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“A great pet-friendly place for true XC skiing and old-Maine atmosphere”
Review of The Birches Resort

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The Birches Resort
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Rockwood
Reviewed March 4, 2014

This February, I stayed three nights at the Birches Resort to go XC skiing with my dog. I like to ski long trails, and she trots alongside. Unlike some places that permit dogs on only one short loop, dogs are allowed on ALL the trails at Birches. This makes sense: as one of the staff said, moose and deer can do FAR more damage to a trail than a dog. I especially enjoyed the 10-15 mile run to Baker Pond and back, a beautiful frozen pond in a remote setting in the woods. Looking forward to doing the Poplar Hill Loop when I come back next season.

My dog was allowed in my cabin and in the main Lodge except where food was being served. And $10 surcharge for her per night. All fair enough.

As for an earlier reviewer's comments about the trails, I felt they were fine. Several inches of snow had fallen since they were groomed, but it was easy to see where the trails went and easy to cut tracks in the top layer. I've been to many XC centers where the trails are pristine and frankly to me that's NOT XC skiing, or at least ski touring. Perfect grooming may be needed for ski racing or for skate skiing, but this is touring in a wilderness preserve. That said, I was glad that there was a groomed base because when I ventured into ungroomed areas my skis sank into the snow.

Yes there is a problem with the signs. It's disheartening to arrive at a junction and find that the sun has bleached out the magic marker so that the sign is illegible or blank. Some of the signs have been replaced with proper painted ones, so perhaps they are being upgraded gradually. I did go the wrong way on a trail on the second afternoon, but figured out my mistake from the direction of the sun. After all, route finding is part of ski touring.

I had a minor complaint that snowmobiles were used on some of the XC trails to supply the yurts that were rented for overnight stays. Normally this would not be a problem, but conditions were crusty and the snowmobile tracks chopped up the trail. Perhaps it would be possible to deliver these supplies on one of the grooming machines? Or maybe put wider skis on the snowmobile that is used so that there would be at least one track that would fit an XC ski (the stock snowmobile skis are narrower than touring XC skis)?

Much of the winter business at the Birches seems to be snowmobilers who are either touring or ice fishing. Understandable, that pays the bills. Even so three of the cabins and two of the yurts were rented by XC skiers while I was there. Snowmobiles have a separate trail system, and there was only one occasion (other than the aforementioned yurt resupplying) when touring snowmobilers had used an XC-only trail.

The food on the meal plan was hearty and very tasty. The portions were too big, at least for me.

And the staff are extremely friendly and helpful - that and the old-Maine log cabin character of the place make the Birches special.

Room Tip: I had the Honeymoon Cabin, which is larger than I expected and has kitchen facilities. The bed was...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled solo
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1  Thank Muiggs46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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60 - 66 of 108 reviews

Reviewed February 6, 2014

We have stayed here many times and also been to the restaurant for superb dinners. The outdoor hot tub is very enjoyable in the middle of winter, especially when after a long ride on the sled trails you need a hot soak!

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank GJKemp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2014

My family and I were in the greenville area for an event. As we had an extra day and are avid xc skiers we looked for a place to ski and the birches popped up. The website says "one of the finest xc trail systems in new england" and also mentions something about their great grooming, etc.....it's simply not even close. I've skied at dozens of ski centers all over the country and this one was pretty much bottom of the barrel. Bad thing is, if your a snowmobilier, or ice fisherman, it seems like it might be a pretty darn nice place to go. But if they lie on their website aboutt one thing, then the are untrustworthy as a business as a whole...They should just be honest and remove mention of skiing on their website. The map was terrible, the signage on the trails was poor to non-existent....roads and snowmobile trails criss-crossed the area and did not show on the map, so you never knew where to go, handwritten signs at intersections had faded to illegibilty, the trails needed some serious clearing and brush-hogging.....and worst of all, on a friday on a prime winter weekend, there was no grooming! Oh maybe they had groomed with some snowmobiles a week or two ago, but nothing since.....they have these monster snowcats used to groom the snowmobile trails (which BTW skied very nicely accept for almost getting killed my snnowmobiles), and the "finest network in new england" was nasty....

the only reason I did not give one start was becaus the staff was very pleasant, and the food was okay....but they need to just be honest....in the inter it appears to be a snowmobile bar, and there is nothing wrong with that if they were just honest...

P.S. The owner does seem to read this, and in his response I'm sure there will be some excuses about people liking ungroomed "wilderness" trails or something....but there were no other skiers around, and clearly no one had been there in a week since the last snowfall...

