As I said in my last post, this summer I have decided to thoroughly explore the lakes region. Not because I get antsy at the lake, mind you, but because when visitors come, they always ask me “what there is to do” in the area. Really! As if sitting on the deck gazing at the lake is not enough. So last week I set aside a day (Wednesday) for exploring. I’d like to say I went on foot with a rifle over my shoulder and the dog at my heels, but I actually went by car armed with a GPS. I did take the dog (Oliver).
We lunched at the Good Life Market (more about this place in an upcoming post) and then headed to South Casco on Rt. 302 to visit the Raymond-Casco Historical Museum, which is only open on weekends and on Wednesdays from 1-3. Like many small town historical museums, it is staffed by volunteers who are passionate about their hometown history.
Here is some of what I learned at the museum while Oliver slept in the backseat of the car:
• Children’s summer camps starting in the early 19th century greatly influenced economic growth of the lakes region.
• Richard Manning, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s uncle, lived in South Casco and his home is still standing on Raymond Cape Road.
• A canal once connected nearby Sebago Lake to Stroudwater and Portland.
• Sebago is a Native American word for “big stretch of water.”
Information is powerful, so I decided to explore the area a little more based on what I learned at the museum. Here is what happened while Oliver slept in the back seat of the car:
• I drove to one of the oldest children’s summer camps to get a closer look, but got kicked out by the security staff even though the children have not yet arrived at camp. Geez.
• I located and drove by the Manning homestead. It is for sale.
• I followed signs to Songo Lock, and it appears to be maintained and operating. Can that be?
• I drove back home to my camp on Little Sebago Lake (“little big stretch of water”).