Tag Archives: Little Sebago Lake

Once Again, Vintage Summer at Little Sebago Lake

It’s time for another visit to the idyllic days of vintage Little Sebago Lake in Maine. My grandparents’ camp was a wonderful place to summer, in spite of the lack of potable water, hot water, indoor heating (aside from the fireplace in the main cabin) and inside toilet.

Grandmother and Grandfather rented for a few years before they purchased this property. These are some of my earliest photos of the family enjoying the lake. Given that my parents are there and my younger aunt isn’t married, nor am I yet around, the pictures date somewhere between the summers of 1947 and 1951.

Cottage View from the Lake

The Boat is Ready to Go!

Grandfather was pretty handy – he built this dock himself and got it set up in the water.

My Aunt with a Camera

Notice the laundry on the line – washed, most likely in the lake, and the guest cabin. The open door was, for the first few years, the wood shed. Later, Grandfather converted it into a second bedroom. No bathrooms in the guest cabin, though, nor was there any heat source. It got quite chilly at night!

The Only Heat Source

This is a much later photo, probably closer to 1960, but the fireplace was still there. On rainy days, I’d be on the floor with a coloring book, a book to read or a paint by number picture to keep me busy. Right in front of the warm fire was the place to be!

A Second View of the Guest Cabin

Aunt Barbara, King and Grandmother Enjoying the Outdoors


Aunt Barbara

The Family B.L. (Before Linda)

Everyone got in the picture – Grandfather and Grandmother with King and I think the kitten grew up to be the cat I knew as Scheherizade, or Sherry, with our dog, Mickey, both my aunts and my parents.

Camp was a place to relax and take walks through the woods.

Road to Camp

I have no idea how many miles Aunt Barbara and I walked on this road. It was fun unless it had rained and a car went by us!

My Aunt Waterskiing

Everyone would do a bit of swimming and waterskiing or head out on boat rides. Some were in the motor boat, while another kind of boat gave a great workout!

Mom and Me, Ready to go Rowing

Mom, with Grandmother in the Foreground

Sometimes, the boat ride led to an uninhabited beach across the lake. Occasionally, another family would be there, too, but for the most part, it was like owning a private piece of paradise.

Later in the summer, I’ll share a few more photos from the good old days!




Final Days of Summer – Little Sebago Lake, c1950s

Labor Day weekend is here, which traditionally signals the end of summer and the end of the wonderful days spent on Little Sebago Lake.

Here are a few more of my photos documenting those unforgettable years.

This was always my first view of the water as we got very close to the cottage. My excitement was running high because we were almost there after an 8 hour car drive from New Jersey.

I remember being very disappointed when Dave and I visited in 1980. The trees had grown so high in two decades that the lake could no longer been seen from here.

Aunt Barbara, sitting on the cottage porch

Aunt Barbara spent many hours and days helping to keep me entertained. We picked blueberries together down near the water.

We played in the water – we had a great time.

Life was so simple and tranquil back then. Here is the cottage, seen from the woods.

Mealtime on the porch – every meal was taken on the porch, with the screened windows open when the weather was nice. I suspect I took this picture since I’m not in it. I would have been nine and Aunt Barbara taught me how to use a camera. She took zillions of photos of people and scenery.

Grandfather’s boat was tied up at the dock. It was painted light green and had a putt-putt motor on it, but I just loved all the boat rides we took in it.

This was the summer that Aunt Barbara took the train from Massachusetts to New Jersey to bring me to New England for a few weeks, as my brother was going to be born. Grandmother and Grandfather kept me busy at the lake.

I didn’t appreciate the lake view from the porch when I was little.

Aunt Barbara always took me shopping for a pretty dress and there was the obligatory photo op with me wearing my new outfit. I don’t remember this doll so I can’t tell you if she was an extra special gift with the dress or if she was one of the toys that made the car trip.

Grandmother, Aunt Barbara and Linda, c1955

The last photo in this year’s summer memories was taken from the Wetherbee’s camp, next door. They had a beautiful beach and allowed me to play there (with supervision, of course!) when they weren’t there, which was most of the time. When they were gone, their dock was pulled back out of the water, as it is here.

