Savage River Lodge History

Lodge History

The Savage River Lodge is named after the Savage River State Forest which is of course named after the Savage River. But where did the name “Savage” start? It’s a good question. It’s not because there are savage beasts or a savage way of life out here. It comes from a man named John Savage, as the folklore goes, John Savage was a surveyor. He was part of one of the first survey teams to survey this area. The survey team lost their way and started to run out of supplies. Eventually all of their food was gone. John, seeing the others were going hungry, felt he was a hindrance being the oldest of the group and offered himself to be eaten. Just when the surveyors were about to turn to cannibalism, another survey team with fresh supplies arrived. It was decided that the river would be named after John Savage for his willingness to sacrifice himself for the others.

The second version is that John Savage was selected by the group of surveyors to be the fare for the table because he was the oldest and most worthless member of the party. Again, luckily for John, the other survey group arrived with fresh supplies. The other men of the survey party felt so bad for getting ready to sacrifice a member of their party, they decided it would be fitting to name the river after the man they targeted for the knife.

Of course there is more to our history than just our name. This story happens in the not too distant past and begins with a meeting. Fate some would say. Perhaps the same fate that kept John Savage safe, who’s to say? It brought two people together that would see that all people needed some time to enjoy nature. Mike and Jan met in 1989 at a conference at the University of Chicago. It was the beginning of a love story. They met on the last day on the last shuttle bus back to the hotel. From then on the two kept in touch and their relationship grew long distance from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Hagerstown, Maryland. As their relationship grew so did their ideas. They created a management development program, Nature of Business, founded on what nature can teach us personally and organizationally. As they explored to find the perfect venue for this philosophy they found great nature locations and great accommodations, but not one place that had both. Finally, the conversation began. “Why don’t we just build it ourselves?”

With that simple question began the building of a dream. Granted, it was not always a perfect process, but here you are, relaxing, dining, and enjoying yourself in the dream of two love struck people who share a love for nature.

We hope you enjoy.

Lodge Facts



The cabins are made of white pine.

The Lodge is made of spruce and fir.

The conifers of the forest are mainly Red Spruce.

Bodhi was born on March 8, 1995. He lived a charmed life to the ripe old dog age of 13 years.

The Savage River Lodge private property is situated on 45 acres of land which is surrounded by about 750 acres of the Savage River State Forest.

It takes 30-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup

Kokopelli and Karma were born January30, 2010.

Purchased property from the Cutter/Green Family ___ 1990
Construction of the Road and Bridge begins ___ 1998
Bridge Dedicated ___  
Construction of the cabins begins ___  
Construction of the Lodge begins ___ 1999
Construction of the Savage River Lodge is completed ___  
First Guests check in to the Savage River Lodge ___  
Wine Spectator gives its blessing to the Lodge wine list ___ 2003
The Bodhi Calendar series is launched ___ 2004
The Lodge is honored by Conde Nast Johansens ___  
Featured article in Southern Living ___ 2005
The Lodge receives recognition from Wine Enthusiast ___  
The first batch of SRL Maple Syrup was processed ___ 2006
Bodhi: The All American Lodge Dog book is released ___ 2007
Our beloved Bodhi the Lodge Dog passed away ___ 2008
Biodiesel production begins ___  
Maryland Small Business Award recipient ___ 2009
KoKo and Karma join the Lodge family ___ 2010
Select Registry Member ___  
325 solar panels installed ___ 2011
Maryland Department of Tourism, Green/Sustainable award recipient ___  
Savage River Lodge
1600 Mt. Aetna Road
Frostburg, MD 21532
Phone:   301-689-3200
Fax:       301-689-2746
Lodging & activities     info@savageriverlodge.com
Meetings / Events         events@savageriverlodge.com
Dining reservations       dining@savageriverlodge.com
Wine Enthusiest Restaurant Award   Wine Spector Award of Excellence 2007   Select Registry