Maidstone Lake Vermont
I can usually take a Monday like a champ. It’s just another day, a fresh start to a new week. But today, I find myself longing for the weekend to still be here. I spent this past weekend with my family at my ulatimate favorite place on earth. Normally I am there for a week. This year it was for three way-too-short days. And, I want to go back. Now. I absolutely adore Maidstone Lake in Vermont. In fact, whenever I think of my childhood, it is there that my mind wanders. Especially during the summer as I spent more of my summers on that lake than I did at home. It’s breathtaking, fun, relaxing and just overall amazing. The water is clean and fresh, if not a bit cold even through August. We especially love the swimming, and when its because we’ve stopped the boat at 120 ft deep and jumped off, the swimming is even better.
Maidstone Lake is a very special place in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom and was created when a glacier carved out a deep basin from a pre-existing valley. The result of the glacial melt approximately 12,000 years ago is this beautiful 796 acre mountain lake with depths over 120 feet. This quiet and remote lake is known for its natural beauty, diverse recreational opportunities, and outstanding family environment. In fact, a number of Maidstone families have enjoyed summers here for several generations.
I have visited the Maidstone Lake State Park beach (and once learned Origami there during a summer activity program) and campground though I’ve never stayed there. My grandfather purchased the camp that we visit back when my own father was a teenager (or maybe a bit younger). My Great-grandfather was originally from the Maidstone, Vermont area. Anyway, the camp was eventually passed down to my Dad and uncles and over time it dwindled to one of my uncles shared with a friend of his. Luckily I still have the opportunity to visit each summer as does my brother and his family.
Its so wonderful to be able to share some of my own childhood memories with my children. They’ve come to love this place as much as I do and also look forward to heading “upta camp.” We didn’t have a boat that could pull skiers but we plan to next year. (We did manage to pull the boys on a tube, in a pretty unconventional way but they had fun just the same!) My oldest son wants to learn to waterski. I think its a great idea! I was on waterskis at a few months shy of three years old!!! And, I can swim like a fish. Part of growing up on a lake!
Brunswick Springs in Brunswick Vermont
I’m actually a little nervous to write about this part of our trip given the legends of Brunswick Springs in Brunswick, Vermont. In fact, as a personal favor, just to ward off any wierdness, I’m going to put this out here. If you are reading this, I beg you not to click on any of my ads in the sidebar. Ha! I don’t want to profit even a penny from even talking about Brunswick Springs! A friend of my cousin stopped by after being lured across the lake by the sounds of our laughter and the crackles of our camp fire. We were introduced and we began trading 30 years of Maidstone Lake stories. It turns out that one, we’d met before-accidentally and two, he knew about some great local legends and nearby hidden gems (an abandonded campground and a couple of caves that I plan to visit someday included).
Included in the local legends was Brunswick Springs. I believed he was “pulling my leg” until I found the same story the following morning online and knew I had to check it out. If you don’t know, I’m a HUGE cellar hole junkie. If I hear about some hidden cellar holes, I’m going to look for them! Anyway, back to not clicking my ads today, here’s the story;
Ripley’s Believe it or Not called it the “Eighth Wonder of the World” in 1984. To the Abenaki, it is a sacred spot with natural healing powers. Over the last two centuries, people with enterprising ideas have envisioned it as a place of business. Four hotel fires later, they were left to wonder: was it coincidence that led to their failure, or the curse of Brunswick Springs?
You can read the legend of the Springs here, here, here and here but I will try to summarize it here. There are six springs, each believed to contain a different mineral (including sulfur, arsenic). The Abenaki people believe(d) that when the waters of the six springs are combined they have a healing property, some even say that drinking the waters can increase one’s lifespan. The legend says that an American Soldier was healed here and this began the quest for the “white man” to capitalize on the wealth that these waters could bring. A hotel was built and the place was advertised as having these magical healing waters piped straight into the hotel. It burned, was rebuilt, burned, rebuilt and burned again. Later someone built a bed and breakfast to only have it also burn. The land was eventually returned to the Abenaki people and has a non-development resriction. No one is ever allowed to build there again.
The Indians return to the waters and leave things that are said to be bad luck if touched, and worse if taken. But the curse is described as affecting anyone that seeks to profit from the waters. I couldn’t find the story online, only that a woman did die when her car went over the cliff there (along with two men who had hanged themselves). The story that I was told was that the woman had gone there from Boston where she had a shop. She bottled the water to bring back to Boston to sell and went off the cliff, her trunk filled with the bottles of water. Legend? A campfire story? Someone with a grudge? I don’t know. But it was an interesting, if not a bit strange place to visit. And, I arrived there with a fully charged camera battery. It went to red within seconds of arrival, my photos were mostly blurry and the camera called it quits before I could get more than two pictures of the hotel foundation…
***Update*** An uncle familiar with Brunswick Springs brought it to my attention that taking photographs at Brunswick Springs is taboo. Perhaps I should have taken my camera malfunctions as a sign. I do apologize and meant no disrespect. I was simply documenting another of our explorations. I take at least 100 pictures on any given outing. Also, if an Abenaki native from the area should stumble across this post I’d be grateful if they would be interested in talking with me more about the history of the land and what their wishes are regarding how to respectfully visit the site. You can contact me here.
Pictures from our Weekend