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2020 has been quite the year! A few months ago I had a crazy idea to go spend a week in Maine this fall — I mean, if everything is remote and the kids are being homeschooled — what’s stopping us from a change of scenery!?
As a kid, I spent many summers in Maine at Camp Skoglund with my family. It’s so good that I don’t even want to share it with all of you! When I mentioned to Dave that I’d like to go this year he looked at me like I was crazy. We’re not “outdoorsy” — we don’t camp. He had only been once before, and it was long before we had kids (pretty sure we weren’t even married) – so our week would look very different from that!! I knew it would be great to “unplug” a little, but with the warm weather past us, we were both a bit concerned about how the kids would be in the middle of the woods if it was too cold to be in the lake! Despite his reservations, if it was what I wanted, he was IN! (thanks, Dave!)
Fast forward to the best week of 2020 — we all had a blast. The weather was far from perfect and the lake was certainly cold — but dang it was just so so so good. Exactly what we all needed. Even though I hadn’t been to “camp” in years – it was so much like I remember (it was actually eerily the same, like we went back in time). The kids loved everything about it and that made us incredibly happy! They are already talking about going back.
Rondi was such a great host — and so was Stanley of course! Just as Wilbur used to say, “Welcome home” it was the first thing we heard when we pulled in — and she made it feel like just that – home.
Swimming in Echo Lake
Despite the cold temps — the kids (and Dave) swam in the lake EVERY DAY. There was a lot of running and jumping off the docks, just as I remember as a kid. I made it in one time (on the coldest day) – and it was freeeeeezing.
Next to the lake is a small cabin that used to have a few bunk beds in it. As a kid, I slept there (while my parents were in the Lodge next door). My sisters were always too scared to stay alone and ended up back with my parents for the night — but I loved the sound of the lake slapping the rocks underneath the dock, just feet from my pillow! That same cabin is now a lounge with some board games and Camp Skoglund history. My favorite is the Wilbur awards — I’d love to hear stories about that from camp!
This red cabin right by the docks is the lodge!
The weather wasn’t ideal — but it’s 2020 — so we planned for the worst. While it was freezing for the few weeks before our stay, it actually warmed up a bit when we arrived. Midweek we had a storm that knocked out the power (and water)! The kids were terrified of the dark — but were otherwise unphased by the event! They did a lot of exploring on the property. It pretty much felt like we experienced every season during our week at the lake — from swimsuits to winter coats and everything in between!! We walked “the loop” every day and the leaves were so pretty!
Does a Baer $hit in the woods?
One of my most vivid memories of vacation at Camp Skoglund as a kid was the fishing. While I didn’t care too much for it, my little sister spent hours fishing in that lake, often for hours before I even got out of bed! I caught a few sunnies as a kid, but nothing bigger than a softball.
We were excited to fish with the kids — they got poles for Christmas this year and haven’t really had a reason to use them! We picked up some nightcrawlers from the general store and gave it a go. On the first try, we caught a few sticks and lost some worms to fish. No luck.
On the last day, while cleaning out the fridge, I sent the kids down to the dock to use up the worms! Also, I didn’t want to hear any gripes from my dad if we didn’t catch anything — he set the poles up for us before we left. Baer and I caught a small sunny early on – he was so excited!
We lost a few more hooks and then Dave had a bite — a big fish (so he said!) — as he was reeling it in, the fish got off the hook and he pulled up the line, empty. Turns out he tied his hook on with a double knot, like criss-cross twice. That’s it. The fish didn’t come off the hook, the hook came off the line – it just untied! After making fun of him for a while, I told him to try again since we still had worms. Well — good thing he didn’t give up because he caught the biggest fish I’ve ever seen in Echo Lake! Right off the dock, with a toddler fishing pole!! He was so excited he made me run up to Rondi’s house so she could see it too!!
Camp Skoglund has a few docks and a ton of water activities. Canoes, row boats, paddle boat, kayaks, paddle boards, etc!!
We stayed in the Lodge — an A-Frame cabin just feet from the lake — it doesn’t get much better than that. We even learned how to use a wood stove (thanks Rondi!)!!
We planned a few day trips and loved getting out to see more of Maine. Here are some of our favorites:
Luke’s in Portland – holy YUM! Dave and I got lobster rolls and they were AMAZING. Our server was amazing and the views were wow! I also got to sit next to a fiddle fig — so I felt right at home.
Harbor Fish Market in Portland — we picked up some lobster and shrimp to cook back at the lake and OMG it was delicious.
LL Bean — a Maine classic. While it was certainly different than I remember as a child (and covid forced some changes to the typical) we had to go to LL Bean. We picked up cribbage and I’m excited to learn — Dave and I have talked about playing for years and just never got around to it!
Lobster Boat Tour with Sail Acadia — this was so fun! The kids had a blast and it was such a beautiful and informative tour. The views were stunning and took our breath away.
Acadia National Park — I took zero pictures in Acadia, sorry (aside from the lobster boat)! We did get our family photos taken and I’m so excited to share those soon!! It was absolutely perfect. Max said it was “better than any playground” — even the kids had a great time. Dave and I are already planning a trip back, sans kids, to explore more!
Apple Shed Bakery — Not far from camp is a small little gem of a bakery!! We were so excited when Rondi told us about it. We went apple picking and picked up some delicious goodies to eat back at camp. So so good! We are on pie number 3 already and still have a ton of apples left! We also had the place to ourselves, which doesn’t happen at apple picking farms in NJ — it was for sure a treat!
The sunset on the last night was so beautiful — my iphone picture does it zero justice.
We’re already planning our next visit back to Camp Skoglund!! In a year like 2020, it was a real treat to spend a week there!