Constructed in the 1860s, the Woodchuck Lodge was the summer retreat for naturalist and famed essayist John Burroughs. This rustic building in New York’s Catskill Mountains served as Burroughs’s dwelling for much of his literary career and played host to many celebrities of the time, including Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, and Henry Ford.
Burroughs was born and raised on his family’s homestead in Roxbury, New York. He was a fast learner, and by age 17, he was a schoolteacher at the local schoolhouse. He left the area and with the encouragement of his friend Walt Whitman, went on to become a well-respected writer of essays and works about nature.
In 1910, Burroughs returned to the region and moved into his brother’s house, then abandoned. From then until his death, he spent his summers at Woodchuck Lodge where he wrote such works as “Under the Apple Trees” and “The Summit of the Years.”
Today, the lodge is a National Historic Landmark and museum dedicated to preserving and sharing Burroughs’s legacy and fascination with the wild. In addition to the lodge itself, visitors can take a short hike to see Boyhood Rock, the site of Burroughs’s grave.
Know Before You Go
Free guided tours of Woodchuck Lodge are given on the first weekend of every month from May to October, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The surrounding land and trails are open to the public, but only for nature study and contemplation.