Jackson Village, New Hampshire and The Lodge at Jackson Village
Article: By Norm Goldman
Paintings: By Lily Azerad-Goldman
Folks driving through the old covered bridge into Jackson Village, New Hampshire don't soon forget it. Surrounded by the majestic White Mountains this mountain-side rural community can boast of being one of the nation's earliest year-round destination resorts.
The history of Jackson can be traced back to 1771 through 1774 when the land that is now Jackson was granted to several men for service in the French and Indian Wars by Governor John Wentworth in the name of King George III.
Its first recorded settlement can be traced to around 1775 when Benjamin Copp and his family from southern New Hampshire arrived on the scene and built a log shelter. By 1790 five other families originating from Madbury, New Hampshire followed the Copps and they initially called their new settlement New Madbury. In 1800, with the addition of several more families, the town was incorporated and was re-named Adams in honor of President John Adams. Only in 1829 did it adopt the name of Jackson.
Jackson during the mid 1800s was quite an artist enclave and attracted many of the best-known names of the 19th century White Mountain School of Art, including Benjamin Champney, John Joseph Enneking, Samuel Lancaster Gerry, Sylvester Phelps Hodgdon and Aaron Draper Shattuck, among others. Even today, many artists are still seduced by the beauty of the area and continue to paint, both as permanent and temporary residents.
In the mid-1800s, Jackson became a very popular summer vacation venue for writers, artists, politicians, and others who were inspired by the paintings of the gorgeous scenery of the White Mountains. As a result, the tourist industry began to take shape as more farmhouses began to take in boarders. And to accommodate the increasing number of transient visitors, lodges, inns and hotels began to be built such as The Jackson Falls House, which was the earliest significant lodging establishment welcoming their first guests in the summer of 1858. This was followed by several more prestigious inns and lodges as Iron Mountain House, Thorn Mountain House, which was the forerunner of Wentworth Hall, Gray's Inn, Eagle Mountain House, and Hawthorne Inn.
With the advent of the railroad in the early 1870s the popularity of the area really took off, as many of the town's visitors were transported from the Glen train station in nearby Bartlett. In fact, as noted in the History of Carroll County, the resort business was the mainstay of the village economy with ten inns and hotels, as well as several boarding houses.
Although most of the grand hotels and lodges that were built during the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century are no longer around, the area still maintains a hold on precious commodities-challenging ski slopes, pure alpine air, an array of activities, and countless opportunities for year-round recreation. And what better way to enjoy all of these attractions is to check into The Lodge at Jackson Village.
Resident owners Dana and Cathi Belcher are newcomers to lodge ownership and The Lodge at Jackson Village is their first venture into the industry. Dana is an attorney by profession and for many years Cathi owned her own restaurant and catering business. When the couple had their four children, Cathi became a full-time mother and devoted her complete attention to home-schooling her children. Cathi is also a writer and during her time of acting as tutor to her children, she worked from home editing the Empire Chess magazine.
Dana and Cathi strongly believe in working together with their four children and this is something they have continuously pursued. Cathi pointed out to me that among the many undertakings the family accomplished was the designing and building of their own passive solar post and beam home from oak trees that they milled on their own property. This resulted in their winning an award in their county for the Best New Construction of the year it was completed. The Belchers have also in the past purchased old run-down houses that they have renovated and either rented them out or resold them.
All of their past experiences have certainly come in very handy as they continue to work together as a family at The Lodge at Jackson Village. In fact, it was their two oldest sons who convinced them to purchase the lodge in order that they could all gain experience in a new endeavor. When we were visiting the lodge it was quite apparent that they are making good use of the many skills and know-how they acquired from their previous family ventures. All family members were hard at work performing a variety of chores from checking out the guests rooms upon departures to constructing a patio down near the babbling brook bordering the property line. We were quite amazed as to how industrious and creative were the Belcher children, who along with their folks exude a special warm atmosphere as soon as you approach the check-in desk.
The Lodge at Jackson Village doesn't really feel like a lodge. Built in 1989, it was originally designed as Town House units, however, unfortunately the market at the time was not exactly conducive to this kind of accommodations and the original plan was modified to create an up-scale hotel in historic Jackson Village. As a result, the thirty-two rooms of the lodge are more spacious than what is normally found in others of a similar nature.
Fortunately for the Belchers, when the lodge was constructed, nothing was spared and the furnishings throughout the lodge are of the finest quality. In addition, the low-key color schemes effectively harmonize with the natural environment of the surroundings.
Sitting on five acres of serene grounds overlooking a babbling stream surrounded by a brilliant wild flower meadow, the lodge makes an ideal choice for a wedding destination. In fact, the Belchers did inform us that they do welcome "smallish" kinds of weddings of up to about one hundred guests. They can arrange for all that is necessary and they even work together with other inns and lodges in suggesting further accommodations where needed.
Entering the lounge where the morning buffet breakfast is served, you immediately feel at home with the plush sofas and chairs that invite relaxation. Home-made mouth-watering cookies are available every afternoon and during the day there is always available a variety of coffees, teas and hot chocolate dispensed from a convenient machine located in the hallway that leads to the outdoor swimming pool.
While some guests sunbathe or read by the outdoor pool, others more actively inclined take advantage of the many attractions that can be found in and around Jackson Village. The lodge is located on a one and a half mile walking loop through the town, which leads through an original Paddleford truss covered bridge known for the past one hundred years as The Kissing Bridge.
It should be noted that Jackson is very fortunate in still having in existence many historic buildings and in 2003 the Jackson Falls Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
For golf enthusiasts the lodge is ideally situated, as it is directly across the road from the well-known Wentworth Golf Course. In addition, there are more than ten great golf courses very close by and all within a short driving distance.
Skiers can't ask for a better place to stay. There is Black Mountain, a great slope, especially for beginners, Wildcat Mountain, known as a skier's mountain, and then there is excellent cross-country skiing with the Jackson X-Country Ski Foundation located directly across from the lodge.
Inspiring views and delightfully fresh mountain air entice many guests to unwind and try some of the several easy nearby waterfall hikes.
As for great romantic activities, there are the horse-drawn Austrian Sleigh-rides for 2 and dog-sledding.
Families love the lodge as there are many attractions worth exploring-Story Land, Heritage NH, waterslides, Alpine slides, mountain biking, horseback riding, scenic ski rides, skateboarding, white-water canoeing and kayaking.
Incidentally, special packages that include one or more of these activities can be easily arranged by the Belcher family.
Guests find the lodge provides more than just a place to stay. It offers a wonderful affordable experience coupled with superb New England hospitality that includes all of the comforts and conveniences of a modern luxury resort located within an area with unparalleled beauty.
The Lodge at Jackson Village
153Rt.16, Jackson Village, New Hampshire
Mt. Washington Attractions & Activities