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Private Japanese garden is ‘piece of art and piece of history&rsquo…

BELLEVUE, Wash. — The koi pond is clouded with algae. Invasive cattails obscure the arching bridge between garden and lake.

But a noted Seattle-area landscape architect sees in the neglected, private garden on Bellevue’s Phantom Lake a legacy of the culture and history of Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest, including their internment during World War II and the rebuilding of their lives when they returned home.

Seko Garden, the home and grounds of Joan Seko and her late husband, Roy Seko, could be sold next spring. Joan Seko, 80, can no longer care for the 4-acre property with its hillside Japanese garden sloping down to the lake. She’s purchased a condo about a mile away.

The couple ran Bush Garden restaurant for 44 years, from 1953 to 1997, in Seattle’s Chinatown International District, where it became a center of Japanese-American celebrations, political fundraisers and one of the country’s first, and still beloved, Karaoke bars.

Koichi Kobayashi, a landscape architect who worked on the restoration of the Seattle Japanese Garden at the Washington Park Arboretum in the 1970s, is trying to rally support to find a buyer for the garden who would restore it and open it to the public. He said real-estate agents have told him that the 1950s ranch-style house and garden, valued at about $1.3 million, likely would be leveled and a new lakefront home built on the site.

“I don’t have much time,” Kobayashi said. “I’ve seen a lot of gardens wiped out.”

Little-known legacy, Kobayashi had an office for his landscape-design business in the Chinatown International District, near Bush Garden. He ate there often, he said, and was friends with Roy Seko, but never knew about the Bellevue garden.

He learned about it only five months ago, while he was researching gardens built at Japanese internment camps, including Minidoka, in Idaho, where many Seattle-area families were imprisoned during the war.

Among them were several men who would be influential in Seattle-area landscape design and the construction of local Japanese gardens: Fujitaro Kubota, who built the 20-acre garden that is now a Seattle park and historical landmark; Richard Yamasaki, one of the builders of the Seattle Japanese Garden; and Roy Seko.

Roy’s father, Kaichi Seko, was imprisoned at a different camp, suspected of being a spy because of airplane drawings by his then 14-year-old son. He was released after the rest of the family had returned to Seattle. Once he rejoined them, he founded the Bush Garden Restaurant, bought the Phantom Lake property and hired Yamasaki to help him and Roy Seko build the garden.

The garden features many elements common to a Japanese stroll garden,including a cascading waterfall, three ponds, sculpted and pruned trees, stone lanterns and wandering paths.

Yamasaki installed the rockery and bonsai plants that over the years have become overgrown. Kobayashi said he particularly admires the craftsmanship around the waterfall feature, with its tall, craggy rocks. Roy Seko later installed a pump that circulated lake water that spilled over the rocks and flowed through the descending ponds.

Because of its residential setting, Kobayashi said, it illustrates the variety of Japanese gardens in the Pacific Northwest.

Following Kaichi Seko’s death in 1966, Joan and Roy Seko moved into the Phantom Lake home with Roy’s mother, Suye Seko, where they raised five children and continued to make additions to the grounds, including an arching bridge on the lower pond that Roy built in the family garage. In its prime, the garden was featured in Sunset magazine and The Seattle Times Pacific Magazine.

Joan Seko remembers that in the two weeks before her husband’s death in 2004, she set up a hospital bed in the living room so he could look out over the garden and lake. She said hundreds of people visited to pay their last respects.

But she is not sentimental about the garden. She said she remembers her mother-in-law calling in tears while it was being built. The elder Mrs. Seko said her washing machine was broken and her husband wouldn’t buy her a new one. “He’s paying for rocks,” the mother-in-law said.

Joan Seko also remembers plucking pine needles by hand from the sculpted trees to maintain their form, and rushing out with her husband in the middle of a snowstorm with brooms to keep heavy snow off the trees. all part of the garden’s near constant upkeep.

She pointed to grass now growing in the garden’s gravel walks. “There’s no end to the weeding,” she said.

She appreciates the recognition the garden is now getting, and would like to see it saved but said she can’t wait around for a grand plan that may never materialize.

“I’m old. I can’t keep it up. My kids won’t let me get up on a ladder anymore.”

HOPEFUL VISION

Kobayashi estimates it would cost between $5 million and $10 million to purchase the property and restore and improve the garden. That cost also reflects his ultimate vision — to have a traditional Japanese residence designed and built on the property to replace the existing house.

