Tag Archives: Balsams Grand Resort

Why Is The Grass Greener In Coos County, New Hampshire?

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

The green, green grass of Coos County, or ‘Coors’ County as I call it.

On our way up to the Balsams Grand Resort auction last Saturday, May 12, I, for a change did most of the driving (rather than read or nap while my wife does most of the driving). As is to be expected I tend to notice more of the scenery that we are going through when I am driving as opposed to having my eyes glued to a book (with reading glasses on) or having them shut.

I enjoyed the drive. I expected to see more hills, but I guess once you go past the White Mountains I guess you leave most of that terrain behind you. Having grown up in two countries noted for their verdancy, I tend to notice shades of green (often tinged with nostalgia because in my mind there is nothing more peaceful and beautiful as the deeply rich green grass of England, especially when seen from a plane as it banks to land at Heathrow Airport).

As soon as we got on Route 3, just north of the now gone ‘Old Man of the Mountain‘, I started noticing a change in the grass by the side of the road. By the time we got to ‘Twin Mountain’ it was inescapable. Then it became a feature for the rest of the drive through Coos, or as I fondly call it (for obvious reasons) ‘Coors‘ County. The grass was greener than in central NH — by a long chalk (and talking of chalk, lime may be a factor here). The grass is different. It is finer and of a lighter color. But it is devoid of bald spots and weeds as is often the case in Belknap. [Talking of which, on Thursday of this week I saw a large truck, not belonging to the town, spraying the lawns by the side of Alton Main Street. Not sure what that was all about and what budget that was coming out of. How come they don’t spray my lawn? Plus, what are they spraying? Will it make my Golden turn green?]

Furthermore, most of the grass was already mowed. Coming back that afternoon seeing people mowing was common, some with tractors others with push mowers. On one farm I saw two lawn tractors being used in tandem to mow. Was I impressed. Back home I had only seen one person mowing their lawn and he is retired ‘snow bird’ who appears to be compulsive about moving is lawn and blowing away leaves from his drive. He seems to do it everyday. All his lawn mowers (and he seem to have one for each day of the week) and his leaf blowers have defective mufflers, which is kind of ‘OK’ with me — but here is the funny part. The guy is deaf as a lamp post and wears hearing aids in both ears. I always wonder whether he has ever made a connection between his lack of hearing and the defective mufflers.

So what is the deal here. Per my limited knowledge of horticulture the grass should not be greener in Coors. They have a longer winter. My wife reckons that the snow might help. It is marginally possible that the cooler temps up there prevent the grass from getting burned (as it does down here). That could be a factor. I would have thought that the soil was worse up there than here; but I could be wrong on that front. I am sure it is a different type of grass and in general, from what I could see, the type of grass and its quality was consistent across the county. It was like they laid a fine green carpet. I have talked to a few people this last week, at hardware stores etc., as to why the grass is greener in Coors. Some say that it is because the properties along Route 3 (that I was driving on) are ‘old money’ and as such have well established lawns. That is possible, but Belknap isn’t all red neck country either. So if you could shed some light I would be most interested and grateful. Thank you.

We Went To The Balsams Grand Resort Auction

It was fun. We had never been to the Balsams. I have stayed at the Mount Washington a few times (twice for Thanksgiving I think) but had never made it to the Balsams. Actually I had never been further than Errol. So this was an experience. I was suitably impressed with the Great North Woods.

The Balsams looks spectacular from a distance. It had to have been quite the resort. Obviously it is not at its best right now.

The inside was depressing, cold and musty. Though it was the nicest day, weather wise he had had in weeks, it was chilly inside the hotel and I (usually warm blooded) kept an insulated vest on all day.

There was a lot of people. Parking was crazy though we got there by 9am. Everybody though was in good cheer and convivial. It was a party atmosphere. We enjoyed the experience and was glad we made the effort to drive the ~160 odd (and some of it was indeed very odd) miles.

The auction, however, was appalling, both in terms of organization and execution!¬† I can’t claim to be a connoisseur of auctions but I have been to some. This was beyond a joke. It was like a parody of an auction; a Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit making fun of us yokels in NH trying to hold an auction. I have no experience of North Country Auctions, but they should be ashamed. When I heard on WMUR this morning that the auction made around $250,000, after selling ~2,400 items, it confirmed my worst fears.

I had, as is my wont, visited the North Country Auctions ‘Web site’ twice before we set off. The Web site looks like it was designed in the 1950s by color-blind, visually impaired wall-paper hanger with just one good arm. Huge type in red seems to be their idea of finesse. Technology was conspicuous by its absence. In August 1967, when we were leaving Ceylon to move to Buffalo, my parents auctioned off the contents of our (fairly large) house in Colombo. The auction yesterday, in terms of technology, was no different! All they had was a portable sound system. There were no laptops, let alone iPads and no jumbo displays to project the items being auctioned. It was pitiful.

I remember at least 4 auctions that were arbitrarily re-called and redone. If I had been the winner of one of those I would have been very upset. There was confusion as to prices and actually what was being auctioned. They claimed they were auctioning 4 lots of 3 antique movie projectors. That was supposed to be a typo! They only had 4 projectors. It was pathetic.

We didn’t bid on 2 many items. I bid on the 2008 Presidential tally board — from when Obama was elected. I went up to $300. It eventually sold for $400 (according to WMUR), though I though it stopped with the bid after mine (and I kind of suspected that the house was bidding against me). I also tried to bid on a plastic Coke bin. Though I was standing up on a chair waving my card, they ignored my bid and sold it to a lady for $10. C’est la vie.

After the auction I am not impressed with the business acumen of the two (supposed) businessman who are the new owners of the Balsams. Their choice of Auctioneer let a lot to be desired. Organization was dreadful and while I know that that far up north there are very few laws, I am sure that they still managed to violate a few (but, I could be wrong). With all those people in attendance, I did not see a single uniformed policeman, a security guard or an ambulance (and I walked the entire perimeter of the hotel twice). There were a lot of old people there. Security was bad! Items were being taken from rooms and job lots. All they did was make announcements pleading with people not to steal. I did not see any checkout process. This was a joke. They could have done much better.