48 Hours in Greenville

This community-minded town at the edge of Maine’s largest lake serves as the gateway to the Moosehead Lake region, providing numerous outdoor recreation activities throughout the year.

Stock up and check-in

The first stop in Greenville should always be the Indian Hill Trading Post. Part grocery store, part hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear supplier, Indian Hill is a one-stop shop for exploring the Moosehead Lake region. From Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy to Old Town canoes, if Indian Hill Trading Post doesn’t have it, you probably don’t need it. My boyfriend, Sean, and I pick up some new Carhartt gear and deerskin gloves to prepare for the significant drop in temperatures since we left home in the southern part of the state.

Greenville Inn, our lodging for the weekend, is conveniently located off Lily Bay Road, right in downtown Greenville. Set high on a hill with views of the lake and main street, the historic inn is beautifully preserved. With mansion rooms, suites, and private cabins, the Greenville Inn has accommodations for all kinds of travelers. We admire the Victorian details of the mansion before walking downtown.

As avid followers of Moosehead Lake News’s Instagram account @mooseheadlakenews, we know that community volunteers have recently built a lakeside pedestrian boardwalk. Docked at the edge of the beautiful new boardwalk is the historic steamboat the Katahdin, affectionately known as the Kate. Katahdin Cruises and Moosehead Marine Museum runs three different cruises around the lake ranging from three to seven hours. We enjoy the walk on the newest addition to Greenville’s downtown alongside one its oldest institutions.

Sean has a family camp on the lake, so we are familiar with the area and know just where we want to catch the sunset. We drive about five minutes up Lily Bay Road to chase the view. Right between the Blair Hill Inn and a beautiful yellow home is one of my favorite Moosehead Lake vistas. We park the car on the side of the road just in time to catch the end-of-day colors casting over the lake.

Trailside Restaurant and Lounge at Leisure Life Resort has a family dining room as well as a separate bar area. The French onion soup that is on special hits the spot on this chilly evening. We know this is the place to be when we serendipitously run into Luke and Laurie Muzzy, who have deep roots in the Greenville community (and whose cafe we will be visiting in the morning), and Janet Chasse, who owns Moosehead Lake News and operates their social-media accounts and the Moosehead Marketplace online store.

Coffees and the cafe

We start the day enjoying coffee and conversation in the inn’s Shaw Room, one of the two dining rooms. A magnificent view of the lake is framed by the trees.

Although the Farmhouse Cafe itself is rather new, the property has been in the Muzzy family since 1911. When we arrive, there are all kinds of people enjoying coffee in the cozy atmosphere. Owner Laurie Muzzy makes many of the menu items from scratch. We order the breakfast panini, a grilled egg and cheese sandwich made with a homemade buttermilk biscuit.

Number Four and a B-52

The hike up Number Four Mountain is similar to the drive to the trailhead: just when you think you may have gone too far, a blue sign points you in the right direction. The trailhead is off Lily Bay Road, about four miles down the gravel Meadow Brook Road. The road is clearly marked, and there is a large parking lot just down from the trailhead. The trail is moderately difficult. We are enjoyably challenged by some of the steeper, rockier parts during the last half of the 1.7 miles up. At the summit stands the abandoned Number Four fire tower, which overlooks stunning views of Lily Bay Mountain and Moosehead Lake.

Heading back toward town on Lily Bay Road, we pull off again to drive about eight miles up Elephant Mountain to the site of a United States Air Force Boeing B-52C crash. Owned and maintained by Weyerhaeuser Company (formerly Plum Creek Timber Company) and the Moosehead ATV Riders, the site is a memorial of the Cold War–era tragedy. Wreckage and aircraft debris cover acres of the forest. Next to a large piece of the rubble is the memorial made from Monson slate that honors the two survivors and those who died in the crash.

Local flavors and moose watching

After spending most of the day exploring outside, the warm, log cabin–style interior of the Stress Free Moose Pub is exactly what we need. Famished and thirsty, we order a large plate of loaded nachos and two ice-cold local(ish) brews: Bigelow Brewing Company’s Bigelow Brown for Sean and Penobscot Bay Brewery’s Humble B Lager for me.

On our way back to the inn, we stop at Northwoods Outfitters to browse its array of outdoor gear and equipment. Northwoods offers a wide variety of guided day and overnight trips on Moosehead Lake, including kayaking and canoeing trips and fishing and wildlife-sighting expeditions.

We have just a few more hours of daylight, so it’s the perfect time to search for Moosehead Lake’s most iconic wildlife: moose. There are many local moose-watching tours, but we decide to try to find one of these majestic creatures ourselves. We head to a locally known moose hangout in Kokadjo called Lazy Tom Bog. The drive to Kokadjo, a small community just outside of Greenville, is lined with shady, wet areas such as bogs and marshes; it’s the perfect environment for moose, so we keep our eyes peeled the whole way. Unfortunately for us, we are in the off-season and a little unlucky, so we head back to Greenville for dinner without seeing a moose.

The atmosphere at Kelly’s Landing is lively and family-friendly. The sun has already set when we arrive, but a couple hours earlier we would have had a wonderful view of the sunset from our lakeside booth. We take a trip to the salad bar and enjoy baked stuffed haddock and a bowl of the loaded seafood chowder.

Breakfast and souvenirs

Auntie M’s is a favorite breakfast spot for visitors and locals alike, with a relaxed diner atmosphere and lots of affordable menu options. The staff is warm, welcoming, and efficient. We fill up with the Everything But the Kitchen Sink: an egg scramble with peppers, onions, cheese, and several types of breakfast meats. Auntie M’s is cash-only, so prepare accordingly.

Housed in the historic Shaw Block, Kamp Kamp Moosehead Lake Indian Store is filled with collectibles, trinkets, antiques, and home decor. The front half of the store has prints, rugs, and other home furnishings while the back half is packed with vintage fishing gear, collectibles, old books, and much more. You can lose yourself in Kamp Kamp and find something much more meaningful than just a souvenir.

On our way out of Greenville, as we’re thinking about all the memories from our trip to one of our favorite places on Earth, we get one more surprise: two moose running along the road beside us.