“The goal is to make the property so unique and precious that no one would want to destroy it,” he said.

Kobayashi said that in the garden he can see the hand of the three men who designed and built it, Yamasaki, Kaichi Seko and Roy Seko, and in that collaboration, their pride in their Japanese heritage and their ability to create landscapes of beauty and tranquility after an experience that he called “the most bitter of their lives.”The garden, he said, is “a piece of art and a piece of history. It would be sad for all of us to lose it.”


Article source: http://www.myajc.com/lifestyles/home--garden/private-japanese-garden-piece-art-and-piece-history/ExYKpblkgFA2H8nOpiMYlM/

No drone zone: Duke researchers receive $750000 grant to spot unwanted drones

Are you suspicious that a drone might be watching you at this very moment? Duke researchers are investigating a drone detection and deterrent method to ease your worries.

With a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Duke researchers led by Mary Cummings, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science, are teaming up with local areas and other universities to find ways to deter unwanted drones. The project aims to develop affordable devices to detect and report drones to property owners in addition to providing recommendations on how to landscape an area to prevent drone usage.

“Our proposal is that we come up with a solution for you to detect the drones and find out if there are any options that make people less likely to fly drones in your area,” said Rocky Li, a graduate student in the Master of Engineering program who is working on the research.

He explained that there is a lack of inexpensive, user-friendly detection systems on the market. Additionally, the current options available don’t have the technology to notify an owner if drones are being flown on the property in question.

Li is currently working to develop a more affordable detection device that detects the radio waves produced by drones, which are “huge radio emitters.” He plans to test the system in the Duke Gardens—which is a partner in the research—to determine the magnitude of improper drone usage.

He also cautioned property owners against taking any drastic action against drones, no matter how pesky the small aircraft may be.

“The interesting thing is given the [Federal Aviation Administration] statuses on drones—they classify drones as aircraft,” he said. “It’s not legally allowed for you destroy or physically incapacitate or affect the drone’s operation in any way while it’s in flight above your property.”

Although drone use is permitted at certain times on Duke’s campus, requests to fly a drone outdoors must be pre-approved, according to Duke’s drone policy. However, this policy states that there are two sites in the Duke Forest that “have been prescreened as suitable” for drone flying and therefore have a less time-consuming approval process.

William LeFevre, executive director of Duke Gardens, noted that he was excited to collaborate with the researchers.

“We’re part of the University—we like to help other departments and the academic side of the institution with their research if it’s possible,” he said. “It made sense that if [Cummings] was doing research into how to deter unwanted drones from flying in any area, that the Gardens could be a good little outdoor laboratory for that work.”

LeFevre added that drones are spotted flying in the Duke Gardens about “three to four times a year,” but that locating the owner of the drone is often difficult. Sometimes, however, a staff member does find the drone’s operator.

“Generally, it’s innocent and they didn’t realize [the policy],” LeFevre said. “It’s hobbyists, amateurs.”

There are several reasons that drone flying in the Duke Gardens could be dangerous or disturbing, he explained. LifeFlight helicopters heading to Duke Hospital have a landing pad adjacent to the Gardens, so drone flights could pose difficulties for the helicopters’ pilots.

“Just from the standpoint of the safety, privacy and enjoyment of our visitors, it is detrimental to a botanical garden experience to be in the garden and have drones buzzing around your head, and that happens from time to time,” LeFevre said.

A second portion of the project will rely on landscaping experts from Clemson University who will come to the gardens to test their ideas, Li explained. They will examine whether certain landscaping features deter drones more effectively than others.

Hala Nassar, assistant professor of planning and landscape architecture at Clemson, will be involved in this side of the research.

“We will be testing the effectiveness of landscape architecture features, elements and interventions that can make the public safe outdoors,” she wrote in an email.

Li said that the final product of the three-year project will include a paper that advises property owners about possible solutions to unwanted drones. He expected the research would be applicable to public spaces all around the country, especially those that are inundated with uninvited drones.

The Town of Cary government also contacted the researchers to express interest in helping with the project, Li added.

“The better the outreach, the more effective our communications, the more convincing our results will be,” he said.

Article source: http://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2017/10/no-drone-zone-duke-researchers-receive-750000-grant-to-spot-unwanted-drones

Ellen DeGeneres snaps up an oceanfront spot in Carpinteria for $18.6 million

Ellen DeGeneres, who has history when it comes to fixing up and selling homes, appears to have found her next project.

