no matter where you go, there you are

Monday, March 11, 2013

it feels like home to me

When I was two, after the birth of my sister, my parents planned for our family to take an early autumn vacation in Maine. I don't remember where we were intending to go originally, but the place we had booked either closed or cancelled...something that forced us to find new lodging. Although I was only a toddler at the time, I firmly believe it was one of the best things to happen to us as it led to our discovery of Spencer Pond Camps, one of the prettiest, most serene, peaceful places I've ever been to. Throughout my childhood, we made it a bi-annual tradition to return there over the summer, bringing various family and friends along the way, and take in nature at its most raw.

Spencer Pond is located about an hour north of Greenville, ME. You drive up the east side of Moosehead Lake for about 30 min before the road turns to dirt and you wind your way through logging territory for another 30 min following the red signs pointing to camp. Little Spencer Mountain looms over as you look out for animals such as deer, moose, rabbit and pheasant amongst a plethora of others. The driveway is on the left and its still another 1/4 mile through thick woods before seeing the small parking lot and infamous wooden Moose cutout on the gate.

The camp sits on Spencer Pond, which is much smaller than Moosehead Lake but still large enough that you can fill a whole day boating around on it. There are 6 waterfront guest cabins, ranging in size from 2-8 persons. There is also the main office cabin where the owners live. Sabotowan, the first and largest cabin was our Spencer Pond home for 7 wonderful visits; however, our most recent visits have put us in Lunkers, Bemsis, Cricket and Moose. Sowangan/Skip-Wiley is the smallest and only cabin us Chapmans have not inhabited.

The cabins are all wonderfully cozy and intimate with books lining the shelves, old maps and pictures hanging on the walls, and games hidden away in cubby holes. The kitchens are stocked with all of the dishes, utensils, pots and pans you need, and the refrigerator is run by a propane tank on the exterior of the cabin. Water must be pumped in from either a well or the lake depending on your cabin. As a kid, one of the first things you learn is how to prime a water pump in the morning.

There are an infinite number of activities to be done in and around the camps. Hiking, canoeing, kayaking, birdwatching, swinging, fishing, berry picking, laying about in hammocks, reading, puzzles. Even when its pouring rain outside, entertainment is available. Bemsis, Lunkers and Moose each have their own dock whilst Cricket, Sabatowan and Skip Wiley share the large one at the main "beach." There is an understanding amongst all guests that Spencer Pond is not a party place; even in the daytime, really loud noise and lots of ruckus is frowned upon. And after dark there is a strict quiet time policy.

Spencer Pond is like a second home. It doesn't matter than I've only ever been 10 times, it's something that has always been with me in my life. It's somewhere where I know I can find peace and solitude without the pressures of this crazy, hectic society we now live in. With no electricity and only a smidgen of cell phone service, you can shut off the fast pace and crank up the relaxed one. And I've been able to share it's experience with my family and best friends, introducing them to this special little world in the Great North Woods and creating memories to last a lifetime.

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