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Lake of the Woods lodge expands

At 2 tons each, massive Douglas fir beams are destined to support the snow loads and add to the rustic appeal of the Lake of the Woods lodge after a major renovation over a period of five years.

The beams, measuring 25 feet long, 30 inches wide and 8 inches deep, are just part of the $3.5 million project to upgrade the lodge, giving it a more commanding view of the lake.

"When people show up in the springtime, it's going to be a surprise," said George Gregory, who owns the lodge along with John Doherty.

When it reopens on May 1, the 1950 building will feature an expanded restaurant area, remodeled kitchen and new bathrooms, and the exterior will feature more windows and siding that simulates a log-cabin look.

"We decided to get rid of the funky funk," Gregory said.

The lodge, which employs up to 50 people in its peak season, is surrounded by a marina that includes a pizza parlor and bait shop, a general store, 27 cabins and a 26-unit recreational vehicle park.

Gregory said he wants to build a 40-unit RV park nearby. He also has plans to build a 32-foot gazebo next to the lake.

Workers will concentrate on the interior of the lodge during the winter, trudging through snow with materials and tools.

"We're under the gun to get it done before May," said Don Andrews, a Klamath Falls contractor who was happy to have the winter work.

Most of the beams were set last winter in the upper story. Andrews said they bought them in Klamath Falls, but the lumber company went out of business. He found the two large beams in Riddle this year.

Gregory said work will take place only during the winter when the lodge is closed.

The marina and 10 cabins remain open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Gregory said both his partner and he share the same dream of creating a grand lodge at the lake, which in recent years was visited by royalty. King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan stopped by in 2008, enjoying lemonade and brownies as he toured the area on his Harley-Davidson while security forces kept a close eye on the situation. "It was like the president was coming," Gregory remembered.

Film director James Ivory owns a cabin near the lake, Gregory said. Ivory worked with director Ismail Merchant, who died in 2005, on films such as "A Room with a View," which won three Academy Awards.

Gregory and his partner purchased the lodge in 2008 from Doug and Rebecca Neuman, owners of the Ashland Springs Hotel. During 2008, a new deck was added to the outside.

Gregory said he plans to push another addition to the lodge out toward the lake where the deck is now located.

Stairs and an elevator likely will be built next winter. Other improvements include expanding the kitchen area and adding a second set of stairs.

When the work is completed in 2013, the lodge will handle 350 people in the restaurant and bar.

Gregory said he is paying for the work through the sale of cabins. The lodge then rents the cabins for the owners.

Much of the work done on the lodge last year involved building a new foundation and concrete pads that support the structural beams.

"Literally, we will have reconstructed the building from the ground up when we're finished," Gregory said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476, or e-mail dmann@mailtribune.com.

The Lake of the Woods lodge's second floor is framed with large wooden beams as part of a $3.5 million, five-year remodeling project. - Bob Pennell / Mail Tribune