Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday

We love the concept on social media of "throwback Thursday" -- a day to look at and post old photos and think about the past.

Earlier this week Jim McAllister, our wonderful local historian and photographer, shared a photo with us -- one he took in 1985 -- of the front of the Hawthorne Hotel, evidently festooned for a 60th anniversary celebration.   It features a photo of "Mel" who was the doorman then. 

From all accounts, Mel was a super-friendly man whom everyone seemed to love.  According to the current owner of the hotel, it was highly unlikely that Mel was an actual employee of the hotel given the financial circumstances of the hotel in those days -- and in fact he vaguely remembers Mel volunteering to do this job for something to do.  He may have done pretty well on the tips he could have received anyway, as it has been a well-documented custom in upscale hotels around the United States which have historically had doormen who would actually pay the hotel for their jobs because they make so much in tips.

Whatever the arrangement, Mel was a fixture here for long enough to still be remembered by our team members who were recently honored at our luncheon for staff members who have been with the hotel for 25 years or more.

Do you remember Mel?  Please feel free to share your stories with us.  We would love to hear from you.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Photos at PEM

SALEM, MA -- The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) presents an installation of works by acclaimed photographer Robert Weingarten. Long before social media popularized the documentation of life’s daily rituals, Robert Weingarten launched a photographic odyssey beginning in January 2003. Over the course of the year, he made daily exposures at precisely 6:30 am, maintaining an identical combination of camera, 350-millimeter lens, slow-speed film and viewpoint overlooking Santa Monica Bay. A selection of these resulting images are on view through May 2015 at PEM.

Large-scale, luminous photographs of Malibu capture what the artist calls, “the fleeting nature of a particular confluence of light, and conditions that render a moment dramatic and singular.” Unfiltered and unmanipulated, Weingarten produced a series of 137 pigment prints display a seemingly infinite variety of color, mood and atmosphere that reflects the changes in season, weather and even the impact of air pollution. 6:30 am, Robert Weingarten also captures life at the edge of a bustling seaside city: airplanes come and go at LAX international airport and boats traverse the oceanfront at Marina del Rey.

Weingarten’s photographs engage a long tradition of photographing in sequence, chronicling the way a scene changes from moment to moment, and day to day. The bold, immersive colors also call to mind works of American Expressionist artists, especially Mark Rothko, whose color field paintings have influenced generations of artists. Weingarten reminds us that it is not always necessary to travel to make great photographs, and that sometimes the best art is made close to home.

6:30 am, Robert Weingarten on view through May 2015

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guest Newsletter for Wednesday, July 30

Here is the Hawthorne Guest Messenger for Wednesday, July 30, 2014.

Hotel Notes
Join the Peabody Essex Museum
for the Turner & the Sea exhibit!
In the first full-scale examination of Joseph Mallord William Turner's lifelong preoccupation with the sea, this exhibition features iconic works spanning the artist's career from his transformative Academy paintings of the late 1790s and early 1800s, to the unfinished, experimental seascapes produced towards the end of his life.

Weather Forecast   
Partly cloudy with low humidity. Highs in the upper 70s. Southwestern winds, 5 – 10mph.

What’s Happening in Salem this week
The Mahi Mahi Harbor Cruises offer a number of daily cruises that are open to the public - with everything from narrated sightseeing cruises to relaxing afternoon cruisessunset cruises, and more.  Beat the summer heat and Get Your Cruise On!
Stop by the front desk for the daily schedule.

VIP of the Day
The Hawthorne Hotel would like to welcome their VIP of the day, Emily Coleman!

Flags of the Day

This Day in History
On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare's first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card.

I hope to see you here!


Salem Marine Society Newspaper Article

This opinion piece written by David Shribman, recently appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and since it is about a place within the footprint of the Hawthorne Hotel, I thought I would memorialize it by posting the link to the article here:

Salem Marine Society

In addition, and in case you really want to "see" this special room (which is not open for tours) here is a video that I took a number of years ago and posted on "YouTube" so you can tour it electronically:

Video Tour of the Salem Marine Society 

Last but not least, here is a link to a photo album of still photos of the Marine Society in case seeing videos is not for you, or if you want to see a more detailed view:

Photo Album of Still Photos of the Salem Marine Society

I hope you enjoy learning more about this "rooftop treasure", a private club founded in 1766 which continues as such today.


Monday, July 28, 2014

Nice to Be Nice

When I was in high school I had a teacher who had a HUGE banner across the front of the classroom.  It went from one side of the room to the other, and in lettering about a foot high, it said "It's Nice to Be Nice".

