Lobster, chowder, and clams at the weekly Lobster Bake dinner and cookout.
By: Sandy Lang
Photography: Peter Frank Edwards
Several teenage boys wearing blazers—navy blues and preppy plaids—are on the terraced patio at dusk at Migis Lodge. They’re leaning on stone walls near a fire pit that’s sending a few sparks upward between the towering pines. In the dining room and on the wide porch of the lodge, there’s the hum of conversation, and cocktails are still being poured. Sebago Lake shimmers below. I notice that each boy stops from time to time to check his jacket sleeves and shirt front to make sure all’s still tidy. This is one nattily-dressed dinner crowd. Besides the boys, who are discussing their respective boarding schools, there are parents and grandparents, couples and cousins, and dozens of other lodge guests of all ages. It’s possible to come in just for dinner, but most of the people here are staying in rooms upstairs in the main lodge itself, or in one of the property’s 35 cottages. I’m visiting with my favorite traveling partner, photographer Peter Frank Edwards.
During cocktail hour, he and I meet third- generation lodge operator Jed Porta, a youthful-looking 35-year-old whose parents are the lodge’s owners. He explains that Migis guests often stay for a week or more as part of multi-generational gatherings of families or friends. And dressing for dinner is more than a tradition. Jackets and collared shirts are required for men during the cocktail and dinner hours at Migis Lodge. The guests lean toward a classic look, L.L.Bean meets Vineyard Vines. Among all the seersucker pants and suede bucks, I hear bits of wide-ranging talk—about music theory, college plans (several of the young staff in jackets and bow ties are students at New England universities), and the pre-dinner lake cruise on the lodge’s prized 1947 Chris Craft boat. Even the cocktails being ordered on the patio are timeless, including plenty of trays of gin and tonics and margaritas. Is it 1966, 1986, or 2016?
It’s all part of the mid-June to September social season at Migis Lodge in South Casco, and the property happens to be celebrating its hundredth anniversary this year. This is my first visit to the lodge and to the lake. We’re here for a two-night chance to “steal away and rest,” which I’m told is the basic translation of the Abenaki word migis.