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

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Day 94: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 1991 - 1995

Jen graduated in 1991 and MacKenzie in 1996, so we counted heavily on their high school friends for staff especially during those years. Working around their busy schedules, like homecoming weekends, were sometimes a challenge but worth it!

Staff 1991 hikers
Brad was the steady anchor we had come to depend on. He served as trainer, motivator, hiking guide, and first unofficial underpaid manager who helped us find balance with each new generation of staff.

Jen soon headed off to college in Pennsylvania, so she brought home some “easterners” and expanded our thoughts about hiring.  About this time, we realized Estes Park just didn’t have enough people to serve the summer implosion of travelers, so I recall going to the library to research colleges that had Hotel & Restaurant Management degrees. I sent out letters to each of these schools, offering summer learning experiences and actually received some responses!

Staff 1992
1994 was the first year that we hired an international student, Alex, from England. She was a joy to be around and brushed away all potential concerns for non-US help.  And that same year, my brother-in-law, Brad, was considering a change in occupation, so joined us at Front Desk and Assistant Manager.

Staff 1994
We’ve already shared the 1995 fun of having Prom at Baldpate, and our staff that year was remarkable as well!  Our team of Estes Park kiddos, Leigh, Joci, Justin, Brian, Jeff, Cori, Steve, Les and Ben, were joined by exceptional college students from as far away as Dan, Jim & Jenna from New York, Terese & Nicole from Pennsylvania and Rey (Jen’s new same birthday 'sister') from Georgia and those crazy Texans, Deb, Darren & Steve! Returners like Greg, Greta, Noel, Michael and Brad showed the new kids the ropes. 
Staff 1993

A new era for hiring had begun for us. Check out our Centennial Staff albums from over the years. 


Written by Lois Smith


Staff 1995 (Jump! Not just a song on the radio!)
Staff 1995

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 93: Baldpate Staff Tribute: 1987-1990

As mentioned before, our first couple of years, our Baldpate staff was mainly family, but soon business grew so quickly we realized we really needed additional help. 

One of our earliest early helpers, Harold, had been a long time family acquaintance from our times before Baldpate when, like so many others, we visited Estes Park and Pine Haven where he worked before retiring. Just after our first year he wrote on his Christmas card to ask if we would be interested in having any help, that he sort of missed the work. What an answered prayer!! Harold’s years with us were legendary not just for guests but staff as well.

Another treasure was found when Grandma Dot met a delightful local lady, Pat, who seemed especially enthralled with the Inn and somehow Dot convinced her to first volunteer then finally be paid to help.  We even managed to talk Pat’s husband, Ralph, to join in when we were overwhelmed. Pat was our housekeeping star for years! She and MacKenzie shared a special bond, something to do with a plastic snake that seem to show up in the strangest places.

A second Estes Park family noted our struggle and offered to help, so we first hired their kids, Eric & Reid (and eventually Carolynne).  The next to join our team were college students most often suggested via our family and military friends. So in 1988, we hired non-family students, Shelly, Tim & Greg from Oklahoma, and Steve from Texas along with our returning local kids.

Family still supported us in every possible way.  My two Aunts, Mary & Naomi, would visit from Ohio each summer for at least a week to help.  Aunt Mary shared her listening ear and then her Christian faith with many a guest. More behind the scenes, Aunt Naomi was always looking for a broom or way to help clean and set the dining room.  And as noted, Liz was peeling hard boiled eggs when not getting into mischief. My Dad Sam could always be found tinkering around the property or taking a nap in front of the dining room fireplace after lunch.

 
When we actually moved permanently to Estes Park in the spring of 1989, we began to recruit lots of Estes Park High School friends of our own kids and were honored by their loyalty and pride as the years passed. Those families to this day, remain a cherished part of this Baldpate family business.

1989 and 1990 proved to be big turning points, since along with our kids new Estes Park friends, Brad arrived from Iowa along with several more students of our military friends, to set the stage for our ever-growing staff.

I would have to admit to one of my most embarrassing moments ever was when I forgot to pick up one of these gals when she arrived from out of state, hopefully Taryn and her mom have since forgiven me!

We even went big time in merchandizing, had our own postcards created by local photojournalist, James Frank, using staff (Jen, Brad & Taryn) as models on the porch.

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

Written by Lois Smith

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Day 92: Baldpate Staff Tribute: The Earliest Years - 1987

We so treasure when alumni staff or their family members stop by to share their memories from their days at Baldpate. You may have noticed these wonderful staff photos from the 1940s, but we really have so very little information about those earliest days other than a few letters inquiring about work or mentions in our advertising like “same cook.”    We would love to learn more! What do you recall?



 




















Fast forward to 1985 when the Mace’s granddaughter, Leeann and her husband, Don, had just reopened the Inn after some major renovations.  

1985 is really the beginning of our modern staff photo journal, and as well a fun connection to later years with a “next generation” staff member nearly 30 years later. (Stay tuned for those stories.)

Trying to decide the best way to share what we know about our Baldpate Staff, I wish we’d keep better labels on our photos, for even now 30 years later, sometimes we struggle with just which year each staff member was part of the team. So as we reminisce if I put someone in the wrong year, you will just have to forgive me. But do enjoy and add to our throwback pictures and stories from your “era”!

Written by Lois Smith