TOWNSHIP 1, RANGE 12 — There is no noise from traffic at the Appalachian Mountain Club’s new lodge beside Second Roach Pond, north of Greenville. No cell service, no stores nearby, no high-tech conveniences.

It’s your classic Maine sporting camp – located deep in the woods beside a lake with plenty of loons – with one catch. Unlike AMC’s two historic lodges in the Maine woods, this one is practically new and opened July 1.

Inside the Medawisla Lodge and Cabins, the rustic pine lodge smells of fresh cut wood. It could pass for a modern mountain home in a glossy magazine.

“The place is new and it doesn’t have the character some other Maine sporting camps have, but that won’t last long,” said Larry Chambers of Antrim, New Hampshire, who visited Medawisla Lodge with his wife, Jen. “Eventually, there will be stories here, too. Right now it’s just the beginning.”

The sporting camp tradition in Maine is rich, dating to the 1800s. Today, Maine has 59 traditional sporting camps that belong to the Maine Sporting Camp Association, some that have been run by the same family for three or four generations.

The Boston-based Appalachian Mountain Club came to the Maine woods 15 years ago to join this tradition. Founded in 1876, the organization first held meetings in Maine in 1887. Its Maine chapter was started in 1956 and today has 5,000 members.


But it wasn’t until 2003 that it started putting down roots in the state. Now it has three full-service lodges in Maine to go with three in New Hampshire, one in New Jersey and one in New York, as well as its high-mountain huts in the White Mountains.

The lodges are open to the public, athlough AMC members get reduced rates. Some weekends – particularly in July and August – the lodges fill up quickly, but there generally are nights available.

Reservations are required.

The three AMC lodges in Maine are within the 100-Mile Wilderness to the east of Moosehead Lake and are open year-round.

Medawisla is accessible by car in winter via seven miles of logging roads. The other two are acessible only by skis or dog sleds in winter.

AMC purchased the 140-year-old Little Lyford Lodge in 2003. Gorman Chairback Lodge, a sporting camp since 1867, soon followed. Both AMC sites offer guests several cabins and bunkhouses as well as a main lodge that provides meals in the sporting camp tradition.


Medawisla, the Abanaki word for loon, is a bit different since it was built from the ground up. The construction took two to three years and cost more than $6 million, according to AMC spokeman Rob Burbank.

“What’s not to like? It’s quite impressive,” said John Stedman of St. Albans. “We’ll probably come here in the fall to go bird hunting.”

Stedman made a day trip to Medawisla Lodge with his family to see the new buildings and what the area offered.

“Probably the people in Rhode Island who can’t see the stars at night will come up here,” said Holli Stedman, John Stedman’s sister-in-law, as they toured the lake path.

The main lodge has a den with bookshelves and a sitting area facing the lake with leather furniture near a fireplace. The dining room’s long wooden tables are set with china and linen napkins. The cabins have private bedrooms, plush beds, large windows and a bathroom.

Noga Flory, her husband, Ernie, and sons Logan, 14, and Tyler, 10, enjoy rock climbing, backcountry skiing and camping throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Quebec.


They’ve stayed in many AMC lodges. Noga Flory said each has its own charm, but Medawisla is special because of the host of water sports offered. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards are available for guests. And Flory said the staff was attentive beyond expectation. They took an interest in Logan Flory’s advanced origami skills.

“I have to brag about your son,” said Anna Blash of Peaks Island, one of the lodge staff.

And with that, Blash shared with a table full of dinner guests how she watched Logan Flory fold a tiny piece of paper for 40 minutes and produce an intricate blue dragon.

This kind of hospitality goes hand-in-hand with the Maine sporting camp tradition. And AMC has capitalized on it.

“We’ll come back here,” Noga Flory said. “The hut crew is amazing. They’re really welcoming. And the cabins are nice and new.”

It’s a comment you hear a lot at Medawisla, which was full with 32 guests most nights its second week.


“We like the whole AMC concept where it’s full-service,” said John Knauff, 18, of New Providence, New Jersey. “You don’t have to do any work. You just bring the essentials, just bring your clothes, and that’s it,”

Deirdre Fleming can be reached at 791-6452 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: FlemingPph

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