Our Family History in the Jemez Mountains
In 1970, Terry and Garth’s mother and step-father, Joan and Ray Dolk fell in love with the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. In order to have a place to stay on weekends, they bought a one-acre parcel in La Cueva and put a small trailer on it. Two adjacent acres were purchased at a later date.
In 1974 Joan and Ray moved to Jemez Springs permanently when they purchased the Amber Light Motel in downtown Jemez Springs and renamed it “Dolk’s Amber Lodge”. They also purchased the Los Ojos, the old bar across the street, later adding a kitchen and renaming it Los Ojos Saloon and Restaurant where they created the popular “Famous Jemez Burger”. Business flourished, but in 1983, Ray passed away and Joan semi-retired. She sold both businesses and moved to Rio Rancho.
In 1989, Joan, Terry and his twins went camping on the three-acre lot in La Cueva. As they sat in front of the fire, Terry asked Joan: “Why don’t we do something with this land?“
They came up with an idea to build a steak house, picked a floor plan from a log company in Pagosa Springs, ordered the wood and supplies needed for construction and went to work. Shortly after the work began, Garth moved to La Cueva from Arizona to help build the main lodge building. The La Cueva Steakhouse opened for business in 1993 and became a popular destination.
In 1995, a decision was made to turn the building into the Elk Mountain Lodge. The dining area was converted into the Country Lace Room, Joan’s living quarters became the Santa Fe Room, and the Tall Pines Cabin was constructed. Three years later, the Ponderosa and the Royal Aspen Rooms were added.
After Joan passed away in April 2009, Garth and his wife Robin stepped up to help Terry with the lodge. Collectively, they operate as Elk Mountain Lodge, LLC — a family owned and operated business.
Terry says, “I look around and am pleased with the results of all of the hard work that went into building the lodge. I really enjoy talking with our guests at breakfast and when guests come back again and again. It’s like having relatives drop by for a visit.”
We look forward to meeting you and, if you have any questions call 800-815-2859 or use our Contact Us form.
Amazing!! I planned the Royal Aspen room for my girlfriend this Valentines Day and was more than pleased. Terry was a great host and had the room cozy warm for us when we arrived. If you need a romantic get away this is it! – David