Many years ago, back when I was in college, Jackson Ski Touring did a Hearts across Jackson Tour for heart health month. We cross country skied between all the inns, and each inn had a treat, some heart healthy, some not so much ha. It was really fun because you got to go in and see all the inns. I remember the first time I saw the Eagle Mountain House sitting up on its hill. Its a pretty big hotel for Jackson. I remember walking in and just wanting to stay. The lobby was cozy with a vintage telephone booth, and the elevator from 1930s still worked. This past weekend, my husband and I finally stayed at the hotel that I fell in love with so many years ago.
The Eagle Mountain House was first built in 1879 and was run basically as a guest house by Cyrus Gale. Cyrus was an avid fisher and outdoorsman, and like many farm houses in the area, he opened his doors to guests as more and more people were flocking to mountains of NH for that curative air and activity over the summer. In 1915, the original inn was destroyed by a fire. The carriage house is the only thing that survived. The carriage house was originally used for horses and carriages, then became the garage for automobiles, and is now a ballroom for functions. The inn came back bigger and better in 1916. The new sign boasted 125 rooms with 100 bathrooms. The wrap around veranda lined with rocking chairs was 280 feet around. Arthur Gale, Cyrus’s son turned the pasture farmland in front of the hotel into a golfcourse in 1931. For many years, the hotel was only open in the summer months. They would collect guests from the train stops in Glen or Intervale to stay for a couple months typically. When cars became the preferred mode of transport, it still could take upwards of 5 hours to drive from Boston.
We arrived in Jackson Saturday around noon and did some cross country skiing until we could check in. The trails over by the Eagle Mountain House were in great shape actually, so we did some skiing in the village, and then headed to our hotel so we could go right in from skiing. After checking in, we brought our bags up the antique elevator that won’t budge until the doors are closed by hand. Our room had a queen bed with a mountain view. There was even the antique telephone still in the wall.
The lobby still had some holiday decorations up and a few sitting areas. One of the sitting areas was around a Christmas tree, and another was around a warm crackling fireplace. A library beyond the lobby had a second fireplace with more comfy seats, a piano, historic photographs, and of course books. In the summer there is an outdoor pool, and there is a hot tub inside that wasn’t working sadly this past weekend. There is also a game room which was popular with the kids, and a small gift shop with mugs and tshirts. In the morning they had tea, coffee, and hot cocoa set up in the lobby, and then in the afternoon they added cookies to the to-go spread! The Eagle Landing Tavern was packed in the afternoons into the evenings. We ate dinner at the Highfields Restaurant on Saturday night and Monday morning. I got the beef tips, Jon got the duck, and both were delicious. Monday morning they had a delicious breakfast buffet. The french toast had the perfect amount of cinnamon and crispiness and then eggs benedict is made fresh that morning.
In the summer, they serve food and drinks out on the veranda, so we will have to go back sometime to do that. The views from the hotel are really beautiful. In 2012, the hotel was bought by George Heaton of Heaton Companies. They have really committed themselves to being caretakers of this historic hotel by gently making upgrades and maintaining the historic charm. An example of this? I believe the Eagle Mountain House was one of the last hotels up there to finally get air conditioning!
This hotel, as well as many other historic hotels up there were built for the guest that had to forced to finally come inside at night. Staying at the Eagle Mountain House in the summers of its hey day was about being outside away from the noise and pollution of the cities. The rooms were really meant to be for sleeping only, with the windows open in the summer! We really enjoyed our stay. Between cross country skiing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking, there is so much to do outside in the White Mountains!
I wrote a little bit more about the lovely town of Jackson here: Mountain Town Charm- Jackson, NH – Check it out!