I’ve stood at the peak of the snowmobile trails on Coburn Mountain and looked out over the world. With a full 360-degree vantage point, both Canada and Maine unfold in a panorama of natural beauty. It’s a sight that can’t be missed!
The Kennebec River area provides recreational opportunities year round from whitewater rafting to snowmobiling. Situated on the 201 Highway – designated a National and State Scenic Highway, it is easily accessed from Quebec City, Canada, or Interstate 95, which crosses Maine.
My exploration of the area centered around the trails that are part of ITS #89. The ITS, or Interstate Trail System, is Maine’s series of interconnected snowmobile trails that are operated and maintained by numerous snowmobile clubs.
In fact, ITS #89 runs right past the front door of the Dead River Outfitters B & B Lodge [also the location of North American Whitewater], in W. Forks, Maine! I was lucky to have Peter Dostie, owner, and Jon Rolfe, his assistant, provide me with an excellent guided tour through some of the spectacular sights: the Enchanted Stream bridge; the Moosehorn Trail; and the Enchanted Mountain Ski Area, to name a few. As locals say, “It’s the best snowmobiling in the world.”
One of the Executive members of the Kennebec Scenic Snowriders Club, Peter works hard to make sure the trails in the area are in tip-top condition. From building bridges to open new areas to riders like Coburn Mountain, the highest elevation ITS snowmobile trail in Maine, to running the groomer through cold winter nights, he, along with other club members, is dedicated to the sport.
A center for outdoor adventures throughout the year, the scene around the Kennebec changes rapidly after the leaves begin to turn color. With an average annual snowfall of nearly ten feet, this area offers one of the best and longest snowmobile seasons in the Nation! There are numerous local outfitters to provide rental sleds and guided tours, or to provide a home away from home while you use the maps to explore the ITS trails on your own sled.
Whether you’re trailering or renting, there are lots of places to park your sled in the area – I visited quite a few in West Forks, having a great time at them all!
For a stay in a place with history, try the Marshall Hotel & Cabins, owned by Magic Falls Rafting Company. Over 100 years old, the Marshall Hotel was used to lodge and feed the Kennebec River logging crews for decades. I had a great visit with the managers, Rich and Sue, along with some excellent meals in the restaurant.
One morning, eavesdropping at breakfast, I was forced to ask Sue, “What’s a whoopee pie?”
Sue, in amazement, responded, “You’ve never heard of whoopee pies? We’re making pumpkin today-would you like one?”
It was great: two thick round pumpkin cake/cookies filled with whipped cream, that made afternoon lunch in my cabin a tasty treat! And by evenings, I enjoyed pulling up a stool at the Marshall Bar and sipping on a drink or two
You can have 4 seasons of serious fun at Three Rivers, according to its president Joe Christopher. I know I enjoyed visiting The Boatman’s Bar and Grill, and sampling a wide array of appetizers along with some before-supper drinks. With cozy log cabins sleeping 4 to 10 people, Three Rivers is another great outfitter to help you get started on ITS #89, whether you need a sled or brought your own.
If you’re looking for a spot with lots of action, check into The Forks Resort Center, part of Northern Outdoors. With a vista of over 100 acres of snow-draped woods on the shores of the Kennebec River, The Forks Resort Center offers everything from its own on-site Kennebec River Brewery to a giant hot tub to fitness and games rooms! The Forks Restaurant has lots to choose from on the menu-I was treated to lobster and scallops. One of the area’s hot spots for evening entertainment, it’s a great place to hear what’s happening on the trails!
Crab Apple Whitewater provides visitors with the utmost in comfort on their snowmobile adventure – from the non smoking environment, to the spacious “just like home” living room for sharing the day’s riding adventures, you can expect special treatment when you’re a guest at Crab Apple. A family operated business that’s grown over the past twenty years, they offer deluxe rooms in the lodge, luxury suites, and cabins.
If you’re looking for fine dining, make sure you check out their restaurant! Their Chef is second to none-if you enjoy unique entrees, you’ll love his cooking.
The one thing I can guarantee you’ll find everywhere in the Kennebec area is friendly hospitality, no matter what type of adventure you choose. This winter, when the snow falls, set your sights on Maine…
For more information about snowmobiling in Maine, plus free maps, check: http://www.mesnow.com/.
Copyright 2003, 2009 by Linda Aksomitis