A Bit of History

Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH

The picture above was taken on the front porch of Pinestead Farm Lodge in the summer of 1903. Joe and Mary Sherburn, (in the middle row on the left) along with their daughter, Grace, (the little girl who is at the bottom far right) spent a lot of time with their boarders and always enjoyed their conversations while they relaxed on the porch. Mary is pregnant with Myra in this picture, who was born in January of 1904. Myra began running the lodge in 1954.

View from Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
Kinsman and the Cannon Balls just outside our back door.

The Pinestead farmhouse was originally built in 1852 by Henry Whitney. Henry gave the building to his daughter, Mary and her husband, Joe Sherburn in 1897. Mary and Joe decided to open their home to the public in June, 1899. In the beginning, guests would often stay for two weeks or longer in the summer. They were fed two large meals a day, and a hearty lunch was prepared for them when they went out on their daily excursions.

Guests enter through the sliding door on the side.

The lodge guests usually arrived by train in Littleton, NH. The Sherburns had to pick them up in a horse drawn carriage. Here is a picture of our side entrance where the carriage used to be stored. Today’s guests enter through this sliding door which was the entrance to the old shed. The beams and woodwork are original, and there are remnants from the old store. Many items sold in the store came from the farm; such as eggs, maple syrup, maple candies and balsam pillows.  There used to be eleven sawmills south of Pinestead Farm Lodge. This store supplied many essentials for the families who lived there such as flour, sugar, nails, work gloves and clothing, and hair pins for the ladies.

Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
The barns

Mary Sherburn died at the ripe old age of 90, and Joe passed away at 95; but not before he had given Pinestead Farm Lodge to his daughter, Myra. In 1955, Myra felt she’d done enough cooking for the guests so she had kitchens installed in the units.

Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
From our back fields looking down on the barns

In 1979, Myra sold Pinestead Farm Lodge to her nephew, Robert Whitney Sherburn, Jr. and his wife, Kathleen. Two more units with kitchens have been added over the years to total 11 bedrooms in four units. Our guests today can rent by the bedroom, or the entire suite can be rented as a private holiday apartment.

Maple syrup from Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
Maple sap is boiling at the sugar house in the spring.

In 1976, Bob and Kathleen built a new sugar house, using the old timer’s method of post and beam construction. That is, no nails are used in the framework whatsoever. They cut down the necessary trees from their forest land up back, then milled the logs into beams and boards in the sawmill Bob, Sr. built. Next, they used chisels and mallets to cut out the notches and pegs for the framework. And finally, they milled the shingles for the outside of the sugar house in the shingle mill Bob’s father also built.

Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
The front field in fall with a hay wagon still used today

Today Bob uses a modern day chainsaw, rather than a one or two man cross-cut saw that his ancestors used (both of which we have on display in our lobby). And he does enjoy the “luxuries” of today’s modern day tractors, rather than using horse and oxen. But Bob still values all that his relatives did in the past to work the land while conserving its resources. As his ancestors did, Bob thinks about the future of the farm. He actively manages the land so the resources will be available to enjoy, cultivate and preserve for many generations to come.

Pinestead Farm Lodge, Franconia, NH
Pinestead Farm Lodge’s office sign from the road.

When you arrive at Pinestead Farm Lodge there is a small sign that says “Office” on the right hand side of the building. We don’t actually have an “office” here anymore. For now it houses a collection of antiques gathered from around the farm. The tools were used for many years, and several other items in the office were sold in the old store; such as postcards, tobacco plugs and cigar tins.