Sunday, April 30, 2017

Day 76: Baldpate’s Artwork – Key to the Past and Future

Artistic marketing, as we are so often told, is “key” to business success. We know from the earliest days, Baldpate used seven keys as a logo, and while the look has varied over the years, the key is always in there somewhere.

It is fun discovering some of the old stationery, cards and advertising that captured the evolution of our marketing.  Tag lines have gone from “Best cook in captivity,” to “Where Hospitality is King,” to “Like a mountain lodge of your own where you can go and do just as you please,” to “Enchanting travelers for over 100 years.”

Don’t know about you, but love our newest sketch of the main lodge, graciously given to us in 2007 by our guest, Nebraska artist, William Schlaebitz.

Artistic Christmas cards and letters were a great way to stay in touch with guests during the off season, both for the Maces and later for us. I recall going to the post office (since we do not have onsite mail delivery, we still have a PO Box) in early December one year, when the postmaster made a point to tell me of a loyal local guest who wanted to make certain Baldpate had her new address so as not to miss our Christmas card! Now our holiday greetings, specials and news updates are sent via emailed Keynotes newsletter

Historic Baldpate Inn Christmas cards

Perhaps its sort of sad to lose the staying power of printed brochures, but with the popularity of the internet, cost, and today’s means of instant information sharing, printed brochures have mostly gone the way of the past.

Baldpate Inn brochures

Chances are that generations to come won’t be learning about the past by sorting thru boxes of paper memorabilia, what do you think?

Written by Lois Smith

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 75: Summer in The Keys

Summer in the Keys, celebrating Summer Solstice, was one of our first promotions. As much as we love the traditional look of our dining room, sometimes it is just fun to change it up a bit, do a special focus and get a new t-shirt! 

If you ask a college student about summer, beer is going to enter the conversation somewhere! Since we serve Fat Tire and had a former employee working with New Belgium brewery (and especially appreciate their sustainability efforts), Fat Tire Friday was a natural fit for our promo celebrating summer.

Over the years we have had to stay even more creative depending on the actual day Summer Solstice falls. We have enjoyed such clever options as Travel Tuesday, Wine Spritzer Wednesday, Touring Thursday, Flipflop Friday, Sunglasses Saturday, and Sunday Sundae.

Let’s face it, who doesn’t smile to see a mini umbrella on their piece of pie?  Or a grass skirt on a bathtub?

So around Wednesday June 21, 2017, think of celebrating Summer in the Keys with us!

Written by Lois Smith

Friday, April 28, 2017

Day 74: Baldpate Wood Saw (Arbor Day)

One of the most unique projects accomplished by our preservation partners, the American History Savers, was the salvage and restoration of The Baldpate Inn's antique wood saw. This was a special labor of love project headed by Steve Robb.  

The archive team first discovered the saw near the old garbage dump, half buried along with some old ovens & stoves and set out to discover its story. 

Diligent research identified Baldpate’s original wood saw as a 1921 Sattley hit and miss engine. It was a 7-1/2 horse power engine that was purchased from Montgomery Ward. It was built as a saw platform with a 30-inch saw blade.

This saw was used by the Mace family in the construction of the Baldpate buildings as they built each by hand from hand-hewed timber cut from the property.

Restored in 2010 for display by the American History Savers, our saw was moved to its current location near the Homestead

So although we no longer use this historic saw, having five massive fireplaces in just the main lodges as well as five more in the cabins and homestead creates a demand to keep up with firewood.

Over the years we have learned that to be good stewards of the forest, a balance is required between cutting for our use, our wildfire mitigation work - most recently last fall by our friends at Summit Forestry, and maintaining the right blend of trees for our local wildlife.

The aspen and variety of pine trees surrounding The Baldpate Inn have always been part of what makes it so special, and we are pleased to wish you all a very happy Arbor Day today.  

Written by Lois Smith

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Day 73: Prom at Baldpate? At least twice!

My staff always rolls their eyes when I share “Life Lessons from Lois” ~ like unless you want glitter forever, don’t have Prom at your house. In 1995, for my son MacKenzie’s junior year, we agreed to host the Estes Park High School Prom at the Inn. Now put aside the fact that we don’t normally open until the end of May, an April prom is a challenge on several counts, the weather being a huge one!  That year, we had lots of late snow and so just getting into the building was a challenge. I remember hooking a hose to the hot water tanks to help melt the three foot stack of snow and ice blocking the drive thru under the porch!

Then of course since we needed an inside dance floor, we removed all the tables from the dining rooms (have no clue where we actually put them) and decorating commenced. It was quite the transformation!  Evidently it went well, according to this Mountaineer story

An extra special guest to the 1995 Prom was our Estes Park Mayor at the time, Bernie Dannel and his wife. What a fun discovery had been made, that 55 years prior, his 1940 Estes Park High School Prom (then called Junior Senior Banquet) had been held at Baldpate Inn!
1940 Invitation

I especially love the invite, with time for “shagging” after the dinner and program. The class roll lists read like an Estes Park who’s who from days gone by.

