John Golden, of Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, contributed portions of this article:
A small sign facing the main entrance of the Woodside Lodge at Spring Mountain reads "If these walls could talk". It's a fitting statement considering the building has been around since the 1920s, and with its recent renovation and new business operating under its roof, the walls' yarns will grow only longer.
The updated Woodside Lodge, which offers guestrooms, dining and bar areas, has been through several changes throughout the decades. The lodge, which has been previously known as the Woodside Inn and Woodside Manor, was once a spot for Philadelphia's summer vacationers, proms and weddings. For the last two years, it stood vacant and fell victim to vandalism, as well as thieves who absconded with the building's copper piping.
co-owners Rick and Gayle Buckman were offered the chance to take the building under their wings, but Gayle said the initial asking price of about $600,000 was a bit steep. The Wooodside sits behind the Spring Mountain ski area, and it was hard to shake the property from her mind.
“I just kept driving by and thinking, ‘I want to save this building,’” said Gayle. “We have a thing for local history.”
As time ticked by and the price started to dwindle, the Buckmans had another chance to adopt the Woodside, and they took it.
Thanks to their personal home, a farmhouse from the 1700s, and their turnaround of Spring Mountain, the couple knows what it can take to fix up a property. Enlisting Gorski Engineering, Gayle said she was pleased to be able to "restore (the Woodside) and keep its original charm."
The main staircase, according to Gayle, was a big part of Woodside's past that she wanted to keep in the renovations. The wooden floor was another piece to preserve, and the screened-in porches have been re-opened (with the exception of one), as they were in its earlier history. Photographs of the Woodside's past events and old room keys are on display to serve as further nods to years gone by.
With chef Michael Kenney -- whose experience includes working for Will Smith and family -- at the kitchen's helm, the Tavern (Buckman Tavern at Woodside Lodge) will be open to the public seven days a week beginning at 4 p.m. starting on Thursday, Feb. 2. The menu is American upscale comfort food.
The Woodside offers off-site catering and the Buckmans hope to expand their in-house options to include lunch and special breakfasts.
Server Carol Erb dined at the Woodside in previous years, and is "so thrilled with the (current) transformation."
Another person thrilled with the transformation is Alice Beltz, one of the building's owners around the 1940s.
Beltz said she was "overwhelmed" by the "wonderful work that's been done" and was happy the building had been preserved for the community.
"I'm just so happy that people are interested in keeping history alive," she said.
For reservations please call 484-552-8457 or visit www.woodsidelodgeatspringmountain.com.
Editor's note: We have corrected the spelling of Alice Beltz's name.