Thursday, May 25, 2017

Day 101: A New Beginning

Celebrate with a 100-year commemorative Baldpate Inn key!
Our 100 days of official blogs may be complete, but we couldn’t finish without saying thank you to all the key people who have made The Baldpate Inn such a special place – that’s you! We are extremely grateful for all the blessings we’ve received and been a part of in the last 100 years. Thank you for journeying with us through this 100 Days Key Moments and Memories blog!

And while this may be the end of this blog project, it’s really just the beginning of a beautiful new season! We are especially excited to start this very special 100th year! Our doors open tomorrow, Friday 5/26.  We invite you to come dine, stay and celebrate with us, creating your own wonderful memories any time this season. And remember to be a part of the festivities on our 100th Birthday Party!

Also, if you have enjoyed this experience, we invite to follow us on Facebook and the Baldpate Inn and Collections blog to stay up to date with the happenings at The Baldpate Inn!

See you soon!
Written by Liz Rodgers

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Day 100: Postcards from The Baldpate Inn

Day 100! A perfect day to make note of and share with a friend! What better way than a postcard? We’ve talked about our artistic marketing and merchandise, but one of our most popular keepsakes are Baldpate Inn postcards.  

As far as I have discovered, we’ve had at least five different series of Baldpate postcards: Early bordered, Albertype, Hoffman, Sanborn, Dexter and our own from 1990s. 

Albertype hand colored postcard of The Baldpate Inn
It is interesting to note the variety of finishes that have been applied to several postcards versions. Since I love the watercolor look I think my favorites are the Albertype hand colored series of seven (of course) cards.  Wish they all had dates!

The earliest (I believe) of our Albertype set lists Clatworthy as publisher, and since the Key Room and second story West Wing are missing, they were before the 1935 addition.  The rest of the Albertypes note Baldpate Inn as publisher.

With the growth of our pine trees, until just recently, it was almost impossible to duplicate the angle of some of the photos, especially with Longs Peak in the background. 

Looking at this early 1 cent card with Mt. Meeker and Longs Peak in the background, I do have to admit to wondering just when folks started to get creative and "Photoshop" their pictures. Compared with our most recent aerial drone photo, those mountains seems a little out of proportion to me, what do you think?

Not yet a postcard, this newest (and my current favorite) aerial drone photo will be available this birthday season as a puzzle.  

So stop by and grab a few postcards or a picture puzzle to mark your adventures at Baldpate Inn celebrating our 100th summer.

And stay tuned for one more bonus blog tomorrow!

Written by Lois Smith

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 99: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 2011 - 2016

Staff 2011
Our outstanding 2011 team, with managers Evan, Emily and Courtney ably corralling the gangs from Washington State, Oklahoma and New Mexico was especially fun, be it a night out at a Rockies game or rodeo adventure.

While each year we continue to receive compliments about our exceptional staff, the most recent years staffing has remained a challenge with less local and returning staff.  Campus job fairs were becoming less of the thing, and online recruiting began taking over for the most part.

Staff 2012 - ready for the Rodeo!
With an ever-growing fall season we have relied heavily on our international staff to end well each season. Students from Romania, China, Russia, Croatia and especially Turkey have brought their enthusiasm and curiosity to help us grow in our world view.

Leah, Dillion and Sara accepted the challenges to lead our team in 2012 with students from 16 different colleges.  That’s a lot of different ideas to mesh!

Having staff return to help out in the fall or step up as managers is always to be cherished. That was the case in 2013 with Matt and Kayla were joined by Angela to lead our team of winners!

Staff 2013
You already know the end of our 2013 season was the big flood, but certainly the brightest spot of the year was the arrival of my youngest granddaughter Lola. She burst onto the scene weeks earlier than expected and so visits to NICU were part of the season schedule for more than 2 months.

We were incredibly honored as well in 2013 to have Brad and Renee’s daughter, Lily, as our first “legacy” staff member. A loyal champion for years, we adored having her really join our Baldpate family in this way. The very next year, Alicia, another “legacy” gal joined, bringing photos of when her mom had worked at Baldpate in 1985.

Staff 2014
Abby and Andy led our 2014 super team.  Having the rare opportunity to have an international student return in 2014 was super, but when Claudia brought along a friend, Clara, we knew we were especially fortunate. Those two certainly kept the smiles going.

During these years as well, our American History Savers partners, were deep into databasing our Key Collection and our guests were increasingly interested in learning more, so we decided to create a new Museum Curator staff position. First accepting the challenge to better preserve and improve our exhibits, create educational opportunities and presentations, were Lauren & Sara. Preparations for the Estes Park Friends of the Museum celebrations was a motivation for our 7 Keys Armchair Tour project which is still enjoyed today.

Staff 2015
Realizing how big the project was, in 2013 we expanded to three curators, Luchana, Caitlyn, & Cameron. They were especially creative that year with their 1920’s exhibit, an idea which you will hopefully find repeated this summer in our 100th Birthday Decades project.

Continuing the work, Rachel, Ryan, & Margie in 2014 and Bella & Matthew in 2015 diligently stepped up to work on the database and create activities for kids visiting the Keyroom.

