Letter, Opinion

A new and essential kind of hospitality

Dear editor,

Recently I had the opportunity to tour the newly repurposed Cortina Inn, the beautiful property that my wife Breda and I owned for 33 years, which is now under the management of a family that is now offering a new kind of hospitality — perhaps the most essential kind. Long known for Sunday brunches and memorable wedding receptions, Cortina Inn has now re-opened as Vista Senior Living.

Renovations and code upgrades have been on-going for two years to prepare it for new life as a facility for assisted living, independent living, and memory care. No doubt, good old-fashioned hospitality is vitally important at Vista, even more so since “guests” stay at the “inn” for many months or, in some cases, years.

As innkeepers at Cortina Inn, we worked diligently to make it a more year-round business but there were still seasonal layoffs. In contrast, long term care facilities are solid, stable businesses offering year-round employment and predictable income for healthcare professionals and other staff. There is also the economic value to the county and region, as family members from outside Vermont visit residents in the facility. They will spend money in shops and for hotel rooms and restaurants. In addition, healthcare students can intern there, artists can be invited to exhibit and give classes, and local writers can share tips on everything from memoir writing to poetry composition.

Vermont has one of the oldest populations of any state. In fact, I was surprised to learn (through Penny at the Rutland Chamber/Economic Development office) that according to the latest census Rutland County has a population of 58,191, of which 22% or 12,800 are over the age of 65.

Many of these seniors will “age in place,” that is, they will stay in their homes or with loved ones, while others will have health issues that require more daily care than family can provide. Vista can make all the difference in their quality of life — for family members who are caretakers as well as their elder loved ones. Many older folks, and I am one, simply do not want to deal with the constant maintenance problems of owning a home, plus the isolation and the transportation issues, not to mention food preparation. This is where long term residential facilities fill an essential need. In addition to their own living space Vista residents have access to facilities such as a library, living room, craft room, exercise space, and a communal dining room. All provide the opportunity to create a whole new circle of friends, while enjoying new activities that promote other benefits. In addition, the owners tell me that they will have a van for transporting residents to doctor appointments, shopping, and sight-seeing trips.

As Cortina Inn’s former owner, I am immensely pleased that our former facility has been lovingly renovated and updated to offer this new kind of hospitality.

Even though I am not affiliated with Vista in any way, don’t be surprised if you see me there some day, greeting new arrivals, with the same enthusiasm as when I was its proprietor.

Bob Harnish
Pittsford

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