Cabins at Lopstick
Warm Hospitality in the Great North Woods
NHToDo Magazine February, 2010
the late 1920s, outdoorsman and
guide “Long Tom” Currier, built two cabins in
Pittsburg and opened for business as the Currier Camps, serving meals
in the lodge and offering guide services. The Currier Camps are still
listed as a landmark on many local maps of the Great North Woods.
several owners and expansions through the years, Dennis and Elaine
McDermott bought the property and changed the name to
“Lopstick”—a Canadian logging term that
describes a tree trimmed of all but its topmost branches to serve as a
locating marker for a logging camp. Dennis and Elaine were the first to
open the cabins in the winter to snowmobilers, installed an artesian
well, deepened the pond, and built new cabins. Then Memorial Day
weekend in 1988, they won $3.7 million in the Tri-State Megabucks and
decided retirement was even a better way of life! After another brief transfer of
ownership, Tim and Lisa Savard, the present owners, began living the
dream of making their home in the Great North Woods in May of 1991. In
1995, they continued to offer snowmobile rentals and began offering
guide services for fly fishing and bird hunting, carrying on the
tradition of the previous proprietor/guides.
was my first trip to Pittsburg in a few years, and my wife, Audrey, and
I were looking forward to getting away, if just for a night. We drove
easy up I-93 doing 60 miles per hour, through Franconia Notch, then,
just after passing Cannon Mountain, veered off onto Route 3 which took
us through Whitefield and on up to Colebrook.
After passing through the small town
of Pittsburg, another mile took us past Back Pond, Lake Francis, and
then to the dam on First Connecticut Lake. We spotted the well-lit sign
for The Cabins at Lopstick, headed up the hill, and parked at the
office. As I stepped out, it was snowing
lightly. I felt far, far from my home way down in Londonderry. The
horizon looked black and I could only sense that I was standing in
front of a huge expanse but could see nothing. There were five or six
cabins all lined up and the one on the end had outside lights on.
Cabin is the epitomy of the rustic elegance you’ll find at
The Cabins at Lopsitck.
|We pulled into town
at about 5 p.m. and
it was snowing. It being a Thursday night, we decided to get something
to eat at the Wilderness Restaurant on Main Street as we were concerned
everything might be closed by the time we’d driven the last
30 minutes to get to Pittsburg. We later passed several nice
restaurants that were open on the final leg of the trip and said,
“Oh well … next time we’ll know there
are some good places to eat between Colebrook and
Pittsburg”—like The Spa and Buck Rub Pizza Pub,
which both looked quite inviting.
and I stepped into the office and gift shop where a warm woodstove fire
burned happily and Andre behind the desk said, “Welcome to
the Great North Woods!” The gift shop had lots of unusual
moose-themed items that I made a point to view more closely in the
morning. Andre showed us where the Osprey Cabin was located (yep ...
the one on the end with the lights on!). In talking with him, we found
that he’d grown up in the area and was happy to have found a
good job at Lopstick. Although most of his friends had moved away, he
had no intention of ever leaving. He loves the easy lifestyle in this
land where the wild animals outnumber the folks that live here.
had heard that on a clear night just the number of visible stars will
make you feel like you’re on a different planet. But for
tonight, a blowing wind was picking up, the sky was overcast, and I
kept my head down as I brought our bags in from the cold.
Osprey Cabin is a cozy, one bedroom log cabin with warm, golden pine on
the inside walls. Over the years, Lisa and Tim have added on to the
number of cabins that they own and manage, to the point where they now
look after more than 30 cabins. They can really truly meet the
accommodation needs of most any travelers … from a
one-bedroom efficiency, to a deluxe three-bedroom multi-level dream, to
a camp right on the lake!
view of Magalloway Mountain out the front door of Osprey Cabin is
turned on a few lights. A gas woodstove was the only source of heat
that we could control and the place was toasty! I sat down on the couch
in a spacious “living room” area. A wall with
French doors separated that with the bedroom. Wow! A two-person Jacuzzi
in the bedroom. We both felt so grateful to have such a wonderful
little place to spend a night together. This was romantic! Everything
was so clean, neat, and modern. It was obviously well-kept and I later
learned that, although refurbished, Cabin 3 was one of the original
cabins dating back to the 1930s; ours (Cabin 6) had been completely
rebuilt from the cabin it replaced in 2004.
