Changing times at Green Springs Inn

“… you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.”

As people in the Maldive Islands, Bangladesh, and Miami can testify, Bob Dylan’s prophesy of rising waters has turned out to be more than a metaphor. But lots of things are a-changin’ along with sea levels. All of us, even at higher elevations, face the same choice: swim or sink. Green Springs Inn is not exempt.

As of Friday, January 11 (assuming that our remodeling plan stays on track), you will find a different food service scheme at 11470 Highway 66. Basically we are simplifying. For breakfast through mid-day we will offer items like quiche, burritos, and bakery items that can be prepared in advance. Afternoon and evening menus will include burgers like our iconic Green Springs Deluxe along with soups and salads. Guests will order at the counter.

Lots of things will stay the same, including our cheerful, welcoming staff, high quality food, comfortable rooms, and deluxe cabins. But our run as a year-round, seven-days a week, full service breakfast-lunch-and-dinner destination and fine dining establishment is over.

When you think about it, our business plan was always a fantasy. What made it work for a couple of decades was cheap labor, also known as mom and pop. But eventually mom threw down her spatula and moved on to an easier assignment: fixing the State. Pop started losing steps. A heroic performance by a walk-on next-gen player kept the team, now a son & pop enterprise, on a winning streak for 10 years. But this year, six weeks of mid-season smoke cut ticket sales. We can expect more environmental turbulence in years to come. It’s time to get real.

Green Springs Inn & Cabins will continue to serve as a base camp in our National Monument for hikers and bikers, visitors from around the world, and folks seeking refuge from modern life. We will welcome scientists, students, and anyone who seeks to understand the magic of biodiversity. We will help keep the heart of our mountain community pumping.

Nevertheless, things will be different. Some of the pleasures that our many friends have come to expect for the past 25 years will no longer be available. An incomparable slice of pie, yes. A local microbrew on the deck at the end of a perfect summer afternoon, yes. A pan-seared wild Alaskan salmon fillet over homemade polenta finished with lemon caper butter sauce and Parmesan, sorry.

But we take our inspiration from nature. Ecosystems are always changing. Living things move across landscapes from low to high and south to north, constantly adapting and evolving. As long as plants and animals have room to maneuver — biologists call it connectivity — they have a chance to survive. Humans strive for permanence. We build with concrete. But perhaps we are beginning to grasp Bob Dylan’s message: nothing is forever.