The history of the Gale River Motel harkens back to the mid-1930’s. Arthur & Bertha Streeter built ten “camps” on the property known as Streeter Farm. Camps in the 1930’s were the destination of blue-collar Americans with the cottages providing sleeping quarters and cooking facilities for working families as a cost effective vacation alternative. While a bit more costly than campgrounds; cottages offered the comforts of home and protection from the elements during inclement weather. Tourists of wealth and prominence opted for the grand hotels of the day. Motels and hotels that are common today, had not yet come into existence.
Following World War II, the expansion of the interstate highway system and America’s love affair with the automobile brought about demand for convenient and accessible lodging. As highways were built, people were able to travel longer distances more easily. During these journeys, travelers found it difficult finding lodging in country settings, as hotels of the day were primarily located in urban centers. In response, small family operated motels located near the highways, began appearing providing affordable lodging and parking at your doorstep. The word “Motel” comes from combining two words, “motorist” and “hotel”.
During the 50’s and 60’s, motels continued to evolve offering shuffleboard courts, swimming pools, color television, fitness equipment, BBQ & picnic areas, playgrounds and other amenities to attract the vacationing travelers with on-site activities appealing to many age groups.
In 1957, Stanley and Helen Rowin purchased the Streeter’s Camp, renaming it “Rowins Cottages & Guest House”. In 1961, the Rowins constructed the motel and in-ground pool. Over time, the Rowins sold off all but one of the original Streeter “camps”. The Pinewood Cottage is the only remaining cottage from the 1930’s. Upon the sale of the motel in 1982, Rowin’s Motel was renamed The Gale River Motel, taking the name from the Gale River which flows across the road from the motel.
Kevin Johnson, his two children, and the family canine (Buddy) have been welcoming guests to the Gale River Motel since 2002.
With a focus on sustainable lodging, Kevin has upgraded and renovated the motel over the course of the past ten years, earning recognition by the New Hampshire Sustainable Lodging & Restaurant Program as an Environmental Champion and in 2016 was recognized by TripAdvisor.com as a “Platinum Level” Green Leader. One of the first motel’s to install a solar hot-water system, guest hot water during the summer months is almost exclusively heated by the sun. In 2016, the addition of photo-voltaic solar panels resulted in 100% of the motel’s electricity being generated by the sun.
Yankee Magazine awarded the Gale River Motel the 2010 Best of New England (Best Bargain) and Yankee Magazines 2010 Reader’s Choice Poll named the Gale River Motel as the Best Family Motel and Best Small Motel in the survey. Since 2012, TripAdvisor, has annually awarded the Gale River Motel a Certificate of Excellence for overall customer service. Ranked #1 in Franconia on TripAdvisor.com, the Gale River Motel continues its commitment to family-friendly, affordable, quality, lodging for all guests.