Emma Fitzgerald, art director at The Brand Company


Before my trip in August, I never paired Sugarloaf with the word summer. Then I found out about the itinerary details: zip lining, live music by the Tricky Britches, a scenic chairlift ride, and local dining. (They had me at zip lining.)



4:00 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel 

Thedriveis stunning, with vast mountain views, as we enter Carrabassett Valley and approach Sugarloaf. Upon arrival at Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, the receptionist warmly greets us at the front desk. Following her run-through of local attractions (and Sugarloaf stickers for my two boys, ages four and six), we head to our comfortable, apartment-style room to get settled and ready for dinner. We take in the view from our bay window, which overlooks the gorgeous Bigelow Range.

6:00 p.m. @ 45 North

he boys are hungry! The menu at 45 North covers local and seasonal cuisine. Our servers, Justin and Macy, are more than welcoming and accommodate the
boys with ease. We share entrees—the signature 45N burger (local, grass-fed beef ) and black-pepper-encrusted tuna on mixed greens. The boys pick the apple cobbler with Gifford’s ice cream for dessert, while mine is a glass of rosé.


9:00 a.m. @ Downhill Supply Co.

I forgot closed-toe shoes for zip lining, so we head to Downhill Supply Co. Soft goods manager Eva Cole has been a Sugarloafer since 1978, and within 10 minutes she outfits me for our adventure. Eva tells me about a new partnership with Kühl that will offer a wide range of outdoor lifestyle clothing beginning this fall.

9:40 a.m. @ 45 North

We scout around for places open in the summer season. Teased by signs of winter-only businesses, Java Joe’s and D’Ellies, we head to 45 North for GrandyOats granola, eggs, and tea.

10:00 a.m. @ The Outpost Adventure

Center The Outpost Adventure Center offers six zip line courses that cross Gondi Brook and the former path of the Sugarloaf Gondola.
Each line soars 20 to 30 feet above ground—and the experience quickly becomes a highlight of our trip. I hear the ebb and flow of gleeful squeals as the boys zip line to line. Our guides are fun, enthusiastic, and share a wealth of knowledge.

12:40 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Sports and Fitness Cafe

We have lunch in mind and a short window before our next adventure, so one of our guides points us in the direction of this cafe. The walk is sunny and peaceful, passing the Sugarloaf chapel and Birchwood Lane. We order wraps to go from the casual, family-filled eatery.

1:30p.m. @ SuperQuad chairlift

The boys and I work our way toward the SuperQuad chairlift, picnic-ready with lift tickets in hand. I don’t believe we could have asked for a clearer, crisper day to take a ride toward the top of the mountain. It’s about a 20-minute trip to the top, and we are captivated the entire time. The combination of the view and stillness paired with my two favorite people on either side of me will remain a dear memory. At the summit, we enjoy lunch and explore, all while taking in the miles and miles of panorama before us.

3:10 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel

Much to my surprise the boys suggest a little quiet time following our activity- filled morning. We change into our bathing suits to enjoy the new 30-person outdoor hot tub. The air temperature and warm tub are the ideal combination to revamp for our night ahead.

4:15 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel

Back at our room we start to get ready for our dinner reservation and hear a knock on the door: Room service with a second flashlight so my boys won’t have to share the one that came with our room. Yes, the employees at Sugarloaf Mountain are just that awesome. As my oldest says to his little brother, “Now we can really stay up and make shadows later!”

5:00 p.m. @ The Coplin Dinner House

We arrive at the Coplin Dinner House, just a 10-minute ride north to Stratton. Gorgeous flowerbeds and gardens grace the property and chickens wander around the backyard. As we make our way inside, co-owner Heidi Donovan kindly welcomes us. The windows are open and the evening breeze meets savory aromas from the kitchen. The menu changes daily, and dishes vary according to season. Ingredients and produce are purchased from local farmers when available, and Donovan and her husband, Tony Rossi, raise their own pigs, goats, and chickens.

7:15 p.m. @ The Beach

We head to the Beach, located in Sugarloaf Village, to hear the band Tricky Britches. With the mountain at our backs and impressive views ahead, we couldn’t ask for a better way to enjoy the evening together. The boys dance from sunset to starry night. Everyone knows everyone, and I feel the true sense of Maine community.


8:30 a.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel

As we check out of the hotel, we are graciously invited back (the boys made fast friends with the hotel employees). Onward to Kingfield to find breakfast!

9:00 a.m. @ The Orange Cat Cafe

Located on Main Street in Kingfield, the Orange Cat Cafe is the ideal, casual breakfast place (and yes, the boys take a few moments to snuggle the orange cat). Gluten-free options are on the menu, as are dishes made with responsibly raised meat, local produce, and eggs. Blueberry muffins and a breakfast sandwich keep us happy as we take in the bright, decorative interior.

10:15 a.m. @ Ira Mountain

We pay the $10 fee at the gate of Ira Mountain and get out of the car to explore and climb the recently built amphitheater. Steep boulder stairs lead us to an outlook lined with picnic tables and chairs. We continue on a mile-long walk to an even more impressive vista. Once there, wesittotakeitallin,my young children wowed by their surroundings. I ask my oldest, “What was your most favorite part of our Sugarloaf weekend?” His response: “All of it.”