The Rangeley Lakes region

Whether you are a Maine resident or a regular visitor, you know that you can count on one thing: Maine is a special place this time of the year. Once most of the bugs have gone by and the weather systems settle down, Maine really shines!

No matter how many Maine summers stir my soul, the natural wonder that is Maine never ceases to amaze me. What does surprise me is the number of visitors and residents who have not sampled all that the Maine outdoors has to offer.

For example, there are folks from Wells who have never seen the potatoes in blossom in the St. John River Valley. Or Downeasters in Jonesport who have only read about the sweeping view of Mount Katahdin from along the West Branch of the Penobscot River.

Recently, Diane and I, along with a number of outdoor writers from the New England Outdoor Writers Association (NEOWA), spent three days fishing and sharing fellowship with our professional peers in the Rangeley region.

Have you been there?

Our visit rekindled our deep appreciation for this unique and legendary part of the Pine Tree State. From breathtaking long views of mountains and lakes that go on and on to historic landmarks steeped in Maine outdoor lore and legends, Rangeley speaks to you, if you love the outdoors.

Once home to famous outdoor names like famous fly-tyer Carrie Stevens, Maine’s first guide, Cornelia “Flyrod” Crosby, and fabled fly-caster Herbie Welch, Rangeley is an angler’s nirvana. There is still today outstanding salmon and brook trout fishing on Rangeley Lake and other big waters with romantic Abenaki names like Cupsuptic, Umbagog and Mooselookmeguntic. There are small trout ponds galore and fish-rich flowing waters like the Magalloway, Kennebago and Rangeley rivers.

There are campgrounds not far from town, both public and private. And two golf courses with matchless scenery.

And part of Rangeley’s charm includes some wonderful shops and eateries, not the least of which includes the Rangeley Region Sport Shop run by Brett and Susan Damm on Main Street and Rivers Edge Sports just up the road in Oquossoc. A burger at the Red Onion on the main drag is a great way to round out a rainy day in Rangeley.

If you are looking for hotel accommodations, the historic Rangeley Inn is a lodging experience in itself. Excellent cuisine and a gracious innkeeper, Travis Ferland, make it so.

Two singular attractions in the Rangeley region that never disappoint are the Outdoor Sport Heritage Museum in Oquossoc and a scenic cruise on Rangeley Lake aboard the Oquossoc Lady. Two colorful Rangeley personalities, Bill Pierce, curator of the Heritage Museum, and Captain Kevin Sinnett, who operates the Oquossoc Lady, will make sure that you have a grand time!

Once a logging town, Rangeley, Maine, first came into national attention in the late 1800s when wealthy metropolitan types from southern New England and New York discovered the outdoor richness of the Rangeley Lakes region.

It is still there today, in all of its attributes, for anyone who wants to make the drive.

V. Paul Reynolds

Columnist at Ellsworth American
The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. His email address is [email protected]

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