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Review of The Birches Resort

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The Birches Resort
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Rockwood
Hancock, Maine
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“You want the good news first?”
Reviewed 9 October 2012

The good news. The view is amazing. Now for the rest. On an earlier trip to the area we discovered The Birches Resort and thought it would be a great place for our 20th anniversary -- so I reserved the Honeymoon Cottage. We knew it would be rustic, but this was far beyond rustic. I can only speak for this cottage but here rustic meant delayed maintenance. Worse, with my husband being a building and fire inspector, the premises are simply dangerous. Wiring, plumbing, design...nothing meets safety codes. Illogic prevailed. The woodstove was placed directly across from the refrigerator -- in protest the refrigerator rumbled like a constant fumerole and then issued periodic and long-lasting screams. No peace there....When we turned on the faucets in the kitchenette and bathroom... it ran dirt and rust. Turning to the bedroom -- a propane heating unit took the place of a nightstand. Ugly and when we finally got to sleep in the rock-hard, short-sheeted bed (the sheets were clean but rough and torn)...the heater turned on with an ear-splitting roar. When we turned it off...a warning light strobed all night long until I covered it up with my bathrobe. The bathroom had a sink for a very short person and an ancient mirror with a light that I had to hunch to use...but the irony was the switch was over the mirror so that a shorter person would never be able to reach the switch. Exposed wires and pipes were everywhere. The shower, the piece de resistance, was elevated and when I turned on the water I smelled a strong aroma of bleach which I thought came from the water but realized someone had dumped an enormous amount of bleach in the inside of this metal, sort of refugee camp style shower. Ironically the shower head was covered in red mold. The worst is yet to come. I gamely stepped up a foot into this thing and was immediately blasted with scalding water which would not adjust. I am glad I am limber because I was screaming for my husband to come and help me adjust the water and almost fell out of the shower (a foot or so above the sloping floor). He did come and I had about 30 seconds of tolerable temperature where I was lulled into shampooing my hair when the water went from warm to tepid to a temperature just above sleet. I knew I was sunk and gritted my teeth (actually I screamed at the torment) and finished rinsing in the ice-cold water after being partially par-boiled. My husband anticipated my misery and had made a fire for me to thaw by. The happy ending (so to speak) is that we were moved to a private home that obviously rented for more than our Honeymoon cottage from hell... and I was able to sleep in a quiet room on smooth sheets. Although the water was pure sulfur we had brought our own water to brew coffee so all was good -- even the stinky shower was at least not dangerous. We were told no one had ever complained about the Honeymoon cabin... well, buyer beware. Rustic does not mean conditions that are contemptuous of guests and that is what we experienced at the Birches Resort. By the way the food in the restaurant was mediocre at best.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Karruka
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 review, 20 October 2012
This person is way off the mark with this negative review. I have 15 comment cards, which I read on a daily basis from our guests, about Cabin 20 (Honeymoon). They are all good to excellent and all had a great stay.

Our cabins were built in the 1930's and have been retrofitted with water and electricity. They are all up to date and relatively modern. They are rustic log and pine cabins directly on Moosehead Lake.

There are no code violations on our property.

I keep hard copies of all of our comment cards on file.

I think this person should have booked one the more expensive and modern lakeside homes that we manage, in the first place. Even after we let this person have a complimentary upgrade, they still tried to make The Birches look bad.


I have been running The Birches for 43 years and have never been exposed to these type of negative comments. I can't even count the numbers of very happy guests that we have had here at The Birches,

I live here and do enjoy the hundreds of happy guests that stay here.

This over dramatic and very exaggerated review is unfair to my business and to our employees.
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96 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (25)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Jackson, Mississippi
Level Contributor
4 reviews
Reviewed 4 October 2012

If you're looking for a quaint cabin next to a lovely lodge with a roaring fire overlooking a beautiful lake in Maine, The Birches is the place to go. Folks are friendly and helpful pointing you in the direction of moose, fishing or lovely walks in the woods. By the time our group begrudgingly left at the end of the week, we felt like we had become part of the community. The whole place is just what we were looking for when we thought of Maine as a destination.

Room Tip: Cabin # 1 was convenient to the lake and lodge.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank jxnj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ridgewood, New Jersey
1 review
Reviewed 27 September 2012

We stayed at Rockwood Cottages for a week. We were warned theat the food was not too good at the Birches but did not want to drive to Greenville again. We decided to chance it.Too bad the food in the retaraunt was not very good. Should have gotten pizza from the deli in Rockwood.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank therealThetentman
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 review, 29 September 2012
The Birches food usually gets excellent reviews. I take each and every comment and try to find out what has happened.

Perhaps these people could contact me directly for another meal next time they are in the area.