All cabins come with a satellite TV, DVD, and VCR including many
music-only channels. There was no phone to be found and we had no cell
phone signal. Okay. Was my blood pressure actually dropping or did it
just feel that way? An efficiency kitchen with all the dishes and
glasses, a microwave, refrigerator … everything was in
After getting settled in, and me making several trips back out in the
cold to find this and that, we found nostalgic Christmas music on one
of the TV’s music channels (it was just a week or so before
Christmas), turned the lights down, poured a glass of wine, and lit an
oil lamp that flickered shadows on the walls. We sat at the kitchen
table, laughed, reminisced (I’ve known Audrey since I was
12), played some cribbage, tried to guess who was singing those old
Christmas songs (was that Perry Como or Bing Crosby?), and I felt
happy. My wife and I had actually … finally …
we got into bed, the stove had turned itself off for awhile, and the
lights were all out, we laughed again. Not a sound could be heard nor
could I see my own hand in front of my face. It was pitch black. I
slept a night of the most peaceful sleep I could ever remember.
In the morning, I looked at my watch … 7:05 and the sky was
lightening. I stumbled to the door and looked out onto First
Connecticut Lake down the hill and across the road, framed by
3,360-foot-high Mount Magalloway in the distance. The sun was just
peaking over the mountain and again I thought how special it was to be
here on this day at such a tranquil place on Earth. The words of
astronaut Neil Armstrong came to me. “Houston. Tranquility
Base here. The Eagle has landed.” While I waited for Audrey
to get ready, I flipped through a log book about Cabin 6 (now named
Osprey Cabin) with photos and entries that went way back to the 1940s.
Really, hundreds of handwritten notes of appreciation from people
who’d stayed in this cabin—where they hiked, or
fished, or snowmobiled, and what kind of animals they’d seen.
Many families return to stay in the same cabin year after year. Andre
had told us to take our time in the morning, to go back into town to
Dube’s for breakfast and make sure to try their cinnamon
twirl toast. “Anything there’s good,” he
Dube’s was half convenience store, half gift shop, and half
restaurant/diner. The breakfast was delicious; the waitress was
friendly; the cinnamon toast homemade; and the locals talked about
getting their wood cut and stacked and whether there was enough snow
out there yet “to get the snow machines
runnin’.” The placemats showed houses and lots for
sale. Just $59,000 could get you three acres or more of land. A camp
for $79,000 and a nice house in downtown Pittsburg for $150,000 or so.
Audrey and I talked about what it would be like to sell everything and
move up here. The population was 697 in 1950 and 868 in 2000. By 2009,
the population had dropped to 825 and the median home just $120,000. It
feels like the pioneer towns I visited when I was in Alaska. I could be
happy in a town like this.
We drove back to Lopstick and a new snowstorm was starting to pick up.
We met Tim and he proudly took us around the property and showed us a
good range of the kinds of accommodations they offer.
Tim said the winter is their busiest
time of the year as the snowmobilers come from all over to experience
the deep snow, huge trail system connecting Vermont, Maine, and Quebec,
and an unequalled variety of riding.
Lopstick offers current model year Polaris and Ski Doo snowmobiles and
outdoor clothing rentals. Visitors can ride right from their cabin onto
miles of freshly groomed snow where deer and moose are commonly seen.
In the summer, Tim and Lisa, both professional guides, offer fly
fishing and bird hunting experiences. With over 40 years of combined
experience fishing the North Country, Tim and Lisa, along with Bill
Bernhardt, offer the knowledge and expertise to make your fishing or
hunting trip memorable.
three-floor Morning View Cabin was really spectacular with three large
bedrooms, a beautiful kitchen, large wrap around deck, and spacious
cathedral ceilings. And on the top floor was that two-person to-die-for
Jacuzzi again! The Vermont Casting gas stove is the focal point of the
living room and it seemed that every cabin had that same awesome view
of the lake and mountains. Wow.
