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The Lodge at Moosehead Lake listed for sale for $2.495 million by owners who are planning to retire.
Owners Linda and Dennis Bortis listed the property with Kimberly Swan of The Swan Agency Sotheby’s International Realty. It is being marketed as a unique prospect because of its historic character, luxury amenities and extensive recreational opportunities.
Built in 1917 as a private home, it was turned into a restaurant in the 1960s, then a country inn about 25 years ago, said Linda Bortis.
The lodge, at 368 Lily Bay Road in Greenville, includes three buildings on seven acres. The main lodge has five guest rooms, a restaurant and common areas, including a lower-level pub. The Carriage House is home to four suites. The owner's home has a lake view through a wall of windows. There is also small staff housing on the property. Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in Maine and the largest mountain lake in the eastern United States.
The price narrows the buyer pool, said Swan.
“It’s a what I call a trophy property,” said Swan. “It’s high-end and luxurious, one of a collection of truly beautiful inns in Maine. There’s a smaller audience for those.”
But within that pool, she said, “I think the lodge is really going to appeal to buyers.” Part of the appeal, she said, is that the lodging offers guests a luxury experience in a pristine part of Maine that’s different from frequently visited coastal regions.
“It’s not lighthouse and lobsters,” Swan said. But, “It’s so peaceful and it’s going to be a buyer who wants that luxury product, but also wants that lifestyle … It’s authentic northern Maine.”
Lodgings often attract retirees as buyers. In this case, said Swan, the buyer would perhaps be an early retiree who has done well in their sector. One of the keys with the property is the owner’s home.
“They can keep a beautiful home and have a gorgeous inn,” she said.
The Lodge at Moosehead Lake was the first inland Maine property to receive the AAA Four Diamond Award for excellence in hospitality, a distinction it has maintained for the last 23 years. Perched atop Blair Hill, guests have unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains and Moosehead Lake.
According to a 2007 news release by the lodge, Linda and Dennis Bortis assumed ownership of the lodge on June 1, 2007 from Sonda and Bruce Hamilton. Linda Bortis brought 30 years of experience in food service marketing, customer service and communications to the business. Dennis Bortis brought accounting, tax law, residential refurbishing and business management expertise.
Reached by phone, Linda Bortis told Mainebiz that she and her husband found the property on the internet.
“The reason we selected this property is that if we were going to run a country inn, we wanted it to be something very special,” she said. “Just an ordinary inn or B&B was not what we were looking for. We felt the lodge was extremely unique.”
What makes it unique?
“It’s the location. It’s the view,” she said. “And we know through research that customers are looking for an authentic experience. The lodge is the only place that really provides an authentic North Woods experience but does it in a luxurious format.”
The couple developed numerous recreational amenities, including moonlight canoe rides, moose safaris with gourmet breakfasts or afternoon picnics, eight-hour “call of the wild” guided trips and fly-in canoes trips. The trips are customized through the guides they hire.
“It’s the kind of thing you expect to get in Alaska. And we offer that right here,” Bortis said.
They also employ a full-time chef for dinner and breakfasts, and offer a full guest pantry with snacks available 24/7.
Every room has its own fireplace. Six rooms have private decks. All but one overlooks the lake.
Architectural details include one-of-a-kind hand-carved beds, featuring images like a black bear, moose, totem, loons and trout.
“This is not the place you go to see lighthouses,” Bortis said. “This is the other side of Maine. I’ll bet 90% of our guests have never been to inland Maine, and they’re so glad they did. It’s a little more peaceful and relaxed than you get with the experience on the coast.”
Guests arrive from all over the world.
“We have guests today checking in from Italy,” she said. “And certainly at this time of year, the southern part of the United States becomes prominent because everyone is escaping the heat.”
One of her favorite things to do at the lodge has been simply visiting with guests. “Because they’re well traveled, just visiting with them is a cultural enjoyment,” she said.
The couple is selling because they’re ready to retire and will move to a home they built in North Carolina, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains, she said. They ran the lodge year-round the first eight to 10 years. In the last two years, as they migrated to retirement, they began closing in the winter.
That was a matter of choice, she emphasized, and not because there was any fall-off in business. Winter recreation — like cross-country skiing, dogsledding and snowmobiling — is quite active in the area, she said.