With the end in sight of our Key Room database project, Topher, Hunter, and Natalie in 2016 worked steadily to catch up our unlogged key donations and stay up with our Key Room blogs. 

Staff 2016
Since the time they were able to waddle through the sloping floors of Baldpate, my grandchildren Megan, Mason and Emily have always helped out when they have been on the property with their families. Last year was the first time my three oldest grandkids spent 10 days working alongside the staff without parents onsite. They had an amazing time and will be back this summer for a few weeks! Crazy to think that Jen was 14 and Mac was 9 our first summer and now our guests will be left in the capable hands of Megan (15), Mason (13) and Emily (13).

To enjoy more fun memories, check out our Centennial Staff albums from over the years.

Written by Lois Smith & Jen Macakanja

Monday, May 22, 2017

Day 98: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 2006 - 2010

Capably leading our 2006 team, we were delighted to have Jodi from Iowa back, who in previous years was rotating staff, now our Events Manager along with Eric from California and Eli from New Mexico. Our Estes Park crew, four Polish guys, first gal from Romania along with students from Washington, New Mexico and Oklahoma State made for another successful year.
2007 we enjoyed our team from Oklahoma and New Mexico staff along with just enough easterners from Pennsylvania, Michigan & Kentucky to keep things fun. We even celebrated our 90th birthday, with an eye towards our upcoming 100th.

Because my Dad had been such a significant help throughout our years at Baldpate, when he died in 2007 it was sort of a tough year for me personally. We did work that year to improve our Library door handicap entrance and upgrade our computer systems. We had gone from our pen and paper guest receipts several years before to a real POS “point of sale” system, but as you know with computer stuff, there is always an update to be purchased.

Certainly a bright spot in 2007 was the arrival of grandson Nick in August. Mac and I flew to Spokane (I stayed for 36 hours, Mac spent the week) and thankfully the US Army cooperated and allowed Pete to come home for 10 days from his surprise reserve deployment to Kuwait too.

In 2008 Jodi and Pam led the crew with our new Summer in the Keys promotion. It was an adventure that the staff seemed to really enjoy complete with tie-dying special shirts! Thanks to our artist cook, Nick, we even created our own t-shirt for the event in 2009.

Our hero “brother” Eric from Ohio arrived and took on the challenges of Hotel Manager for the next two years with sidekicks super Event Managers Emily & Laura.

Again our international hiring branched out as we welcomed students from France, Spain, Turkey, Serbia, Russia, and Vietnam, once again expanding our world view and understanding of cultural differences.

2009’s big full stage live theater production of Seven Keys to Baldpate at our newly renovated Key-thedral Theater by our friends at Encore!Encore! was certainly a highlight for both staff and guests.

More exceptional staff from Oklahoma & New Mexico carried the day in 2010 along with local returners like Eileen, always especially ready for our promo days, and even my eventually-to-be daughter-in-law, Holly, who saved the day as one of our cooks that fall.

Our business season had been gradually extending from its original Memorial Day to Labor Day, with travelers discovery of the incredible beauty of our fall season. As an increasingly booming month, staffing for September grew, demanding even more commitment from our dedicated Baldpate staff.

For more fun photos, enjoy our Centennial Staff albums from over the years.

Written by Lois Smith

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Day 97: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 2001 – 2005

Staff 2001- Jen & Pete
2001 & 2002 were really golden years in my book, as my daughter Jen, and her new husband Pete, each completing their military commitments, decided to jump in headfirst and help with management.  Thankfully we had planned in advance it was to be a 2-year agreement, so when they moved on in 2003, there was no big surprise only gratefulness for their time at Baldpate.

2001 as well marks the beginning of our Baldpate Weitzel family legend of service, when Erika joined the staff on the recommendation of family friends. Spanning the next 11 years we are proud that all five kiddos spent at least one summer with us. Thanks Erika, Breanna, Lindsey, Chelsea and Jason.  To be honest, we weren’t actually sure we could function when you all eventually moved away!

Staff 2002 with tiny Meg!
The birth of my first granddaughter, Megan in 2002 was clearly the highlight! Arriving on the day of a wedding, I did manage to sneak down to the hospital to meet her between appetizers and dinner!  She was put to work of course right away, and our staff that year were all adopted aunts & uncles.

Megan joined Jen & me on our job fair trip to the Midwest in January 2003 for what ended up being quite an adventure. We were traveling on wintry roads from Iowa to Oklahoma when our SUV slipped on the ice and took a roll. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the vehicle was totaled so we decided to spend the night in Des Moines. I was given a list of hotels to call from the hospital, so imagine my surprise when I called and said, "Hello, my name is Lois Smith from the Baldpate Inn and my daughter, granddaughter and I need a room for the night." "Wait...Lois Smith? Baldpate Inn? This is Eric York – I worked for you!" What a small world! Needless to say – we were taken care of with exceptional service!

In 2003, MacKenzie stepped back in as Assistant General Manager as Pete & Jen moved back into corporate America. This job Mac has held ever since, some years more involved on the premises than others, but always in the background as my emergency chef replacement. Don’t get him started telling about his pies or breakfast adventures whenever I was called out of town.

