The Sampler at
Lodge on the Mountain
Retreat: “A quiet, private or secure place; a period of seclusion, retirement or solitude.”
There’s a tad bit of the terror of the unknown in any worthwhile journey, and on one’s trip to Lodge on the Mountain, it occurs at the moment one makes the sharp right-handed turn from an ascending T.C. Steele Road onto a sharply descending drive down to the rustic lodge by the lake.
For a second, you can’t see the driveway at all, because your windshield is pointed up. Logic tells you that it’s there, but, in the end, the only thing to do is plunge ahead on faith alone.
Zen masters call it “the unblinking leap into the void,” and it’s the perfect way to begin a Brown County retreat that will leave you rested and reinvigorated for the everyday battles and broadsides of life.
After the driveway, the stunning setting of the lodge and lake begins to immediately calm frayed nerves and put one in a more serene state of mind.
The beds are comfortable and the usual amenities are all included. The best part of it all is simply the quiet, a chance to get away from it all for a couple of days, to revitalize and recharge.
One way the Lodge on the Mountain helps to give that feeling of “getting away from it all” is simple yet effective. There’s no TV.
That’s right, the rooms look like almost any other rental room you might find in a motel or guest house with one exception—the complete and utter lack of video receiving equipment.
So, upon arriving, we dropped our bags and plopped down on the bed to spend a few minutes watching…the wall.
The quiet was eerie. How long had it been since I was somewhere where there was no TV at all? I couldn’t remember.
I never realized just how annoying that idiot box is until I spent a weekend without it. The silence was palpable. It felt good.
Somewhere along the way, I thought of those old lines of Wordsworth:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
The Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It didn’t take Mrs. Sampler and I long to rediscover the simple pleasures of conversation. Before long we were ready to get out for a little walk and see some nature together.
It was beautiful day in Belmont, with blue skies ornamented by fluffy strato-cumulous and wispy cirrus clouds. We took a walk across the dam and up into the woods opposite the lodge.
This quiet world of forest, water, and sky is the landscape you see in a painting by T.C. Steele.
“These are the woods where T.C. Stele walked,” observed my cottage companion.
Just a few hundred yards on up T.C. Steele Road lay the T.C. Steele State Historic Site, where the great man’s studio, household, and his wife Selma’s flower gardens are preserved intact for all generations to enjoy. The site is a tribute to the famous plein-air impressionist painter of the “Hoosier Group,” and his love for the ever-changing Brown County landscape.
It was his second wife Selma who struck the deal with the state of Indiana, after Theodore had passed on, and stipulated that the “House of the Singing Winds” and Steele’s studio must remain as it was.
Walking along arm in arm with my own wife on a day worthy of one of his canvasses, we imagine we can almost see them, T.C. and Selma, walking arm in arm up on the ridge.
Later, we sit on a bench on the spacious deck overlooking the lake. I can see how it might be perfect as you sip a cup of hot coffee, relaxing in the quiet of the morning, as the “blue haze” drifts lazily across the lake.
We stayed in the room called “Fisherman’s Dream.” It’s not hard to see how it got its name. About 150 steps away is the beautiful private eight-acre lake, stocked with bass, bream, perch, and catfish.
I could picture myself, rising at first light, slipping out to the spacious deck where my rod and reel would be patiently awaiting the dawn. A few nightcrawlers, a thermos of coffee, the sun rising over the ridge; could make for a great morning whether the fish are biting or not.
Or, if you’d like, you can bring your own boat. There’s plenty of parking at Lodge on the Mountain. The Crooked Creek boat launch on Lake Monroe can be accessed if you follow T.C. Steele Road down to the water.
We could all use a little peace and quiet every now and then—a getaway to someplace so serene and beautiful it refreshes our spirits.
You should try it! You can make reservations for Lodge on the Mountain by calling