Lakeside Americana

On any given summer day, Sebago Lake and the surrounding lakes and ponds become destinations for recreation and natural beauty

The Songo River Queen II, a replica of a Mississippi River paddlewheeler, departs the Naples causeway at dusk.

For more than a century, summer tourists have traveled to the Sebago Lake region for recreation and revelry around, on, and in its numerous lakes and ponds. While exploring the area late last summer, photographer Daniel Orr discovered that the family traditions occurring along the various shorelines, from groups enjoying lakefront barbecues to boaters exploring the waterways, felt as timeless the bodies of waters themselves. “There’s something to appreciate about a tradition you can almost feel,” he says. While areas such as the Naples causeway and the Songo Lock can feel more like spring break than serenity, Orr found, there is still plenty of peace and natural beauty here, especially around Sebago Lake State Park. At the state park, one of the oldest in the state, Orr saw loons gliding across the water’s glassy surface and ospreys diving below for their prey. But what surprised him most were the people. When he’s photographing projects like this, he says, he doesn’t expect everyone to be excited to talk to him. But whether he was watching impromptu football games among the boaters waiting at the lock or meeting families at the Mosquito Ice Cream Shop, Orr found people who were happy to talk to a stranger with a camera. “I think it says more about what they’re doing with their time,” Orr says. “If people are natural when you find them, that goes a long way.”

A float plane lands on Long Lake near the Naples causeway; private plane tours take off several times per day in peak season.
One of the many Long Lake waterskiing adventurers.
Rick’s Cafe in Naples is a popular summertime destination.

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