The daytime talk show host and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, have purchased a home in Carpinteria for $18.6 million, according to sources not authorized to speak publicly about the sale.

Set along roughly 80 feet of sandy beach, the gated estate centers on a shake-sided main house of about 6,000 square feet. A matching guesthouse, lighted clay tennis court and plunge pool share the more than one-acre site.

The main residence, built in 1979, has been extensively remodeled and features light wood floors, vaulted ceilings and walls of windows that bring ocean views inside.

University of Oklahoma’s chrysanthemum gardens are in full bloom …

NORMAN — The chrysanthemum gardens on the University of Oklahoma’s Van Vleet Oval are in full bloom, depicting OU’s logo and the words Oklahoma and Sooners in deep red and white.

The short-lived dramatic display is the culmination of work that began in late March, when 1-inch plugs were purchased and placed in a greenhouse to grow until they were ready for planting in gardens in June.

Football fans flocked to the gardens Oct. 7 to view the annual display. “They just seem to love it,” said Allen King, OU director of landscape and grounds. “Everybody was dressed in red and white and taking pictures with their kids.”

The blooms are at their peak for one month to six weeks each year during football season. An especially large number of admirers are expected for homecoming Oct. 28.

It’s a tradition that will live on thanks to an endowment by the late OU alumnus Morris Pittman.

“We can even have this garden (display) when we’re going through hard times,” King said. “We work off the interest so it will always be there.”

Critical care

Landscaping specialist Angel Mejia and his crew prepared the ground before the planting and mark the beds so each 1-foot grid of the design is positioned correctly.

During the first two weeks after planting Mejia checks the plants twice each day as they become established. They are watered twice daily and fertilized every other day.

“It’s critical for those baby plants coming out of the greenhouse,” said Mejia, who oversees the entire operation.

Even with all the tender loving care, some of the baby plants don’t make it, so he keeps a couple hundred spare plants in the greenhouse.

Some plants don’t survive weather conditions. Others are stepped on by children or dogs running through the gardens.

“It’s going to happen, so we always have some spares to replace them with,” Mejia said.

Lighting also is critical, King said. The streetlamps surrounding the South Oval are covered on the side facing the gardens because their light will hinder blooming.

In June, the plants “look like dots in the ground, and you watch them develop,” King said.

“You put all this time and work in, and you get this reward,” he said, standing before the gardens in full bloom.

“It pays off in the end,” Mejia said.

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Article source: http://newsok.com/university-of-oklahomas-chrysanthemum-gardens-are-in-full-bloom-for-homecoming/article/5567890

Create beautiful landscapes Choose native trees

By Susan McMann

OSU Ext. master gardener volunteer

Home gardeners love to create beautiful landscapes. In fact, home gardeners love to create landscapes full of color, variety and texture. In the past couple of decades, interest in growing beautiful ornamental trees was the norm. But nobody was thinking about whether the trees were native. Consequently, many of them used in our landscapes are of foreign origin, such as Europe or Asia.

When trees are not native, they are not part of the normal ecosystem. Each plant and animal has a part in the ecosystem in which we live. Native trees in the home landscape can create a great habitat for our native insects and bird species. Native trees provide the best quality resources to preserve native bird, butterfly, bee and other wildlife species.

Here are some other great reasons to plant a native tree or two in your landscape this fall:

Increased property values: Properly cared for, trees are valuable assets for homeowners that increase property values and the aesthetics of the home.

Energy savings: Strategically placed trees save up to 56 percent on annual air-conditioning costs. Evergreens that block winter winds can save even more.

Intercepting storm water: Trees can be planted in “rain gardens” with the goal of intercepting storm water. One hundred mature trees catch more than 100,000 gallons of rainwater per year. By intercepting storm water, less contaminates get carried into fresh waterways.

Clean air: Planting trees can help clean the air we breathe, by removing pollutants. In fact, 100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants per year. This can help counter the carbon element that contributes to global warming. Further, removing pollutants from the air can help decrease the triggers that cause respiratory problems such as asthma.

Horticultural therapy: Yes, even human health is affected by trees. A study by Roger Ulrich of hospitalized patients shows that post-op patients, with views of trees from their hospital rooms, heal faster and use less pain medication.

Healthy communities: Some research suggests that tree-filled neighborhoods lower levels of domestic violence and are safer. There is some research that argues that access to nature and green space may help those in low-income communities who suffer from unequal access to many services.

