A Golden Legacy
Wini and Stefanie Holderied each traveled from Germany to New York City not knowing what was in store for them. Little did they know they would fall in love with each other and a small mountain town named Lake Placid. We want to show you the real foundation of the Golden Arrow. Take a look back at our family’s history and live our American dream.
The Early Years
Ambition and a chance for a better life bring to young people from Germany to America.
Growing up in wartime Germany was not easy. When Wini thinks of his youth, he remembers always being hungry. As a small child, he and his sibling used to walk across the border to Austria to beg work from a farmer there. If the farmer had work (and enough food) he would pay them by feeding them. Things were not much easier for Stefanie, but she at least lived on a farm, so had something to eat.
Four year old Wini in Balderschwang
Wini was born in Balderschwang, Germany in 1932
Four year old Stefanie with her sister Friedhilde
Stefanie was born in Braunlingen, Germany in 1937
Coming to America
Family connections help Wini and Stefy start a new life far from home
Wini with his family - age 6
Fun Fact: when Wini & Stefanie first moved to New York City, a subway token cost $0.13
On June 1, 1955, Wini arrived in New York Harbor on the ship, Italia. His favorite memory of being on the ship is that so many people were sea sick, but he felt great. As a result, he got to eat at least three portions of food at each meal. It was the most he had ever eaten. It was also the first time he had ever eaten a banana. He was 22 years old.
Hospitality is in the Holderied blood. Before the Second World War, Wini’s family owned a Gasthaus (translated directly as “guest house” it is a Bed and Breakfast) in Balderschwang that they were forced to sell. It is now a beautiful upscale resort called the Hubertus Alpine Lodge – named in honor of Wini’s father, Hubert. The Holderied family – all 20 members – visited there in 2012.
The original Gasthaus Hubertus where Wini was born
Stefanie’s family still owns and operates a Gasthaus in Braunlingen called Hotel Lindenhof. It is the largest Gasthaus in the village.
A Love Story
A chance encounter in class leads to a family legacy.
"Love at first sight is easy to understand. It is when people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that is becomes a miracle."
“Sometime in the fall of 1957 I asked Stefy if she wanted to get married. She was so happy, she was singing and singing. At that time she was always singing. I sent a letter to her family about our plans and they insisted we get married in Braunlingen. So the date was set for February 1, 1958.
It was customary for the groom to throw coins to the children of the village after a celebration
Moving to Lake Placid
The Holderieds’ legacy in Lake Placid begins.
"You will come to know that what appears today to be a sacrifice will prove instead to be the greatest investment that you will ever make."
-Gordon B Hinckley
It was not easy for the children either. As they got older, they had to start the school year in Lake Placid, transfer to school in New York City from October to May, and then go back to school in Lake Placid in the Spring. They spent most of their summer vacations helping their mother run the motel and playing in the pool. This went on for five years until they purchased the Holiday Motel in 1970.
The Wildwood's fresh water pond still exists today.
Finding Home at the Golden Arrow
The purchase of the original 36-room Golden Arrow
The original 36-room Golden Arrow
In 1974, a 36-room motel with an amazing location right on Mirror Lake and in the heart of the Village became available for purchase. It was a smaller property that the Holiday Motel, but the location was unbeatable. So the Holderieds sold their ownership stake of the Holiday Motel to their business partner and bought the Golden Arrow Motor Inn. (It had the name Golden Arrow when they purchased it.) Wini started to expand almost immediately.
Stefanie and the kids circa 1965
Getting Ready for The Games
The 1980 Winter Olympics changed the little village forever.
Main Street during The Games.
Stefanie was on the board of the Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce from 1974-1984. She was part of the local team that fought to bring the Olympics to Lake Placid, and the only woman from Lake Placid to travel to Vienna, Austria, where the International Olympic Committee congregated to actually bid for the games.
While Stefy was busy working to bring the Games to Lake Placid, Wini was busy preparing for them. The Holderieds purchased the neighboring property on the north side of the original Golden Arrow in 1978. Building commenced immediately. Wini first built the Alpine Mall and the parking garages (garages C&D today.) Then, Wini set to work building the 35 hotel rooms in the north wing of the building. During this time, the Golden Arrow joined the Best Western franchise.
Heidi, Stef, and Christl in the hostess uniforms
1980 was the first time artificial snow was used during an Olympic Games.
Growing the Business
Following the 1980 Games, the Golden Arrow undergoes transformative growth.
