With the removal of the Millheim Hotel’s balcony I find myself all nostalgic. Although I can find nothing in print, supposedly an accident has forced the owners of the Millheim Hotel to make a decision to take down the old balcony. Local word is that a young daredevil, employed at the time at Camp Woodward, was trying out some parkour moves from the balcony and ended up breaking bones from falling to the street. One goof can spoil things for everyone. I sure am going to miss seeing that balcony.
Millheim Hotel has gone through stages. In the late 70’s it was a really sketchy place but took on new ownership and by the early 80’s had classed itself up. I can remember in 1983 they offered some of the area’s best vegetarian entreés, very Moosewood Cookbook in style, and offered a vast salad bar with healthy side salads with every meal. My best friend Missy and I started stopping in now and then and got just the salad bar that was set up in a claw footed bathtub.
It was one of our trips up the valley when we took along my sister Tracy and her good friend Jane. We were a giggling and jolly crew as Missy navigated the twisting and turning old route 45 in her sporty Toyota Corolla. When we weren’t crawling behind a horse and buggy, Missy would get up to speed and Jane would take her shoe off and make it “fly” out the window. I was the eldest at 21 and we were all pretty silly.
We all got a table in the dining room and read the fancy-shmancy drink specials listed on the cocktail menu. When it came time to order, the waitress never asked for IDs as we all ordered Silver Clouds from the bar. I have to laugh at how naughty we felt at ordering these froo froo drinks since I was the only one that was legal drinking age. The Bailey’s Irish Cream was hardly more than a flavoring because it was mostly whipped cream and other non-alcohlic ingredients.
We laughed and carried on the whole time as we stuffed ourselves from the terrific salad bar and sipped our special drinks. Knowing us, we were probably a little loud and it’s not surprising that we drew the attention of one of the local fellows who was staggering his way through the dining area from the (still a bit seedy) bar. This man was old enough to be any of our fathers but that didn’t stop him from pausing at our table.
“Ladies,” he slurred, “I just want you to know that later we are having a balcony party upstairs and you are all invited.”
We all didn’t know what to say and thank goodness didn’t have time to reply before the waitress admonished the man by name and told him to keep moving. He obliged and made his way either out the front door or upstairs to the balcony area. I am sure we made a humorous comment or two amongst ourselves when he made it out of sight. What sticks out in my mind, and we all still laugh at to this day, was when he came back through the dining are to return to the bar. He walked back by our table, leaned down and reminded us of his open offer with two words, “Balcony party.”
The dining at Millheim Hotel currently isn’t quite what it was in the ’80s. A handful of years ago we would still stop in now and then. At that time they still had the bathtub salad bar but the offerings were much less. I did stop in for a Jameson on my True Emerald Adventure (aka Up the Valley Bar Tour). Another night a bunch of us letterboxers went and the bar told Becky she couldn’t have Rum & Coke with a twist of lime because their “twister was broken.”
They now have a pizza night and the cocktails are priced rock bottom but the balcony is gone and so is a lot of the charm. With the changes going on in Millheim, I have little doubt things will shape up for the Hotel and I look forward to visiting and making more great memories.