Category Archives: Little Sebago Lake

Reminiscing – Good Old Days on Little Sebago Lake

It’s June and it’s Summertime, which always brings back memories of the wonderful years I spent with my grandparents on Little Sebago Lake.

My grandparents, Vernon and Hazel Adams, rented their camp for a number of years – I think from the late 1940s until around 1954 – and then finally purchased the property in the middle lake area.

Earliest photo of the camp, c1946

This photo is blurry, but I love it because it is the earliest one I have of the family camp. Grandfather is with King, the collie. Grandmother is behind him. I have no idea who the person is sitting on the right, but one of the girls (on the left) standing on the porch is my Aunt Carole. The other girl looks like my mom, Doris, and the photographer, as always, was probably Aunt Barbara.

None of the roads – and the term is used loosely because they were more like bumpy dirt paths that flooded in rain – had names. How did we find the camp?

The turnoff, which was between Gray and North Windham on the state highway, had a distinctive display. Two wooden posts held wooden signs with the names of various camp owners down that road, which today is Cambell Shore Road.

The earliest photos I have of me at the camp are from 1954. I was only two years old, so don’t remember that first visit, but as I got older (school age), my excitement grew as we neared the lake.

When I saw the post with the signs, I knew we were almost there, after a long drive from New Jersey. Before we headed down the hill into the woodlands, I would catch my first view of Little Sebago Lake.

Back in the 1950s, the trees weren’t yet tall enough to block the water view.

Water View Approaching the Lake, c1960

When my husband and I went back in 1981, I was quite disappointed that Mother Nature had taken over. The trees were so tall, the lake view was totally blocked and I had to wait until we were further along the dirt road to get a look at the lake.

Road to the Adams Camp

I quickly learned to keep my hands and face inside the car because there were a few spots where errant branches would smack you in the face if you didn’t take care!

No map was needed, though, because the Adams camp, at that time, was the last camp along the road. We had to – very slowly – drive up and down a very short steep hill and then quickly turn right as the back of the guest cabin greeted us.

Grandfather was usually puttering around, working on various projects, but Grandmother and Aunt Barbara were in the cottage when we arrived and I am sure they could hear the car approaching.

We’re Here!!!!

Vacation activities were the same every summer, but what fun they were!

View through the trees

Back in the 1950’s the toilet was outside, attached to the cottage but not accessible from inside. If you look carefully at the cottage photo (above), you can see the little square outhouse shape between the pairs of trees on the left, which Grandfather built. Before that, and before my memory, the outhouse was 100-150 feet into the woods.

The water that came out of the cottage faucet wasn’t drinkable and there was no hot water, either. Once a week, we drove somewhere towards Gray, I think, and filled containers with potable water.

We swam:

Linda & Grandmother

I was forever picking blueberries and, while Grandmother made a mean fresh blueberry pie, I never have liked blueberries. However, I loved picking them:

Linda, c1955

Last, but not least, there were those fun boat rides to nowhere, taking in all that Little Sebago had to offer:

Smooth as silk

Not so much!

Grandfather’s first dock, which he built himself!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my reminiscing about the good old days on Little Sebago Lake. I have lots of family photos on the lake, but have tried to include mostly views of the lake as it was in the mid-20th century.


Life on Little Sebago Lake in the 1950s

Summer 2020 is well under way and I can’t believe that it’s been almost 70 years since Grandfather and Grandmother bought their camp on Little Sebago Lake.

They had rented for several years – the late 1940s into the early 1950s – and I guess the owners decided they were ready to sell.

While Grandmother enjoyed the lake, sunbathing and taking boat rides, I think the impetus behind buying the camp was Grandfather.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Family and Friends

Grandfather was a very handy guy and I remember him always puttering around camp with various tools, working on his projects.

Their camp had two buildings on it, the main cottage, where Grandmother, Grandfather and Aunt Barbara lived and the guest cabin, where my parents, brother and I stayed when we visited for two weeks every summer.

Mom, in front of the guest cabin, c1956

Notice the right side of the guest cabin and the open door. That was a wood shed. Around 1957, Grandfather finished off the shed into a second bedroom and covered an area behind to use as a carport.

I remember being quite in awe as we inspected the beautiful new room. I also have distinct memories of those big wooden window shutters that opened and closed pulling that rope. There was a second shutter on the left side of the cabin that let in nice cool air in the evening. They were so heavy that I couldn’t open them by myself and, if I tried to close them, there would be a huge THUD. I imagine I probably tried doing that once by myself and got yelled at enough that I kept my little hands off the pulley rope!

