A Major Change at Orchard Hill


Dear Friends,

We have taken a recent event to effect a major change at Orchard Hill and wish to share it with you.  I’ll admit that the outgrowth of the change appears to be far more ambitious than first anticipated but as ideas are pulled together, we find that this is perhaps the most exciting plan we have undertaken in some while.

No, we have not put Orchard Hill on the market and are taking off for Italy!  Simply put, two weeks before New Year’s, Calvin our latest Chef gave notice that he was leaving to be a caregiver for his aging father.  My inner dialog went from; “this is really bad timing” to “now what?”  Resolve quickly kicked-in and we were once again in the familiar territory of just another day as a small business owner.  Holding that thought our staff carried us through the next two very busy weeks.

Sisters, Ada and Missy, our treasured housekeepers urged me to call “Aunt Doris”, our last Chef of some ten years.  Doris somehow had sensed that she might be needed and had been prompting them to “have Pat call me.”  Doris left Orchard Hill a year and a half ago to live in Norway part of the year and to pursue other business opportunities.  I picked up the phone to ask what she was doing New Years and her reply went something like, “I’ll be at Orchard Hill.”  From there it was simply lovely: “smooth as a babies butt” is how Doris puts it.  Doris is also a new Grandmother.

Our New Year’s celebration (and Dinner)was a smashing success.  Exhausted, Darrell and I decided that we wanted to not react to this latest turn of events but to think things through and explore our options, if indeed there were any.  Enough time has passed that we are now very comfortable with our decision to not hire a fulltime Chef and to cease the weekly dinners that have been an Orchard Hill tradition since opening.  Instead we want to focus that energy on raising the bar on every other aspect of what makes Orchard Hill the phenomenal place that it is.  Food service in Julian has improved and expanded in the last twenty years and provides our guests with quality dining options.

Now, over-the-top recognition of birthdays, anniversaries and honeymoons has been set into motion and the reception is equally over-the-top.  Darrell has begun an ambitious and creative plan for enhancing the lodge guest amenities and raising our Four Diamond AAA status.  Susan is putting the finishing touches on a staff incentive program that recognizes praiseworthy service that directly enhances our guests’ stay.  At this time, our Valentine’s Dinner Package is sold out.  Yes, Doris will be Commander-in-Charge of the kitchen.

Rest assured – we will be scheduling very special dinners throughout the year, including (of course) our traditional Thanksgiving and New Year’s Celebrations.

Simply put:  out of crisis can come opportunity.  The problem…I temporarily forgot!

Darrell and Pat