Friday, August 31, 2012

As Summers End Draws Near

Mindy and I have just returned from a short getaway of our own prior to diving in to preparations for the fall and winter seasons.  We visited Gettysburg, PA along with her two boys Blake and Andrew.  We had a nice time there taking tours and visiting historic sites.  We also did some antique shopping but didn't come away with anything significant for the lodge.
Business at the lodge has been brisk this summer and we're hoping to keep our momentum going through much of the fall.  We still have a lot to offer people who want to get away from it all and just enjoy themselves in the natural surroundings we have here.
But we're also starting to focus on the winter season to let folks know that the skiing here will be phenomenal this year, with all the great snow we're going to get and the ample equipment we have to handle it and the expert grooming team we have in place.
So we do feel refreshed and re-energized to continue making Garnet Hill Lodge just a little bit better every day.  Over the last several weeks we've been going over the rooms in the lodge to make as many small but significant improvements as possible.  We're also cleaning and staining the log railings at the Tea House and  the Birches and they're coming out very nicely.  See pictures below.
In other news, here's a link to the YouTube movie snippet that is being circulated for 'Approaching Normal'. The movie was shot at Garnet Hill Lodge in its entirety and is planned to be released early next year.

 On Aug. 24th we hosted a get together for a local non-profit organization - The Adirondack Community Fund which provides support for many other non-profit and volunteer organizations in the area.

 The monetary awards were presented to the recipients under the old apple tree.

Mindy's Dad Dennis arrived on Thursday to stay with us for a week so I'm sure he will make a difference in the gardens and landscaping of the lodge.  Meanwhile, Dale and Mark are plugging away on various improvement projects and painting.

 The Birches in the process of some painting updates

 Dale painting one of the windows.

 The Tea House painting in progress

The back of the Tea House.  The railing is in ok shape, it just has never been coated with anything to protect the wood.  We've re-enforced the supports and we will be replacing some of the railings over time.
This young fawn was spotted (no pun intended) down near the Adventure Center on Friday morning.  Dale got the picture.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Dog Days of August

Yes, it's time to write another entry in the blog.  And in this one I won't use a lot of pictures although a few might be in order.  I have been urged to write more blog entries by some of the guests that I've talked to over the summer.  They tend to like the earlier ones where I was more descriptive of what happens behind the scenes in a lodge like this. I'm not sure how good an idea that is but it would be good for me to be able to share some of the problems as well as successes that we've experienced over the last several months.  So I'm just going to write what comes to mind without much editing and at some point, if you're reading this now, I will have pushed the Publish button.
One thing I've been doing is watching some of the 'reality' TV shows that have been on where hotels are taken from being on the verge of closing back to complete success in a matter of hours or days.  So that's a point of interest and contrast that I can use as a guide for how we're doing I guess.
Overall things have gone very well for us over the course of this first winter and summer, which is not to say that it has been easy or highly profitable or anything of that sort.  But we have a good solid flow of guests, some new, and some old, who are invariably very pleased with the natural beauty and peacefulness of the lodge.  It just never gets old to hear guests compliment us on what we've done so far and how much it means to them.  It's like a shot of adrenaline to my system that makes me feel like everything is going to be ok.
So when I watch the show Hotel Impossible or the new one now called Hotel Hell, I can identify with the state of mind of the innkeepers.  Even though we're nowhere near a failing business, it's still a struggle to pay all the employees and all the bills every week.  The condition of the buildings and grounds and the deterioration of the guest return loyalty has been greater than expected, so though I feel we are moving in the right direction and business will improve, we have started from a place not far from where the innkeepers on these shows are at.   But, as I said, we're moving in a good direction and on the positive side, we don't share many, or any of the negative traits and characteristics of the people and properties involved.  We have a good team of employees, a location that is unmatched, buildings that are one of a kind and in good condition, and a lot of energy and drive to make this place a success for us, our guests, the town of Johnsburg and the Adirondack region in general.

The summer has been very busy, for both the lodge and restaurant.  The screen porch is doing well.  Guests like to sit there on the high tables with laptops and iPads as well as to eat from the pub menu.
We've had a crew of two maintenance guys with us since the beginning of July.  Dale and Mark have been hard at work cutting trees and brush, fixing machinery, going through rooms to fix and improve the bathrooms, doors, windows, closets and anything else that needs it.  They'll be continuing all that for the next 6 months at least.
We have Felicia and Gabriel working hard at the front desk under lodge manager Pat Connor to help guests out with their day trips and activities.  They will be active at the Adventure Center come winter with the ski programs and lessons as well.
I've been doing a lot of work on the trails to get them ready for the ski season, mainly cutting the grass and brush, removing stones and in the case of Logger's Loop, Raven Run and Lower Trapper, using my tractor to make them passable again after the heavy logging that took place on that property a few years ago.
Today I ordered a commercial carpet cleaner to use to thoroughly clean all the carpets on the property.  This will take quite a bit of time to accomplish but buying the machine will save a lot of money in the long run.
We're also going to be investing in a Point Of Sale system for our kitchen and wait staff.  So the next time you're in the restaurant you may have your order entered on a hand held device.  That should all be in place well before the winter season gets underway.
That's all for now.  I'll go and push the Publish button now.

 Mindy, me and Reagan on top of Peaked Mountain

The Hearns and the Samuels who we went with up to Peaked Mountain.
Our Dining Room this summer

The Screen Porch