A recap of our Opening Celebration on October 9th, 2021
THE BALSAM: OPENING CELEBRATION
Having finished our model home in late summer, we all agreed that we should throw a party. Not only do we wholeheartedly agree that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but the completed Balsam truly deserved a proper coming-out bash.
While Labor Day weekend was one obvious possibility we decided to roll the dice a little and went for Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend in October. The weather can be a little blustery by then, but the foliage is generally at or close to peak. Rain or shine we knew we would get the red of maples, orange of ashes and yellow of cherries. And rain it didn’t — the temperature was downright balmy and everything came magically together.
Of course there was the inevitable day-of chaos as half the team were setting up at the house while the other half were darting between town and site, bringing any and all missing items. But by 2 p.m., as the first guests turned into the driveway, the bites were out and ready, beer was on ice, the first of three bands for the day strummed its guitar and we were ready to celebrate.
By 2:30 we had over 60 people in and around the house. The whole team was dutifully milling among the crowd and one could overhear answers to questions such as “how does energy recovery ventilation work?”, “what is a thermal bridge?” and “are these really triple-pane windows?”. Visitors from far and wide truly took to the Balsam and one could sense that everyone felt that this is not just another house. Physically being in a passive house really does feel different, and better. It wasn’t all erudition though. The beer flowed freely (thanks, Catskill Brewery and Upward Brewing), pizza was yummy (thanks, Kaatskeller) and the sweets were delicious (thanks, Neon Croissant).
RIBBON-CUTTING, WITH ASSEMBLYWOMAN AILEEN GUNTHER
The highlight came just after 3 p.m., with actual ribbon cutting by none other than the fabulous Aileen Gunther, our local Assemblywoman. Aileen is a politician you really want: infectiously enthusiastic, excellent at all aspects of her job, in love with the area and its people. She effortlessly inspired the crowd, cut the red ribbon and wished us all luck and good fortune. We can’t be 100% certain but we thought we saw the Balsam wink and smile a little.
Your corresponded was relieved he was not expected to speak for Aileen was a truly hard act to follow. But Greg did a great job, as did Hans from Bensonwood. and by the end everyone got a good sense of What the Future of Living and Building looks like, and why we picked western Catskills for our carbon neutral community. The afternoon was brought to a close by a guided trail walk, complementing the house experience with local waterfalls, ponds and endless natural beauty on the property.
You are some host, Balsam. We never doubted you, but you exceeded all expectation. A happy wink and smile back.
Southwest corner of the Balsam. Photo by Marcus Brooks.