The Great '68 70th Birthday Bash
A Spectacular Celebration!
Lots more photos.
See the list of attendees.
Download Jack Hopke's compilation of music for the seventies. Included are playlists and notes for all three volumes. You won't find such a compilation anywhere else.
Announcement June 2015
So … September 13-16, 2016, Tuesday through Friday, headquartered at the Silverado Resort (www.silveradoresort.com) in the town of Napa, CA, just as we were for our 60th birthday. We’ve turned to midweek for this gig, in part because midweek was so successful for our eastern ski trip to Okemo, in part because Napa is far less crowded and hectic midweek in the high-demand wine harvest month of September … and in large part because we’re old enough to do whatever we want whenever we want!
For our 60th birthday party, Ed Heald and Ed Schneider (our man on the ground in Napa) stamped out a marvelous template for us to follow this time. For our 70th, Ed and Ed will do a by-popular-demand return engagement planning and coordinating the highlight of our reunion – our culminating birthday banquet Thursday night, September 15, at Ed Schneider’s beautiful hilltop home in St. Helena. In addition to our collective 70th birthday, we’ll be celebrating during our stay Dan Hedges’ actual 70th birthday, Cedric Kam’s official retirement, and Mr. and Mrs. Bell’s 25th wedding anniversary. (And they said it wouldn’t last!) In any event, I am looking forward that evening to the most memorable meal of my life!
As for the rest, much like the last time, except that access to wineries, vineyards, tours and tastings may be better because of our midweek timing. Also, Silverado Resort is featuring a number of “destination services” like bicycling, hot-air ballooning, a gourmet cooking course, and possibly even a casino night if there’s sufficient interest.
And, of course, golf. Silverado has two courses, one of which – the North Course – is the site of an official PGA tournament stop each October. Apparently Napa has gone a little golf crazy because of this, so it behooves golfers to make up their foursomes and reserve their tee times well in advance (as in, six months or more in advance – and I believe they’ll take reservations now.)
Here are some specifics as they stand now:
Lodging – We have a block of 40 rooms set aside for us at the Silverado for Tuesday through Thursday nights, September 13, 14, and 15. Also a handful of rooms on Sunday and Monday nights for early arrivals. Most of these are their “Mansion Rooms” – the standard luxury hotel room – which with tax and resort fees will run about $280 a night. I’ve asked them to set aside a few 1BR suites (about $400 a night) for those so inclined, and even a couple of 2BR suites (about $550) if there are any couples that want to stay together.
Within a couple of weeks, once all my paperwork with the resort is processed, I’ll be able to email you a link that will enable you to make your reservation online, both for your room and (very important!) for golf, and for any of the individual “destination services” that interest you. (Have fun perusing their website.) The good news is they won’t require a deposit from you now, only your credit card number.
Dining – In addition to the banquet at Ed Schneider’s Thursday evening, we’re planning a reception and dinner at a delightful Silverado venue called The Arbor (discovered and arranged by Ed Heald last time) for our arrival night Tuesday. This on the assumption that there will be little interest in a dining expedition off-site after traveling a good part of the day. Ed Schneider is taking on the tough task of scoping out Napa Valley restaurants for our Wednesday night meal – last time we visited Tra Vigne, a wonderful place in St. Helena; this time Ed is certain he can find something equally good a bit closer to the hotel. (Note: We’ll travel to the Wednesday and Thursday soirees by bus – a designated driver for all of us so we can enjoy the wine!)
Wine – There are so many vineyards, so many wineries, so many wines … and I know so little. (My wine expertise ranges from, “Hey, this is good!” to “I’m not real crazy about this one.”) Fortunately, I know people, and several of them have stepped forward to help. Last time we had one group expedition to a winery, and the rest was left to “on your own.” (And on your own is still a perfectly acceptable way to go.) But we have so much knowledge and expertise in this class (not just about wine either, but that’s another story) that I figured, “Why not use it?” Here’s what we have so far:
n Tad Hooker has volunteered to leverage his 30-year “best customer” status at V. Sattui winery (so exclusive the stuff is not available in stores!) to see if he can arrange a private tour, tasting, and possible lunch at the winery. This will likely occur Wednesday.
n Jim Lawrie, by virtue of living in Reno (not all that far from Napa) is familiar with a number of places, and has even volunteered to lead an expedition to Sonoma Valley (next valley over) if anyone is interested. (Jim is an expert on Sonoma wines – I know, because he has schooled me!)
n Bob Block led our wine foray (the Hess winery) for our 60th, and has a number of places in mind for this go-round. Based on my experience with him on our Eastern ski trips – well, if you really want to learn something about wine, hang around with Bob!
As we’ve discussed this, what we’d like is to have a number of wine tours/tasting options available each day, so that groups of us can go to various places – you can visit your favorites, or the ones you’re curious about, or whatever. Please let me know whatever preferences you have, and especially let me know if you’re willing to lead a group of us for a tour or tasting. The Wine Trust will be glad to welcome you into the fold!
Okay, that’s probably enough for now. I’ve let my enthusiasm run away with me again. What I need from you are three things:
n Most important, your confirmation that you’ll be joining us; or, if you know you can’t make it, that regrettable piece of information. We need a critical mass – I’m not worried about that – but in the event we look like we might become oversubscribed, sooner is better than later for arranging more rooms. So, please reply quickly.
n Second, I need money – the Silverado wants an initial deposit as “earnest money” for our block of rooms set-aside and as a deposit on our Tuesday night dinner. For now, $150 per person ($300 per couple) will do. Please make your check payable to “Dartmouth ’68 70th Birthday”; my mailing address is at the end of this. What’s the total tariff, you ask? Don’t know yet – it primarily involves three dinners with some nice wines, plus two bus rides, so once we have a better handle on meal planning and our number of attendees, we’ll be able to work out the total. I’ll probably ask for it in two more installments for ease of budgeting – and if I overestimate, I’ll return the excess to you or send it on to the Dartmouth College Fund in your name, whatever your preference.
n Third, please contact any classmates not on this email distribution that you regard as fishable, work on fishing them, and have them contact me. What’s worked really well for our Hanover reunions is the “who’s coming?” list, and I’d like to use that leverage this time as well, and as soon as we can.
Finally, my thanks to Ed Heald, Ed Schneider, Tad Hooker, Jim Lawrie, and Bob Block for all their help already, and for their willingness to help even more – and to you too for wading through this thing and, I hope, joining us. We only turn our biblical three score and ten once, and while from my actuarial viewpoint we are an extraordinarily healthy and long-lived class, nothing is forever. So let’s do this right, and make it the best mini any class has ever held.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mailing address for checks:
Gerry Bell; 129 Paradise Rd; Bethel ME 04217