Monday, October 1, 2012

Phillips in the Fall

   For over 200 years Phillips Lake has been providing tourists with wonderful memories of Maine.   In 1812, Nathan Phillips built a farm on the land above the lake.  The farm was not successful, but its location, on the stagecoach route midway between Ellsworth and Bangor, provided Mr. Phillips with a successful career as an Innkeeper.  At first it was called the Mid-Way house or Lake House, but in time it came to be known as the Lucerne Inn.   The Lucerne Inn and Restaurant is still open today.   

   In the 1920’s a vacation community was planned for the 5000 acres around the Lucerne Inn.  Many log cabins were built.  Exactly how many I don’t know, but a court case claims 7000 lots and over $1,000,000 in sales of land and cabins. 

  These cabins varied in size, many one story, some two.  Several have been modified over the years.  Still, original cabins are easy to spot, with their vertical log siding.
A couple of original style cottages
   The business collapsed in the 1930’s, but Lucerne in Maine continued as a special “village” within Dedham Maine.  Owners, including both seasonal and year-round residents of Lucerne in Maine, pay taxes to Dedham, but can vote on how the funds allocated to Lucerne are used.

And as time went on, more and more large homes were built, though some clearly show their Swiss Lucerne roots.
This looks so much like a music box my Grandmother had.  Love the stone work
A very large boulder
     Whether it’s a memory of jumping into the lake off one of the multitudinous granite boulders, exploring an island, staying in a big home or a tiny cabin, sailing in the regattas, enjoying a morning paddle, an evening gathering by the fireplace, or attending Camp Capella; Phillips Lake holds a dear place in many people’s hearts. 
Not sure if this rock is used for sunning or jumping
An eagle keeps watch over the lake
     I know this because, despite my last post on Lucerne, people still write to say how they love Phillips Lake and seeing photos of it.  I’ve always felt a little guilty about that post.  We arrived in May on a day the black flies were more voracious than I’ve ever seen.   We raced about the lake, far from shore, never daring to stop. 
Another outcropping of Lucerne Granite.  Kayaks love these waters.
I think this may be the only freestanding island with a house on it.

Insect-filled is not what Phillips Lake is generally like. Phillips Lake is a clear, spring-fed lake surrounded by many hills.  Three square miles of lake, twelve miles of shoreline, many islands large and small.   At least one well-loved island allows visitors.
On a well-loved island
Lunch spot; looking back toward Bald Mtn
 So, with Fall in the air, and trees just beginning their glorious transformation, I thought it only fair to return to Phillips and post some more photos.
Peeking through some trees
Mark paddles by distant Peaked(?) Mountain

There is a public landing for Phillips Lake, but not a lot of parking.  Plan your visit wisely.  Our prior post is here.
More about the history of Lucerne
More about the history of the Lucerne Inn 
A court case from the 1930's for an appropriate salary for a Lucerne in Maine employee.  (There's a novel waiting to be written about this.)
 An article on Lucerne Granite


  1. Driven by,but never visited.
    Nice post.

    1. It's a nice lake, very clear water. Well worth a visit just to drive by the old log cabins and see how they've transformed, but especially fun to tour by boat. It's not necessarily worth crossing the country to see though....