Golden Arrow lobby circa 1988
Between 1985 and 1987, the Golden Arrow more than doubled in size. Wini designed and built the south wing of the resort, including parking garages A and B. New rooms included suites and specialty rooms with the first real fireplaces in any Lake Placid hotel. While Wini was building, Stefanie was working to allow him to continue; battling law suits from other local hoteliers, making sure he had the funding he needed, and literally distracting guests in the lobby as they waited to check in while he finished painting and installing the furniture into the rooms they were checking into!
Next came the enormous task of raising the lobby. Since the lobby was only two stories high, and Wini had built four story buildings on either side of it, the structure needed to be raised. During renovations, the middle wing also had an additional floor added onto it.
"He just kept building, and I just made sure he was able to keep going" - Stefanie
While Wini literally built the physical business, Stefanie worked on growing occupancy, not only for The Golden Arrow, but Lake Placid in general. Immediately after The Olympics, she was named a chairperson of the chamber of commerce. Her main focus was keeping The Olympic venues relevant and useful after the games. She was also a leader in bringing tour groups to the area and helped create events such as the Lake Placid Oktoberfest.
Growing the Family
As the Holderied children get married and start having families of their own, the third generation of the Golden Arrow if born.
Natasha the future GM of Generations and Andrea the future Operations Manager
In 1982, Peter and Kim get married in the chapel at the former Lake Placid Club. The have three daughters, Rachael (1978), Andrea (1983), and Natasha (1986).
In 1986, Heidi meets and quickly falls in love with fourth generation Saranac Laker, Bill Madden. They elope in New Zealand. Not to be denied a party, Stefanie throws them a wedding anyway. They have two sons, Alex (1989) and Peter (1993).
Stef with baby Alex
In 1987 Christl marries Paul Barrett in Lake Placid. They then move to Boston. She gets a job as a VP at Fidelity.
Both Peter and Heidi decided to raise their families in the area and began working in the family business. Bringing the grandkids to work was never a problem – nor is it a problem for the fourth generation. You will most likely see Jenny and Andrea’s kids floating around the resort causing a ruckus.
Wini at his happiest: wood in one hand, baby in the other!
It Runs in the Family
Peter and Heidi follow in their parents’ footsteps
Country Kitchen circa late 1980s
After helping Wini complete construction of the South Wing and the lobby, Peter and his wife, Kim, take over the Country Kitchen Restaurant. They completely renovate everything, including its name, and the Country Kitchen becomes Goldberries. Peter runs Goldberries until 1997.
In 1986, Heidi returns to the Golden Arrow to run the Health Spa. She and Peter also build and open Roomers Nightclub. Eventually, Heidi assumes the role of Director of Group Sales. In the early ’90s Heidi gradually assumes the role of GM and introduces computers to the front desk.
Build it and they will come
The Golden Arrow makes a number of updates and additions to the property, transforming the family business into the Lake Placid staple we know today.
Views of the Golden Arrow from across Mirror Lake
2001: The Holderieds are finally granted permission to complete the 5th floor of the south wing and have the elevator climb the clock tower all the way to the top. Jenny’s husband, Dave, and Heidi’s husband, Bill, help Peter and Wini with this large construction project.
2004: The Holderieds purchase the neighboring property on the south side with further expansion in mind.
2008: The west wing of the resort is built, adding 15 new rooms and 18 more parking spaces. The family also takes back management of the restaurant, renaming it Generations.
2015: The boathouse on the south side of the property is constructed for guest use and as a beautiful event function space.
Our boathouse sits on Mirror Lake and offers beautiful mountain views. Great for small weddings, cocktail hours, and family reunions!
“The strength of family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo
We are so lucky to live, work, and play in the Adirondacks and want to do everything we can to help protect it.
2002: The Golden Arrow goes completely non-smoking. Team members are no longer allowed to smoke while on premises. The Holderieds commit to an optional smoking cessation program. Any cessation method the team members choose, the hotel pays for – anything from nicotine gum to hypnotism.
The Golden Arrow was the first hotel in New York State to have a green roof!
Completed in June of 2008, the Green Roof is a 3,400-square-foot roof that you can enjoy from the deck of Generations Restaurant. Green Roofs have many benefits including creating energy savings by acting as a super insulator, keeping the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It also acts as a storm water management system, catching pollutants as they drain off the roof. This is especially important for us since we are located directly on the lake. The oxygen released by the plants will help the hotel reduce its carbon footprint and hopefully provide a nice habitat for birds and insects. The roof also doubles the life of the roof underneath it by protecting it from the elements.
Some of our many Green initiatives include:
- Paper shampoo, conditioner, and lotion “bottles” from Bee Kind
- Recycling soap to Clean the World
- In room recycling (in 2020 you helped us recycle 9 school buses full of product!)
