Monday, September 28, 2009

Stump Sprouts

Last Sunday, September 20, I had the pleasure of visiting the Stump Sprouts Guest Lodge and Cross Country Ski Center, located in the picturesque township of Hawley in Franklin County, Massachusetts. You should see the place for yourself, though, and taste the food, and just relax there.

I had been invited by a friend to lead a “bug walk” before the annual “nature” meeting and supper for the Sons and Daughters of Hawley. The drive through the rural, rolling hills was a treat in itself, but what a great place the destination was. Nobody showed for the bug walk, except for the owners of Stump Sprouts, Suzanne and Lloyd Crawford. They are the most wonderful couple you will ever meet, totally dedicated to providing an enjoyable experience for their guests, while embracing a commitment to sustainability, low impact recreation, and local agriculture. Local as in right there on the property, whenever possible.

The Crawfords have been doing this since 1977, including constructing buildings from timber they took from their own property. This is in part the origin of the “Stump Sprouts” name: ‘new life from old roots’ as their brochure states.
I really love the whimsical “face” on the side of the lodge, made from old rusty tools and sawblades. It is also a reflection of the cheerful nature of the proprietors.

One of the newer additions has been this solar panel that generates electricity that they feed into the grid, drawing the energy back out as they need it. I found that the structure also supports housing for paper wasps beneath it. Nearby is a vegetable garden and compost heap. They regularly serve the literal fruits of their garden in the meals they prepare for guests.

The bread and butter season for Stump Sprouts is the winter when they host cross-country skiers, snowshoe hikers, and even ice skaters at some of the local ponds. They keep their 450 acres laced with well-groomed trails through woods, fields, and meadows.

There is no reason one cannot enjoy the accommodations at any other time of year, and I could recommend the facilities for any group wishing to do nature-related workshops, birding tours, or even scientific research. Suzanne and Lloyd are very knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, and willing to learn even more.

All the amenities, save linens, bedding, and toilet articles which guests are asked to provide themselves, come at very reasonable prices. The lodge is also located close to the town of Shelburne Falls, and Northampton and Greenfield are only about a 45 minute drive away. From Boston it is only 2 hours, and New York City is about four road hours away.

Please visit the website for Stump Sprouts for current rates and more detailed information. It is well worth the visit, even for a day.

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