Travel Destinations

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Best Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Moosehead Lake Fall Foliage Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

We visited Moosehead Lake in Maine for two main reasons: hiking and fall foliage.  But these aren’t the only things to do in Moosehead Lake, and fall isn’t the only season to visit.  There are a number of great things to do in Moosehead Lake, most involving the great outdoors, and many can be done in any season. 

Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit



The main reason we traveled to Maine’s Moosehead Lake region was to complete part of the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit.  The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit is a hiking challenge to peak six mountains in the area: Mount Kineo, Borestone Mountain, Big Moose Mountain, Number Four Mountain, Whitecap Mountain, and Eagle Rock.  These hikes are challenging, but completely doable, and they offer stellar views as a reward.  We were able to accomplish three of the six during our long-weekend visit and hope to return to finish the rest someday.  For an extra challenge, hike these peaks in winter to collect the Winter or Winter Ultra badge.


Moose and Wildlife Safari


Moose Lone Wolf Guiding Services Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

You can’t go to Moosehead Lake without looking for moose.  Moose is literally in its name!  Any time of the year is a good time of year to look for moose.  There are over 70,000 moose in the state of Maine, so there’s a pretty good chance of seeing one.  June brings the most street sightings of moose.  However, you have to be super careful driving at night because moose are so tall, you can’t see a headlight reflection from their eyes.  You are more likely to have moose in the water sightings in the summer because that helps keep away the mosquitos and black flies.  In the winter, it’s easier to see the moose because the trees are bare.  There are no Christmas trees grown in the area because the moose eat the new growth.

Beaver Lone Wolf Guiding Services Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

The best way to ensure a moose sighting is to hire a moose guide.  There are two types of mouse tours, the kind with multiple people in a van and the kind with a private guide.  We suggest the second option.  Driving in a smaller vehicle means following more backroads, and having a private guide means looking more places for moose rather than following a set itinerary.  Now, we did hear good things about a group tour from some other travelers we met, who didn’t see moose but had fun canoeing on the lake.  But with Ashley of Lone Wolf Guiding Services, we saw two adult female moose, one baby moose, and a beaver.  Plus we learned about moose and the area and had a lot of fun.

Fall Foliage


Fall Colors Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

If you don’t live in New England, Moosehead Lake will fulfill all of your fall foliage fantasies.  While fall is an entire season, there is a very brief window of time when the autumn leaves are the most colorful, blazing mixture of red, orange, yellow, and purple.  Arrive too early and there’s a lot of green mixed in with those colors.  Arrive too late and the leaves are a drab brown, hanging on by a thread before they flutter to the ground. 

Autumn Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Moosehead Lake’s peak fall foliage typically occurs around October 6-11, right around Columbus Day.  Maine provides a current fall foliage report on their website.

B-52 Crash Site


B-52 Crash Site Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

On January 24, 1963, nine crewmembers of the 99th Bombardment Wing, Strategic Air Command, flew a B-52C Stratofortress on a training mission.  As the bomber passed near Elephant Mountain, turbulence became so bad the vertical stabilizer separated from the aircraft.  Three of the nine were able to eject and only Captain Gerald J. Adler, the navigator, and Lieutenant Colonel Dante Bulli, the pilot, survived.  After spending twenty hours in negative 20-degree temperatures, Captain Adler was evacuated with severe frostbite.  He survived the ejection without the parachute opening.

B-52 Crash Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Two of the ejection seats are on display at the Center for Moosehead History in Greenville.  The rest of the wreckage is strewn across the forest floor at the site of the crash, reached by a short hike along a trail from the road.  It is rather horrifying when you see in person how far spread the wreckage is.

Spotted Cat Winery


Spotted Cat Winery Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

On the way out to the B-52 crash site, we made a short pit stop at the Spotted Cat Winery.  You might be surprised to hear there is a winery in the Moosehead Lake region of Maine, but this is not your standard winery.  Alan and Denise decided to do something a little different.  Their wine isn’t made solely with grapes.  The Spotted Cat Winery’s natural, organic, hand-crafted wines use fruit, berries, and wine grapes, most of which they grow themselves.  Their wines include Wild Maine Blueberry and Kokadjolais.  The winery is named for the cat, Aphrodite, but the dog chose to meet us instead.

Greenville


Kamp Kamp Moosehead Lake Indian Store Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Greenville is a small town with a population under 2,000, so it doesn’t take too long to explore.  There are some cute stores, like Kamp Kamp Moosehead Lake Indian Store and Mud Puddle Mercantile.  You can grab an ice cream at the Dairy Bar, and you can learn more about the region at the Center for Moosehead History.

Kokadjo


Kokadjo First Roach Pond Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Kokadjo is a tiny town in the Moosehead Lake region, population not many.  Seriously, that’s what it says on the sign.  This is a picturesque spot on the shore of First Roach Pond, not the most flattering of names for such an attractive body of water, with views of Number Four Mountain, part of the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit.

Lily Bay State Park


Lily Bay State Park Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Lily Bay State Park is a pretty piece of protected land on the east side of Moosehead Lake.  Lily Bay State Park can be a good bet for moose sightings, especially in the summer when moose head into the water.

ATV


Backroad Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Greenville is surrounded by undeveloped forest with trails that are perfect for ATVs.  Northwest Outfitters provides ATV rentals as well as guided tours.  We met a couple who had rented ATVs and they said it was the most fun activity they had done in the area.  They took the ATVs out on their own and were given trail advice for their trip.

