Call nowBook now

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.

The Braunlingen Tur in Stefanie's hometown

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.

4 year old Wini in Balderschwang

Four year old Wini in Balderschwang

Wini was born in Balderschwang, Germany in 1932

I was working in a carpentry shop in Wildhaus, Switzerland. One weekend, I rode my bike back to Germany to visit my mother and one of my uncles was visiting from the United States. He told me that if I wanted to come over, he would sponsor me. I was really not interested, but my mother told me to go and send home money because we were building a house at that time. My uncle said I could make a lot of money in the United States because the exchange rate was $1.00 USD to $4.25 Deutche Marks.
-Wini
wini biking around Germany with friends
Wini biking around Germany with friends
I was the middle child and second daughter so I knew any money spent on a wedding or a new house would go to my older sister and the family business would go to my younger brother. But I was smart in school and had ambition. I wanted to create more for my life. So, when my aunt and uncle invited me to come to the United States, I jumped at the chance.
-Stefanie

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

Wini with his family - age 6

When they decided to come to the United States, both Wini and Stefanie obtained visas by having family members who were already citizens in the USA volunteer to be their sponsors. This meant that if either of them committed a crime, tried to go onto public assistance, or otherwise conducted themselves in unlawful ways, the family member that sponsored them would be responsible for sending them back to Germany and paying their way. Both got jobs right away. While they needed the money to live, their first priority was to start repaying the family members who had taken them into their homes and paid for their tickets to come to the USA. Stefanie got a job as a housekeeper in a private home and Wini worked as a cabinet maker in uptown Manhattan. They also went to night school to improve their English and start to learn the culture.
Young Wini

Fun Fact: when Wini & Stefanie first moved to New York City, a subway token cost $0.13

"The food on the ship was good. At this time, I had my first banana. We had bananas in Germany too, but they were so expensive to buy, I never had one. I knew I had to peal it, but did not know if I needed a knife or how to go about it. I had to watch the other people around me to figure it out. It was delicious. It was the longest vacation I ever had. The ship made a few stops in France, England, and Halifax and arrived in New York Harbor on June 1st 1955. When the ship Italia pulled into the New York Harbor and I saw the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan, I was in awe. The site was overwhelming for me."
-Wini

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

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.

WIni and Stefanie sharing a special kiss

"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."

In 1955, Wini changed night schools to Jamaica High and had his eye on a girl who sat in the front row. At Christmas time, the teacher asked them to sing holiday songs from their homelands. The girl got up and sang some songs from her native country - which to his surprise turned out to be Germany (he thought she was French.) He was completely taken with her singing and that night walked her to the bus stop. The rest is history. P.S. He still loves listening to her sing.

“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.

When we went to buy the airfare ticket, they told us if we were already married we could save about $300. $300 was a lot of money at that time, so we decided to get married at City Hall in New York for $5. It took three tries to get married by the judge. The first time, Stefy was not 18 and needed her parents' approval. The second time, a new judge did not require parental approval, but he did require a witness, which we did not have. Finally, on December 20, 1957, we took a bus in the pouring rain to the courthouse. The judge asked us the marriage vows. I said yes, and then he asked Stefy. She said, "Yes, yes, yes." Afterwards, I took her for a coffee and an apple pie. I gave her a kiss and put her on the bus back to her relatives. We call it our apple pie anniversary. Poor Stefy, she could not even show her ring because her family was very catholic and without the church's blessing they would not believe we were legally married."
-Wini
February 1, 1958
February 1, 1958
"The wedding in Braunlingen was beautiful. There was a long procession from my house to the church. The entire town came to celebrate. All of the men wore tuxedos and top hats. I bought my dress in New York City. Each week, my job paid me with dollar coins and one fifty cent piece. I would put the fifty cent piece in a jar every week and that money was what I used to purchase my wedding dress. The wedding party went late into the night. There was so much singing and dancing. It was truly magical."
-Stefanie
it was customary for the groom to throw coins to the children of the village after a celebration

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.

Wildwood Motel

"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

The first property the Holderieds bought in Lake Placid was a small motel called The Wildwood on the Lake in 1964. At that time, Lake Placid was primarily a summer destination. Route 87 did not exist yet (it was constructed in the mid-70s,) so Lake Placid was difficult to get to on small roads in the winter months. Stefanie lived in Lake Placid at the Wildwood from May until October, running the motel by herself and raising the three children. Winfried commuted back and forth every other weekend from his job in New York City to Lake Placid (it was a seven hour ride each way.) They had only one car at the time.

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.

Wildwood freshwater pond

The Wildwood's fresh water pond still exists today.

