort’s rustic tavern is your place to swap North Country stories.
When you reach the village of Kokadjo (population: “not many”), the pavement ends, and your detachment from the world begins. You’re 17 dirt-road miles from the Appalachian Mountain Club’s pinnacle property in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness: a solar-powered, pondside complex of cabins, bunkhouses, and a central lodge. Rebuilt and reopened in 2017 with features that make a remote getaway handicapped-accessible, Medawisla—which means “loon” in Abenaki—carries on Maine sporting camp traditions such as all-you-can-eat, family-style dining. Wake before dawn to paddle out to where the moose graze. Cast for rare native brook trout. Hike, mountain bike, cross-country ski. Play board games with the kids. The only waste-of-time activity here is hunting for Wi-Fi or a cellphone signal.