Rooms With A View: Bascom Lodge Reopens on Mount Greylock
Breakfast in the dining room at Bascom Lodge on Mt. Greylock
There’s nowhere better to take in the fall foliage than a mountaintop with panoramic views, and once again, after a couple of years of work that kept the road to the summit closed, you can drive to the top of Mt. Greylock, which is the highest peak in Massachusetts at 3,491 feet. And if you want to see the magnificent sunrises and sunsets and spend the night you no longer have to pack a sleeping bag and a tent now that historic Bascom Lodge has reopened. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression in classic National Parks-style, Bascom Lodge has been leased by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (through the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Historic Curatorship Program) to native sons John and Peter Dudek, who grew up in Adams, MA, and Brad Parsons. The trio—John’s a chef, Peter’s an artist/teacher who runs the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield, and Brad’s a textile designer—have a 25-year lease and a ten-year plan to restore the lodge, which was in dismal condition when they took it over this spring. They have spruced it up enough so they can accommodate overnight visitors and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as offering special events like Wednesday night readings, performances and lectures. They will also rent the lodge for weddings.
Bascom Lodge is not the only historic structure on the summit: There’s the lighthouse-like War Memorial Tower (left in a vintage postcard) that was erected in 1932 and looks as if it belongs in a Hitchcock film. Make sure you go inside and study the mosaic ceiling and decaying gilded lettering on the walls that spell out aphorisms like “Sleep Well, Heroic Soul, In Silence Sleep Lapped In The Circling Arms of Kindly Death.”
Don’t expect Bascom Lodge to be a resort. The bedrooms are Spartan and the bathrooms are shared, but the food is hearty and, if you’re lucky, you will dine by a crackling fire in the paneled dining room. Reservations are required for breakfast and dinner, but anyone who is visiting the 12,500 acre Mt. Greylock State Reservation can just show up for lunch, which includes a pulled pork sandwich on ciabatta ($7.50) and Jamaican Jerked Chicken on a toasted ciabatta ($6.50).
Nancy Fitzpatrick, the hotelier who runs the Red Lion Inn and Porches, spent the night in early September and plans to return, though she would prefer a few more amenities. “It’s very simple,” she told Rural Intelligence. “The beds are comfortable but the rooms are sparse, to say the least. A dresser and a bed, period. However, the food is good and it’s a bit of an adventure. For a mountain top, it seems positively deluxe…or will once they get those big fireplaces fired up.”
Private Rooms: $100 - $125
Group bunkbed rooms: $35 per person