It is often said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. If that adage holds true, then the first glance at Savage River Lodge promises a true escape from the everyday. Turn off the main road onto a bumpy road that snakes through the deep forest of the Savage River Forest. The twists and turns aren’t too much for most, but definitely leave the Smart Car at home. The property’s proximity to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC belies its blissful quietude. It is surrounded by 700 acres of protected forest so hearing yourself think? Well, that’s precisely what they promise.
Savage River Lodge is comprised of lodges and yurts and the canvas-covered tents are the first thing you’ll pass on your way to the main lodge. The lodge has casual country comfort down pat… walk up the steps past the antique steamer trunks and rocking chairs into a lodge complete with club chairs, a massive stone fireplace, hunting trophies, and antique sporting goods. First impressions are indeed powerful and the friendly staff at reception make you feel instantly welcomed. Travel back up the road a few steps to the yurt village, which straddles the road with a sprinkling of yurts on each side.
This is where first glances definitely don’t do justice, since the somewhat basic-looking exteriors shield a far-from-simple interior. Turn the key in the lock and you’ll discover a stunning and exceedingly spacious accommodation. Latticed wood frames the entire structure and while it may be practical (supporting the canvas), it also serves as an elegant and serene design element. The circular tent’s clusters of seating, dining, and sleeping areas create nooks for relaxation. From the leather couch that begs for a post-hike afternoon slumber to the club chairs next to the stove that are a reader’s delight, the yurt looks and feels incredibly comfortable.
And then there’s the bed. Hotel chains like to tout their copyrighted mattresses, but Savage River Lodge’s beds really are the ultimate in comfort. Sleep comes easily here, where the stars twinkle through the hole in the ceiling and the gentle sound of nature lulls you to a deep and rewarding night’s rest. The bed isn’t the only luxurious amenity; the powerful shower and double sink are further proof that glamping reigns here at Savage River Lodge.
After a restful night, wake to the sun streaming through the windows and ceiling and open the door to a picnic basket packed with freshly baked muffins and Ball jars filled with fresh orange juice. The yurt’s kitchenette is thoughtfully fitted with a French press coffee pot and electric kettle for tea. When a morning’s only decision is where to take breakfast, you know you’ve left the modern world behind. Perhaps outside on the deck in the rocking chair, snuggled into the club chair, or curled up in the Comphy-brand eco-friendly and soft-as-silk sheets? Of course, the Lodge does offer a hot breakfast, but why leave the peace and quiet of your own yurt?
Hiking is an integral part of the Savage River Lodge experience and the property’s trails range from easy and moderate to more difficult. Additional activities include nearby fly-fishing and mountain biking in a variety of parks. Exercise the cultural muscle and arrange a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater, which is just about an hour from the property. No matter the activity, be sure to work up an appetite, because the restaurant is far from a camping canteen. Instead, this spot dishes up gourmet comfort food – think bacon-wrapped meatloaf and quail with mushroom waffles for a unique take on that southern classic chicken and waffles. Save room for dessert…the chocolate peanut butter pie’s cookie crumble crust will have you shirking all sense of decorum to lick every last remaining bite. Yum!
Perhaps the best part about Savage River Lodge is its laidback luxury where you can be as rugged or restful as you like. Prefer to while away the day in a rocking chair listening to the sounds of silence rather than working up a sweat? Go ahead. Nobody’s judging.
Nancy DePalma is a freelance travel writer and self-described hotel/property nut. She has contributed to over 30 different guidebooks and writes for a variety of print and online publications focusing on food and travel. Find her at nancydepalma.com