For an authentic Maine Northwoods experience, just fly in to The Birches Resort, open year-round. Owned by pilot and licensed guide John Willard, the resort is open to fly-in aircraft on wheels, floats, or skis, depending on the time of year. Once “in camp,” as Mainers like to say, you can go fly fishing, boating, river rafting, birdwatching, swimming, hiking, leaf-peeping, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, or ice fishing. Or, just put your feet up and toast the sunset.
If you want to fly in but need fuel and/or a longer, paved runway, Newton Field in Jackman is just 20 nm west of the lake. Greenville is 18 nm southwest; call to be sure they have fuel. The Birches will pick up from Greenville or Jackman airports if you call ahead. Willard also keeps a car in Jackman. Speaking of Greenville, be aware of the big International Seaplane Fly-In held each September the weekend after Labor Day, when traffic will be heavy; monitor and make position reports on 122.9 MHz.
The Birches encompasses more than 11,000 acres. Guests can simply step outside and go for a hike to be immersed in the beauty of the deep northern Maine woods. If you’d like additional adventure, The Birches has all the equipment or can make the necessary arrangements. Enjoy an evening on the lake with a “Moose Safari.” Other trips include whitewater rafting, family river floats, Jeep tours, and mountain bike trips. Do-it-yourselfers can rent mountain bikes, canoes or kayaks, sailboats, paddleboards, Jet Skis, and speed or aluminum boats. Take a powerboat across the lake to Mount Kineo, where you can hike to the observation tower on top. Or, play a round on the Scottish-style golf course. Winter equipment rentals include snowmobiles, cross-country skis, snowshoes, and accessories.
The Birches offers a wide selection of lodging arrangements. The main lodge, in addition to being equipped with Wi-Fi, offers lodge rooms, three of which have decks overlooking the lake. Lakeside log cabins sit near the shoreline, include a small kitchen and bathroom, and sleep two to eight people. Rental homes are mostly modern and popular with larger groups. A Moose Safari and access to canoes or snowmobiles comes with a house rental. More rustic accommodations include Kozy Kabins and Yurts, which lack plumbing but offer more of a wilderness experience. Some of the Kozy Kabins are situated in more remote locations, while the Yurts are closer to the lodge. Finally, you can pitch your tent at one of the campsites.
The Birches has its own restaurant in the main lodge that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a full bar. Several optional meal plans are offered for guests. On weekends, the specialty is a traditional prime rib dinner that’s popular with local residents as well as guests. It’s very good, it’s authentic, but it’s not overly fussy—a perfect reflection of the authentic Maine camp experience. Fly in and experience it yourself!