Staff 2003
The fall of 2003 brought the arrival of my first grandson Mason, who has been a frequent helper over the years and along with his cousins, has in the past two years even moved out front to join as waitstaff in the dining room. 
We were delighted to celebrate granddaughter Emily who arrived in January of 2004, now making three on our team of next generations crew that you will see for a few weeks this summer.

It was about that time, that as a means of training for our increasingly out of state staff, we initiated our annual Staff Scavenger hunt as a way not just to locally advertise our opening each year but as well to kickstart their knowledge of all the fun places and activities available in Estes Park.  (As college students, they did always seem to locate The Wheel and Lonigans by themselves!) Each team is tasked to visit our favorite local businesses and local attractions. Creativity and timely completion scores points for prizes, and in the meantime just getting to know each other better, we think has brought harmony to our seasonal Baldpate teams.

Staff 2004
Larry from Oklahoma, who joined as Hotel Manager, was a champion in 2004 stepping up to fill multiple roles when a co-manager left unannounced in the middle of the night!  That doesn’t happen often thankfully, but of course there is also the legend about another staffer, that proclaimed a quick trip to Starbucks, but didn’t ever return (not to worry -- we confirmed that she was safe).

The illustrious 2005 team, is often remembered for the crazy Cabin gals (you know who you are!), our second West Point grad and the ready for whatever Oklahoma “Cowboy” Cooks, Jeff & Adam.

Staff 2005
In those years, our international students came a little further, arriving from eastern European countries, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and bringing with them even more new cultural learning opportunities.  Can’t tell you how honored we are when these internationals take the time to include a trip to Baldpate in their return trips to the USA!  They almost always timidly ask, do you remember me?   OF COURSE we do, they have each added so much to the Baldpate experience, both for our guests and staff.

And speaking of memories, enjoy our Centennial Staff albums from over the years.

Written by Lois Smith

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Day 96: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 1996 - 2000

Staff 1997 shirt art
1996 & 1997 we were blessed with the return of 15 to 18 local Estes Park kids and a delightful staff of students from around the country.  Stars like Greta from Iowa had started working for us in the early 1990s and had become our backbone during those years. She recruited friends, and set the tone of authentic loving service for staff that was truly exemplary year after year.

Staff 1996
Honestly I can’t remember the first college job fair I attended, but I think it was University of Denver. It didn’t take long until I was on the job fair recruiting circuit, DU & CSU in Colorado, then on to New Mexico and Oklahoma State University, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Washington State. I really looked forward to these trips each spring, and loved getting to know hospitality professors and other industry leaders. Often there were guest speakers or seminars that helped me and gave me insight with the students.

1997 was not the first year that we had hired siblings, but our first year for twins! Always had to laugh that year at our guests’ amazement & concerned comments when they mistook Brent & Kent for seemingly 24 hour back to back shifts! We were fortunate to have Kent return for several years, working his way up to Hotel Manager before ‘retiring’ when he graduated from RIT.

A major shift occurred in 1998, the first year I owned the Inn by myself (I bought out Mike when we divorced).  Thankfully I had star returners to help me through those first years, and they helped train our new management team in Baldpate ways!

Staff 1999
1999 was a wonderful transition time, beginning our live theater staff production of Seven Keys to Baldpate. That year I did learn in spades that if you have your staff on stage, you will likely be short someone to wait tables and peel potatoes!

The gang of Midwesterners, Gina, Crea, Matt, Seth, Brian, Maggie and Neesha, over those years made those years magically fun.

We had been using nametags for several years but went uptown with real staff shirt uniforms.  With just a few variations, it is a tradition we still use today.

Once again we branched out to hire internationally, this time students from France and Canada. We all loved learning how to make authentic French crepes from Julian & Cyril.

Staff 2000
We were blessed in 2000 with another exceptional staff, including our two Rachels, returning from Iowa, and Kathy once again from Pennsylvania, the McLaughlin sisters from Estes Park and the Bradly sisters from Texas.

You’ll get a kick from our Centennial Staff albums from over the years.

Written by Lois Smith

Friday, May 19, 2017

Day 95: Baldpate 100th Birthday News!

With just seven days in our countdown to cornbread opening, thought we should give you the latest update on our 100th birthday special plans.

Hopefully you have enjoyed our somewhat erratic preparatory journey through Baldpate’s Key moments over the past 100 years. And now for the partying!

You are all cordially invited to our Party Celebration on Saturday June 17th, from 2 Pm until 5 PM in the Key Room. Have a glass of sparkly and some cake, we won’t make you sing!

Tickets for our live stage play, Seven Keys to Baldpate, will go on sale June 1st on our website. Plan now which performance you prefer to attend, we anticipate having a sellout crowd.

Think about making it a special weekend with one of our Stay Play & Dine Theater Packages.

And bug those former employee friends to get on the books for a reunion weekend!  You know you want to do it!

Check our website often to see what’s new and if you can’t personally get back, order one of our new Birthday limited edition mugs in our online store available beginning June 1st.

Written by Lois Smith