The Story of Pinewood
Pinewood Lodge Campground has been family owned and operated since 1952, but our story started many, many years before that.
The Saunders Family and the land of Pinewood are rooted in the history of Plymouth, Massachusetts. As we approach the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage and the founding of Plymouth Colony, we pause to remember the rich history of the land we know as Pinewood Lodge Campground.
The forest we are proud to call Pinewood was originally milled for the construction of colonial homes and for heat (firewood) in the 1700s. After the forest was clear, the land became known as “Fresh Meadow”, and the lake we know as Pinewood Lake was named “Fresh Meadow Lake”. Cattle and sheep grazed in the meadow, and the Cole Family, the ancestors of the Saunders family, used the fertile land for farming. It is suspected that Joshua Cole (1768-1851) and his family used the land and lived nearby. His son, Alfred Cole (1801-1866) was a farmer who grew melons, strawberries and vegetables to stock his fruit and vegetable stand in town. Upon his passing, Alfred Cole left the land to his son, Caleb Harvey Cole, who then passed it to his sister Frances Olivia Cole in the late 1800s. Frances Cole married George W. Freeman in 1855. The land was passed to their son, George Edwin Freeman, who used the 200 acre property as a gunning stand to shelter duck hunters for many years.
As the forest grew, so did the family. Two generations later, Albert Freeman Saunders (the son of Louise Otis Freeman and Albert Ames Saunders) inherited the land from his grandfather, George Edwin Freeman. Albert Freeman Saunders and his wife, Corinne Paine Saunders, made Pinewood their summer home. By then, Fresh Meadow was a true forest.
Rolling with the Punches
Destructive hurricanes in 1938 and 1944 caused over 2000 pine trees to fall on the property. In January of 1947, using hand-milled lumber from the knotty pines that fell during the hurricanes, Albert and his father began construction on what is now “The Lodge” – Pinewood Lodge. Although construction was difficult during the tumultuous war years and without water or electricity, the project proved to be extremely fulfilling for the father and son duo.
In 1951 the first function was held at Pinewood Lodge, marking its “Grand Opening”. The success of the first party led to many more, including weddings and wedding receptions. The increasing popularity of the function hall prompted an enlargement of the kitchen and the addition of a cocktail lounge to the Lodge. As the business grew, so too did the Saunders family. Albert and Connie welcomed two children, Albert Edward Saunders and Jean Louise Saunders. Another hurricane in 1956 resulted in severe damage to the camp. As a result of the damage, Al decided to enlarge and winterize the Lake House to make it a permanent home for the Saunders Family.
Setting Up Camp
In 1960 Albert Ames Saunders passed away. Activities slowed at the function hall and the family considered plans to open a campground. In July of 1962 those plans became a reality as Pinewood Lodge Campground welcomed its first campers to its original 9 campsites. During the winter of 1962 more land was cleared and Pinewood opened its second season with 17 available campsites.
In January 1963 Albert Edward Saunders wed Linda Crocker. They welcomed three sons, Albert Robert Saunders (Jack), James Edward Saunders, and Jeffrey Crocker Saunders. While both held outside jobs, Al as a New England Telephone Company manager and Linda as an elementary school teacher, they remained involved in the growing family business.
In 1982 Al Sr. and Connie made the decision to retire and do a little camping themselves. Al and Linda then took over full operation of the campground. In 1986 Jim Saunders graduated from college and made Pinewood his career. After 1989, Jack and Jeff also moved their families to Pinewood to share in the hard work and good times of running a campground. As the years passed, Al and Linda became the proud grandparents of James, Meghan, Brian, Jessica, Christina, Mary, Ashley, and Albert the 6th, thus commencing the 5th generation at Pinewood. As the years passed the family continued to develop the campground, adding three full service restrooms and campsites with available electricity, water, and sewage hookups. These continuing projects brought the campground to its present-day capacity of over 300 sites.
Today, Jack, Jim and Jeff operate the campground and manage day to day activities with their wives Jody, Kim and Shirley and their families. Al and Linda remain involved in the operation and are often seen around the grounds lending a hand. Jean Saunders now resides in Maine.
The Saunders family continues to grow. Meghan Saunders married Robert Block in 2011. They have two young children, William and Benjamin – the 6th generation to enjoy Pinewood. James Saunders married Amy Dearborn in 2014 and his brother Brian Saunders married Nicole Salvaggio in 2015.
All 8 of Al and Linda’s grandchildren have worked at Pinewood, assisting in the office, store, restaurant and with maintenance. Many are still involved with daily operations and return to help with the family business as needed. The business continues to grow and updates are always being made to better serve the campers who visit the park.
From Our Family to Yours
Pinewood boasts over 200 years of rich family history and the operation of several small family businesses – from the years of farming Fresh Meadow, to the construction of the Lodge done by hand and with lumber directly from Pinewood, to the development of today’s Pinewood Lodge Campground by Albert Edward Saunders, his three sons, and their families too.
As the years flash by, the tall slender pines continue to tilt their boughs to thousands and thousands of people who have and will enjoy Pinewood. The Saunders family says the reward from their hard work comes in sharing their place, meeting wonderful people, and making lasting friendships.
So, if you have a notion to camp and share a smile, join us here in the “Land of Pinewood” where friendships glow as warm as the campfires.