Quick summary of my last 4 months and why you should work at the Pelham House
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
Pelham House / Summer Article / Recap
Late December into early March, 2020, I was stuck in a life where I felt as if everyday was the same. My days consisted of taking long walks by myself, working a couple hours at my local hardware store, and going home to dive into my schoolwork that I ultimately learned nothing from. Time spent hanging out with friends was scarce and most nights I would be alone in my bedroom trying to "find myself" through late nights staring at my ceiling and long assisted mediation with Funkadelic playing in my headphones. Yikes. Most days were bland and I found myself in this continuous cycle of misery. This is not meant to be egotistical, I feel like a lot of people could sympathize with this feeling. Long story short, I was not happy, plain and simple.
I had a predicament that was hanging over my head, it was whether or not I should move to Cape Cod and try to find a job or stay at home in Holden where I would do a lot of the same. If I stayed in Holden I could continue with my small landscaping company, I could constantly see friends, I could thrive in my environment. If I went to the cape I would be alone for weeks on end, I would have 0 friends and 0 neighbors to talk to, I would walk into a job that I knew absolutely nothing about, and I would be living in a cold house with no heat. Every single possible factor was telling me to stay in Holden and host parties under my parents deck at night after landscaping all day. But there was this thought in the back of my head that emerged one day, if I stay at home I will not be able to grow as a person and as a man. I will constantly be comfortable if I stay in Holden but ultimately what spurs growth is putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. So I packed up my things and headed to the cape on April 17th.
Obviously before I headed off, I made sure that I had a job set up. Early in February I had reached out to John McCarthy who referred me to Chris Celli who is the Beverage Director at the Pelham House. I had talked with Chris through the phone and met with him in Cape Cod. His enthusiasm about his work and eagerness to get the ball rolling made me excited for this new adventure.
Now, I can guess what you are thinking, "He is moving to a cape house where he is going to work at a beautiful resort 5 minutes from his house, doesn't seem too difficult." But it was for me, it was difficult to venture into a new chapter of my life. I was extremely nervous to a point where I had a difficult time sleeping the first night before my first shift at PH. When I woke up that next day I could barely do anything in the morning because my mind was so preoccupied with my upcoming shift. It was 2:00pm the next day and I was already ready for my 3:00 shift, I began to walk over at 2:30, arrived at 2:40 and we were off. My nerves went away after an hour and I felt like I belonged where I was. Granted I broke a few glasses and still did not know what I was doing, it was a productive first shift. I wrote this in my journal afterwards, "I love the restaurant scene and I can't wait until I am able to work behind the bar (bartender)." That night I ended up having a conversation with my dad's friend and he asked me if I eventually wanted to bartend, I said "yes hopefully in 2-3 years after I am able to learn a lot more."
I worked as hard as I could every shift, coming in early and staying until everything was done. And I always tried to ask as many questions as I possibly could, something I still do now because it showed that I was eager to learn and wanted to do everything the correct way. I tried to pick the brain of every bartender I worked with, from Taylor, to Peter, to Mary Margaret and many more, they all helped me greatly, something I will always be grateful for.
Barbacking is a really cool summer job, it gives you the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the bar and restaurant scene. The hours were long but it was not all that strenuous. As a barback you just have to anticipate what the bartender is going to need, whether that be more wine glasses, another bottle of rum, or whatever they are out of. Basically if you work hard and break a sweat, the bartenders will appreciate you. Even if there is a dull moment, don't sit on your phone, I found that it is best to always keep moving and find some projects here and there.
School finally finished in early May and I could finally put all my energy into work. I was ready to learn and bust my ass every day. I would normally not be that enthusiastic about a job like this if it were anywhere else. But there is just something special about the Pelham House, from the staff to the scenery, it is a place that I believe(d) in and I want to do everything I can in order to help them.
I told my boss Chris about my intentions to move to bartender in mid May and two weeks later, I ended up moving up to bartender on June 1st, something I was proud of because I knew how much work I had put in up to this point. When I started bartending, there were screw ups here and there but I took everything as a lesson, everything I did wrong was a chance to learn.
My first customer who ever came up to the bar ordered a White Russian and a Mudslide. I froze up, no clue what was in a White Russian, luckily I had my cocktail app, Cocktail Flow on my phone and looked it up. I shook the white russian instead of stirring it, rookie move. Sorry Jeff Lebowski. After managing to get those first couple of drinks out of the way, it was relatively smooth sailing from there. I mostly worked on the pool bar which is basically 30 feet from the ocean and had sort of tropical vibes, one could say. Luckily that bar wasn’t always packed towards the beginning of the summer so I was able to study all of the drinks I was making and work on perfecting my craft.