Don’t you wish I’d asked Mayor Dannel if he had a copy of his speech, “Reflections of The Deep?”

So actually I guess I don’t really know, was the glitter you occasionally notice on the Baldpate’s Dining Room floor from 1995 or 1940?

Written by Lois Smith

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Day 72: Fire & Flood

Baldpate has been blessed so many times. You have already learned about our Flood Disaster in 2013, but did you know it wasn’t the first time a flood threatened our area?

According to this Estes Park Trail news story, back in 1951 Lily Lake flooded. Although destroying Highway 7 just at our entrance, it thankfully passed by Baldpate’s buildings without damages.

No doubt the Fire Tower on Twin Sisters Mountain built in 1914 served its safety duty over many years, spotting wildland fires before they became a danger. While no longer there, we appreciate having Rocky Mountain National Park as a monitoring neighbor today.

In Baldpate’s history, we know of two fires which could have been significant but were not. During the 1980s update of the Main Lodge, there was a small fire in the Library, which was evidenced by burned out flooring that we found when redoing shelving in the library.

With wildfires in our area during 2012, Baldpate had been on evacuation alert. During the fall of 2014, just a year after our big flood, we experienced for ourselves the trauma of an unexpected fire. Thankfully our emergency experiences had taught us the value of prayer and calm in the face of emergency.

Just at our night shift change, our very observant hotel manager, Andy, noted a lot unexplained smoke in our Sun Porch Dining Room. Investigation brought us to our basement, with the awful realization that the entire crawlspace was filled with smoke so dense you couldn’t even begin to see. There must be fire somewhere!  

The 911 call was made and our staff sprang into action, waking our guests quickly and getting them safely out of the building (thankfully a cool but not freezing fall evening).

Mackenzie happened to be working in Estes Park at Scots Fest so he was the second phone call and arrived sooner than he should have, to turn off our propane and begin the search for the source of the smoke.  

Our Allenspark Fire Dept arrived shortly, along with Estes Park Emergency Medical Team and Larimer County Sheriff support. These teams spent hours searching to finally discover the illusive smoldering embers under a water boiler. They were thoughtful and caring toward each of our displaced guests and staff. 

To this day our most heartfelt thanks goes to these men and women who serve with such compassion and professionalism, all hours day or night!

Appreciative recognition must also go to our special B&B guests that night who patiently adapted to our emergency situation with extreme graciousness. “Adventures to add to our diaries,” they positively responded! 

While hard to imagine that night, or even in the months to follow of vast paperwork details of getting insurance help, the long term blessing is that today, the water boiler is replaced and the flooring upgraded to concrete. All this makes us safer than ever before.

Written by Lois Smith

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Day 71: Christmas in July at The Baldpate Inn

What is more fun than decorating for Christmas? Since we are closed during the winter, we didn’t want to miss out, hence Christmas in July! Noting this 1922 news story, our recent promo is not a new idea.

Our dining promotions have always been sort of a marketing idea, but intended as fun for the staff as well. An initial aspect of our Christmas in July celebration was our behind the scenes staff competition (who can sell the most gift shop items). When our cooks commented that they really couldn’t compete, we brainstormed how to get them involved.  Competition for specially decorated Christmas cookies for our B&B guests' nightly snacks was the first plan.

Somewhere along the way we decided on an even better idea ~ Gingerbread Houses!  With a cook or manager heading each team, the competition took on a whole new level.  Not to be left out, we decided our guests could be the judges to join in the fun. (Our resident Santa seemed perhaps a little biased!)

Our cooks are responsible for the basic shape, then only imagination is the limit! 

Yes, we have added some basic rules over the years, to limit size and edible-ness, along with, "Don’t eat the gummi bears off your opponent’s house."

Team bonding happens for sure, but also it has been a fun culture-sharing event especially for our international staff.

Of course the winning team loves the special bragging honors!

Written by Lois Smith

Monday, April 24, 2017

Day 70: Enchanted Autumn Gold

Autumn is such a gorgeous time at Baldpate, with the aspens sparkling and often cooler weather demanding that comfy bowl of soup and some warm muffins. 

Perfect time for a food focus, so for our Enchanted Autumn Gold celebration, we decided to go all out with three days of immersion for your favorite fall flavors: Pumpkin Passion, Corn Crazy and Awesome Apple Days!

Think Apple Soup, Apple Salad, Apple Muffins, and Apple Pie, or a day with Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin muffins, Pumpkin Pie, or guest favorites of Corn chowder, Cornbread, okay no corn pie, but how about candy corn?

Naturally, our special recipe Hot Buttered Rum or some Minted Hot Chocolate are the perfect accompanying beverage for enjoying the views of this golden season or just taking the chill off as you relax by the lobby fire.

Come see us this fall!
Written by Lois Smith