I was hoping maybe we would make it back to Maine for a visit this summer, but it didn’t happen. Perhaps next year, as I would really love to see it now.

Memories of Little Sebago Lake, c1950s

Last Labor Day weekend, I wrote a nostalgia post about many summers spent on Little Sebago Lake in Maine. Later, I had a message from a person who invited me to the Facebook page for Little Sebago and I was thrilled to make contact with the family who has owned my grandparents’ cottage since Grandmother sold it to them in the spring of 1969 after Grandfather had passed away the preceding December.

Since my parents always visited my grandparents at the cottage at the end of July and beginning of August (we stayed 2-3 weeks), and it is now July 27th, I decided to share a few more of those wonderful lake memories.

Aunt Carole

This is the only good photo I think I have of the guest cabin that Grandfather converted. Aunt Carole is taking a picture of someone or something and I suspect that my Aunt Barbara is the one photographing her.

However, notice the open wooden door on the cabin in the background. The window on the left is actually the front of what at that time was a one bedroom cabin. That door was the entrance to the wood shed. The bedroom entrance can’t be seen in this photo. I think I was probably 7 or 8 when Grandfather converted the back section into a very nice second bedroom. My baby brother and I shared the “old” original bedroom and my parents slept in the “new” bedroom.

Aunt Barbara, King and Grandmother

Given the style of the photo and the exposed side, this picture was probably taken on the same roll of film as the photo above. The woods were great fun to explore, but, at night, when the wind was blowing, I thought it was a bit spooky. I also hoped that I wouldn’t have to get up to go outside and across the way to the outdoor bathroom at night!

Mom, swimming

It’s hard to tell exactly where this was taken, but I think it was at the beach where we used to go. The”beach” on my grandparents’ property was very narrow, just wide enough for the rowboat to be pulled up. Given the motor boat in this picture, I think this was a beach visit, which was a 15 or 20 minute boat ride from the cottage. I also think this was before I was born, so probably late 1940s or early 1950s.

Here is a much better view of the beach, with King and Mickey:

I wonder if they were busy watching family members swimming. They are both certainly attentive to something in the water.

Little Sebago, late 1950s

This is a view of the lake looking to the right off the dock.

Little Sebago with pink flowers in bloom, c1950s

One more spring view with the cottage and flowering tree

Here is one more view of the lake from the same time period. I suspect that this was taken in spring when my grandparents and aunt made the drive from Massachusetts to Maine to open the cottage for the summer season.

Cottage, photographed from the boat, c1950s

The summers at Little Sebago were quite magical for children. Kids today would probably be horrified at being forced to vacation in a cottage with no hot water, no potable water, an outdoor shed toilet and the lake being the bath tub. There was no television reception, no telephone and no electronic games to play. We did have a radio, which was turned on in the morning for news or when the weather made outside fun not so fun.

On the other hand, there were woods to hike and explore, other children to play with, blueberries to pick, beach visits, motor boat rides with adults and rowboats for kids and lots of swimming. There was also the excitement of driving to Gray or, the big town, North Windham, to pick up the mail, which was delivered to Rural Free Delivery and “Will Call.” North Windham even had a drive in movie theater and a ranch just outside of town where we would go horseback riding once each summer. Produce was bought at the family farm stands along the road and multi-gallon containers were filled at fresh water spouts. A really special treat was a homemade chocolate donut appearing at the breakfast table, bought, again, from a family business. When I got a little bigger, I was even allowed to help add wood to the fireplace and stoke the fire.

When the weather was bad – I remember not only wind and rain, but also a few hailstorms – paint by number pictures appeared along with those coloring books that had pages that turned colors when wet paint brushes were used. Grandmother taught me how to knit when I was 8 or 9 years old. She was an excellent knitter (and musician and artist – talents which definitely were not passed on to me) and I wish I had kept up with it. Knit and purl stitches have been long forgotten.

I consider myself to have been a very lucky little girl to vacation on Little Sebago Lake.