There’s an old Maine saying: “You can’t get there from here.” And if that thought occurred to you when trying to figure out how to get to Leen’s Lodge, in Grand Lake Stream, you’d be forgiven. In fact, last October I found dozens of ways to travel from my Upstate New York home to this unassuming—and slyly sophisticated—grouse and woodcock destination. Even Google Maps had trouble making up its mind as I exited I-95 headed toward some of the best upland hunting Maine has to offer.
Leen’s Lodge is a 23-acre spread on a small peninsula near the southern outlet of West Grand Lake. There are 10 cabins (48 beds total) and a main lodge—construction of the original buildings having started in 1921. The lodge is located a dozen miles from the New Brunswick border, and as Maine Master Guide Jerry Richardson and I drove to and from the lodge during my stay, we could look out across the forested plains and see into Canada.
Since April 2017 Scott and Kris Weeks have been the proud owners of Leen’s. “We spent much of our life in Lancaster County [Pennsylvania] working and raising our family,” Kris said.
To which Scott quickly added: “But we lived for the two weeks of vacation when we could stay in places like this. Back in Pennsylvania the number of stoplights on my daily commute jumped from five to 26. We needed and wanted a change.”
What started as something of an escape for the Weeks family has become a lived dream and a deep commitment to making the experience as authentic as possible while providing outstanding food and cozy accommodations. “There’s no more intimate expression of a business owner than what and how you serve your guests,” Kris said.
According to Scott: “Life for us is about doing what you want all day, every day. I’m a project-based person, and I love these cabins. They’re living history. Those chairs you’re sitting on once held Ted Williams and Curt Gowdy. Leen’s is a big part of Maine’s hunting history.”
The hunting at Leen’s is managed through five guides who carefully choreograph their daily outings, making sure to steward the coverts and ensure a daily rate of flushes in the dozens. Behind Jerry and his Llewellin setter, Sully, and Gordon setter, Bear, we put up more woodcock than grouse, a likely result of an uncommonly warm fall that seemed to keep the resident “partridge” in deeper coverts. But with the walking good and the dogs working close, we saw our share of birds. And for the two days I was there I was transported to a place and time that were simply magical.
Upland hunting at Leen’s takes place from October 1 through early November.