Water Sports


Moosehead Lake Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the state of Maine.  Depending on the weather and the calmness of the water, Moosehead Lake can be a great place for kayaking or paddle boarding.  Canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and even fishing equipment can be rented at Northwest Outfitters.

Seaplane Tour


Seaplane Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

We saw a number of seaplanes on Moosehead Lake and learned that visitors can take seaplane tours.  Taking a seaplane tour would be a thrilling way to view the mountains and lakes from the sky.  A couple companies that offer seaplane tours in Greenville are Jack’s Air Service and Currier’s Flying Service.

Steamboat Katahdin


Katahdin Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

From June through Columbus Day weekend, visitors to Moosehead Lake can take a steamboat trip along the lake aboard the Katahdin.  The Katahdin steamboat was built in 1914.  The three-hour cruise leaves from Greenville and goes out to the widest part of Moosehead Lake, north of Sugar Island.  During the cruise, passengers are provided with a narration of the region’s history.

Mount Kineo Golf Course


Mount Kineo Golf Course Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

So, technically, I peaked three mountains while Rome only peaked two.  That’s because when the Mount Kineo shuttle landed and we started walking through the Mount Kineo Golf Course, I could tell Rome really wished he could play golf instead.  Secretly, I rather liked the idea of taking the hiking trail at my own pace, so I told him to stay and play if he wanted. 

Mount Kineo Golf Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Mount Kineo Golf Course is believed to be the second oldest golf course in New England, having been built in the 1800s.  The layout is easy, straightforward, with no surprises lurking around the corner.  The golf course is filled with beautiful tree-lined fairways, especially during peak fall foliage, with Mount Kineo looming above.  The tall trees seemed tiny compared to the wall of stone behind them.  Goldilocks would have loved the greens, not too big, not too small, just the right size.  The course is surrounded by water as it is on a tiny peninsula in Moosehead Lake.  The easiest way to get to the golf course is by taking the short shuttle boat ride across the lake.  The shuttle runs from Memorial Day weekend to Columbus Day weekend.  

Greenville Maine Restaurants


Kelly's Landing Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Kelly’s Landing has the best view of any restaurant in Greenville because of its location right on Moosehead Lake.  This was where I planned on having a lobster roll, but the waitress warned us it just wasn’t going to be the same as one on Maine’s coast so, based on her excellent suggestion, we went for the scallops instead.

Stress Free Moose Pub Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

A fun and relaxing place for dinner and a drink is the Stress Free Moose Pub.  If it’s too loud downstairs, there’s a quieter upstairs dining area, plus an upstairs outdoor patio, which gets used even if it’s cold outside.  The beer menu has a number of local brews and the food is pretty good too.  Haddock is a popular menu item in Greenville, and the Stress Free Moose Pub’s baked stuffed haddock is a good choice.

Auntie M's Restaurant Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Auntie M’s Restaurant is a popular diner-type restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.  Auntie M’s is also a good place to get a souvenir t-shirt in bright orange if you’re worried about not having brought an orange shirt or cap during moose hunting season.

For the number one sandwich in Greenville, head over to Jamo’s Pizza for a Dagwood.  The pita bread is made fresh daily and it comes in veggie, ham, turkey, roast beef, chicken salad, tuna, or chicken teriyaki, all with cheese, pickles, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon, mayo, oil, and mustard.  The pizza is also good.

A couple other restaurants we didn’t get to try but heard good things about are Flatlanders, which specializes in broasted (pressure fried) chicken, and Rod-N-Reel CafĂ©. 

Monson Maine Restaurant


The Lakeshore House Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

One night we took a short drive to the nearby town of Monson, on Lake Hebron, for dinner.  The Lakeshore House is a restaurant in what looks like a house that was built in the 1800s.  They call themselves a pub, but they have a unique menu which includes items like escargot and local scallops, plus local beer.

Greenville Maine Hotel


Moose Mountain Inn Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

We stayed at the cozy Moose Mountain Inn, with its patchwork quilts and wood paneled walls, located just outside of the main town of Greenville.  It was clearly a popular spot to stay because when we ran into other travelers in town, it turned out that they were also staying at the Inn.  The location of Moose Mountain Inn is convenient as it is a short drive into town for meals and it’s also close to a few hiking trails.

How to Get to Moosehead Lake


Moosehead Lake Fall Foliage Things to Do in Moosehead Lake Maine

Moosehead Lake is an hour and 40-minute drive north from the Bangor International Airport.  Rental car agencies are inside the airport and the cars are just across the street.  We arrived in the evening and rental car rates were much more expensive from the rental agencies that stayed open later, so we spent the night at the Four Points by Sheraton – Bangor Airport, which is also just across the street.

Bangor International Airport is an interesting airport because it is a diversion destination.  It is the first major American airport for flights approaching the United States from the east, so is used to handle hundreds of unscheduled landings (for fuel, weather, medical emergencies, unruly passengers, maintenance, or security reasons) every year.  Just in our one night at the Four Points by Sheraton, we saw a female traveler from a diverted flight being loaded into an ambulance.  The airport is also the first stop for many returning troops.  The Maine Troop Greeters of Bangor, Maine have greeted thousands of flights with over a million service members and hundreds of military dogs.

Thank you to Visit Maine for hosting our trip to Moosehead Lake and making this post possible.  As always, all opinions are our own.

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Katherine Belarmino and Romeo Belarmino are the authors of Travel the World, a travel blog for the everyday working stiff. They work full-time in non-travel related jobs, but take every opportunity they can to travel the world during their limited vacation time.