"When we lived at the Wildwood, I cried and cried because Peter and Christl were earning money working in the laundry and I couldn’t because I was too little. I could not reach the top of the table. So Mom got me a stool and let me fold wash cloths for $0.05 per hour. It made me so happy! And then, as now, Peter did most of the chores and helped Mom without being asked."
-Heidi
Future GM of the GARL and Ironman finisher 2012, Heidi
In 1970, the Holderieds leased and then sold the Wildwood Motor Inn to Wini's best friend from Germany, Horst Weber and his wife Edith (their family still owns it today.) Wini and Stefanie purchased the Holiday Motel (currently known as the Best Western Adirondack Inn.) The Holiday Motel had 44 winterized rooms - 22 rooms more than the Wildwood. This purchase made it financially possible for the entire family to live in Lake Placid year-round. The kids went to school in Lake Placid full time. They worked at the motel and played sports. Peter and Heidi were ski racers with Uncle Horst as their coach. Christl was a figure skater.

Finding Home at the Golden Arrow

The purchase of the original 36-room Golden Arrow

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.

Golden Arrow 1974
Stefanie and the kids in 1965

Stefanie and the kids circa 1965

Wini: Then I wanted to build. I could see the potential of the Golden Arrow if it was bigger. A year or two later, the Marcy beach came for sale (currently the north wing of the Golden Arrow), so I bought the Marcy beach from the Hotel, which was a big asset for my building plans. Then the apartment building next door to the beach, the Wanda, came for sale so I bought it, too. And then I planned to build a shopping mall to the street and on the lakeside I could build a four-story building with hotel rooms in it.
-Wini
Front of the Golden Arrow 1970s

Getting Ready for The Games

The 1980 Winter Olympics changed the little village forever.

Main Street During 1980 Games

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, Christl in the hostess uniforms

Heidi, Stef, and Christl in the hostess uniforms

Olympic Center 1980

1980 was the first time artificial snow was used during an Olympic Games.

During the 1980 Winter Olympic Games, ABC used the Golden Arrow as its headquarters. The hotel was booked solid for three weeks. The whole family got into the spirit of the Games. Christl, Peter, and Heidi all took time off from college to volunteer. Since they spoke German, Stefanie, Christl, and Heidi acted as hostesses for both the German and Austrian ski teams and diplomats. Peter assisted the "Bildzeitung," a German newspaper covering the Games. Winfried ran the hotel and kept an eye on four-year-old Jennifer.
-Wini

Growing the Business

Following the 1980 Games, the Golden Arrow undergoes transformative growth. 

Golden Arrow Lobby Circa 1988

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.

Raising the Lobby 1985
"In 1985, I raised the lobby. I found an outfit in Potsdam, NY, who could help me. They came with a lot of lumber for the cribbing and eight jacks. We started jacking up the lobby roof little by little and put the cribbing underneath it. Sometimes it was very scary because the cribbings were not that big. As we raised the roof, we built the walls up. Everybody thought it was crazy, including me. I was nervous that a big gust of wind would blow the roof over, so I strapped it down with steel cables. It looked like a bird with big wings up there. I prayed for no wind."
-Wini
Stefanie and Wini

"He just kept building, and I just made sure he was able to keep going" - Stefanie

When I think of everything my parents accomplished, and how brave and also crazy they were, I think of this quote by Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the harbor. Catch the winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-Jenn
Stefanie on one of the first Oktoberfest floats

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

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).

Heidi and Bills wedding celebration

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

Stef with baby Alex

Kim, peter, heidi 1986

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

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

Wini and Stef working the bar at the Holiday Motel
Country Kitchen circa late 1980s

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.

Christl, Peter and Heidi

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.

The Golden Arrow from the other side of Mirror Lake

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.

Fireworks in the sky over the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort

2004: The Holderieds purchase the neighboring property on the south side with further expansion in mind.

2006: The Golden Arrow ends it 26-year-long partnership with Best Western International and goes independent. With the advances in website development and online booking capabilities, the benefits of being part of a chain become less advantageous.

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 rustic boathouse overlooks Mirror Lake

Our boathouse sits on Mirror Lake and offers beautiful mountain views. Great for small weddings, cocktail hours, and family reunions!

Going Green

“The strength of family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other.” – Mario Puzo

views of Mirror Lake and the mountains from the Golden Arrow

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.

Mirror Lake full of color
In 2005, our family decided it was time to take responsibility and make sustainability part of the Golden Arrow’s business culture. With the help of Audubon International, we created goals and strategies for becoming a more earth-friendly resort. Over the years, we have added features such as in-room recycling, solar-thermal panels, energy efficient lighting and heating, green procurement, e-waste recycling, storm water management, a green roof, and many, many more. By 2009, the Golden Arrow was the first resort in the United States to achieve a five leaf rating (the highest possible) by Audubon International.
hotel greenroof and views of Whiteface Mountain

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

 

And many more!

Crushed limestone beach helps with acid rain in the Adirondacks

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

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

The family in Germany, 1998

The family in costumes

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

1955-1961
1963
1974
1976-1979
1980
1988-1996
2001
2002
2005-2007
2008
2009-2012
2015
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021

Go to Top