Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 2: The Baldpate Inn, Still a Family Business

The Mace family owned and operated the inn for 70 years, so when the Smith family bought the property in 1986, we were only the second family to own and operate this legendary place. You really must admire the Mace family for when it was time for change, they did not, like so many others, sell everything off but instead kept the treasures so that we have them today. Their financier during the last several years was a Texas lawyer, Rex Baker, who was visionary in maintaining the integrity of the property.

Mace family of The Baldpate Inn
Gordon, Gordon Jr., Ethel, Jeannie, Charles & Gloria Mace

Smith Family 1987 at The Baldpate Inn
The Smith family

The last 31 years have been no exception to the family theme at Baldpate. Our first few years we were totally supported by our extended family in ways one can never repay. We tried to call them "working vacations" but we all know they were more work and less vacation than anyone planned.

My sister & brother-in-law, Corrine and Dick, spent weeks on site those first two years, helping with anything and everything. Corrine made covers for our lobby couches and cleaned who knows how many rooms. Dick held down the desk, did all kinds of handyman jobs as well as being the favored uncle that would somehow find time to take our kids fishing!  Mac still remembers his first big trout caught at Lily Lake with Uncle Dick.

Baldpate Inn Dick & Corrine Peterson
Dick & Corrine
My sister, Eunice, and husband, Sherm, spent hours in the kitchen, cooking and doing dishes. As you may know, it was Eunice that talked me into our always famous cornbread! As the real gourmet chef in the family, she still sends me recipe ideas. Sherm, an avid Indy 500 watcher, gave up many a race day doing dishes those first couple of years, only catching a lap or two during much needed breaks!

Eunice, Sherman, Liz, Vince, Jay, and Grandpa Sam

My mom-in-law, Dot, was not only a work horse at whatever needed to be done, ironing, chopping vegetables or cleaning bathrooms, she was a volunteer laundry slave each spring, washing & ironing all the curtains!!!  Dot loved to chat with our guests, and it was her idea to put our evening snack in the lobby each night, instead of just putting cookies in the individual rooms, so that our guests could share their day and chat in front of the fireplace.

Grandma Dot Bongers of The Baldpate Inn
Grandma Dot (Smith) Bongers
My Dad, Sam, was not only a financial investor in our crazy dream but a steady problem solving, hands-on helper. He would do whatever needed be done, and even well into his 80s labored longer and harder than anyone!

Grandpa Sam Hoke at The Baldpate Inn
Grandpa Sam Hoke

Written by Lois Smith

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