Monday, June 18, 2012

Kingfield Pops 2012 is nearly here, and the Herbert will be in the middle of the action.  
 The weekend begins June 29th with a special 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Happy Hour at the Herbert, the Friday Night Artwalk, and music at three venues in Kingfield.
            On Saturday, we will enjoy a day-long Battle of the Bands and the Arts Festival, less than a block from the Herbert.  Regional bands will vie for cash prizes and for the chance to play on the big stage for Kingfield POPS 2013.   Maine artists will display handmade jewelry, metalwork, painting, photography, fabric, wood and body arts on the lawn and in the parking areas surrounding Camden National Bank.  If you are looking for moose, you are bound to find some there.
            The scene on Saturday evening will be Tanglewood in Maine.  Noel Paul Stookey, member of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, will perform under the stars with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra.  I hope that we have the chance to sing “Puff the Magic Dragon” en masse. (Hint.)   The gates will open at 4:30 p.m., so arrive early to claim a good seat.  Prior to the main event, regional musicians will perform blues, jazz, and bluegrass, with a special appearance by the Western Maine Steel Drum Band.  The evening will end with a bang, as the sky lights up in a spectacular fireworks display.  Join us for a weekend of music and fun.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Riders and Bikers Return to Maine

            Clear skies, warm temperatures and the sounds of motorcycles pulling up to the Herbert Hotel are welcome signs of spring.  
Some riders stay with us on their way from Quebec or other Canadian provinces to Bar Harbor or different areas of coastal Maine.  Others travel from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and states further away as members of adventure touring groups.  We are one of their stops in what might be a ten-day itinerary.  All arrive filled with the exhilaration and the sense of freedom that come from viewing the beautiful Western Mountains of Maine from the seat of a motorcycle.
In a few weeks, a large group of riders will join us at the Herbert Hotel on their way to Americade in Lake George, New York, where they will spend a week at the Motel Montreal, our sister property.  Rob had a great time with J.P. and the group last year and is looking forward to their stay this year.  I can’t wait to meet them.
Today, Nathalie and Mario, our first two Canadian riders of the season, arrived on a Star Classic and a Suzuki, both beautiful and well-maintained machines.  They graciously allowed me to take their picture and to post it on this blog.  Don’t worry, they were wearing helmets when they rode up, but they took them off for the picture.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shipping Wars--Herbert Style

            The Herbert Hotel's barber chair now resides in Texas.  We sold the chair on Ebay in July.  Weeks later, the producers of the A&E television series “Shipping Wars” filmed the pickup and delivery of the chair for a future episode. They also filmed the hotel lobby and asked us to talk about the history of the Herbert Grand Hotel and its relationship to the narrow gauge railroad and leisurely activities of the Western Mountains of Maine.  This week, A&E posted a bonus clip on its website of shipper Jennifer Brennan, aka “Texas Cowgirl,” delivering the chair to its new home. 
The new owner was not looking for a collectible vintage barber chair, only for a comfortable barber chair in which he could sit and watch television.   He may be a Texan, but he is also a hunter in the true Maine tradition.  He told “Texas Cowgirl” that his friends and he have bought three barber chairs to install in trees, where they can be comfortable and swivel around 360 degrees to watch prey approach.  This chair, however, is strictly home d├ęcor and meant to provide maximum comfort.
We look forward to seeing the complete episode during the second season of “Shipping Wars.”  Watch our blog, and you will be the first to know the date.  Something is always happening at the Herbert Grand Hotel!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Haunted Herbert Grand Hotel

Is the Herbert Grand Hotel haunted?  Are there any special rooms that have “stories” about them?  Do we ever hear sounds in the middle of the night?  Do we know that the lobby and the corridors remind people of “The Shining”?  Has anyone ever picked up the receiver of one of the antique wall phones and heard voices at the other end?  Has anything “strange” ever happened here?
          For the last three years, we have routinely answered “No” to all of the above, except for the questions about the resemblance to the hotel in “The Shining.”  We had fun with that when Rob showed the movie at our 2009 Halloween Party. The image of Jack Nicholson rushing toward us on a screen 102 inches wide and announcing “Here’s Johnny!” was scary.
Still, the questions have continued.  We decided to look for answers.  Two teams from Maine Ghost Hunters came to the Herbert Grand Hotel for two days to investigate the rooms in which guests have reported seeing or feeling something “strange.”  They brought with them an array of visual and audio recording equipment to capture images and sounds throughout the building.
          Is the Herbert Grand Hotel haunted?  We will wait for the investigation results.  The hotel does have an odd history. Herbert Wing had the hotel built in 1918 and chose to close it in 1929, but we don’t why he did so.  Maids remained on staff and cleaned the rooms regularly, but guests were not welcomed.  Mr. Wing sold the hotel in 1956 and died two weeks later, on Christmas Eve.  Much has occurred since then.  We are eager to learn what the MGH investigation will reveal, after the data is analyzed.

