Joe Dodge Lodge -- what a gem! It's lovely, clean, has (small) bunk rooms, great friendly staff, fantastic food -- everything you'd want to support you while exploring the White Mountains.
The lodge is located at the Pinkham Notch Visitor center in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. Effectively this is the beginning for many popular trails, including the only auto road up the tallest peak in the Northeast of the United States, Mt. Washington, also home to the worlds worst weather. When there are clear skies and fair weather, you could easily see many breathtaking peaks and have great adventures of all difficulty levels, or just float down the nearby Pemigewaset or "Pemi'g" River.
Rooms and Bathrooms
Bathrooms are by gender, not private, but have hot showers. We stayed in the family-type bunk with one twin bunk and one that had a twin on top and a full on the bottom. It doesn't leave much room for anything but sleeping, but the beds are comfortable. The rooms have that rugged AMC ambiance but are very nice, lots of lights (all the beds have their own reading lights).
There is a library, a social room more for adults (very grownup ambiance, grand piano, and huge fireplace) but downstairs is a "family area". The family area has an upright piano (an associate's son plays whenever he gets the chance), nature games and activities for all ages, a discovery center, its own fireplace with a glass screen so we don't worry about the little ones getting too close, a TV and VCR with Magic School Bus nature videos, and a Discovery Station area to learn in depth on all kinds of topics that might interest you while you are there (animal tracks, rock types, constellations).
That the meals are included is a definite plus, and the food is great. Dinner as well as full buffet breakfast is served family-style at big, heavy, wooden tables in a common room -- it's very good and very filling. Plus there's an evening Forest Service rangers program on timber management. The lodge also has a sitting room with games, and good, free Wi-Fi throughout. The atmosphere is very hiking-oriented and there is no place else you could stay where there is so much enthusiasm for outdoor activities. The staff are very cordial. It's a one-of-a-kind experience and if you have any nature lovers in your group, it's worth the trip.
We will be back. Everything is wonderful -- the ambiance, the hiking, the food, the service, and the cleanliness. Everyone is so enthusiastic even though we are sure they have heard the questions more than a hundred times. We really feel that we got excellent value along with a friendly atmosphere.
by keith hibbard
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
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