With under 1,000 residents, Lovell's small size and quiet nature belies the wealth of things to do and beauty to be enjoyed here.
Geography has a lot to do with that. The town's Kezar Lake — 9 miles long, a mile wide and 155 feet deep, as well as the surrounding western Maine hills and the views of the White Mountains, are a triple bonus to an already beautiful part of the state.
Many more reasons for a visit are man-made: great food, music, collectibles, culture, a killer small-town library and even some star power.
Not everyone will want to see you coming, apparently. When I told one resident I was doing a story about the town, she said she was going to put my photo up in the post office with the caption "Do not talk to this woman!" But, thankfully, she was the only one like that I ran into. In fact, when I called Stanley Tupaj (pronounced too-pay), owner of Kezar Realty, I received the opposite reaction.
He not only took me to see one of the lake properties for sale or rent, but also gave me a tour around town, told me its history, introduced me to many of the business owners, and then he and his father, Albert — who has memories of living on the lake when he was young and possesses a great amount of knowledge about the lake and its residents — gave me a tour of Kezar Lake by boat. Check out Stanley's website — he even blogs about goings on in the town. http://kezarlife.wordpress.com/
The lake is certainly the town's shiniest — and largely hidden — gem. Once visible from Center Lovell, it is now generally obscured by trees from Route 5 and the other roads around the lake. Talk to anybody here and they'll likely mention that National Geographic Magazine once ranked Kezar as the third most beautiful lake in the world. I wasn't able to substantiate that, but the lake is certainly beautiful, with the White Mountains visible from places along its eastern shore. There are two public beaches available only to Lovell residents and their guests, but two public boat launches allow water access to the general public, with boat size limitations.
Over the years, property owners around the lake have built some extraordinary sights of their own. Rudy Vallee, the early 1900s crooner and Westbrook, Maine, resident who made the "Maine Stein Song" famous, once owned a compound on the lake and it still stands today, but the glory days of Vallee's legendary parties are long over. One of the lake's most well-known residents today is author Stephen King, who is appreciated locally for the contributions he and his wife, Tabitha, have made to the town and its library, which truly is one of a kind.
The lake also features summer camps, inns and restaurants (like Pleasant Point Inn & Restaurant) and resorts, including one that presents music and plays (see the Quisisana Resort below).
Check out Lovell. While access to its beautiful Kezar Lake is limited — so make sure you bring or rent a canoe, kayak or boat, or rent a lakeside camp for a week or two, or visit an inn or restaurant on the lake — this is a small town with lots to offer. (FMI on the town's history, get a hold of "Lovewell's Town, Lovell, Maine" by Robert C. Williams.)
The Quisisana Resort
42 Quisisana Drive
“This resort is a very special combination of equal parts summer camp, music festival and gourmand's fantasy,” writes The New York Times. The young people who perform there also work there as busboys, waiters, cooks and maids. Then at night they perform for the guests, anything from opera to chamber music to plays like "My Fair Lady." The resort is located on 47 acres along Kezar Lake. I cannot say enough about the resort here, so check out their website.
44 Allen Road
Ebenezer’s is located on the 2nd tee of Lake Kezar Country Club golf course (off Main Street along Road Number 3). Truly a great location, but stop in and check out the variety of beers. With more than 35 Belgian beers on tap, and more in bottle, Beer Advocate Magazine rated them the No. 1 beer bar in America. Guess you’ll just have to go see for yourself.
Rosie's (AKA: Lovell Village Store & Restaurant)
234 Main St.
Stephen King was quoted as saying, “My idea of the real Maine is lunch at Rosie’s Diner in Lovell. Especially in the fall, after the summer folks go home. Grab a copy of the local paper (the Bridgton News), sit at the counter and order the blueberry pancakes (with real maple syrup). Bacon on the side’s optional. The cook wears a Red Sox hat, there’s a picture of Elvis over the specials board and the locals talk politics and football while the leaves fall outside. If you like, when you finish your lunch, you can stroll across to the public library. Not bad.” What more could I add to that?
Harvest Gold Jewelry
Much more than just a jewelry store, more like an art museum. This is an amazing place to find in the Maine woods, more like something you’d find down in the Old Port. They represent the artwork of many local residents, and it's been said they have the best view in town.
William Doyle — Antiques and Collectibles
Not your average antique shop, you have to stop in and see for yourself. You’ll find everything from stained-glass windows to a very large bear carved out of a tree trunk.
Center Lovell Market and Restaurant
Not your ordinary market, they have a tank filled with live lobsters, a deli case filled with meats and cheeses, and you can buy groceries or sit and have lunch while enjoying the local flavor. This is the store a town saved, literally. Ask owner Tripp Turner to tell you the story.
Kezar Lake Marina
219 West Lovell Road
The Loons Nest Restaurant is at the Marina. Also, they rent boats of all sizes, for everything from a morning to a week or longer. Contact them if you want to see the lake and need to rent a boat.
Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library
227 Main St.
This large and pretty library has benefited from Stephen and Tabitha King's largess. Don't miss taking a trip upstairs to see a fantastic cubby hole designed and painted to look like Winnie-The-Pooh's treehouse.
Greater Lovell Land Trust
Check out the website for hiking and biking trails in the area that will allow you access to some of those great views of the White Mountains.
Wicked Good Store
360 Main St.
Excellent comfort food at reasonable prices. Great Portuguese influence and many traditional recipes, including delicious Portuguese kale soup, chowder, cacoila (a Portuguese favorite made with beef or pork), as well as homemade potato salad, fried whole clams and desserts to be reckoned with. Friendly, although don't expect fast service. They also have a farmers market every Wednesday.