Monday, April 23, 2012


                Spring officially arrived at the HerbertGrand Hotel last weekend.   We welcomed the first two hikers of 2012, who stayed with us a few nights while they climbed Mt. Bigelow.  Another guest and his wife came in and raved about the delicious brook trout they had caught in a nearby stream and cooked at a friend’s house.   Out came our Herbert Grand Hotel water bottles and with them came the realization that it is SPRING!
            Hikers, bikers, cyclists, birdwatchers, fly fishers, moose watchers and others who enjoy the attractions of Spring in the Western Mountains of Maine will join us at the Herbert Grand Hotel.   Repeat guests, who already know that snow is not the only reason to visit this area, are reserving rooms and we will be renewing old friendships. 
The streets have been swept and the sand and salt are gone, so we will soon be seeing our adventure touring guests who can now ride their motorcycles safely on the cleared roads.   I look forward to welcoming the many American and Canadian guests who enjoy this area from the vantage point of their beautiful and very powerful motorcycles.   And, yes, we are members of the United Bikers of Maine, so UBM members receive a discount.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Don't Worry....Be Happy

             Reggae Fest has been a really good time for guests of the Herbert Hotel over the years, but THIS year it will be even better.  Our guests  will save money by staying at the Herbert Hotel.  No minimum night requirement.  We’re welcoming you for one night, two nights or however many nights you wish.  AND if you get together a group of six or more of your best or soon-to-be-best friends, you won’t have to worry about the drive to Sugarloaf and back.  We’ll provide the transportation. 
To enjoy this special perk, call us directly to book rooms at 207-265-2000.  We will make certain that you have rides to the Rave and to other Reggae fun as well as rides back.
We have fun when the hotel is filled with people who have reasons in common for being here, and the people who attend Reggae Fest DO know how to have fun.  Bring your friends and come to party.  So Don't Worry....Be Happy and know that we’ll help you to have a great time by giving you a great rate and by keeping you out of trouble on the road.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Big Brass Sounds at the Herbert Hotel Friday, March 30th!

     Are you a fan of big brass sounds, like the music of Chicago or Blood, Sweat and Tears?  Starting at 7 p.m this Friday (March 30th, 2012), the elegant lobby of the Herbert Hotel will be transformed, once again, into a concert hall, this time for the many followers and new fans of Downeast Brass, a group of five men wearing tuxedos and playing gleaming brass instruments.

     Kingfield POPS is sponsoring the concert as a fundraiser as part of the ongoing effort to retain and to support music programs in the area schools.  As a career teacher, I have learned that, in every state, when funds become limited music programs are the first to be cut.  The loss impacts all students in the school, not merely those who are in the band.  Music is very important to giving students a total education, and the work accomplished by the Kingfield POPS to provide funds to purchase and to maintain instruments should be applauded.  We will have fun at this concert, and through their purchase of a ticket everyone who attends will assist in the effort to keep music programs alive and well in the area schools.

     A special treat is that members of the Mt. Abram High School band will also be here to guide concertgoers in hanging up their coats and in finding their seats.  These are the same wonderful young people who rocked the Herbert with a very lively and well-attended Christmas concert in early December. 

     We are making memories while making music at the Herbert.  Come for the music and stay for the ambiance.



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Skiing and All That Sunshine!!

      Happiness for many of our long-time skiing guests is heading out to the slopes wearing a tee shirt, shorts, a headband and a smile.  Spring skiing.  And, they are enjoying that pleasure this week.

     I now hear their murmurs of "Oh, yeah," as they walk out of the lobby doors of the Herbert and they feel the balmy air instead of a blast of frigid wind.  They also like being able to ski rapidly down the slopes without being slowed by the weight of jackets, ski pants, heavy base layers, and hats.  No heavy packing, no bulging dufflebag to lug and no chance of frostbite.

     These are hardcore skiers who, throughout the winter, take every chance available to ski through days with temperatures as low as -20 or less with the windchill factor.  No matter how cold the day, they head out of the hotel early in order to catch the first lift, and they don't leave the mountain until the last run.  Nearly every skier who braves those bitterly cold days also speaks of spring skiing as being the ultimate ski experience.  Some rhapsodize about feeling the sun on their bare arms and legs as they fly rapidly down the trails.  Others tell me that there is no explaining the experience, because you just have to be there.