- Crushed limestone beach (helps counteract the effects of acid rain)
- LED light bulbs
- Recycled tires gym flooring
- Towel & sheet reuse program (basic, but effective!)
- Glass drinkware in rooms
Our limestone beach is both pretty and purposeful!
So Much to be Thankful For
“The strength of family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo
The Holderied Family
Our family is blessed to have 12 family members working in some capacity for the family business. Everyone has their role and we do our best to support each other and make the Golden Arrow the best it can be.
Stefy – “Oma”
Wini – “Opa”
Peter – Chief Noise and Mess Maker
Heidi – Ultimate Tie Breaker
Bill – The Crane Guy
Jenny – Big Schnitzle
Dave – The Tractor Guy
Andrea – The Beautifier
Brandon – Head Cookie Baker
Natasha – Makes It Yummy
Tyler – The Stone Guy
Alex – Mr Fix It
The family in Germany, 1998
16 members live within a half hour drive of Lake Placid. In addition to being physically close, we love hanging out together. Every other year we take a huge family trip that none of us would miss. We celebrate everything with cocktails.
We have big, noisy gatherings where at least one thing gets spilled or broken every time. But mostly, we laugh.
Golden Arrow Timeline
Wini & Stefanie immigrate to the United States from Southern Germany. After meeting in an English language class, they marry and have three children, Christl, Peter, and Heidi.
The Holderieds visit Lake Placid for the first time. They are so taken with the beauty of the Adirondacks that by 1964 they move here permanently.
The Holderieds buy the Golden Arrow Motor Inn. At the time, the hotel consisted of only 36 rooms. The lobby was located on what is currently the second floor.
These are the years of major growth for the small hotel. The north wing, the health spa, and the Alpine Mall are built. The restaurant, named The Country Kitchen at the time, is expanded and renovated. The Golden Arrow becomes part of the Best Western franchise. Future GM Jennifer is born.
Lake Placid hosts its second Winter Olympic Games. The Golden Arrow is fully booked for three soldi weeks, and ABC uses it as its headquarters. Because the town does not have enough commercial housing to host all of the journalists, athletes, coaches, and spectators, many local people house the teams. The Holderieds welcome the Austrian ski team into their home.
Heidi returns to Lake Placid to run the health spa. She marries Bill Madden and they have two sons, Alex and Peter. Eventually she assumes the role of Director of Group Sales and then GM. Heidi introduces computers to the front desk. She and Peter build and open Roomers Nightclub.
Jennifer and her husband Dave return to Lake Placid. The Holderieds are granted permission to complete the fifth floor of the south wing and have the elevator climb the clock tower. Jenn assumes the role of Marketing Director.
The Golden Arrow becomes a completely nonsmoking resort.
The family takes a focus on running an environmentally friendly operation. With the help of Audubon International, they create goals and strategies for becoming a more Eco-friendly resort. The Golden Arrow ends its 26-yaear relationship with Best Western and becomes an independent property renamed Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort. Jenn and Dave have their first child, Zachary.
In the spring, the west wing of the hotel is completed adding 15 new guest rooms. Later in the year, the Holderieds once again take over the management of the restaurant, bringing new staff and renaming it Generations. The hotel continues working on eco-friendly initiatives and becomes the first hotel in New York State to have a green roof.
Jenn and Dave have two more children, Fiona and Gunnar. Heidi decides to pursue a doctoral degree in Physical Therapy and retires from the hotel. Jenn earns the title of "Big Schnitzel" and becomes the General Manager. The first of the third=generations Holderieds, Peter's daughter Andrea and her husband Brandon, come to work at the hotel, she as Operations Manager and he as Director of Sales.
Following in her father's footsteps, Peter's youngest daughter Natasha takes over as General Manager of Generations. Her husband Tyler is a stone mason and has done much of the stone work you see around the resort. Andrea and Brandon also have their first child, Luke.
Wini and Stefanie celebrate 60 years of marriage together surrounded by their friends and family. More that 30 loved one fly over from Germany to attend.
Andrea and Brandon have their second son, Charlie. He was recently promoted to the head of our customer service division, so if you would like to lodge a complaint, take it up with Charlie.
Heidi's son Alex and his fiancé Zoe move back to Lake Placid from Salt Lake City. Alex joins the team working at the Golden Arrow. The couple marries in September.
In March, the Golden Arrow temporarily closes its doors for the first time in its 46-year history due to the COVD-19 pandemic The resort reopens in June and sees one of the busiest summers on record.
The family continues to grow. In April, Natasha and Tyler welcomed their first child, Henry. Andrea and Brandon welcomed baby number three, Ayla, in June. Alex and Zoe are expecting their first child.