by Anura Guruge
Having lived on or around ‘Lake Winnipesaukee‘, New Hampshire for 28-years, I had expected the twice-as-big ‘Moosehead Lake‘ in Maine to boast a similar lifestyle. I had always heard that it was hopping ‘year round’. Well, it sure does NOT hop or show much of any type of animation during the last weeks of April — the so called ‘Mud Season’.
We visited (and stayed at a timeshare) in Greenville, Maine — the gateway to ‘Moosehead Lake‘ & the North Country — for 5-days last week, April 23 – 27, 2019. It was my first visit to that area. I had done some Googling and located some interesting restaurants and places to spot moose. But, I was to be severely spoilt and disappointed.
What I had not checked was the population — in terms of people as opposed to moose — up there. I knew it was up there, close to the ‘tundra’ and that it was extremely rural and isolated.
I did not expect it to be dead!
On Tuesday night there was only one restaurant open, the ‘Stress Free Moose‘. It actually had good food, great service, wonderful folks and was rocking. Alas, though, it is primarily a heavy-duty bar with a few tables crammed in. My 13-year old daughter, a restaurant connoisseur, was not impressed nor amused. I liked it, but I do not enjoy not having any choice. I had hoped to eat at “Kelly’s Landing” but like so many other places they were only open Thursday to Sunday.
IF I had checked the human population I would have been better prepared. I had assumed that Greenville, on the southern tip of the Lake would be similar to Alton (where I live) which occupies that spot on Winnipesaukee. Alton’s year round population, however, is 4 times greater. If you include Wolfeboro, 11-miles away from Alton, the year round population in this neck of our Lake is 10 times greater. That, I came to realize, makes all the difference.
There is no Chinese in Greenville or from what I can deduce in Moosehead (town) nor Rockwood. No Chinese. I had never thought about it much, but I guess you can demark civilization based on the presence or absence of a Chinese. I won’t even mention Indian.
There are also NO fast food establishments! No McDonald’s, no Subway, no Dunkin Donuts, no Aroma Joes. I gather the Greenville McDonald’s closed at least a decade ago. How is that possible.
Moosehead Lake, from what I saw, does not have the kind of money that you see around Winnipesaukee or Bar Harbor (Acadia). Nowhere close to the number of multi-million dollar mansions on the water. Far, far less fancy, grand waterfront hotels.
Salubrious is not a word I would associate with the area.
It sure is empty, isolated and rustic.
Though we spent hours looking did not see any moose. Actually a noticeable dirth in wildlife. That we saw no deer was surprising.
This is not to say the trip was a bust. I enjoyed it. Not so much, my 13-year old.
I like solitude and it is pretty desolate up there. Some striking scenery though nothing very different to what we have seen in New England before.
They say that it really rocks in August. I can believe that. But, I think I will stick to Acadia.
by Anura Guruge