Learn About Us!

 

Hello there!  So you want to know more about Highland Lodge eh? You’re in the right place. Highland Lodge isn't just a lodge- we’re way more than that. We’ve got hiking trails, a private beach, world class cross country skiing, a restaurant and bar with food, drinks, and beer for days! And the vibe here is...well read on and we think you’ll get the gist of it.

 

Highland Lodge was purchased from David and Willhemina Smith in 2016 and continues to be owned by the same three couples, who reside just a stone's throw away in Norwich, VT. You will often find them skiing here in the Winter, clearing our trails in the off seasons, and enjoying our beach and cabins in the Summer. They've entrusted Elsa & Chad to continue their efforts in revitalizing Highland Lodge and breathing life into this shared treasure that is a beloved getaway for so many. Together we are a tight knit team invested in the lodge, the community, and the bountiful wonders of the Northeast Kingdom. 

 

The Highland Lodge team works tirelessly every day to create a welcoming environment for all our guests from far and wide. We believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, respect, and warmth, without stipulation. All are welcome to bask in the beauty of Greensboro and the surrounding areas of the NorthEast Kingdom.  Highland Lodge is a place where community members congregate and connect with one another, share in each other's company, and be themselves. Its also a place where folks come from far and wide to enjoy a New England getaway like no other.  We play good music, serve good food, sling delicious cocktails, crack open good Vermont beer, and dance around the fire light. 

 

We take pride in our sustainability efforts, trying to launch the next 60 years of the Lodge’s future into the environmentally friendly landscape.  Our thoughtful updates, additions, and safety measures are in place to keep everyone happy and healthy. While we do work to weave some of the historic charm of Highland Lodge into our current efforts, we are bringing a fresh new perspective to shake things up in the best possible way! With that being said, there may be some changes along the way that are new for long time guests, but we confident you will still feel right at home here.

 

We come from a background in lodging, hospitality, and customer service amongst other industries. We know what it takes to make people happy in a place like this.  We want you to relax and enjoy yourself and feel unplugged. While we haven’t been at the lodge throughout the years like a lot of our guests, and there are a lot of them, we have a general idea of what an incredible experience this place has offered throughout the generations. Rest assured, we do our best to provide an experience that is consistent with what is expected from a place like this and then some.  Our team is a group of hardworking individuals, often tackling multiple jobs during their shift here.  You might see our maintenance manager slinging drinks, our breakfast staff cleaning rooms, or our waitstaff digging in the garden. It takes all kinds of people to make Highland Lodge spin ‘round and ‘round, and we couldn’t do it without them. If you see a team member working hard, don't hesitate to tell them you think they’re doing a great job, we sure do!

 

   ABOUT THE MANAGEMENT- Elsa & Chad

We’re “from away”...Harrisonburg, Virginia to be exact, but we have a different frame of mind.  We decided 4 years ago that we were going to move to a landscape that reflected our views, represented the lifestyles we wanted to live, and be closer to the incredible culture this bountiful state provides. When we first moved to Vermont, we landed in the Groton State Forest, working at Seyon Lodge State Park-an 8 bedroom bed and breakfast style lodge situated on Noyes Pond. From there we found ourselves on the doorstep of Highland Lodge just as the Covid pandemic was getting started and we haven’t looked back since (except occasionally when we look to the south and see the top of the mountain we used to live at the base of). 

We tend to think we have good taste in food, beer, music, recreation, and people.  Our favorite meal is one we don’t have to cook. We appreciate all the love folks put into the food we eat, but our favorite cuisines are Indian, Tex-Mex, and Asian. We like IPA’s, Session IPA’s, Double IPA’s, Dry Hopped IPA’s, Sour’s, and Farmstead Ale (all beer really). We like to listen to the Grateful Dead, My Morning Jacket, banjo music, anything from the 60’s and 70’s and whatever funky jams get our feet moving and our butts shaking. We like to camp, snowboard, mountain bike, hang out on the water, travel, go to music festivals, and spend time with family and friends. We have a fair view of the world. Treat others the way you want to be treated, respect gets respect, and leave every place better than you found it. Hopefully you're picking up what we're putting down.  

You don’t have to be like us to have a good time here at the lodge though. We try pretty hard at keeping our silliness professional and we work hard to make sure you are taken care of.  We think you’ll like it here as much as we do. If you disagree, we understand that not every orange is an orange, sometimes they’re lemons. 

 

 

Learn more about the Highland Lodge as an enduring destination in Seven Days "Stay Tripper" 2020 article. 

