Entering the sleepy town of Huntsville nestled in the Ogden Valley, is like taking a trip back in time. Traffic is pretty much non-existent. People walking down the street are friendly and welcoming.
In the coming months, a new inn will offer visitors a place to get away from it all and enjoy a taste of Huntsville’s small town charm. Dubbed The Compass Rose Lodge, the new boutique hotel is expected to be up and running next summer, according to owner Jeff Hyde. Hyde and his wife Bonnie also own Huntsville Square, which sits kitty corner to the Compass Rose property.
“We designed the Compass Rose Lodge with strong agricultural design elements to honor Huntsville’s heritage as a farming community,” he said.
Seventeen years ago, Hyde and his wife purchased what was then an abandoned area of historic buildings and revitalized it into a charming tourist stop. Businesses in Huntsville Square include Detours, which rents paddleboards, kayaks and beach cruisers; The Lodge, a wedding and meeting venue; The Blue Coyote Cafe, which serves weekend breakfast; Huntsville Square Barbecue, famous for its slow-smoked, dry-rubbed meats and homestyle side dishes; and The Old Fire Station, a historic enclosed venue that can be rented for weddings, reunions and other functions.
“There’s a lot of history there,” Hyde said of Huntsville Square. “When we bought the property 17 years ago, it was dilapidated and done. Fast forward to now. We’ve really stuck to the heritage of Huntsville. We wanted that small town charm. We didn’t want to come in and commercially develop it to be like Park City or Vail. It has its own essence. We call it the town that time forgot. We took an abandoned area and over 17 years have changed that.”
Huntsville Square pays homage to the water recreation and winter sports that are popular in the area. Old ski lift chairs are set up in the square where visitors can sit and relax. In a couple of different areas, old skis are lined up as decor along the sides of buildings. Paddles adorn the side of the Detours building.
The Compass Rose Lodge has been designed to complement what is already in place in Huntsville Square.
The new 15-bedroom inn will include a unique element in the form of a stargazing observatory that will be housed in the grain silo feature of the hotel’s architecture.
The observatory’s first telescope has been donated by Hyde family friend and Weber State University professor and physicist Dr. John Sohl. According to Hyde, something unique about the telescope is that Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist and cosmologist has peered through it.
The Compass Rose Lodge will also include meeting rooms and an upscale coffee shop that will be named First Lift Coffee.
Hyde is excited for what the new hotel will offer to the Huntsville community and those who come to visit. As he has studied hotels, he’s learned that more and more when people visit a place, they want to experience the town the way the locals do. This is the type of experience the Compass Rose Lodge plans to offer.
“This will really be a one-of-a-kind product,” Hyde says. A lot of people are really excited about it.”