Even the “low-end” one-bedroom efficiencies were
really nice, with living room and dining room windows, fully equipped
kitchen, TV, and ample bathroom—all for just $65 a night in
the summer and fall and about $100 a night in the winter. Additional
persons can stay for $37.50, and it can sleep up to five.
Landing is an upscale two bedroom waterfront home about 3 miles north
of the main lodge. It sleeps four comfortably ... very comfortably.
Fly fishing and casting instruction is their specialty. From
stream-side entomology lessons to mending fly line, Bill, Tim, and Lisa
have successfully taught many beginners to cast a fly rod, select
appropriate flies, and catch fish! Intermediate fly fishers can benefit
from instruction on drag-free drift, insect identification, fly
patterns, and mending fly line. Expert casters to novice all learn from
Bill, Lisa, and Tim their knowledge of the river, the region, and the
In addition to the wading fishing guide service, Lopstick offers
driftboat trips on the Connecticut River from June 1 through October 15
for brook, brown, and rainbow trout. You’ll cover miles of river
and enjoy Mother Nature at her best in a Clackacraft driftboat. The
upper Connecticut River and its tributaries are well known for
excellent trout and land-locked salmon fishing. Tim, Lisa, and Bill
have been featured in numerous articles or quoted in books such as
American Angling Magazine, The Boston Globe, AMC magazine, The Concord
Monitor, The Fly Fishing Report, The Bird Hunting Report, Fly Tyer
magazine, America’s 100 Best Trout Streams, and Trout Streams of
Northern New England.
200,000 acres of wilderness offer challenging grouse, woodcock, and
deer hunting. You can hunt with
Lisa and her Brittany spaniels for ruffed grouse and woodcock.
As Audrey and I headed home, with Lopstick and Magalloway Mountain
fading in the rearview mirror, it felt good to know that there is such
a special place right here in New Hampshire that people can enjoy year
round. It is our hope that someday you too will be able to experience
for yourself the natural peace and tranquility of the The Cabins at
Daron H. Libby
Photos courtesy of The Cabins at Lopstick
Name: The Cabins at Lopstick
Address: 45 Stewart Young Road, Pittsburg
Phone: (800) 538-6659
Thirty-five uniquely different housekeeping
cabins that all have views of First Connecticut Lake or have a remote
setting. All cabins have snowmobile trail access, fully-equipped
kitchens, one, two, or three bedrooms, satellite TV, and private
porches. The cabins are open year round and all linens, towels, and
cookware is provided. All you need to bring is your food, clothing, and
camera! Choose from a variety of accommodations. A cozy cabin with gas
fireplace for two, a trailside efficiency, larger cabins sleeping up to
eight, or a private home with hot tub. Snowmobile and equipment
Pittsburg is a winter wonderland. Deep snows and
hard-working snowmobile clubs make Pittsburg a premier New England
winter destination. In the spring, summer, and fall, enjoy some of the
best fly fishing and bird hunting experiences in the Northeastern
United States. There are two hiking trails to the top of Magalloway
Mountain. Hike one hour to Fourth Connecticut Lake. Hike and swim at
Garfield Falls. Enjoy an easy walk or snowshoe into the woods to see
woodland creatures in Johnson Memorial Forest, along with the picnic
and walking paths at Beaver Brook Falls. Moose Alley begins just on
Route 3 just 3 miles north of Lopstick up to the Second Connecticut
Lake Dam. And there are nearly a dozen nearby ponds for fly fishing
only! The Cabins at Lopstick offers boat rentals on some of these
remote ponds for $10 per day.
The Spa Restaurant in West Stewartstown; Buck Rub Pub serving
pizza, subs, fried chicken and popular appetizers until 10 p.m.;
Dube’s Pit Stop in downtown Pittsburg is a great breakfast
and lunch spot; The Rainbow Grille at Tall Timber Lodge has excellent
food—the atmosphere is relaxed yet classy with a North
Country theme. Back Lake Tavern serves dinner on weekends. Happy Corner
Cafè serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Glen serves