Saturday, June 30, 2012

The End of the Beginning

Well the Fourth Of July holiday is almost here.  That means we're coming to the end of our spring sprint to get the whole place in shape for the summer season. It's been quite a ride to get to where we are at the half year point.  Our management team and staff have done a great job in steering this ship and keeping things on course.  Especially our lodge manager Pat Connor, our chef Andrew Bulmer and our  food and beverage manager Jeff Goodspeed, have done an exceptional job of planning and executing on the myriad tasks that have been assigned to them.  Here's a list of some of the things we've accomplished to that end, in no special order:

  • Built a screen porch next to the pub
  • Cleaned up the woods around the Lodge, thinned trees, cut underbrush and cleared the view of the lake.
  • Created and printed a summer season brochure.
  • Set up marketing and advertising programs for the summer.
  • Planned and mapped out summer programs and strategies - The Mild To Wild Adventure Center, Mountain Biking, Boating, Beach, Hiking, etc...
  • Implemented procedures for bike rentals and boat usage for guests.
  • Hired staff for summer - interns, full-time, part-time.  Trained wait staff, front-desk staff and housekeeping staff.
  • Created new menus for summer.
  • Put in flowers and bulbs, window boxes, planters, garden beds etc...
  • Got the lawns cleaned up and in shape.
  • Fixed up the machinery for mowing grass and trails.
  • Cleared the trails of brush, rocks and leaves.
  • Cut the grass on trails used the leaf blower on the single track trails
  • Mapped out, surveyed and implemented a shooting range for ski biathlons to be held over the winter.
  • Initiated marketing and advertising efforts to increase guest occupancy.
  • Hired maintenance staff to fix various infrastructure problems - electrical, plumbing, doors and locks, windows, roofs, refrigeration, etc...
  • Painted most of the trim around the Log House
  • Had new Tee Shirts and Hats made with the Garnet Hill Lodge logo on them to start stocking the gift shop with.

So that's what we've done so far, but there's still the whole summer to get a lot more done.

And now we're ready for the guests to arrive and enjoy the summer here.  Bookings have been good, and though there are still numerous openings to accommodate more guests, we expect the Lodge to fill out nicely.

And so today, Saturday, Mindy and I are taking off to go see Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion live tonight at the music shed at Tanglewood, MA.

Meanwhile, here are some recent pics:

 My family came for a bit of a reunion visit last weekend.  Here, two of my brothers, Carl and Fred, on each side of me and my nephew James on the right.  We took a walk up to Hooper mine before breakfast.

 The Log House with granite boulders now marking the entrance way

 The tractor mowing the little field at the bottom of the hill

 This is the machine I'm using to cut the trails with.  It's a 53 inch sickle bar on front of a walk behind tractor.  It works great.  With two passes it makes a very nice 8 foot wide trail.

 Riding the bike trails

More riding the bike trails

And last, but not least, a fox I encountered while mowing on Hooper Loop down by Old Farm Road.  We visited with each other for about five minutes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Very Eventful Weekend

This weekend has been amazing.  The film crew had just barely been packed up and cleared out with their brand new movie in the can when we had to get everything ready for the Johnsburg Central School Retirement Banquet with 117 in attendance for an evening of great food and entertainment. And we were just about set to start serving 117 dinners when we got the call from Bobby Kennedy's assistant that he and 16 family and friends would like to spend the night at Garnet Hill prior to going on a Hudson River rafting excursion with ARO Rafting in North River.  They arrived at about 11:30 pm just as we were finishing the dishes from the banquet dinner.  On Saturday morning they ate a hearty breakfast and were off for their adventure.  We wish them well.
On Sunday morning we had the North River, North Creek, Johnsburg, Minerva, Pottersville, Raparius and Bakers Mills Fire Departments at the lodge to conduct fire drill exercises in pumping water up the hill should that  be needed for the lodge or other homes in the area.  We had a barbecue for the 40 volunteers after the work was done.
And finally, on Sunday evening, Mindy and I were pleased to host and enjoy a birthday dinner for Woody Widlund.  Woody and Elise are great people and we're very lucky to have them in our community.

 But first, a picture of the grounds which are coming alive with color.  The appeal of the lodge begins with the view and the natural surroundings.  Those are central to who we are and we're pleased that the plants and shrubs and flowers a looking so good already.

 The JCS Retirement Banquet 

Dessert cake by Mary Jane for the 4 retiring teachers.   

 The Blackhurst family 

On Saturday morning we said goodbye to the Kennedys after their brief one night stay with us.  In this photo, the young boy is holding a picture which hangs on our wall of Robert Kennedy who rafted here in 1965 along with son Bobby.  They stayed at Garnet Hill Lodge then as well, and Bobby still remembers it quite fondly.

Bobby was very gracious to allow us to take a few photos.  This one is with Mindy. 

In this photo I'm wearing for the first time one of our new T-shirts commemorating 75 years of Garnet Hill Lodge.  It was an honor to share the experience with Bobby Kennedy.

 The fire trucks came on Sunday morning and began pumping water out of Thirteenth Brook and dumping it into this staging pool at the bottom of our hill.  (Lodge sign in the background).  From there, pumpers sent the water up the hill...

...where it was deposited on the trees across the parking lot.  Hopefully, those hoses will never have to be pointed in the other direction.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly Happenings

 On Thursday Mindy and I had the honor and pleasure of having dinner with guests John and Mary Hopfield who came back to the lodge after a number of years.   John is a world renowned bio-physicist and it was a special occasion for me to be able to converse and ask questions about his work and the work of others at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, NJ, (near where I used to live and work).

On Wednesday we enjoyed having a bus tour from Glens Falls come up and have lunch. 

And filming of Approaching Normal continues.  In this shot they are shooting the birthday party scene where things get a little bit crazy.