The Lodge Resort in Cloudcroft is unique with a rich and interesting history some of which includes a turn-of-the-century fire that destroyed the original structure, ghostly inhabitants, a storied past, visit by famous guests, and lots more. It's a must visit if you're in Cloudcroft. The original log constructed Lodge was built in 1899 by the Alamogordo and Sacramento Mountain Railway as it searched the mountains for timber and railroad ties. The Lodge was an immediate success as a cool mountain retreat for thousands of overheated New Mexicans, Oklahomans, and Texans like ourselves.
In 1908 for a $3 round trip and $12.50 for a weeks stay at The Lodge you could enjoy the hotel, restaurant, dancing pavilion, tennis court, golf links, bowling alley, billiard parlor, burro trips, and children's playground. In 1909, a disastrous fire destroyed The Lodge which was subsequently rebuilt in 1911 (the initial Lodge appearance remained almost unchanged) on a more scenic site. The Lodge Resort at Cloudcroft hosted numerous famous guests, including Judy Garland, Gilbert Roland, Clark Gable, and Poncho Villa and in the 1930s the resort was managed by Conrad Hilton who went on to found Hilton Hotels. To this day, in the tower you can still see where Judy Garland carved her initials on the wall!
Some of what you'll find at The Lodge includes:
We had dinner at Rebecca's Restaurant, named after the Lodges resident ghost. Like The Lodge itself, there is some interesting history behind Rebecca's which dates back to the 1900's A beautiful young chambermaid with striking blue eyes and shocking red hair disappeared shortly after her lumberjack lover found her in the arms of another man. There are those that swear that Rebecca's still wanders the halls of this historic hotel making doors mysteriously open and close, ashtrays slide across tables, the fireplace spontaneously ignite, and other unexplained incidents that have been attributed to Rebecca's spirit. I could swear I heard her whisper in my ear "have another margarita."
Rebecca's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, as well as an elaborate Sunday brunch. The Lodge's award-winning chef serves some excellent Southwestern and continental cuisine.
We had a fantastic meal that included:
Even though we were stuffed, our mouths were watering as we watched the waiter at the table next to us prepare huge portions of Bananas Foster - the smell of the butter cooking with the rum, brown sugar, and cinnamon drove me crazy and when it was lit on fire and then poured over the two big scoops of ice cream I just about went bananas!
Jonathon our waiter, who was superb, just about talked us into letting him prepare one for us but I heard Rebecca whisper in my ear "don't do it, your belt is already on its last notch!"
What a great evening - delicious food, excellent service, great margaritas, cool setting, and a stunning sunset!
The Lodge Golf Course was built in 1899 just 12 years after the first golf course in the United States introduced the game to America. The course was later rebuilt in the early 1900s in what was a cabbage patch in Chautauqua Canyon. The original nine holes played back and forth down the two ends of the wishbone canyon - which turned out to be a a little dangerous as the course became more popular. In 1950, the course was changed to make play in a circle instead of having to play back and forth down the same fairways. At 9000 feet, The Lodge Golf Course is one of the highest in the United States and the elevation sure helps my drive go a little farther, but the elevation had no impact on it going straighter and I consistently heard my ball ricocheting off the trees and scaring the squirrels! You play by the old Scottish tradition of playing different tees and different flags on each hole - which gives you the feel and challenge of playing 18 holes. On the first tee, I heard Rebecca whisper "leave the driver in the bag and don't use a new golf ball"
If you're planning a visit to Cloudcroft, you've got to stop by the Lodge Resort for a "Margarita Mondays" or "Prime Rib Thursdays," a round a golf, a spa treatment, or a delicious meal at Rebecca's! Or spend the night in one of there unique guest rooms that offer you a tantalizing blend of history, charm, and allure and each room has a diverse array of antique or antique reproduction furnishings - no two rooms are alike.
Click on the link t o read about the rest of our New Mexico vacation.