128 DESIGN NEW ENGLAND SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017
CHECK-IN WITH NATURE
Tourists, 915 State
Road, North Adams, MA;
Photographed by DOUGLAS MASON
TOURISTS, SET TO OPEN SPRING 2018, bills itself as a nature-focused hotel. Set on 55 wooded acres on Route 2, a.k.a. the
Mohawk Trail, in North Adams, Massachusetts, the property
evokes a motor-court feel. The building complex acts as what
project architect Henry Scollard of HANK in Cambridge,
Massachusetts, describes as a wall between the bustling roadway
and the serene outdoors. The property includes a new suspension
footbridge ;;;;;;;;;; on which hikers can cross the Hoosic
River to reach a leg of the Appalachian Trail, an 1813 farmhouse,
and the Blackinton Mill, where cloth for Civil War uniforms was
At the heart of the project is the former Redwood Motel, built
in 1962 as motor court. A ranch house of the same vintage, once
home to a family that ran the Redwood as well as the original office
and check-in, was renovated as a lodge, and 48 new rooms were
built around it.
“It’s more of an adventure motel than a resort,” Scollard says.
Each room offers views of the forest from a 6-by-6-foot window, a
private deck with an outdoor shower, and a heated concrete floor
in the bathroom.
“There’s just an enormous energy in this area right now,” says
Ben Svenson, managing partner at Broder, a Boston-based real
estate developer. He worked with Broder managing partners Eric
Svenson (his brother) and Dana Nielsen on the project, as well
as with the team at The Beyond Place, which owns the property.
“There’s some hope that in this place of economic disruption,
creativity can breathe life into the economy.”
Tourists is expected to attract patrons of Mass MoCA, an
innovative contemporary art museum also in North Adams, and
the Clark Art Institute in nearby Williamstown, Massachusetts.
The Blackinton Mill space is currently leased to the Williamstown
The name of the project, which began more than two years ago
with just 3 acres, is a salute to the ubiquitous “Tourists Welcome”
signs that once dotted the Mohawk Trail (and still do). That
message remains clear. ; ;;;;;; ;;;;;;;;