The word “lodge” out West invokes an image of luxury, comfort, and most of all a place to rest your weary body after a long day of exploring. And when it’s combined with “Historic”, suddenly you’re given the chance to transport to a time when America was a bit wilder & more untamed. Here’s a few historic lodges in the High Sierra you should either bunker down for the night or at a minimum wet your whistle & grab some supper.
For those looking to really experience and feel the deep history of the ghost town of Bodie, a pit stop at the Bridgeport Inn is in order. Built in 1877, this hotel was the waypoint for many miners seeking riches on their way to Bodie. Rumor has it Samuel Clemens was a guest here. What better to do than make a guest room named after Mr. Twain himself! Being around for more than a century tells you that they know what they’re doing with their time-tested family recipes. It’s no wonder that the Bridgeport Inn has been a popular destination for weary travelers the world over.
The Ahwahnee Hotel
This list wouldn’t be complete without highlighting The Ahwahnee Hotel, built in 1927. A historic landmark, as what Ansel Adams wrote “on entering the The Ahwahnee one is conscious of calm and complete beauty echoing the mood of majesty and peace that is the essential quality of Yosemite.” Designed to highlight its natural surroundings such as the stunning Yosemite Falls and Half Dome, you may come for the park but you’ll stay here for the views. And be sure not to miss dinner in the dining room. The soaring ceiling built out of sugar pines and granite pillars illuminated by chandeliers will make you understand why this is a stopover for celebrities, presidents and royalty.
For those looking for a great value but still want a bit of history when traveling to Yosemite National Park, the Evergreen Lodge fits the bill. Established in 1921 as a post office, general store, and restaurant later on, innkeepers built the main lodge existing today. Just a mile from Hetch Hetchy, you can spend the day exploring the park’s least visited yet incredible waterfalls & granite domes. And you can finish off the day with some locally sourced food and s’mores around a campfire.
The historic town of Truckee is filled with an assortment of lodging options. You have choices from luxurious vacation rentals to historic hotels like the Truckee Hotel. Since 1873, the Truckee Hotel has welcomed stagecoach guests and overland train riders between Salt Lake City and San Francisco. While the original structure burned down in 1909, it was quickly re-built almost immediately. Over the years the name changed multiple times until 1976 when it finally settled onto its current moniker. With over 130 years in business, this award winning hotel is a must stop for anyone in the area.
Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, be sure ramble on over to the Moody’s Bistro, Bar & Beats located on the first floor. Their focus is on quality live music, a great selection of wine & spirits, and food with local and seasonal ingredients to keep the menu fresh. For example, look at their novel take on a country classic—chicken and waffles. Fried chicken roulade is served on a waffle spaetzle with local dino kale, pickled and green tomatoes and ricotta.
Historic lodges in the High Sierra are more than just a place to rest up between experiences. They qualify as destinations in their own right. Every key comes with a great old story… and all you need to do is turn that key & be transported back to an era that’s been lost through the sands of time.
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.