Resting and Refueling Along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

WAITSFIELD, VTThere are a number of ways to comfortably experience a night or two along the Northern Forest Canoe Trail beyond tenting at waterside campsites and cooking your own meals.


Options for B&Bs, inns, guest houses and motels are plentiful along the 740-mile water trail for canoeists, kayakers and fishermen. And paddlers can get a hot meal or sandwich at a restaurant or market in many towns. Here’s a sampling of accommodations and eateries not far from the trail in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.


The New York section of the trail stretches 147 miles from the Fulton Chain of Lakes to Lake Champlain. Much of the trail passes through the scenic Adirondack Park Preserve, and paddlers navigate the Raquette River, Long Lake, and the Saranac Lakes and River on the way to Champlain.


Where to Sleep: The Woods Inn ( has 20 rooms with private baths, and Adirondack guide tents on the shore of Fourth Lake in the town of Inlet. The 1894 inn is open year-round for early and late-season paddlers.


Branch Farm Bed & Breakfast ( on Lake Flower in the village of Saranac Lake is an ideal departure point for day paddles on the Saranac chain of lakes. A two-room suite, stand-alone apartment, and guest house each sleep three or four people. Plattsburgh’s Point Au Roche Lodge ( overlooks Lake Champlain and is adjacent to a state park. Four of the lodge’s eight rooms have a Jacuzzi tub and fireplace.


Where to Eat: Seventh Lake House Restaurant ( overlooks the lake by the same name just east of the village of Inlet. Choose a bottle from the large wine list before selecting a meat or fish entrée prepared by the chef/owner.

McKenzie’s Grille (518-891-2574) in Saranac Lake serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week, year-round. It’s a popular spot for pancakes, hearty sandwiches and tender steaks. The Great Adirondack Soup Company ( in Plattsburgh offers daily kitchen-made soup, salad and sandwich specials, and vegetarian choices.


Paddlers exploring Lake Champlain or the lakes and rivers of Vermont‘s Northeast Kingdom will work up an appetite and need plenty of peaceful sleep. There are 152 miles of trail to explore in Vermont between Champlain and the Connecticut River, and a 22-mile section in southern Quebec, Canada.


Where to Sleep: Relax and refuel in the middle of Champlain at the North Hero House Inn & Restaurant ( in the island town of North Hero. Choose a waterview room in one of four buildings, and enjoy dishes like Great Lakes Walleye
stuffed with spinach, shallots, garlic, artichoke hearts and Swiss cheese.


The Swanton Motel ( is a short walk from the trail in downtown Swanton. Enjoy WiFi, a swimming pool, and rooms with air conditioning and a refrigerator. The Newport City Motel ( is a short distance from Lake Memphremagog in Vermont’s northernmost city. 


Where to Eat: At Abbey Restaurant & Pub ( in Enosburg Falls, fill up at the restaurant’s salad and fruit bar, or with one of the pub’s big Angus burgers. Paddling partners can splurge on the seven course Italian dinner at the Lake Salem Inn (, or try the crab stuffed chicken breast.


The NFCT’s New Hampshire route is made for river lovers. Nearly all of the trail’s 72 miles through the Granite State flow along the Connecticut, Upper Ammonoosuc and Androscoggin Rivers. The paddling ranges from lazy currents to Class III rapids. New Hampshire is ideal for solo canoeists or kayakers seeking a long distance trip, or for families and groups out for a weekend of paddling and camping. 


Where to Sleep: The 150 Main Street ( guest house has two rooms and a suite on the Androscoggin River in the town of Errol. Prepare your own meals in the guest kitchen. Cedar Pond Campground ( in Milan is conveniently located at the midpoint of a nearly four-mile portage trail between the Androscoggin and Upper Ammonoosuc. The campground has 32 tenting sites, modern cabins with bathrooms and full kitchens, and laundry facilities.


The Blueberry Hill Inn & Café ( in Stratford is a great choice for paddlers traveling the Connecticut River. Large rooms and three meals available from the café prepare guests for the second half of their river adventure.


Where to Eat: Stone’s Pizza (603-636-2205) makes fresh dough pies, calzones and pasta dinners in downtown Groveton. It’s worth the drive for a meal or dessert at Northland Restaurant & Dairy Bar (603-752-6210) in Berlin. The chowders are popular, as are the many flavors of Northland’s Finest ice cream.


Even the soda is original at the Errol ‘Cream Barrel & Chuck Wagon (603-482-3258). Sip a sarsaparilla or ginger beer soda, and try the hand-cut fires or onion rings at this fun family restaurant.


Remote streams and ponds, and legendary lakes like Rangeley and Moosehead mark the 347-mile Maine section of the NFCT.  Along the way, there are plenty of great food choices and accommodations.


Where to Sleep: The White Wolf Inn ( in Stratton has comfortable rooms decorated in the “Early Maine Recycle” style, with views of the Bigelow Mountain Range. The inn is close to Flagstaff Lake and canoe and kayak rentals. Park at the dock of The Birches Resort ( on Moosehead Lake in the town of Rockwood, and spend a quiet evening in a wilderness yurt, two-person cabin or a room in the main lodge.


Long distance paddlers will be happy to use the on-site laundry facilities at the Northern Door Inn ( in Fort Kent. Great rates and a continental breakfast make the inn a welcome stay at the NFCT’s eastern terminus. 


Where to Eat: Made-from-scratch comfort food is the draw at Bigwood Steakhouse ( on Big Wood Pond in Jackman. The menu will please meat-lovers, and offers fish and salad choices too. Before spending a day on Mooselookmeguntic Lake or Rangeley Lake, get fueled at BMC Diner (207-864-5844) on Main St. in Rangeley. Try a big omelet filled with fresh vegetables or a stack of Maine wild blueberry pancakes.


Great food has always been a staple at the former 1860s lumberman’s guest house now known as the Chesuncook Lake House ( Three meals are served daily featuring organic vegetables from the garden, wild berries, the owner-raised buffalo and pork, and a variety of fresh baked breads and pastries.


To learn more about dining and accommodations on the Northern Forest Canoe Trail visit or call 802-496-2285.


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