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The new Lodge to open its doors Friday

October 15, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - The gates at The Lodge at Blue Ridge Summit open today from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. so area residents can get a look at how the new owners are converting what was the Grove Training Center into an upscale lodge, spa, resort and major center for corporate and social events.

The 67-acre property at the end of Stahley Road has been empty since Grove Worldwide shut down its training center there in October 2000.

The six-building complex was bought four months ago by Frances Lynch and her son, Mark Lynch, both of Frederick, Md., for $2.2 million.

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The Lynches have experience in the event and resort business. They own the Lynfield Event Complex in Frederick, site of the annual Frederick Memorial Hospital Auxiliary's Snow Ball fund-raiser, corporate meetings, weddings and social events. Frances Lynch organizes the annual Maryland Christmas Show at the Frederick Fairgrounds, which she said draws 35,000 patrons.

Grove, which manufactures cranes in its Shady Grove, Pa., plant, opened the training and customer service complex in 1981 for crane customers and their employees, said Mike Mahr of Waynesboro, executive chef at the center until it closed.

Grove also used the facility to introduce new crane models. One building is large enough to accommodate cranes for training purposes.

The center provided an upscale setting to offer the best in service to customers, Mahr said.

"It was geared around entertainment. It was the cutting edge of its time," he said.

Grove guests enjoyed the tennis court, swimming pool and skeet and trap shooting range plus two elegant dining rooms and 23 guest rooms in the main lodge, stone Manor House and smaller cottage.

Mahr said Grove had about a dozen employees at the center.

Mark Lynch said the main lodge with its two dining rooms, huge kitchen and 12 guest rooms covers about 20,000 square feet. The Manor House spreads over 6,000 square feet, he said.

He said Grove maintained the buildings and grounds in the three years they were vacant.

"All we had to do was some serious cleaning," he said.

Three employees who worked for Grove at the center have been hired by the Lynches.

A classroom building used by Grove will be used for similar purposes by the Lynches.

M.L. Carroll-Tilden is the head chef. She said her kitchen staff will number about 10 and the wait staff could include as many as 60 during busy times.

Carroll-Tilden said she plans to open a cooking school on the premises. The resort also will offer an exercise room staffed by a personal trainer, a massage therapist and a golf driving range.

Dinner for two will range from $80 to $140 and will include several courses, Mark Lynch said.

A weekend at the Manor House, which has its own staff, can range from $3,000 to $4,500, depending on the number of guests and level of service desired, he said.

Mark Lynch said several corporations have booked dates for training sessions and several people have scheduled weddings.

"We hope to be going full-bore early next year," he said.

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