The Lighthouse on the Lake

Lake Cobbosseecontee

Cobbossee Hideaway is in the hamlet of East Winthrop, Maine, on the north shore of Lake Cobbosseecontee. Locals refer to the lake simply as “Cobbossee” This is the largest lake in the Winthrop lakes region. It is glacial in origin, with a length of nine miles, covering 8.7 square miles. Its shoreline is 62 miles long and reaches a depth of 100 feet. The word Cobbosseecontee translates to “plenty of sturgeon” in a local Native American language (Wabanaki). Seven miles west of Augusta, Maine’s Capital city, Cobbossee is considered to be a jewel of the south-central region of Maine.

Cobbossee is ranked as one of the top 10 best swimming lakes in the entire state of Maine: The Hideaway’s lakefront is particularly well-suited for swimming, as the gently sloping lake bottom allows for wading in and out of the lake. That said, it is also deep enough at the end of our dock to tie up a boat or to fish.

One prized feature of the lake is the lighthouse! The small (just 25-foot-high) lighthouse can be seen in the middle of the lake approximately a mile from our shore. It marks the northern edge of a jagged underwater reef that runs down the middle of the lake. The lighthouse was constructed in 1908 and remains under the ownership and care of the Cobbosseecontee Lake Association (founded in 1904, it is one of the oldest continually operating inland yacht clubs in the US). It is the only active inland-waters lighthouse in Maine and was known “back in the day” as Ladies Delight Light (It was a long row from the shore to reach it, and ladies were known to disembark on the tiny island to relieve themselves so they were comfortable for the return trip.) You will see the light nightly from the front (shore-facing side) of our property.

The many islands on the lake also provide opportunities for exploration, swimming, and picnics.

County Map of Maine

Area History

The nearby Augusta area has been settled since 1628, with the first permanent structure built by settlers in 1754 (restored and rebuilt as a historic site and museum in 1922). The town of Augusta (originally named Harrington, renamed in 1798) has been the seat of Kennebec County since 1799. It has also been the state capital of Maine since statehood, due to its central location and the importance of the Kennebec river in providing power and supporting the logging and fishing industries. Maine was admitted to the union in 1820 as it was split off from Massachusetts per the Maine-Missouri Compromise. The entire area is rich in history and there are myriad activities for exploring that history, some of which are highlighted later in this guide.

This is all in Kennebec County, a region of rolling hills with elevations rising as you travel northwest. The Kennebec River, running north to south, provides hydroelectric power for several cities on its course to the Atlantic Ocean.

Heading left out of Mace Ave. takes you west on Rt. 202; in approximately 2 miles you reach Winthrop, with our local Hannaford grocery store (the closest supermarket), Audette’s Ace Hardware, Dunkin Donuts, and a convenience store.

Heading right out of Mace Ave. takes you east on Rt. 202; in approximately 1.5 miles you are in Manchester, where you’ll find Mulligan’s gas station and another Dunkin Donuts. Continuing along Rt. 202, you’ll eventually (~7 miles) come to Augusta, the capital of Maine, rather quaint for a capital city, and small (population 18,920 in 2020).

Please see the Activities page for all you can do in various nearby locations in addition to enjoying the peace and tranquility of our lake.

Our Lake House

Hideaway History

Our house at 41 Mace Ave (originally designated as “Fire Rd. 12”) was built as a summer cottage over 100 years ago, in 1917. It was used only from late Spring to early Fall with a wood stove in the kitchen and fireplace in the living area as the only heat sources. The house had a reduced footprint then: the kitchen and dining areas were notably smaller, and the left front portion of the house was a screened-in porch that was wonderful for sleeping on the summer evenings.

Several generations of local Maine families owned the summer cottage, including the president of Kennebec Savings Bank who owned it from the late 1940’s and sold it to a friend in the mid 1960’s. Two generations of that family enjoyed the cottage; coincidentally, the family were friends of our parents.

The current owners’ parents lived in Augusta from the late 1940’s through 1969, before living all over the country in the course of a career. In 1980, the property was purchased by our parents, who originally spent summers on Cobbossee and wintered in Florida. Decades of summer visits with our parents and our own respective families have been extended to the current owners (the 5 children), our children, grandchildren, and friends, many traveling regularly from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Wisconsin, to what we consider our second home.

A multi-use “bunkhouse” was added for winter storage and for sleeping an ever-expanding gaggle of grandchildren; it’s the great-grandkids who use it now in the family.

The house underwent “winterization” to make it a year-round home in 2002, raising the entire structure on timbers so as to pour a full foundation and concrete basement underneath, remove the central stone fireplace (now too small for winter needs and taking up precious space), lenghten the house along the kitchen/dining area, and provide a larger exterior deck. Hundred-year-old wiring was replaced, a new heating system added, plumbing was upgraded, and new appliances added. Since then, we’ve added a composite deck, new docks, flower beds, picnic table, new shower, all new flooring up and down, as well as small amenities that are appreciated by all.

We hope you enjoy the spirit of vacationing here that is so ingrained in us all!