DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — A couple with a love for Maine’s outdoors and making memories as a family has launched a business where they can share those same values with others.
Michelle and Jason Adams have opened EMA Backwoods Adventures, a newly built vacation house on a 5-acre property on Parsons Landing Road in Dover-Foxcroft that also offers snowmobile and ATV rentals. The facility is a short drive from Peaks-Kenny State Park and the public beach overlooking Sebec Lake.
The wife and husband live in Cumberland Center, a small community near Portland, but they spend most weekends at their other house on Sebec Lake. They also bought a 32-acre property that they hope to eventually use for guided deer hunting, though it will take a few years, Michelle Adams said.
EMA Backwoods Adventures is the latest area business geared toward recreationalists and visitors looking for a getaway in a small town with access to nature. It has already drawn visitors from the Portland area, western Massachusetts and South Carolina, and the owners just received an inquiry from Los Angeles, California.
Adams hopes guests will see the property as their home away from home and a scenic place to unwind, she said.
“The area is beautiful, and there are so many things to do between hiking and biking and water and winter sports,” she said. “For those who are stuck in the cities and have to deal with the complexities [of living there], it’s nice to have someplace to go and take a breath and see what else is out there.”
The Adamses are originally from southern New Hampshire, but they were living thousands of miles away in Gig Harbor, Washington, when they first discovered their love for Sebec Lake and the surrounding area. It’s where they visited friends in 2011 and realized a sense of calm was missing from their busy lives on the West Coast.
Michelle and Jason Adams also noticed that their three children were growing up without the New England roots and traditions that were special to them and wanted to change that.
“I noticed the kids weren’t bickering back and forth,” Adams said about the trip in 2011. “They were outside building treehouses, swimming in the water, playing hide and seek and just being kids. And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s so nice.’”
So the Adamses bought the land next door to their friends and began building.
Construction wrapped up in 2013, which is also the year they moved to Maine. The lake house became a place where the Adamses spent summers and were closer to family living in the region. Now they visit year-round because of Jason Adams’ fondness for hunting and recreational activities.
The respite that they found from city life — or “a little slice of heaven,” as Adams calls it — is now what they want to offer their guests.
The rental property in Dover-Foxcroft has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but it can sleep up to 10 people because a sleeper sofa and cots are available, she said. Appliances and furniture are new, and the family created a bright, modern interior with light-colored wood tones throughout.
The couple’s 22-year-old daughter, Lily, handles social media and marketing, while their 17-year-old son, EJ, takes care of maintenance, like shoveling snow and other duties.
The Adamses are looking forward to warmer months, when they hope to add a fire pit, patio set and pergola, Adams said. Eventually, the family wants to expand and offer travelers another property on the lake, but it will depend on the market, she said.
“It’s exciting for our chamber to introduce new lodging options on our website to those planning a vacation to Piscataquis County,” said Denise Buzzelli, Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce director. “A new home with beautiful light and airy rooms adjacent to ATV and snowmobile trails and loaded with amenities is a perfect addition for a larger family that needs more than a room or two.”
The family chose to include EMA, the initials of Jason Adams’ father who died in 2001, as a way of honoring him and his life. Everett was a true outdoorsman, and his spirit has served as the guiding light for creating the business, Adams said.
“You couldn’t have asked for a nicer man,” she said. “Whenever we would need him, we knew to find him somewhere outside. He’s tinkering in the garage or working on the woodpile or working in the garden or tracking a rabbit. He loved the outdoors, and when we decided to do this, it was important to have his initials included.”
People can book a stay at the rental property’s website, Airbnb or Vrbo. The family also entertains extended stays for those who need to be in the area longer than usual, Adams said.