I started keeping a composition notebook after that first shift that basically had all of the drinks I have ever made. Listen, I am aware that I am not always the most intelligent person on earth but I do consider myself to be a hard worker and that can go a long way. I still have that notebook and I write in it after almost every shift. People know that I have it and sometimes they pick it up and read it, but I do not have it in order to gain approval from others, this is strictly a learning device for me. Keeping a notebook during a job like this, whether you are a barback or bartender is a smart move because even if you are writing just small notes here and there, it will show the people you work with that you care about what you do.
I worked 5-6 days a week for a while during this summer, I tried to work whenever I could and there is one big reason for that. I had a boss who I believed in and who I knew cared about his employees. I was able to learn more than I ever thought I would thanks to Chris Celli. Having a boss that busts his ass everyday and loves what he does is extremely important to a thriving work environment. He did whatever he could to help me because I think he knew that I wanted to learn and become a participating member of the Pelham House team. I am very grateful to this day.
I now have around 1 week until I leave the Cape (my home since April) and move to Umass Amherst where I will be in the fall. It is difficult for me because part of me does not want to leave, knowing that I will miss out on a lot at the PH in the fall, especially because we have such a talented and smart person in management now, Mary-Margaret Gallup. I have been torn for a while trying to make the decision between staying and leaving but ultimately thought it would be best to write a new chapter in my book and go to school.
Now time for the reflection part of all this. Here I am sitting in my shed writing this blog entry with only days left of work. I have been to less than 5 parties all summer (2 of them I hosted), I have gone out maybe 2 times on the weekends all summer, and I have not really done anything crazy. Do I regret working so much? Do I feel as if I missed out on being a 19 year old in the summer? Absolutely not. I see others on instagram out late at night partying everyday when I am at work till midnight most nights and I don't get jealous, I am happy for myself because I know that I am taking the right steps into becoming a better individual. I worked for an up and coming resort where I met hundreds of people, that is something I will always cherish and hold close to my heart.
Moral of the story would be to immerse yourself into something you believe in. Seek out adventure and seek out the uncomfortable moments in life. The Pelham House Resort for me, is a special place with a special group of people who all share the same goal. I didn't even know the difference between a white and red wine before I started here and now I can tell you what goes into a bunch of different cocktails. It is all thanks to the supportive bar staff led by Chris Celli. When I keep saying that I looked to grow as a person, it is very true. I have always been relatively shy, reserved some might say. Being able to bartend and talk to customers has helped me enhance my personality and become a more outgoing person. I like to thank all the staff at PH, but most of all I would like to thank myself for making the decision to write a new chapter of my life and seek out something new.
I am blessed to be able to be in the situation that I am currently in. My life may not be perfect but I do consider myself lucky because I put myself in a situation that I learned to love. Everyday is a blessing in this life.
So why should you work at the Pelham House?
Put all of the delectable food and well crafted drinks aside. While food and drink are a large part of a successful restaurant, the service and ambiance is what makes a place worth going to for a second or even third time. Let's first start with the employees. From the servers, to the bartenders, to the valet, to the kitchen staff, to management, everyone has their own unique personality that brings something different to the table. Being a barback for a few months I have been running around everywhere on property and have gotten the privilege to watch each department at work. I might be a bit biased, being my first time working in the restaurant industry but honestly I don’t think it will get much better than this.
Every server I have worked with is knowledgeable but more importantly, personable and I have found that in this industry, customer service goes a long way. This is true for the bartenders especially, anyone can make a well built cocktail, but to have the ability to hold a conversation and make a drink with confidence, that will really make you stick out from the rest. I really don’t have a bad thing to say about the PH.
If you are considering applying for a job at Pelham, you should, you will have the opportunity to become part of a growing brand that has some of the most beautiful scenery on the cape. Take my current situation. This is a mere summer job for me, I am walking distance to the beaches and restaurants but I choose to work, not because I need to but rather because I want to. I considered and am still considering putting my education and college years on hold in order to be a part of this team. Who knows, maybe I’m a bit crazy to enjoy working this much, maybe I’m not, I guess it’s up to interpretation.
So if you are looking for a job where you want to enjoy your work and your atmosphere, check out the PH, you won’t regret it.