Purity Spring Resort celebrates 100 years, looking for another 100 to follow
|A most recent photo of the Hoyt family. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)|
May 26, 2011Celebrating 100 years of serving up hospitality, Bob Hoyt, fourth generation and Steve Hoyt, fifth generation, uncle and nephew, tell the story and their plans for the celebration.
"This is our fourth generation in lodging," says Steven Hoyt, lodging manager. His grandfather's father, Edward, Jr., began taking in lodgers in the early 1900s but the Hoyt family didn't begin as lodge keepers.
Edward Hoyt, Sr., the first generation of Hoyts, was an auctioneer from New York, says Steven. In the 1800s, he purchased a farmhouse near the original lumber mill owned by Nicholas and Martha Blaisdell. Edward ,Sr.'s wife Mercy Hood was sister to Martha Blaisdell. The mill is now the fitness center on the resort's property, which spans over 1,000 acres.
Purity Lake is a natural spring fed lake, Hoyt senior discovered how good the water tasted and being of entrepreneurial spirit he bottled the water and shipped to New York and Boston. "The water was so good, Hoyt, Sr. won a medallion for the purity of his water at the 1892 World's Fair. "People thought spring water cured everything, back then," says Steven.
The water business ran dry when the family ran into shipping problems. "Due to shipping costs and the breakage of the five gallon glass containers, the water business stopped," says Bob Hoyt. Steven says his great Aunt Ellen, [Edward, Jr.'s daughter] told water transportation stories of the arduous travel by ox and cart over hilly, bumpy roads to the nearest railroad tracks in Silver Lake. Many of the water jugs didn't survive the journey.
Competition played a factor in the water business' demise. There was another water company in Poland, Maine. This company was fortunate to have railroad tracks come right to their loading dock.
In 1900 Purity Spring Bottling Company closed its doors. By this time Edward, Sr. had managed to buy up much of the lakeside properties, consisting of the mill, the bottling company and a number of farms. When he passed away in 1903, Edward, Jr. had taken over the reigns. Times were hard and money tight. "It wasn't uncommon for someone to knock on the door of a farmhouse asking if they could split a cord of wood for a place to stay and a hot breakfast," says Steven. The Hoyts had the rooms and began taking in guests, eventually to offer hiking, croquet, archery, dances, swimming, carriage rides and meals.
It was 1911, the property, then called Purity Spring Farms, enticed visitors to enjoy the unspoiled and pristine surroundings. There were good times, bad times, and some offers to buy the land. The Hoyts refused. They insisted the land stay in the family and stuck by their commitment to land preservation.
In 1989 Ellen Hoyt, the last of the third generation, willed 168 acres to be protected by New Hampshire Audubon Society. It was named in honor of her parents: The N.H. Audubon Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary.
Now some one hundred years later the Hoyts invite their guests to enjoy the same. You see they have kept the promise to keep the land undeveloped. "We have a personal bond with ourselves. We do not want lake development. Guests come here for the beauty. They keep coming back for the pristine nature of the place," says Steven.
Bob Hoyt tells another reason why guests keep coming back.
"Customer service," he says. "And at least keeping up with guests' requests," he adds. Years ago it used to be the hot button was telephone service, now it is Wi-Fi and Internet service says Bob.
There's one other thing, too. "The biggest plus is that we are a destination resort. Everything is here, you don't have to leave if you don't want to," says Bob. The resort offers, meals, outdoor activities both winter and summer, including lake swimming, indoor swimming and hot tub, fitness center, sailing, fishing, kayaking and canoeing, water skiing, guided tours, mountain biking and hiking. In winter sports, there is alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, ice skating, and snow tubing. "Talking as a parent there is a no hassle factor by having your meals, entertainment and recreation here. You still can go to Story Land, if you want too," he adds.
Though there is very little development on the property, the family has expanded their business in other ways. The camp tradition is carried on with Camp Tohkomeupog, started by Milton Hoyt in 1932. "We [the camp] are going strong, better than last year. This is the first year we have one hundred percent return on our staff. We have a strong foothold on the New England camping community. This is a wonderful opportunity for youth to learn about the outdoors, sports and swimming," says Steven.
In 2000 the Hoyts opened Danforth Bay and Camping RV Resort, expanded to include The Bluffs RV Resort for campers 55 and over.
And then there is the food.
Guests can enjoy the American meal plan in the summer and modified American meal plan in the fall. The public can also enjoy Traditions Restaurant, which serves up cuisine by Chef Trevor Tasker, and is now open to the public, Wednesday through Sunday. Thursday evenings boasts the possibly longest running lobster and steak bake in New England only to see guests sport their dye tie T-shirts. The breakfast cookouts are another New England tradition. "We serve bacon eggs, and coffee cakes. It is all outdoors and you may even have a loon join you for breakfast," says Bob. Reservations are required for both.
To celebrate 100 years of hospitality, which began in 1911, festivities will commence at the resort on June 3 through June 5. Steven explains there will be period clothing to show what it was like in 1911. On Sunday, June 5 there will be a centennial luncheon. Including honored guests Jeb Bradley, the Chamber of Commerce, the press and of course the family.
The oldest Hoyt is 70 years of age and the youngest is just barely two months. There will be a ribbon cutting on Sunday. "We will be cutting the ribbon for the next 100 years and the next generation. You know, there are 12 young members of the sixth generation," says Bob.
For more information visit: www.purityspring.com
To make a reservation at Traditions Restaurant, call 367-4030.
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