DIXVILLE NOTCH, New Hampshire and LEXINGTON, Massachusetts ??вЂќ Steve Barba, 59, and Chef Phil Learned, 78, will retire as managing partners of the operating company for The BALSAMS Grand Resort Hotel after more than three decades of operating this historic property. The BALSAMS owner since 1954, Tillotson Corporation, has named Delaware North Companies Parks and Resorts to take over the management of the resort. Barba has agreed to continue in an on-site capacity through the transition and beyond.
“The legacy that Steve and Chef Learned leave is enormous,” commented Bill Alico, President & CEO of Tillotson Corporation. “Their commitment to The BALSAMS and the New Hampshire community is simply extraordinary. They’re an institution in these parts, and we cannot thank them enough for their personal dedication and professional efforts in making this the premier destination resort in New England.”
Barba and Learned combined for more than 85 years of service at The BALSAMS. Barba began his affiliation with the property in 1959 when he enrolled as a caddy at the hotel’s caddy camp and then went on to work his way through numerous summer season positions. In 1971 he and his long time friend, Warren Pearson, took over the reins as co-managers and shared their distinctive lobby office until Pearson’s death in 2001. Director of Food Service and Executive Chef Learned began his career at The BALSAMS in 1965 and quickly turned the resort’s American plan menu into one of the most notable culinary attractions in New England. Chef Learned founded New England’s first certified culinary apprenticeship program 25 years ago. He had joined Barba and Pearson in 1977 as managing partner of the operating company along with maintenance superintendent, Raoul Jolin, who retired in 2001, to form the newly established Balsams Corporation.
“It’s been a lifetime’s labor of love to serve here at The BALSAMS,” commented Barba. “With generations of families who come every year and visitors from around the world, I have been privileged to live and work in this beautiful place and to pursue what I know to be a noble enterprise. I am proud to have been a steward of this national treasure, and I am honored by all the loyal and good people who have shared this work with me.”
The new management firm, Delaware North Companies, is one of the nation’s foremost hospitality and entertainment companies, managing some of the biggest brands in the world, including: the TD-Banknorth Garden(R) in Boston (formerly Boston’s FleetCenter), Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, the Tenaya Lodge and the Ahwahnee(R) Hotel in Yosemite National Park. The company’s 90-year history as a global hospitality leader and its extensive track record in hotel and hospitality management, as well as its strong ties in New England, make it a perfect choice to position and re-shape The BALSAMS continuing evolution. “In Delaware North, we have a partner ideally suited to expand upon The BALSAMS rich heritage and its commitment to this historic property and the surrounding communities,” Alico continued. “We look forward to a very bright and vibrant future with Delaware North as we continue to expand and improve one of the nation’s most unique and elegant vacation getaways.”
The 139-year-old resort is nestled high in the White Mountains and deep in the Great North Woods Region of New Hampshire in historic Dixville Notch, N.H. It offers world-renowned cuisine and dining and an array of on-site activities that include 27 holes of golf, tennis, boating and fishing, hiking and mountain biking. Winter activities include alpine and cross-country skiing, plus a host of other winter sports. The BALSAMS is well known as “New England’s Resort” and is one of America’s most popular full-service resort destinations.
Tillotson Corporation is a diversified holding company based in greater Boston. Its worldwide network of companies include one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hand protection in Georgia — Best Manufacturing, as well as in New England — Tillotson Farms & Forest Ltd., Heveatex Corporation, Dixville Telephone and the John G. Alden Inc. of Massachusetts. For more information, contact Tillotson Corporation at (781) 402-1731.