Learn more about Peter Milliken and other ownerstransition in this article in Seven Days, Vermont's statewide paper. 

Learn more about "Vermont's Flavor Empire" in American Way's national magazine spread, featuring Highland Lodge and many other gems of the Northeast Kingdom.

 

Current Owners of Highland lodge pictured after a long day of feng shui with Elsa & Chad. From left to right: James, Rebecca, Tim, Peter, and Ashley. Not pictured: Laurel! 

 

The History of Highland Lodge:

 

To understand why so many guests return year after year, generation after generation to this lakeside retreat, it helps to learn a little about the history of Highland Lodge, the town of Greensboro, and the geography of this wild, remote corner of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom.

Highland Lodge sits on one hundred and thirty-two acres on Caspian Lake and Barr Hill in Greensboro, Vermont. "The Northeast Kingdom", or "NEK" was a name given to the state’s three northeastern-most counties by former Vermont Governor (and U.S. Senator) George D. Aiken, who was moved by the beauty of the area. It is arguably the most fiercely independent part of Vermont, as well as it's poorest economically. The terrain varies tremendously, from swampy bogs flanked by dark pine forests, to deep and cold fjord-like lakes, rolling mountains and hillside pastures, flanked by majestic stands of maples.

There are many picturesque places in The Kingdom: Lake Willoughby, Island Pond, Jay Peak...but none has captured the imagination of writers and artists as intensely as the town of Greensboro, a summer refuge for creative types since the late 1800s. One of the most noted of these artists was Wallace Stegner, the Pulitzer-Prize winner who set his novel, "Crossing to Safety," in a town modeled on Greensboro. In the novel is a brief nod to the development of what is now a treasured mainstay of the community, Highland Lodge.

Perhaps it's fitting that the name "Highland Lodge" is also part of a creative myth, as the main “Lodge” is not really a lodge at all – it was a farmhouse built in the 1860s by the Simpson family. Later the Goodrich family owned it and sold it to developers in 1926. These developers created the name and planned to build over seventy cabins, christening the main house as the ‘Lodge’. They had only built the kitchen wing of the main house, four little cabins, and sold some parcels of land before the stock market crashed in 1929 and the rest of their grand development scheme was abandoned.

Nevertheless, Highland Lodge was born in the 1920s and survived the Depression and WWII years as a boarding house run by one of the founders, John Barrington. Then in the rainy summer of 1954, an energetic, vacationing family of ten - sisters Carol Smith and Narcissa Boyd, together with their children, mother, and Carol's husband Dave Smith - took to the notion of buying the lodge one night at dinner, and in a matter of weeks, it was theirs. The property was to thrive in the same family for over sixty years.

Over the course of the 20th century, Greensboro became a coveted place to enjoy summer vacations, with many professors from Yale and Princeton bringing their whole families up to summer on Caspian Lake. Highland Lodge became a fixture of the community as both a source of lodging and as a community gathering space. The Smiths renovated and added rooms, built the Ski Hut, additional cabins, a game room, raised the roof, and added an additional dining room which is now our House Bar.

In 1979, Carol and Dave Smith, Sr, sold the property to their son, David Smith and his wife, Wilhelmina. David and “Willie” decided to cut ski trails through their forest land and worked with their neighbors to develop a world-class trail network. This allowed the Lodge to remain open year-round for winter recreation in addition to the beautiful summer season. Today this trail network connects with the famous Craftsbury Outdoor Center trails, and the COC grooms and maintains the trails here in Greensboro to offer an unparalleled selection of picturesque Nordic skiing.

By 2015, the Smiths had listed Highland Lodge's property for sale, and a few families from the Upper Valley who loved visiting the lodge considered a purchase. In the summer of 2016, they teamed up with entrepreneur Heidi Lauren Duke to invest in the property and revive it as a classic New England bed and breakfast. Ms. Duke oversaw the revitalization of Highland Lodge for the next three years, adding a House Bar and some necessary strurctural improvement to this historic building before passing the torch onto current management. With a decade long background in Hospitality Management and a passion for the outdoors, present General Managers, Elsa Schultz and Chad Sims, have been working diligently to maintain the historic charm of the Highland Lodge and are looking forward to continuing to preserve it's sterling reputation.  

 

"I wonder if I have ever felt more alive, more competent in my mind and more at ease with myself and my world, than I feel for a few minutes on the shoulder of that known hill, while I watch the sun climb powerfully and confidently and see below me the unchanged village, the lake like a pool of mercury, the varying greens of hayfields and meadows and sugarbush and black spruce woods, all of it lifting and warming as the stretched shadows shorten." - Wallace Stegner