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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6  Thank Eric B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
john w, Owner at The Birches Resort, responded to this reviewResponded February 9, 2014

I am disappointed at this review. I have been building trails here at The Birches for 40 years. We have 40 miles of great trails on 15 square miles of our own land.

It seems that this person does not like snowmobiles.

We have not groomed much lately as there is a hard frozen base with three inches of snow on top. All of our skiers have mentioned that the powder is preferable to frozen and icy trails that would be there if we did too much grooming under these conditions.As soon as we get another good storm all trails will be freshly groomed again as they always are.

We have lots of skiers and snowshoers who love The Birches and our trails.

Too bad this person did not try to get in touch with me. I live on site and ski every day.

The Moose do knock down a sign or two from time to time, but this person is totally exaggerating .
The ski trails are a labor of love for myself and the staff at The Birches.

Snowmobilers and ice fishermen do use the place but there is only one snowmobile trail that crosses the ski trails on the perimeter of the system.

Sorry this person did not see the great trails that are out there.

The Birches does have an extensive trail system. We have brushed and done maintenance on 15 miles of trails just in the last month while the frozen base was waiting for the powder that we received in the last two weeks.

I can't even count the number of compliments that we get each winter on our trails.

I can't wait to ski again tomorrow.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2013

Being the proud pilot of a Cessna floatplane, it had always been a goal of mine to spend an "end of summer" weekend at the International Seaplane Fly-Inn, held annually in Greenville, Maine. My wife, who cursed my flying our entire marriage, but rejoiced at the notion of a peaceful weekend in the beautiful state she was born in, reluctantly agreed that this year we should follow my dream. We found The Birches Resort in Rockwood, Maine and instantly fell in as much love as two people can be with a resort. My heart was more so overjoyed to learn that the quaint, cozy lakeside spot came with a convent marina where floatplanes such as mine were not only allowed, but greatly encouraged. My wife was ecstatic at the sight of the rustic log cabin overlooking the water where we were to stay. To this day, the musk of campfire smoke and the majestical view of the sunset on the calm lake tickle my sense in a manner which assure me we will be back soon to recreate that magical weekend....or perhaps week.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Ryan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 7, 2013

The Birches was THE PERFECT place for us to have our wedding! We chose to get married at the Birches because we love the Moosehead Lake region. We got married right on the dock and John (the owner) flew us in by float plane. All our guests were able to stay right at the resort, which led to a great wedding weekend getaway for all friends and family coming from outside of Maine. The staff was accommodating (made the food that we wanted, we even supplied some recipes) and friendly! The Birches is a beautiful, surreal resort and welcomed us, a lesbian couple, without reservation. Thank you so much to John, Marsha, Kathy, Karen, Paul and all the other staff that helped make our wedding perfect!
-Jane and Leslie Pernig

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Leslie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2013

My husband and I loved our stay here. We drove up from Boston and stayed for 2 nights in August. The weather was beautiful and the lake was so clean and refreshing. Took advantage of the kayaks and went on a small hike across the lake. The cabins were great-- not too rustic and were comfortable and clean. We took advantage of the bon fire area outside our cabin and our fireplace inside each night because the temp got down to a cool enough temperature. The restaurant/bar were great and we thought the food was very nicely prepared. All around a very relaxing stay and we can't wait to go back and experience the winter there

Room Tip: Some of the cabins have a wood burning stove instead of a stone fireplace... so ask which ones have...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank jlynn1110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 16, 2013

This was my second visit to the Birches. The first time we stayed in the hotel, which was great, and this time we stayed a night in one of the cabins with a lake view. Staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating. Facilities were clean and well maintained. We dined at the restaurant and were impressed by the quality of the food. Overall, would recommend the Birches to anyone.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Rozzie478
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Birches Resort

Address: Off Rte. 6/15, On Moosehead Lake, 281 Birches Rd., Rockwood, ME 04478
Location: United States > Maine > Rockwood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Rockwood
Price Range: $20 - $395 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 19
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on the northwestern shores of Moosehead Lake, The Birches Resort features the best in north-woods style accommodations, dining, and family fun. Our lodging options right on the lake and with a close up view of Mt. Kineo range from our famous Rustic Cabins, Kozy Cabins, Private Homes, Lodge Rooms, Camp/RV sites, Suites, and more. With so many summer and winter activities to offer you can see why our satisfied guests have come back year after year for generations! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Birches Hotel Rockwood
Birches Hotel Rockwood
The Birches Resort Rockwood, Maine

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