     My guests are happy.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SnoCross, Slalom and Socializing at the Herbert

          The Herbert was filled last weekend with an exuberant group of guests who socialized and shared their experiences around the fireplace on Friday and Saturday nights.  Some were entered in the East Coast SnoCross, others competed in the Banked Slalom and still others simply planned to enjoy snowshoeing or cross country skiing with Maine Huts and Trails.

          Anyone listening to the lively conversations going on in the hotel lobby, however, would have thought that this large group was made up of old friends of many different ages and with diverse interests who had chosen to hold their reunion at the Herbert Grand Hotel.  This phenomenon frequently occurs here.  People who seem to have nothing in common become instant friends as they sprawl comfortably on the couches, glass of wine or beer in hand, and find topics in common.

          Snowmobile racers, some as young as six years old, were excited about the East Coast SnoCross, which had returned to Maine after a five-year absence.  I listened to the parents of the younger racers and to the less young racers talk about the “skid maneuvers” they had seen and about the new moves that would make them stronger competitors.  I also just had to know how a six-year-old or an eight-year-child handles a snowmobile, and I received an education in that area.  The snowmobiles are size and speed appropriate for each youth age category.  And, of course, snowmobile racers of all ages suit up in uniforms containing such advanced technology that they would put the cartoon character Speed Racer to shame.

          My guests competing in the Banked Slalom snowboarding competition on Saturday and, if they made the cut, Sunday had their own war stories to tell.  As a rule, I find that snowboarders are pretty laidback when they talk to me at desk and when they sit around the lobby simply relaxing, but they are INTENSE when they talk about the Slalom.  Every one of them praised the Banked Slalom as a tough course that is the ultimate test of their speed, agility and endurance.  To a man (yes, all of our guests who were competing were male), they assured me that the course is tightly banked and “really gnarly.”  I believed them.  I know that I will never have the thrill of trying out that challenging course, but I enjoyed hearing about it!

          The conversations were fast and furious, and I learned a lot about the thrills and pitfalls of snowmobile racing and about taking on the Banked Slalom.  I also felt the warm glow of hearing the high-energy racers talk with the less-intense guests who were planning leisurely days snowshoeing and cross country skiing.  No one pulled attitude.  No one considered himself or herself a star.  All I heard was the wonderful sound of people sharing experiences.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Musical Magic at the Herbert

Stanley & Grimm Play the Herbert
     The Boardmans rocked the rafters with Celtic tunes at the Herbert on Friday as the crowd tapped their feet and clapped their hands to the lively music produced by the animated playing of the bass and the fiddle.  Standing in front of the beautiful oak-mantled fireplace, with soft lights framing the mirror above, the duo generated an energy that filled the room with sound and made me wonder about the many other musical performances and events that prior generations had experienced in this lovely building.  In this very room.

     Had Nordica, to whom a nearby museum is dedicated, ever thrilled an audience with her voice here?

      Did Dean Martin ever stop at the Herbert during one of his rumored trips to Maine and croon a few bars of "It's Amore"?

     How many other musical talents have formally or informally entertained area residents and visitors in the spacious lobby, which gives the impression of intimacy and immediacy but which can comfortably seat 120 guests?  The number amazes me, yet 120 people attended the Stanley & Grimm concert in October and all those who attended had the room to move to the music of another duo that strummed and fiddled out lively traditional Celtic songs.

     In December, we had the honor of hosting the Mt. Abram High School Band Christmas Concert, which filled the dining room and lobby with holiday music and brought the holiday spirit to everyone present.  The rooms were alive with the sound of music and hotel guests were charmed by the spirited performance of the band. 

     And, at the end of this month, on March 30th, Down East Brass will perform and the music should be sensational.   Another concert and another spirited evening at the Herbert.  The building will be alive with the sound of music, and the lobby will be filled with people who will join me in enjoying this very special place to be in Kingfield.  If these walls could talk, they would probably have a lot to tell.  For now, musical magic will continue to be made at the Herbert and I will keep poking around to learn as much as I can about the past performances that have graced this grand old place.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Our New Innkeeper's Blog!

We are very excited to introduce the Herbert Grand Hotel's new blog. This blog will provide updates on the hotel as well as on fun things going on in the Carrabassett Valley and Sugarloaf region of Maine. Guests are invited to comment, share and discuss. Occasionally, I will offer up topics for comment and discussion about Kingfield and probably offer up some unsolicited opinions about the very same. Thanks for reading and let the fun begin.