FiNDiT2: How It All Started
GETTYSBURG, PA — Like many places in Gettysburg, The Lodges at Gettysburg has a unique history. What is now a serene, modern event venue with rustic-yet-elegant private lodges was a diamond in the rough — a property previously owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg and used for summer camps and retreats. When these camps and retreats were discontinued, the vast property overlooking the battlefield sat unused until two good friends discovered its potential. It took over a decade after the property purchase to open The Lodges, but persistence and hard work paid off.
Now, The Lodges at Gettysburg is proudly owned by President and Co-Owner Shawn Cassidy along with Co-Owners Terry Harner, Lou Lupin and John Trapani.
Before learning more about the history of The Lodges, check out some before and after photos of the construction below:
Construction: Before and After
Top row: The Lodges before and during construction.
Bottom row: What The Lodges looks like now.
A brief history of The Lodges at Gettysburg
It was 1996 when Cassidy flew cross-country from his native California to visit his close friend Terry Harner in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Harner brought Cassidy to the property, which was for sale at the time, and Cassidy couldn’t believe how spectacular the sweeping views were.
“I made the trip, I looked at it, I loved it, and I said ‘I gotta have it,’” Cassidy said.
While his goal was to make the property into “some type of special retreat,” the transition was not without some hiccups. The property sale closed in 30 days, but — long story short — it took more than a decade to get the building entitlements and another three years to build the lodges.
“Fifteen years for our dream project,” Cassidy said. “And that was just to open the doors. [But] there was a passion to build this thing; we were committed.”
One of Cassidy’s main goals was to ensure the Lodges complemented the surrounding natural beauty and wouldn’t be considered an eyesore by locals. Sitting atop one of the highest ridgelines in Gettysburg, the Lodges overlooks vast hallowed and sacred ground. Throughout the years, Cassidy and his team had to convince Gettysburg residents that the vision for the Lodges was appropriate for the space and would not be an eyesore.
“We wanted to build something the community could be very proud of, that could service companies and organizations throughout the world,” Cassidy said.
Shawn Cassidy — President and Co-Founder
Denise Schultz — General Manager
Denise Schultz has spent the last eight years as the General Manager of The Lodges at Gettysburg and brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the hospitality industry, previously working as the Assistant General Manager for an award-winning hotel in downtown Gettysburg. In addition to overseeing daily operations at the Lodges, Schultz can be found participating in every facet of the business from housekeeping to customer relations.
“Denise is great general manager,” Cassidy said. “She knows every nook and cranny and every detail of this operation. To have someone that grounded to the whole operation… that’s rare.”
Beth Senseney — Director of Events and Catering for The Lodges and the Carriage House Inn
Approximately a decade ago when The Lodges was under construction, the owners would fly in from California and enjoy dinner at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg. Senseney, who at the time only worked for the Carriage House Inn, built up a rapport with Cassidy, Harner, Lupin and Trapani. When The Lodges sought an exclusive caterer for the venue, the Carriage House Inn stepped forward.
Since then, the Carriage House Inn and The Lodges have become a close-knit team. Just like the Lodges, it is a family-owned and operated business. Currently, Senseney serves as the Director of Events and Catering for both The Carriage House Inn and The Lodges.
The Inn, built in 1857, has hosted prominent figures including the Clintons and locally-based bestselling author Nora Roberts.
To experience the unmatched hospitality and special staff that makes The Lodges truly memorable, book your stay now.
Did you miss our first FiNDiT123 about The Lodges? Check out this blog post to learn more about what The Lodges has to offer, and stay tuned on Friday for your chance to win a stay at The Lodges!