Life’s a beach at Black Mountain Lodge

— Black Mountain Lodge has set in motion a renovation plan that will serve up the first area regulation beach volleyball court locally.

Owner, operator, bartender and Gore Mountain youth ski instructor Mark O’Connell plans an inaugural party to kick-off the new recreational opportunity.

On Aug. 6, volleyball enthusiasts are invited to participate in the first annual Black Mountain Beach Volleyball Tournament. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit Hamilton County Community Action. Teams of five or more are asked to donate non-perishable food items or back-to-school supplies. The double elimination style of play will begin at 4 p.m. and end at 8 p.m.

O’Connell who purchased the business in November of 2013, said he believes the work being done in and around the lodge will promote recreational and physical activity opportunities in the area, as well as providing a cosmetic update to the 25 room lodge, bar and pub.

“The curb appeal of this place needed a boost,” said O’Connell, of his business located on the foothills of Gore Mountain. “I thought a lot about what to do to fix that and I think there are so many things one can do to keep themselves busy, I didn’t want to have a place where people just came to sit around and drink at the bar or eat, I wanted a place where people could come and do.”

O’Connell broke ground on the volleyball court in March on the location where he removed the remnants of an old pool that once bordered his busy section of Route 8.

“At one time there were two cedar trees on the front of the property, I was able to use those trees and re purpose the wood into the posts for the volleyball net,” O’Connell said. “What was supposed to be a two week project turned into a much bigger thing.”

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