Year-long we discuss “doing this” and “doing that” at Orchard Hill knowing full well that the launching date is always after the Inn’s New Year’s celebration. Come the first, we hit the road running (Darrell’s term). It was a bit difficult this year with a foot of snow remaining on the road from the night before and then came the people...OMG!
We proceeded where we could and that began with more talk focused on birthdays and anniversaries. These two celebrations are a core reason guests visit Orchard Hill. Years ago in a conversation with a guest, we were discussing how communication modes were changing at warp speed (also Darrell’s term). I expressed that somewhere—possibly Balboa Park—stood a tree on which was carved “Score points, go to Orchard Hill for your anniversary.” This was long before social messaging.
Well, I defended, something was working, bigtime. Our guest offered that be it a birthday or anniversary, Orchard Hill was where San Diego goes to say “I love you”. That lovely thought became our motto and is included in all our printed collateral and on our website.
I remain a believer in the effectiveness of tree carving as a communications tool. Over sixty years ago, Darrell carved our initials within a heart on a Jacaranda tree that grew in the parkway of my parent’s home in Montebello. Every fifteen years or so, we return and, yes, the tree is still there. Invariably someone walks by and inquires as to our intentions and admonishes us to not deface or bring harm to the tree as it is somewhat of a legend.
One year, the neighborhood watch guard left only to return with a neighbor reporting, “It’s them!” I’ve suggested to Darrell that we should return under the cover of night and carve “still around.” Darrell thinks we would probably be arrested and reminds me that my brother is no longer Montebello’s Chief of Police. Usually following this type of conversation, he pours us another glass of wine and we slip into the blissful silence of remembering.
I think that you will be very pleased with our new venue for celebrating birthdays and anniversaries, and then you can leave our trees for us.
P.S. Darrell’s new Lodge coffee rooms are finished and as is usually the case, exceed our expectations. He’s a bit bruised, but no limbs were broken, and this week he returned to the safety and comfort of the airport and flying his Stemme.