John Willard
Birches.com
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 September 2012 via mobile

Another fabulous weekend at the rustic ,friendly, beautiful, and good atmosphere of the Birches. We stayed in cabin 15 with two other couples with a hot tub on the front deck . Lake 15' from front deck
Awesome.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Dianelson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 September 2012

The location of the birches resort is absolutely spectacular; however the physical plant is at least 20 years beyond its prime. At $225 a night the two bedroom rustic cabin was more than just rustic - the furniture was sparse, old, musty and totally uncomfortable, while the beds were so soft that you had to hold onto the edge to keep from rolling to the middle. The cabin (Indian summer) also had the occasional scent of sewage, which was less than pleasant. That said, waitstaff we're engaging and pleasant and the food was acceptable, though the ribeye steak was so tough that it was almost inedible. Finally, in the middle of our two day stay we were informed that the well had to be "shocked" so that we had to go to the lodge in order to obtain drinking water - this without any prior notice. Again, the location was spectacular, but the accommodations were absolutely outrageous for the price. My party would not go to the Birches again, nor would we recommend the Birches to anyone else, unless there was a major upgrade of the facilities.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank 82northridge
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 review, 29 September 2012
I have owned and operated The Birches for over 40 years. We do updates on cabins on an ongoing basis. As we see from other excellent comments on our facility, most guests are happy with the rustic cabins. We do have more modern accommodations for guests that want more.

I will take these comments and try to make changes to this cabin 3 that are necessary to improve the experience in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York, New York, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2012

We had a great time in one of the cabins. Two adults and three kids fit perfectly.

Probably the smartest thing we did was to rent a boat from the owner (he has probably 4 or so to choose from) to enjoy the beautiful lake including water skiing and exploring. I was amazed at how warm the water was and how close our place was to what was essentially our own private beach.

Taking the boat across the lake to one of three different coves meant that we could choose our secluded spot, even though it was in the beginning of August. My daughters inner tubed and knee boarded which was a huge hit. We decided to keep the boat for the week and used it every day. You just can't believe how clear the fresh water lake is. I wish I had brought my snorkel, mask and fins. I've had visibility in the Caribbean that can't compare to this.

At night, we used a canoe to go out after dinner, at 9:30 when it was completely dark to look at the stars. This is a must do. For three nights in a row we went out on the glass calm water just a hundred feet from the cabin and managed to see the space station and satellites fly overhead. By 10:30 the moon had come up and it wasn't nearly as dark, but it was fun to catch the moonrise.

We grilled dinner almost every night outside in front of the cabin and finished off with s'mores. On the last night we decided to try the restaurant. The portions were huge and very inexpensive. We were just too full to take advantage of the pies. They had all my favorite beers on tap, which was a surprise.

The cabins were built in the 1930s, so it's not the Hilton. But we were interested in staying at a cabin on a lake. With wildlife. And that's exactly what we got. And the price was great.

While canoeing we came across a bald eagle flying from one tree to another. It happened to fly directly over us and then dropped a large white feather. The perfect souvenir.

At the end of the week, we realized there were so many other things we didn't fit in. A hike up Kineo mountain is reason enough for us to want to come back next year. Wish we could have done that. Next year the kids will be ready for water skiing, and I would love to try the 'Air Chair' which is another form of water skiing that uses a hydrofoil.

We're definitely coming back.

Room Tip: All cabins have access to the shoreline, but some have their own 'pebble beach.'
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Kent W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Champaign
Level Contributor
38 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 August 2012

Stayed a couple of days in a cabin by the lake. Wonderful location, relaxing and very scenic. Swimming was great. As another guest mentioned, we also had mice in our cabin (I didn't mention them to the others staying with us until after we left) but I only saw them once. Perhaps they were frightened by us and moved out for a few days. We ate in the restaurant, even made reservations, but they kept running out of food and having to change our order. The waitress was as helpful as she could be but the kitchen did not seem to be well organized. The beds were pretty lumpy and the decor is accurately described as rustic. We did have a stove (that we didn't use) and a refrigerator. I would stay again simply because of the location but next time I'd stock up on groceries and prepare my own meals and only eat in the dining room once or twice. The management did tolerate a bunch of drunks sitting on the porch one evening who verged on rudeness to other guests but we simply left and sat on our own porch. Enjoyed the hot tub, too. I rated them very good because of the location - with a little work, this could be a great property. It may be that there real season is winter.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank IlliniTravel101
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

Property: The Birches Resort
Address: Off Rte. 6/15, On Moosehead Lake, 281 Birches Rd., Rockwood, ME 04478
Region: United States > Maine > Rockwood
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre 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 #2 of 3 Hotels in Rockwood
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
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 Maine/Rockwood

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