The Lodge gets a lift as COVID wanes

Weddings, family gatherings return to village venue in KLM after a couple tough years

Like so many event venues during the pandemic, The Lodge at Katherine Legge Park had some extremely quiet months the last two years.

But that changed in a big way last October.

“We had the biggest October on record,” said Heather Bereckis, Hinsdale’s superintendent of parks and recreation.

That breakout was due largely to the backlog of wedding celebrations halted by COVID-19, she related.

“We had a lot of people from 2020 that were finally able to schedule for the fall of 2021,” she explained.

June and August weren’t too shabby either, each posting their highest receipts in at least four years, all of which combined to make for a banner year.

“We had $180,000 in revenue, which is our highest year since 2015,” she said.

And the activity has continued into 2022 with nearly all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in May through November booked.

“We actually have the biggest May on record coming up,” Bereckis said.

Chantal Karge, recently hired as manager of The Lodge, said the delight people feel at the freedom to gather again is evident.

“People are so excited to be able to have events again with no COVID restrictions,” she said. “I would say the biggest takeaway is the feeling of happiness and joy that our clients have to be able to have those family gatherings. Many of them have waited a really long time.”

Improvements in recent years to the outdoor patio, the installation of new carpeting and purchase of new chairs have helped restyle the facility for today’s market.

Bereckis said fairy lights hung on the patio invite people to mingle outside, while an upgraded sound system, 80-inch TV and boosted Wi-Fi equip The Lodge with contemporary amenities that have value to business meetings, weddings and memorial services.

“We also revamped our preferred vendor list to include more variety,” Bereckis said. “We’re replacing ductwork during a week this May and will redo the ballroom floor upstairs later this year.

“It’s an old building with a special style, and we’re want to add little modern touches that fit in with the decor,” she added.

The Lodge was built in 1927 and designed by local architectural luminary R. Harold Zook. It sits next to the Zook Home & Studio, which is owned by the Hinsdale Historical Society.

Bereckis said the village and historical society are working together on grant applications that will benefit both facilities as well as other ways to partner.

“We’re working with the society to add the Zook studio into a rental package for cocktail parties, and proceeds would go toward the renovation of the (home and studio),” she said.

Grant funding is needed to make The Lodge ADA compliant, which is officials’ vision.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Bereckis said of that materializing.

Karge said her team already has turned the calendar.

“We’re really booking into 2023 pretty strongly,” she remarked, adding that she hopes in-person business functions start to increase to provide more midweek activity.

And the outdoor option is always available for those who still prefer to socially distance.

“Many more events do opt to have a tented event, like a tented reception in the back in the park,” Karge said.

Even The Lodge’s logo has gotten a facelift, Bereckis noted, which can be found at the website

“We have new marketing social media pages to get new ways of engaging people,” she said. “We’ve been getting so much good feedback from social media and sites like The Just continuing to see that is a win for me.”

Author Bio

Ken Knutson is associate editor of The Hinsdalean