It is funny how something so simple can be so powerful.  Every class, every day you look at something like that and it begins to take root in an undeniable way.  It becomes part of your DNA.  It turns in to the mantra I use for our team members which says "We are NOT in the Hotel business, we are in the Hospitality business -- so if you can remember that in everything you do, you will not go wrong."  Always treat our guests with hospitality!  That is another way of saying "Be Nice."

So it was pretty easy for me to say "yes" when the Salem Common Neighborhood Association asked me if they could use the Ballroom to read the Declaration of Independence on that special day, since really stormy weather was in the forecast.  Of course, I said "yes" just like I had on several other Independence Days -- some of which actually materialized with the storms and others that did not.

This year, what made this even even more popular, was that the stormy weather for this long holiday weekend was really more of the affects of the first hurricane of the season, and the weather forecast was so bad that the fireworks were postponed to Sunday from Friday, something that was not easily done.  That change left the Reading of the Declaration as pretty much the only 4th of July activity that was going to be able to take place on "the day", and it was only because we donated the use of the Grand Ballroom to this event.  Word went out loud and strong on social media, and many, many people showed up for this 9 am event on a holiday.

Here is the nice thank you note I received from the organizer.  It is Nice to be Nice.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hawthorne Hotel's Flags of the Week ~~ July 28 through August 3, 2014

South Dakota

Monday July 28 Nicaragua and Oklahoma    
Tuesday July 29 Niger and Oregon 
Wednesday July 30 Nigeria and Pennsylvania                                 
Thursday July 31 Norway and Puerto Rico      
Friday August 1 Oman and Rhode Island  

Saturday August 2 Pakistan and South Carolina                                      
Sunday August 3 Palau and South Dakota                    

*Denotes special request 

FAQs about our Flag Program

Q.  Why do we have a "flag program" here at the Hawthorne Hotel?

A.  Our owner instituted this program as a way to encourage anyone who comes in contact with us here in Salem, or at our hotel, to think more globally, rather than parochially, about the world we live in.  He believes that the world would be better off if we all thought about the fact that there are other places, other cultures, to understand and appreciate.

Q.  How long has this program been in existence?

A.  While I do not have the exact date it was started, I know that it was fully operational when I arrived at the Hawthorne Hotel as General Manager in the Spring of 1999, so likely at least since 1998 and possibly longer.

Q.  Where are the flags flown?

A.  The country flag flies to the right of the front door as you face the hotel, and the state flag flies on the left.
Q.  How are the flags chosen?

A.  The Hawthorne Hotel owns all of the flags of the member nations of the United Nations, so we fly those flags for the "country" flag, in alphabetical order.  The hotel also owns all of the flags of the states and related protected entities of the United States, and those are also flown in alphabetical order.

Q.  Are there any exceptions to which flags are flown on a particular day?

A.  Yes, we take special requests from guests who will be staying in the hotel, having a function in the hotel, from our staff members, and even from people in the community.  If someone calls us with even a mildly compelling request, we generally honor that request, on a first-call basis.

Q.  What about "Old Glory" -- the flag of the United States of America?

A.  That flag is always flying on the roof of the Hawthorne Hotel.   One day a woman marched into my office and gave me a huge piece of her mind along the lines of how dare we fly the flag of XXX country instead of the flag of the USA.  She ranted on and on for a few minutes before I could interrupt her to tell her that the flag of the USA was the largest flag we own, and was clearly flying on the roof of the hotel.  She quickly mumbled "never mind" and walked out of my office as quickly as she had walked in.

Q.  Does the program ever create controversy over the flag(s) that are flying?

A.  We have had coincidences of flying flags in our normal alphabetical order, when a flag of a country with which the US had previously been at war, and was now in peace with, was flying on a particularly historic date.  For example, one year on December 7, we were flying the flag of Japan.  We got a few phone calls that day scolding us for our recognizing that country on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day.

Q.  What kinds of good things have happened that you can share?

A.  In addition to having our guests happily surprised and delighted because we have honored their special requests, we have also had some nice "happy coincidences" where we have inadvertently been flying the flag of a country when we have been visited by a particular group of people who are from that country, and they just happened by.  Many photographs have been taken in the front of the Hawthorne Hotel with a special flag.

Q.  If I want to request a particular flag or flags be flown, how do I go about making that request?

A.  Please call us at 978-825-4444 or 978-825-4322.  If you reach our voicemail, leave us a message with the details of your request and we will make every effort to honor your request.  Remember we can only fly the flags we have, which are all the flags of the member nations of the UN, and the flags related to the United States of America (states, territories, protectorates, etc.)

We hope to see you here!