New Hampshire Resort Keeps Ice Harvesting Alive (2/6/2019)

Story by Woodall's Campground Management

Modern refrigerators have little appeal for summer guests at a rustic New Hampshire resort who prefer cooling their bottles of water, soda and beer the old-fashioned way, according to The Laconia Daily Sun

The preparation begins five months ahead of time, when resort staffers and volunteers gather to harvest ice from nearby Squam Lake. The January ritual dates back to 1897, when Rockywold-Deephaven Camps first opened in the town of Holderness, and is practiced for commercial purposes only at a handful of other places in the country.

The group, equipped with chain saws, ice picks and a huge saw on a sled, can harvest 200 tons of ice over several days in a typical winter. They transport the ice to two storage sheds on the campgrounds, where it's kept until the summer. Then, staffers with wheelbarrows provide the ice to resort guests, who place it in an antique icebox — some dating back to the 1930s with oak exteriors and a tin or zinc lining — to keep beverages and snacks cold. Guests are told not to eat the ice, though some old-timers apparently still put a few shards in their cocktails.

"Many of the families have been coming for generations, and people who come here don't like to see much change. They like it to be a simple, quiet place," said John Jurczynski, the co-general manager of Rockywold-Deephaven Camps for the past 29 years and who oversees the ice harvest. A push to bring in electrical refrigerators in the 1960s was rebuffed by guests.

"It's such a neat tradition. People love it," he said.

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