I had the good fortune of spending two sunny September weekends at the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.
In early September, a hearty group of chubbers dating from ’53 to ’17 gathered at the new Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for a busy work weekend. The focus was on the outdoor areas surrounding the Lodge: raking and seeding, transplanting ferns and other native plants from the surrounding forest, cleaning the understory around the walkways, removing select trees to establish a view from the gazebo, mowing and weed-whacking the front lawn, removing clutter from around the bunkhouses, bucking up firewood in the turnaround and delivering it to the bunkhouses, and testing out the firepit under starry skies.
We enjoyed the first dinner to be held inside the new Lodge – despite the last-minute challenges thrown at the Lodge Crew: the inspector did not show up on Friday so they were not allowed to use the kitchen, and the water failed on Saturday morning so they had no running water. Still, we enjoyed a hearty chili cooked in ’65 bunkhouse, eating on paper plates and with plastic forks.
Check out my photo gallery; the very last item is a video tour of the exterior, walking from the parking area, past the new welcome gazebo (with floor and roof yet to come), down the new walkway, around the left side of the Lodge, past the fire-pit and amphitheater, past the ’84 crew cabin and new generator shed, and ending at the new location of the Manager’s cabin. (That cabin was moved twice, chimney and all, and saved because it is the last remaining structure built by Ross McKenney, at least on Moosilauke.)
I hope you get a sense of the incredible workmanship, beautiful design, and artful use of wood from the old Lodge. It was a real treat to tour the Lodge with the project manager James Pike and with the man behind many of the timbers, Put Blodgett ’53, on Saturday afternoon. It’s safe to say that all the chubbers, young and old, were awed by the beauty of this new Lodge.
The next weekend I had the good fortune to be invited back to the Lodge for another beautiful weekend… this time, to attend the first dinner for real “guests”. The Dartmouth Global Health Initiative held its annual retreat for about 70 undergraduate and graduate fellows, Saturday and Sunday, and faculty were invited to attend for dinner. By walking through and around the lodge, when it is full of happy students engaging with ideas and with faculty and with the beautiful setting, I could feel that the true spirit of Moosilauke Ravine Lodge is alive and well. The building is beautiful, yes, but it’s the people who make it special. This new lodge will enable more people to enjoy Moosilauke, and enable more academic functions to happen more often, and that’s a great thing.
A lot can happen in six days! When I left last Sunday, things were looking mighty fine – but even more has happened since then. The gazebo has a roof and floor – and temporary railing. The walkway has more railing, and the old walkway has been removed. Most of the interior finish is complete, and much of the furniture deployed. The moose and signs are up, and many of the pictures hung. The library is stocked. Ross McKenney’s bust has returned. Even the railroad wheels have returned! The pizza oven is installed, and the amphitheater has instant grass. The kitchen is open for business – with running water! The showers work (albeit, no shower curtains yet) and are warmer than swimming in the Baker (I personally tested both). Check out the photo gallery.