Mountainside retreat close to home
The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff offers a private getaway
Record Managing Editor
The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff
If you are looking for a place to spend a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city, eat delicious food prepared by a world-class chef, and later relax by a cozy fire or in a luxury bath, a stay in The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff in Jackson County will make those thoughts come true.
Editor's Note: With the fall season now upon us, the leaves on the trees along the mountaintops at the lodge are beginning to change into brilliant colors. This would be a perfect time to go and take photos and enjoy the change of scenery just before the holidays.
Your trip to The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff from Madison County begins by travelling east on U.S. Highway 72 to Scottsboro in Jackson County.
Once you are in Scottsboro, take Highway 35 south and cross the B.B. Comer Bridge. Then, take an immediate left at the traffic light onto Alabama Highway 40 and drive up to the top of Sand Mountain. At the top of the mountain, take a left onto Alabama Highway 71North, left onto County Road 58 (Kountry Korner market) – and through the small community of Pisgah, and then follow the signs to Gorham's Bluff.
The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff has become one of North Alabama's most popular retreats for couples – offering an unparalleled view of the Tennessee River Valley and Appalachian Mountains beyond. The lodge has six rooms for guests, featuring fireplaces, whirlpools, private porches, and sitting rooms. Each room is decorated differently with antique furnishings and handmade textiles.
Four of the rooms, The Satterfield, The Woods, The King, and The Parton, are located on the second floor of the lodge. The Owens and The Roden rooms are located on the third floor. They feature a whirlpool tub for two.
"Not too long ago, a man called me on the phone inquiring about the lodge. He was wondering what there was to do if he came up here. I told him, 'Sir, absolutely nothing.' The idea behind coming to the lodge is to sit back, do nothing, relax and be pampered," Diane McGee, innkeeper, said.
Television sets are not offered in the rooms, but one is available in the large, comfortable living room on the main level of the lodge. A variety of movies are available for your enjoyment.
"We have CD players in each room and CDs available to take up to your room and listen too," McGee said. "There is nothing like relaxing in the whirlpool tub, listening to beautiful music, and enjoying the soft glow coming from either the candlelight's or fireplace."
Relax and unwind
After a relaxing whirlpool, guests can put on a soft, comfortable robe, walk out onto their private porch and feel the evening breeze blow through their hair. On a clear night, the glow of the lights from the city of Chattanooga, Tenn. can be seen in the distance ahead. A glance to the left, one can see the glow of the lights from the city of Huntsville.
Since opening, reserving a room in the lodge is a task that should be done at least a couple of months in advance.
"I can't think of a weekend when we haven't had all of the guest rooms reserved," McGee said. "We have a lot of guests come from Huntsville, Madison, Chattanooga, and Tennessee. A majority of our guests are repeats. They tell their friends and that's one of the best way's to get the word out that we are here."
Bring a hearty appetite
Having a good appetite is a requirement in coming to The Lodge on Gorham's Bluff. A four-course gourmet dinner by candlelight is served seven nights a week at 7 p.m. Reservations are required for dinner.
The menu is the chef's choice and may feature an appetizer of roasted breast of duck with fennel braised cabbage, a fresh spinach salad with shaved radishes, apples, and a warm bacon dressing, an entre of pepper and herb crusted tenderloin of beef with a cabernet reduction sauce, Yukon gold potatoes and roasted winter vegetables, and a heavenly dessert of fallen chocolate souffl.
Since Jackson County is a dry county, if guests choose to have a glass of wine with their meal, they can bring a bottle of wine with them and it will be kept chilled until it is time for it to be served.
"Our chef does an outstanding job in preparing the entre's," McGee said. "On the weekends, he often tells our guests that is the time when he gets 'really creative.'"
While enjoying your dinner, McGee treats guests to a beautiful arrangement of tunes she plays on the piano.
"I can't read music. I simply learned to play by listening," McGee said. "I love to play. It's a way for me to relax. I tell our guests they are more than welcome to dance – and many will."
Breakfast includes a hearty Southern fare of homemade biscuits, cheese and egg souffls, omelets, cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee.
The dining room is open to the public for dinner and on Sunday afternoon for a traditional Sunday lunch. Reservations are required.
Reserve a room now for your next visit
"You are definitely in for a treat when you come to the lodge," McGee said. "We want to make this place a place that you will remember, enjoy, and come back too. I love to see repeat guests. We become friends."
A 50 percent deposit at the time of the reservation is required and a 72-hour notice of cancellation.
The lodge provides a non-smoking environment.
Pets are not allowed and children under the age of 12 are not encouraged since the facilities to accommodate them or activities to entertain them are not provided.
Rates at the lodge include breakfast.
For room rate information, call (256) 451-3435.
Wedding, anniversary and event packages are offered. The Gorham's Bluff Institute presents four annual festivals: the Storytelling Festival on the first weekend of May, the Gerhart Chamber Music Festival in June, The Alabama Ballet Summer Residency in July, and the Summer Theatre Festival in August. Throughout the year, the calendar includes musical performances and programs.
The town of Gorham's Bluff
Gorham's Bluff is a new town in Southern Appalachia being built in the tradition of the small towns that thrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century.
"The entire layout of Gorham's Bluff has been redesigned. Upon its completion, it will be a self-sustained community," McGee said. "New construction is about to begin and it's going to be absolutely beautiful when it's done."
On the Gorham's Bluff Web page, the town is noted as: A place where shops are within walking distance of every front door, where streets welcome pedestrians and cars go slowly, where the young and the old get extra attention, where artists can afford a studio, and where entrepreneurs are encouraged to begin. It is a town for people of all ages and aspirations; it is drawing people who want to live and work there as well as people looking for a weekend getaway.
The vision of the town
The long-term vision of Gorham's Bluff consists of three core principals:
* We will respect and preserve the beauty of our native landscape so that future generations can enjoy its magic.
* We are a community of connections – a sociable community where we recognize that our human connections are our most valuable asset.
* We are a place where creative energy thrives – where discovery, exploration and creativity are celebrated and nourished.
Tours of the town
A guide through the town of Gorham's Bluff and a presentation of its plans are given on Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours begin in the lobby of the lodge. Sales representatives are also available by appointment by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (256) 451-8696.
Additionally, a special lodging and dining package is available for Sunday through Thursday evenings when you make an appointment for a tour and presentation. Call (256) 451-8439. The Web site for Gorham's Bluff is www.gorhamsbluff.com.