Overall, native trees suit today’s interest in low-maintenance landscaping. At the same time, they attract and sustain our beautiful, and often charismatic, native wildlife that we are fortunate to have here in Northeast Ohio.

Visit http://go.osu.edu/nativelandscapes for more information and a list of native Ohio trees.

Article source: http://www.vindy.com/news/2017/oct/19/create-beautiful-landscapes-choose-nativ/?newswatch

Mohnton landscape firm Waterfall Gardens raises funds for Breast Cancer Support Services

Marianne Adam, Comfort Bag Project Coordinator for the Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County, and Angela Wambaugh, Office Manager for Waterfall Gardens, a landscape firm in Mohnton, announced a month long promotion which will also raise funds for Breast Cancer Support Services.

Marianne and Angela are longtime friends who share a love of gardens and are both survivors of breast cancer. Breast Cancer Support Services provides comfort bags to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients through local surgeons and hospitals. Comfort bags contain items that provide comfort, hope and support to these women at what is a very stressful time in their lives.

In observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October, Waterfall Gardens will be donating $25 to the group for each deposit on new landscaping projects scheduled in the month of October or $50 with the scheduling of a Pink Pansy Planting of 10 flats or more of winter pansies.

According to Angela, Fall is an excellent time for planting and otherwise preparing your landscape for the winter months ahead and being a survivor of breast cancer herself, the idea for the promotion came into being. Waterfall Gardens plans to present a check to Breast Cancer Support Services of Berks County in mid-November at the conclusion of the promotion.

Call Angela at Waterfall Gardens, 610-777-5159, for further details.

Article source: http://www.berksmontnews.com/general-news/20171018/mohnton-landscape-firm-waterfall-gardens-raises-funds-for-breast-cancer-support-services

Ann Arbor updates deer cull contract to shoot significantly more deer in 2018

ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor will expand its deer cull in 2018 after the city council voted Monday, Oct. 16, to spend another $35,940 on the contract to have more deer killed.

The council and mayor voted 10-1 in favor of updating the city’s 2017-18 budget to spend another $35,940 on its contract with White Buffalo, the Connecticut-based nonprofit wildlife control company that has provided services for Ann Arbor’s deer cull the past two years.

Ann Arbor plans to kill significantly more deer this winter

While several city council members expressed their regrets in raising the number of deer to be killed this year, they felt it was the right move in order to get ahead of the growing deer population and put the city in a position to kill fewer deer and simply maintain the population size in the future.

Mayor Christopher Taylor opposed the budget amendment, saying he thinks “reasonable minds can and do differ” on the issue of the deer cull. He said he knows White Buffalo will act professionally and the cull will be safe as it has been in the past.

“I still believe the discharge of firearms in the city, for the purpose of killing deer, affects people’s sense of home,” Taylor said. “That is, I believe, very important. …  I do not dispute the damages or harms associated with deer and the risks associated with deer. For my part, they do not outweigh the harm of shooting and killing in the town.”

The city will now spend $205,940 on the White Buffalo contract this year, compared to the previously agreed upon $170,000. This will be the the third year of a four-year plan to reduce the local deer population.

The goal is to shoot 250 to 350 deer in 2018, compared to the 63 deer killed by sharpshooters hired for Ann Arbor’s first cull in 2016 and the 96 deer killed in the second cull earlier this year.

White Buffalo also sterilized 54 female deer during this year’s cull as another means of controlling the deer population. The new budget for the 2018 cull calls for another 40 deer to be sterilized.

Behind the scenes with Ann Arbor’s deer sterilization crew on a Friday night

Several members of the public attended Monday’s meeting with signs that read “Stop the Shoot,” and one person held a poster with photos of a deer before and after she was sterilized this past winter.

Eight people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting about the proposal to spend more on the deer cull in 2018, and five of them were opposed to it.

“By your resolution the city was to seek our input. I thought we would be a team and treated with respect and our voice would be heard. That did not happen,” said Robert McGee, founder of Ann Arbor Residents for Non-Lethal Deer Management .

“We enjoyed meeting with the pro cull groups. The problem was with the city. Our input was constantly being discarded and the plan was predetermined.”

McGee said the presence of deer in city parks and the number of deer-vehicle accidents within city limits already are at a reasonable level, so there’s no need to significantly increase the number of deer that will be killed in 2018. He reported there were 27 verified deer-vehicle accidents within the city limits in 2016. State data shows 73 deer-vehicle accidents occured in the City of Ann Arbor in 2016. 

