It's Worth the Drive
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Travelling the world has afforded me the opportunity to experience many new and interesting pastimes and explore interests that may not have been possible otherwise. Since I was a boy, I have loved exploring the outdoors. With that love comes a fascination of shooting and fishing I have had since I was a child. So when, in the fall of last year I received an invitation to stay at the Lodge at Glendorn, I jumped at the opportunity especially knowing that it is a Relais & Châteaux property and Beretta and Orvis are involved in the outdoor activities. My son –in-law, Kyle, and I share similar interests. When I found out about this trip, I decided who better to have with me than him. I had never heard of Glendorn, but after some quick research I discovered that not only was it a renowned idyllic getaway, but it was also located in northwestern Pennsylvania, only four short hours from my home outside of Toronto. 
The drive was easy, with no traffic and beautiful scenery. We left early and arrived mid-morning. The first thing we noticed as we pulled onto the property was the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The drive into the property is flanked by flowing streams and rolling hills – an outdoorsman's dream. Located adjacent to the Allegheny National Forest, the Lodge at Glendorn's all-redwood main lodge dates back to 1929. The property is open year-round and offers beautifully appointed accommodations, find dining in a casual atmosphere and world class activities. Famous guests have included Louis Armstrong, Victor Borge, Art Buchwald and
Ella Fitzgerald. 
We parked the car and made our way to the main lodge to check-in. The mostly original furnishings, family heirlooms and redwood panelling set a perfect atmosphere and truly accentuate the history associated with Glendorn. And what a history it has! The property was purchased by C.G. Dorn in 1927 as a family retreat. In 1995, the Dorn family made the decision to share their family getaway with others and opened the doors of Glendorn to the public. When the estate came up for auction in 1995, Cliff Forest and his family jumped at the opportunity and set out to preserve the property's history and natural beauty.
While checking-in, Kyle and I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie Schafer, director of Hotel Operations and Marketing. Stephanie was exceptionally helpful and provided us with fantastic tales of the property as we walked the short distance to our guest cabin.
The property has a total of 12 cabins, all secluded in the surrounding woodlands. John's Cabin is a larger cabin, featuring a small kitchen, a living room with wood-burning fireplace, an outdoor porch with a sleeping swing that overlooks Skipper Lake. John's Cabin sleeps up to eight people and each bedroom has its own private bathroom. Each cabin also features an outdoor fire-ring with teak furniture, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful scenic Pennsylvania mountain scenery.
In addition to guest cabins, Glendorn offers guests the opportunity to stay in a suite or room in the Big House. All accommodations, including the guest houses, are furnished with fine linens, towels and Aveda bath products. 
After a wonderful night's sleep, we woke rested and ready for the day ahead. Our first planned activity was fly fishing, with the knowledgeable Damon Newpher, sports director at Glendorn. With 1,500 acres, Glendorn is home to Fuller Brook, a crystal clear, spring-fed stream full of native brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout. Glendorn is ideal for the world's most experienced and most novice of fly-fishers.
Being relative beginners ourselves, Kyle and I spent the morning under the astute tutelage of one of Glendorn's fishing guides. We ended up catching, and releasing, a handful of fish between us and having a wonderful experience in the process.
Once we were done with fly fishing, we headed to the dining room for some lunch. The kitchen offers a menu inspired by classical French techniques and infused with regional favourites and fresh local ingredients. The gardens at Glendorn are often the source of many of the fresh flavours that adorn the dishes in the dining room.
Lunches at Glendorn are a choice of light fare or a picnic lunch. The wonderful staff will pack a backpack lunch, if you choose to explore the property instead of eating in the dining room of the Big House. In the summer, lunch can be served by the poolside, on the
terrace or in the airy sunroom.
After a satisfying and delicious lunch, we once again made our way outside to do some skeet shooting. Trap and skeet shooting is a Dorn family tradition. The sport was so important to the family, that a padded telephone booth was installed in the trap house so that family members could conduct business while on the shooting range. The trap house is fully equipped with a restroom, fireplace, built-in-grill, redwood gun rack and a gun cleaning station, ideal if you are there to shoot or just watch your friends or family.
Kyle and I spend the entire afternoon shooting and, although we are experienced in the sport, all levels are welcome to participate, even if you have never held a gun before.
Once we were finished with shooting, we went back to our cabin to freshen up and then headed to the Great Room of the Big House for dinner. Glendorn's state-of-the-art kitchen is run by a superb team of culinary experts, led by Executive Chef Joe Schafer. Originally from upstate New York, Joe joined the Glendorn team in 2008. His food is heavily influenced by classical French techniques, while focusing on seasonal ingredients and local products. The Great Hall is the perfect setting for dinner and a sociable cocktail hour. Four-course meals are paired with a perfectly-chosen wine and the hall is serenaded by a pianist playing romantic music.
After a busy day and a fantastic dinner, we made our way back to our cabin and turned in early. The following morning we were up early and, after a breakfast of farm fresh eggs, sausages and fresh squeezed orange juice, we headed to Spring Creek preserve for an entire day hunting upland bird. A wide variety of hunts are available at Glendorn, including wild grouse, wild woodcock, chukar, pheasant and wild turkey. On this particular day, we went in search of pheasant. Pheasant shooting at Glendorn is an experience unto itself. Each guide has his own dog that is perfectly trained for the conditions. This was the first time Kyle had been on a pheasant hunt and our knowledgeable guide made the experience accessible for all levels of experience. For those who enjoy pheasant, the chef will be happy to prepare it for your evening meal.
We arrived back at the cabin just after lunchtime and still had plenty of time left in the day to tour the local Zippo factory and receive some treatments at the spa with spa director Jennifer Herzog. Kyle had never had a pedicure so I treated him.
When our weekend came to an end, we were truly sad to leave. Our trip took place in the late fall, but the lodge is open year-round with many people enjoying the miles of hiking trails in the shade of blue spruce, hemlock, and black
cherry. The lodge supplies a trail guide to the local trees, shrubs, club mosses, and ferns.  Summer activities also include tennis, biking, or relaxing by the 60-foot outdoor swimming pool. Guests can also enjoy berry picking and after-dinner bonfires, with s'mores. In the winter, guests enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, or just relaxing by the fire with a good book. The staff at Glendorn is dedicated to preserving the spirit of a vibrant family,
making visitors feel as though they are truly coming home. My only regret is that we did not stay longer.

Bart Card is a food and travel writer. 
(905) 251-1258 or

The Lodge at Glendorn


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