I think of Milo as a sort of ‘underdog’ – the one running the race that no one is expecting much from… then, suddenly and without warning, he begins to pick up speed, a steady pace with intermittent gains, until, before you know it, that runner is out in front, winning the race. There have been great strides in Milo, some substantial business growth, and business owners with an amazing entrepreneurial spirit, a heart for community, and a thirst for collaboration so that they may see their community grow.
If you are from here, I think sometimes it’s easy to take for granted the incredible beauty we have around us, and the unique opportunities we have to use our God-given resources to make a really good living. It was easy for me to appreciate all of this when I got here ten years ago, because I was able to see it with fresh eyes and an untainted perspective. I could feel the peace, breathe in the air, experience the way of life, and love the people – it was all so easy. Still, today, I can’t imagine ever leaving. I am thrilled when others from “away” recognize the privilege of living here, as well. It makes my heart happy to see families and business owners relocating to be here, in Piscataquis County. When this happens, it creates a stir in the atmosphere – new life, new excitement, new possibilities. I am blessed that my job gives me the wonderful privilege of experiencing this on a regular basis.
On Saturday, May 20th, I spent the day with Dennis and Ellen Gonyaw, both originally from Vermont. They had been vacationing in Milo for years, and had often talked about one day owning a campground. When a closed-down campground in Milo went on the market, they knew it was time. Ellen explains, “What brought us to Milo is how much we love the town and the area. We have already met dozens of very nice people who have welcomed us with open arms”. The sun was shining as we welcomed community members in for a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting. Local business owners contributed items for raffles and giveaways as a show of support for the Gonyaws.
Gonyaw Springs Water & Campground, formally known as Watson Springs, was built in 1980’s and was purchased by the Gonyaws in 2016. Since the purchase, the free mens’ and ladies’ bathroom facilities have been remodeled, trees were cleared for a new sandy beach at the pond area, and the entire campground underwent a major clearing and cleaning. Families can expect to find spacious spots for their campers and convenient tent sites with access to the Sebec River via beautiful walking trails.
On the property is a 300 foot well, situated over an aquifer from which water is drawn at nearly 30 gallons per minute, and sold. Community members have expressed how glad they are that the Gonyaws chose to keep the water shed open when they took over the property. Many mentioned to me at the grand opening celebration that it is the best water they’ve ever tasted, and after sampling some myself, I would have to agree (look out Poland Spring!).
Dennis and Ellen are the epitome of friendly people. Even their dog is friendly, greeting every guest with a wagging tail and a happy disposition. It takes only moments to recognize they are people of gratitude. They are genuinely grateful to be here, in Milo, on a campground they have toiled over for many months. They are grateful for opportunities to continue to make it better. They are grateful for the relationships they’ve formed and the friends they’ve made. They are simply grateful to call Milo, ‘home’.
This is a sweet place. Whether you’re a local who loves the outdoors or a visitor looking for new camping digs, this is a place everyone should check out at least once. And when you do, tell them Denise at the Chamber says ‘hello’!
Until next time, thank you for taking a Peek into Piscataquis.
For more information on Gonyaw Springs Water & Campground:
Visit: 47 Cedar Lane, Milo OR Call: 207-943-5016 OR Website: http://gonyawspringscampg.wixsite.com/home