One goal the city set for the deer cull is to reduce the population so there are 40 or fewer deer-vehicle accidents each year.

Look up 2016 deer accidents in your Michigan community

Christopher Dick, a biologist and professor at the University of Michigan, said he supports the city’s budget amendment to increase spending on the deer cull. Dick is the former director of the University of Michigan’s Edwin S. George Reserve that studies native flora and fauna in Livingston County, where he said he learned about the exponential growth rate of deer and the benefits of a cull to maintain ecological balance.

“I think budgeting resources into the cull now, instead of later, makes sense to me,” Dick said. “If we were able to reduce Ann Arbor’s deer population to a more sustainable level – and by sustainable, I mean a deer abundance that permits natural forest regeneration – then this will have an immediate positive impact on our natural areas.”

The deer cull is necessary to address a deer overpopulation problem, city officials say. They say the overpopulation is having adverse effects on biodiversity and sustainability of plants, animals and insects in the city’s natural areas; damaging residential and commercial gardens and landscaping; and contributing to deer-vehicle collisions.

There’s also the potential for deer to spread chronic wasting disease – which is present in Michigan, though not currently in Ann Arbor.

Kirk Westphal, Ward 2, asked for clarification on the concern some people raised that the sharpshooters would be able to walk across or shoot across private property during the 2018 deer cull.

Tom Crawford, CFO for the city, explained the sharpshooters will only shoot deer in pre-determined areas planned out for the cull. They will ask the property owner in advance for permission to access their property, and if the permission is granted, they also will notify neighbors of the potential for deer to be shot in the area.

Jane Lumm, Ward 2, said in light of the deer continuing to damage the city’s nature areas, a growing number of deer-vehicle collisions and the discovery of ticks in the area with Lyme disease – which can be spread by deer – she thinks expanding the cull in 2018 is necessary.

“No one wants to kill deer and no one likes spending money to do it. It is a difficult and emotional challenge we face,” Lumm said. “But unless we are willing to just accept the ecological damage, it is a situation I don’t think we really have much choice but to address.”

Jason Frenzel, Ward 1, said he has always been on the fence on the deer cull issue, although he knows the size of the deer population in the city is a “significant ecological problem.” However, he thinks the city should have allocated more resources to the deer culls from the start, rather than increase the spending and number of deer killed part-way through the program.

“I am again frustrated to hear that the residents who donated their passion and time to our commissions on this matter feel frustrated and pushed out of that conversation,” Frenzel said. 

Julie Grand, Ward 3, agreed with Frenzel that the budget amendment has harmed community relations around the deer cull issue.

“I will be supporting this because I feel like it is part of a four-year plan that we have and front-loading money (to kill more deer in one year) does make sense,” she said. “But it is frustrating because I felt like we took such a step forward last year and to take this step back, I hope that we don’t repeat that.”

Graydon Krapohl, Ward 4, and Chuck Warpehoski, Ward 5, said they think expanding the cull in 2018 is a necessary step to effectively get control of the size of the city’s deer population.

Westphal agreed, saying he doesn’t want the city to have to revisit the issue at a later date at a much larger cost because of how much the deer population has grown. 

“I think it’s our job to learn from this and learn from any process mistakes we may have made when we had a public discussion about this,” he said. 

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2017/10/ann_arbor_deer_cull_expansion.html

Lake Tahoe Unified School District adopts ‘green’ resolution

The South Lake Tahoe Unified School District is getting a little greener.

Earlier this week, the board unanimously adopted a resolution supporting expanded energy efficiency programs and sustainability improvements, according to a press release. The resolution also supports green building practices, greater biking, walking and transit options for students, school lunches with more locally sourced and organic foods, additional school gardens and landscaping practices that minimize water and chemical use.

“It is great to see the school district take a strong position in support of sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy,” Rebecca Bryson, co-founder of Small World, a Tahoe-based parent advocacy organization, said in the press release. “The district’s leadership and direction will improve the environment for our students and community, and help prepare our students to land successful jobs in these fields in the future.”

The resolution comes less than six months after South Lake Tahoe became the 26th city in the U.S. to commit to a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2032. That resolution was unanimously adopted by City Council back in April.

