Tuesday, August 12, 2014

From the Desk of a Hermann Hill Intern

The summer of 2012 was the first time I ventured to Hermann Hill.  I had run across their business after one of my brother’s friends got married here, and I instantly fell in love with tons of pictures on Facebook.  At the time, I was confused about the career path I wanted to go down, but Hermann Hill Wedding Chapel had sparked my interest.  I went for it, and emailed their website hoping to get a response from one of their managers, and sure enough I did.  Jill Winkelmann, wedding sales manager of Hermann Hill, had responded to me, and asked me to come in and shadow a planning session with a new couple.   

            I was so nervous and excited at the same time.  Butterflies filled my stomach as I walked in the beautiful white building that lead into an intimate chapel overlooking the Missouri river.  The view was even more breathtaking in person than in the hundreds of pictures I had looked at before.  I walked down the staircase being surrounded by the many faces of past brides and grooms, all with different and unique backdrops.  Some by famous Hermann Hill sunsets, others under the gazebo, and several “first glances” by the personal chapel (my favorite)! 
            I walked around the corner and down a hallway into a small reception room.  The tables and chairs were covered in white, and each was decorated with a different color scheme.  I turned to the right, only to see a huge closet; open with every different color chair sash imaginable.  I was in love. 
            I still hadn’t seen the main reception area, and Jill was going to be there soon, so I hurried to the final and largest room.   I saw a huge chandelier in the middle of a high ceiling surrounded by smaller chandeliers, and archways.  It was one of the most beautiful spaces I had ever laid eyes on.  I turned back around only to see a wooden bar with a mural of the Missouri river painted overhead, and a coffee bar to the left.  This was truly a place that had thought of EVERYTHING.
            Jill met me around 10, and after talking for a while, we met with a new Hermann Hill couple, and planned an entire wedding in only a few hours. After that day, my love for Hermann Hill never went away, and two years later, here I am interning at a place that feels like a second home. 
            I went away to Missouri State University, where I’m currently studying Hospitality & Restaurant Administration.  After my first few weeks I found out about the mandatory internship I had to have to graduate.  At first, I freaked out not knowing where to go, but then I realized it was my chance to return to the place that inspired me in the first place, Hermann Hill Vineyard, Inn & Spa, Wedding Chapel & Riverbluff Cottages.  I called Leslie Foulke, general manager, and she had given me an answer within a few days.  I would be returning for the summer of 2014. 
            The year went by slowly, but it was definitely worth the wait.  You couldn’t remove the smile from my face as I met with Leslie, and Terry (Hermann Hill’s Innkeeper), on my first day.  They showed me around the property that I remembered so well, with the addition of hundreds of evergreen trees planted on the hillside.  They explained to me about the jobs that I would be doing, and all of the details I would learn about the industry, and the expectations they had. 
            The summer has flown by.  Between jobs like social media marketing, wedding setup, learning about payroll, and even meetings about ideas that can improve the business as a whole, I couldn’t be more thankful.  If there is anything to regret about this summer it’s the fact that it’s nearly over, and it’s time to say goodbye.  This experience will stay with me forever, and will continue to influence decisions I make in my future endeavors.  I owe the world to Hermann Hill, and all of its incredible employees; I will never be able to repay them for the friendships, kindness and knowledge that they have bestowed upon me.  Hermann Hill, “Where the Missouri and Memories Meet;” not only is this statement true for all of our guests, but it also holds true to me.
Maria Struttmann, Intern
Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn
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