Topic: Maine

A Place Built for Sharing on Sebago Lake

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Sebago anchors Maine’s Lakes Region. The state’s second-largest lake (after Moosehead), its shoreline is dotted with summer camps and cabins where children swim and canoe while grown-ups fish and hike. Migis Lodge, tucked into the northeast edge of Sebago Lake, is a resort known for rustic refinement. Here generations of outdoor enthusiasts have been nurtured.

But few are more passionate about this quiet corner of Maine than Migis owners Tim and Joan Porta. They met at Migis Lodge (Joan was a guest, and Tim’s parents owned the property).

They married and raised five children here, after buying the property from Grace and Gene Porta in 1983. Joan and Tim have lived for nearly 30 years at Migis, and their work has been to celebrate and share a lakeside life.

Now there’s a new “cottage” to rent through Migis, complete with three master suites, a great room with two fieldstone fireplaces, and an open dining area off the great room. A price tag of $8,400 a week may sound hefty (I admit to a silent gasp), but the property, near the lodge, can easily accommodate large families or groups of friends who want to vacation together.

The large working kitchen includes granite counters, Jenn-Air appliances, and a wide golden bar created from the wood of giant pines that came down at Migis. Balconies and porches overlook the Dingley Islands and offer endless views of the lake. Guests have access to the lodge by way of a path and may opt for amenities such as housekeeping services, firewood stocking, dining, picnicking, waterskiing, and biking. But at the new “mini Migis,” guests also enjoy the privacy of their own beach and dock and may opt for cooking in.

The property was discovered by avid Migis guests, who from the water spotted a “House for Sale” sign tacked on a pine tree. They feared that the nondescript building they found there could turn into a “tear it down and build a McMansion” situation. So they decided to buy the place to protect Migis Lodge, Waldron Point, and the quiet coves hereabouts. Having collaborated with Tim and Joan on the design of the new house, they incorporated their favorite elements of the cottages that dot the shoreline of Migis’s 125 winding woodland acres. The architecture is Adirondack style, with a sloping roofline and long overhangs that keep the house grounded. This 1-1/2-story building features shed dormers and rafter details that create an understated profile, nicely fitting a landscape that stretches gently down to the water. The only reminder of the previous home is a lichen-covered stone foundation, which helps create a transition from the grassy knoll on which the house sits down to the soft sand of the nearby beach.

The exterior siding is board-and-batten stained moss green with darker green trim — colors that echo the surrounding pines. The builders were instructed to wrap the trunks of the trees near the construction so that the site could remain as natural as possible. (Not one of the property’s towering white pines was cut.) Windows sport a splash-of-red accent, inviting your eye inside. Each bedroom features an enclosed balcony — a place where you can enjoy your morning coffee outdoors even if it’s raining. Porch railings are made of shaggy cedar with copper balusters.

Sebago is beautiful anytime of the year, but autumn brings quiet. Cool breezes whistle in the trees, yet the water is still warm enough for swimming. In the late fall, pine needles make a soft ground cushion and dust the rooftops. Their golden hues against green shingles are like the last warm rays of sunshine on Sebago.


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