Letter to our friends

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To friends of Pine Grove,

Secret of changeIt is hard to believe that it has been less than a year since my wife, Noah, and I first set foot onto Pine Grove. At that time, the place looked different than it does today. There were decades worth of garbage and decay scattered throughout, with remnants from people coming onto the property to scavenge and party. When I first visited on May 1, 2012, I likened it to a patient in the ICU on life support. Was Pine Grove going to survive? This was disorienting, because part of what called me here was the description of Pine Grove as “A place of the heart.” For the first few hours I was here, the heart was no where to be found. To be honest, given the state of the property, it looked like nobody cared. As we drove away, I was saddened by what I had seen.

But as fate would have it, I soon realized that I had lost my sunglasses while walking the property and turned around to come back to find them. Soon after returning that day to find my glasses, we encountered the caretaker, Ben Murphy. He not only filled us in on many crucial details relating to the property (that the realtor failed to tell us) but he also very clearly showed us the heart of Pine Grove. Even then I knew that Ben could be a great ally in the effort to take care of this magnificent place and that our mutual fondness for Pine Grove would always give us a place to connect.

Two weeks later, Noah and I agreed to make Pine Grove our home and committed to do our best as stewards and caretakers of this land. We have since been joined by our friends, Kurt Morella and Brooke Clemens, as partners in this endeavor.

This is a big undertaking for us. To date, we have removed over 200 cubic yards of garbage and debris. We began rehabilitation of the cabins last August starting with the one in the worst shape. It is now the best. We are doing extensive work in the pool and grill area. We have raked literally tons of leaves. I have picked up thousands of pieces of broken glass. And that is just a start. There is much clean up that remains to be done.

One thing that was obvious to me from the beginning is that Pine Grove shines up real good. The depth of the beauty here is tremendous. With every leaf that gets raked and every boulder that gets revealed, the Grove offers up an abundance of breath taking opportunities.

Some of us say we “don’t like change”. That is curious to me because what that really means is hard to put your finger on, given that every thing, in every moment, is changing. Life is change. Pine Grove has changed in many ways over the years. I am told there used to be a rideable train. Not that long ago the property that constitutes Pine Grove was over 400 acres. As it currently exists, it is under 40. The timber sales that once made a significant financial contribution are a thing of the past.

We need your support and cooperation. Many of you have so graciously sent good wishes our way and offered to assist us. There is one thing that all of you could do that would make such a big difference in our efforts. Every time you visit here, leave it in better shape than you find it.

How great would it be if everyone that visited here tread lightly and picked up after themselves? This would allow our work efforts to be concentrated on improvements as opposed to maintenance and it would enhance all guests’ experience here by creating less dust, less noise, less garbage, no dog poo to step in and better roads.

In that regard, we intend to limit vehicular traffic on the property. Please use our ample free parking lot and walk or bike to get around. Enjoy your food and beverages from home at either of our picnic areas, but please do not bring any outside food or drink into the pool enclosure. That means that no alcohol will be allowed in the pool. Walk your dog on leash and pick up after them. Be respectful of our quiet hours- 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.. Don’t litter ( yes, a cigarette butt is garbage) and encourage others to do the same. Please obey all signage. Certain areas in the interior of the property will be closed and under repair. Please do not deface or graffiti any Pine Grove property.

We love Pine Grove and know that many of you do as well. We hope that you can see this reflected in our work here and our offerings to you. Join us in re-creating Pine Grove as an awesome family destination for recreation and relaxation.

Joe Schneider


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