I think part of the reason I remember those shutters so well is that, when the weather was nice, they were left open all night and all the scary night sounds kept my fertile imagination going. What animal was walking around right outside, crackling the pine needles on the ground? Was it a wolf or a bear or something else? Or was a stranger lurking about? (The stranger was probably Aunt Barbara who liked to walk around camp in the early evenings.)

On the other hand, there were some ferocious summer storms on the lake. I remember a big hail storm with golf ball-sized hail pelting the cottage during the day. Thunder and lightning made regular appearances so when storms arrived, the shutters closed. I was tucked safely inside the guest cabin, listening intently.

Grandfather and Grandmother loved taking boat rides. I never, ever remember Grandmother taking the motor boat out by herself. I don’t think she ever did, nor did Aunt Barbara. They sometimes went rowing in the rowboat, but that was all.

Me, c1955

This appears to be Grandfather’s first motor boat, but it’s not the one I remember. This boat was retired to a tiny sandy area along the camp’s waterfront and I used to play in it when I got a little bit older.

Eventually, it had too many spider webs and there were water snakes slithering along the path to the boat and I stopped wandering down there.

However, by the summer of 1957, Grandfather had the boat which I remember and which he still had in 1968, the last summer before he died.

Once each season, Grandmother and Grandfather would head out on their marathon boat ride early in the morning. They explored every nook and cranny all the way around the lake and they were gone for hours. I remember asking if I could go with them a couple of times, but the answer was no because I would get bored sitting in the boat for that long. I probably would have!

They never tired of the beauty of Little Sebago Lake.

The  green motor boat is also the boat behind which I learned to water ski around 1965. I was spending time with my aunt and uncle on Lake Winnipesaukee by this time and traveled over to Little Sebago when my parents came up for their two week visit. I had been trying and trying to get up on skiis in New Hampshire and had almost made it up. I was determined to learn and Grandfather spent several days with me, pulling me up out of the water. His green putt-putt didn’t have tons of power, but I did succeed and went back to Winnipesaukee able to water ski with my friends.

Grandmother loved to sunbathe on the dock and on the beach across the lake that we used to visit. It was like our own private beach because there was hardly anyone ever there when we were.

Grandmother, ready to sunbathe, c1958

In the water with me, c1955, off the beach

My favorite activities were (1) picking blueberries, which I did even when I was of high school age, although they weren’t nearly as plentiful as when I was little, and swimming or playing in the water:

Playing with baby brother, 1958

Mandatory life vest until I became a proficient swimmer

Enjoying the inner tube at the beach

I still think back fondly of those perfect summers on Little Sebago Lake. I also remember being quite sad when Mom told me in the spring of 1969, a few months after Grandfather died, that Grandmother had sold the cottage.

Later this summer, I will do one more post about those idyllic years on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.



Summer Coming to a Close at Little Sebago Lake

Time seems to be flying by so quickly and summer 2019 is winding down, so it’s time for me to share one last round of vintage fun times on Little Sebago Lake with my family in the 1950s and 1960s.

Grandfather and Grandmother with Kids

Boathouse Under the Cottage

Grandfather stored his putt-putt in the boathouse for the winter. You can see the steps on the right, which is how we got down to the lakeside unless I wanted to slide down the hill on the other side of the cottage!

Me, c1959

Photographing me sitting on those stairs was an obligatory summer picture for Aunt Barbara.

Me, on My Favorite Swing

Putting on Tanning Lotion!

Me on Grandfather’s First Dock, c1954

Grandmother, Aunt Barbara & Me, c1957

One of the Wetherbees’ cabins is in the left corner. Grandfather’s car is on the right. I’m all dressed up in an outfit that I’m sure Aunt Barbara bought for. She took me shopping for a new dress every summer. It looks like my doll had a pretty dress on, too!

Mom. in Front of the Guest Cabin, Where We Slept

I think that’s probably our blue Ford sedan on the left. It’s the first car I remember us owning.

Aunt Barbara, Subject Instead of Photographer

Dad and Mom, Making Sure I Was in the Life Vest

I think part of the motivation for learning to swim was to get out of wearing that orange life vest. It was okay when it was dry, but after it got wet, it was cold and weighed a ton!

Little Brother in Grandfather’s Boat, c1961

Playing in the Tiny Sandy Area, c1958

One last view of the lake:

Approaching the Cottage from the Boat

Until next year, I hope everyone who is lucky enough to camp on Little Sebago Lake savors their memories until new ones can be made.