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Iconic Highland Lodge closes its doors - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Iconic Highland Lodge closes its doors

Wilhelmina Smith Wilhelmina Smith

Greensboro, Vermont - October 24, 2011

A long time Vermont tradition has closed its doors. The Highland Lodge in the tiny town of Greensboro hosted thousands of families and guests for more than 80 years, but the innkeepers say times have changed and they can't keep up with those changes.

The Highland Lodge in Greensboro has been hosting guests since the 1920's, but those days have come to an end. Current owners David and Wilhelmina Smith have closed the inn. David's family has run the place for 57 years. "I think we are just an old fashioned type of place that is dying with the times," said Wilhelmina Smith.

The Lodge has a rich history. It started as a farmhouse, then a boarding house. There were even plans for a big cottage colony development -- plans that were abandoned following the stock market crash in 1929. "The inn limped along until the 50s when my in-laws bought it in '54," Smith said.

Smith admits the inn was never fancy, just a place families could come to spend a few lazy weeks in summer sitting by the water, hiking or reading a good book.  But times have changed, families want more."So this is not a crowd that wants things -- doesn't need a night life and over the years we have just noticed that those families are getting older and the new ones aren't coming," she said.

In the 1970's the Smiths added cross country skiing and were able to stay open year round and that helped the bottom line. Fifty land owners agreed to let the inn maintain trails across their land. The trails were open to guests and all Greensboro residents. But still the changing vacation plans of modern families is not a fit for the lodge that prided itself on always staying the same.

The lodge was all about tradition -- from the historic farm house, to the cabins, right down to the menu items including the famous brownie ishkabibble dessert -- it has been on the menu for decades.

The Highland Lodge even rented the same cottages to generations of the same family. "They even make little decorations before they leave and they expect it to be there when they come back," Smith said.

The decision to sell the lodge was made earlier this month after years of discussions. The Smiths have received hundreds of emails and letters from past guests who were saddened by the news The Smiths are working with preservation organizations in hopes it can be preserved, but if not it will be put up for sale.

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