Sleeping In The East: January 2002
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Joe Dodge Lodge
Pinkham Notch, N.H.
(Near Wildcat, Black Mountain)
Abandon all notions of dorm-style bacchanals, ye who bunk down here. The Appalachian Mountain Club’s Joe Dodge Lodge at Pinkham Notch¿named for the AMC’s first hutmaster, who was the force behind the whole hut system¿is asdemure as a suburban condo and nearly as cushy. The rooms, ranging from four-bunkers to doubles any couple would covet, are an exercise in Zen simplicity: wooden platform beds,bureaus, shelves and pegs (the latter smartly situated over the heaters). You even get bedding¿in a hardy forest green. Two huge common rooms with massive fireplaces and chunky hickory furniture accommodate the socially minded. Those seeking quiet can repair to a gorgeous library with its own stone fireplace and plush couches. Dinner and breakfast, both communal affairs involving heaping platters of really good food, take place across the yard in the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, where free educational programs¿lectures, slide shows and the like¿are offered after supper. Wildcat, one of New Hampshire’s most pristine ski areas, is a quick jog down the road; the infamous Tuckerman Ravine¿a rather arduous trek uphill¿is just out the back door. Even the car-free can partake: A daily bus from Logan Airport delivers you right to the front steps. And while the Lodge may not look ski-dormish, its rates do: For $35-$47 (less on weekdays), visitors get a bunk and full board; without the food, it’s $17-$29.
Information: 603-466-2727 or www.outdoors.org.
West Mountain Inn
(Near Bromley and Stratton)
Among the many delights to be found within an old-fashioned inn are the odd sleeping nooks that work out so well for families. The West Mountain Inn, a seven-gabled, 15-bedroom 1849 farmhouse on 150 hilltop acres, is packed with inviting hideaways that run a family-friendly $165 to $256 a night per double, including dinner and breakfast. One wall of “Norman Rockwell” is carved into three carpeted cubbies that the kids will fight over; Rockwell Kent has a Heidi-like sleeping loft perched high above a massive four-poster. Children are in fact profusely welcome throughout the inn: They have their own playroom and a game porch equipped with handmade chess and cribbage boards. The most popular breakfast is “Ooey Gooey Eggs” heaped with melted Vermont cheddar. And the prix-fixe dinner¿a truly splendid New American affair¿can be enjoyed on the early side if the kids are starving. An optional finish, for those with the fortitude, is apple pie à la mode.
Information: West Mountain Inn, 802-375-6516 or www.westmountaininn.com.