“Given the impact that climate change is already having on Lake Tahoe, it’s critical that we transition quickly to a 100 percent clean energy economy, and give our kids the education and tools they need to be part of the solution,” John Friedrich, spokesperson for Climate Parents and a Tahoe resident, said in the release. “The Lake Tahoe school district board just took an important step in this direction by pledging to expand energy efficiency programs and increase reliance on renewable energy, in line with the city of South Lake Tahoe’s commitment to 100 percent renewable energy. We’re grateful for the leadership of the school district in doing the right thing for Tahoe kids and our environment.”

Article source: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/ltusd-adopts-green-resolution/

Prince George gateway project adds landscaping, lighting along I-95


Gardens at Exit 45

Gardens at Exit 45

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, VA — Prince George County leaders unveiled the $1.2 million gateway project along Interstate 95 that was two years in the making and includes new lighting, landscaping enhancements and huge garden spires.

An estimated 40,000 vehicles travel through that area on I-95 each day – a number higher than the 36,656 resident who live in Prince George County.

Now, travelers passing “The Gardens at Exit 45” will be greeted by two 47-foot-tall glass architectural spires that flank the roadway. Leaders intend for the structures to help create a threshold to the commercial district.

The design calls for 139 trees, 363 shrubs, and nearly 3,000 perennials along the exit ramp and at the intersection with South Crater Road. As travelers exit I-95 at night, the trees along the southbound ramp are accentuated by 28 lights.

Gardens at Exit 45

The towers are made of glass, one along each side of the entranceway to the district. Colonial garden spires were the design inspiration for these central features in the 32,000 square-foot gateway plan.

The spire finials are highlighted by four lights, and internal illumination of the spires comes from four color-changing LED flood lights.

County leaders launched a targeted effort to restore the corridor, because they said this area was a major hub for tourism in the past, but had fallen into decline in more recent years.

Gardens at Exit 45

“The Gardens at Exit 45 is expected to stimulate local job growth and increase our tax revenue for the county by attracting visitors and travelers alike,” said Percy Ashcraft, County Administrator for Prince George County.

The $1.2 million cost for the project was shared equally by Prince George County and The Cameron Foundation, who is working with several localities across the Tri-Cities area to develop distinctive community gateways. The Gardens at Exit 45 is the first such project to be completed.

“Gateways can contribute significantly to creating a unique sense of place that is important to promoting tourism and investment in a community,” said Cameron President J. Todd Graham. “By working together with the local governments on these projects, we are combining our efforts to generate large-scale impact,” he added.

Article source: http://wtvr.com/2017/10/16/prince-george-gateway-project-adds-landscaping-lighting-along-i-95/

Skaneateles’ Mirbeau Inn & Spa looks to open more French-inspired resorts

Skaneateles, N.Y. — Mirbeau Inn Spa, which opened its first French-inspired resort in Skaneateles in 2000 and plans to open its third next month near Albany, is eyeing more expansions in the Northeast.

Mirbeau said Monday it has refinanced, through MT Bank, its maturing mortgage on its 34-room Skaneateles property, freeing capital for new investment in Skaneateles as well as additional Mirbeau-branded developments across New York and the northeastern U.S.

Owners Gary and Linda Dower opened their second resort, the 50-room Mirbeau Inn Spa at The Pinehills in Plymouth, Mass., in 2014. And they plan to open their first day spa concept, Spa Mirbeau, at the Crossgates Mall in the Albany suburb of Guilderland Nov. 15.

Mirbeau CEO Michael Dal Pos said the company is looking for “other opportunities in the northeast to expand the Mirbeau brand.”

“We are actively pursuing additional Inn and Spas and Spa Mirbeaus and we should be ready to make announcements in the near future once plans become final,” he said.  

Mirbeau and MT Bank did not disclose details of the refinancing, but they said it was an important step in expanding the Mirbeau brand. 

“Since it opened in 2000, Mirbeau Inn Spa has offered its guests an opportunity to unwind and relax at a world-class resort getaway in picturesque Skaneateles,” said Allen Naples, MT Bank Regional President for Central New York. “It has become an important driver for the tourism industry in Central New York and across Upstate.”

Designed to look like an elegant French countryside inn, Mirbeau in Skaneateles sits on 10 acres off Route 20 on the western edge of the village. Its landscaping featuring ponds, gardens and trees was inspired by Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France. Each of its rooms feature, among other things, a fireplace and large over-sized French-style soaking tub and large European tiled walk-in shower.

Contact Rick Moriarty anytime: Email | Twitter | Facebook | 315-470-3148

Article source: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2017/10/skaneateles_mirbeau_inn_spa_looks_to_open_more_french-inspired_resorts.html