Ornée Lodge was built (1913) by Ida Knight Hope to be an appendage and eventual guest house to the Murdock place immediately to the west. Her idea—seen in the leaded windows, bays and overall shape—was to imitate an English cottage. The two bedroom one bath cottage sits by a brook in Hill, in the Lakes Region of NH, and has about three acres of field, mountain view, and hundreds of acres of woods.
The brook feeds the Smith River, which runs between Danbury and Bristol, and the descent through the woods to the Smith is a pleasant hike. The river is stocked with salmon and trout, while native brook trout arrive through many tributaries. The paved road in front of the Lodge has very moderate traffic, in the morning and late afternoon only. It stretches between a handful of old houses—some of them farms abandoned after the Civil War—and has been designated a scenic route.
From almost its earliest years the Lodge has been a literary retreat. What we now know as American Studies was sketched out there by Kenneth Murdock, the Puritan scholar and co-editor of The Notebooks of Henry James, his colleague Perry Miller (Errand Into The Wilderness and many others) and Bernard DeVoto (Pulitzer for Across TheWide Missouri, National Book Award for The Course of Empire, and twenty years as author of The Easy Chair column in Harper’s Magazine). [This is not to lessen the importance, in this field, of their Harvard colleagues Samuel Eliot Morison, F.O. Matthiessen, and Arthur Schlesinger nor of several others outside that group.] Referring to this period, and introducing his The Year of Decision:1846, DeVoto says, “To Perry Miller, Kenneth Murdock [and three others]: thanks, this is in part your book, and you will see in it a part I was to build of a structure we planned together as a common job, a long time ago when I was a colleague of yours.”
Perry Miller was, for a time, an owner. Ms. Hope’s nephew, Harold Murdock (The Reconstruction of Europe and others) lived next door. The philosopher Cameron Thompson (Philosophy and Literature) was also an owner. Dorothy Baker wrote Young Man With a Horn (the Bix Beiderbecke biography, later the Kirk Douglas and Lauren Bacall film) at the Lodge. While it is not known if Grace Metalious (Peyton Place) visited from nearby Gilmanton, a drinking companion of hers was a summer renter for many years. The present ownership is connected to Ezra (the translation journal) and The Ezra Fund, and recent writers in residence have included distinguished poet Peter Gizzi (In Defense of Nothing: Selected Poems, 1987-2011), Dominique Townsend, Shantideva: How To Wake Up a Hero, poet and translator Eric Sellin, The Dramatic Concepts of Antonin Artaud and many others, and Memphis blues musician “Free” Morrison.
The next house to the east was inhabited for a few years by James B. Conant (Slums and Suburbs), the Harvard president, Manhattan Commission member and ambassador to Germany. Just past that house is an old orchard and two dirt roads with very long histories. Opposite the Lodge is a disused cemetery more than 200 years old.
Residencies are available to writers, mostly subsidized by The Ezra Fund (cost to writers is $100 per week). This is not a colony but a solitary residence. The open periods are from June 1 to August 1 and for about a month after Labor Day. Applications for the competitive process must be received by May 15. Simply email a c.v., a means of contact, and a description of a writing project (preference given to translations) to the Ezra editors, or hard copy to: Peter Thompson, Global Heritage Hall, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI 02809.
Writers may apply for any number of weeks from two to four. Thus there can always be more than one awardee each summer. While the interest and merit of the project will be the normal basis for competition, at times the length of stay will be a factor. A challenging project combined with a request for a four week stay would be strongly competitive. Applicants will indicate their preferred weeks, and this may later be adjusted by agreement among all winners. Payment (the nominal $100 for utilities, cleaning, yard work etc.) will have to be in advance. This indemnifies Ezra, as the competition cannot be restarted if a winner greatly changes plans.
Winners may visit the house before accepting terms. Information about amenities is available at any time.