Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bienvenue Summer!

Last week's gorgeous weather gave us a taste of summer in Lake George.   Motorcycles drove down Canada Street, families with strollers walked through Shepard's Park and visitors from Quebec made their way south of the border to Lake George.  Believe it or not, Memorial Day 2012 is only eight weeks away and the warm, long days of summer are on the horizon.   Here at the Motel Montreal, we are entering our second year with the hotel and we are very excited about the off-season improvements to the rooms and our 2012 discount Lake George vacation packages  (click here for more info).  For example, we have a three-night Memorial Day package for $85 per night or a three-night weekend with four Great Escape tickets and four Minne-Ha-Ha tickets and breakfast for only $499.  It is going to be a great summer and we can't wait to see you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sham Rock the Block--Summer Comes to Lake George

Summer is here!  Ok, officially, spring began yesterday but the high temperatures, blue skies and motorcycles cruising down Canada Street all create a feel of summer.  Last weekend was Memorial Day St. Patrick's Day and we took the opportunity to put down the skill saw (renovations are ongoing) and stroll into Lake George Village for the Sham "Rock" the Block festival.  The music was fabulous and many shops and restaurants along Canada Street were open and rocking.  Check-out some of the pictures and video below and come to Lake George this spring.  Once the weather gets nice (and it is amazing right now), people want to be out and about.  Lake George is the most scenic spot in all of the Adirondacks.  By the way, the Motel Montreal opens on May 1st  (learn more about us here and check on availability and pricing here) so let us know if you are planning a quick overnight getaway and we will see you soon.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Renovating the Motel Montreal

Last week, we began renovations on rooms 1 through 10 at the Motel Montreal.  The project seemed harmless enough on paper, paint the rooms, tile the bathroom floors and bring in new air conditioners, furniture and fixtures.  Simple right?  What could possibly go wrong?  Before I could ask myself what I was thinking, the rooms looked like a bomb had exploded (see the video for an example of our team's fine demolition work) with the remnants taking up residence in our parking lot.  Who knew that so much stuff could come from so few rooms?  Who knew that Waste Management made a 30 yard dumpster?   The project is half-way through and the rooms are starting to take shape.  The new furniture arrives in a few weeks and our new poolside family rooms will look grand.  All in all, we are very excited about the outcome but sometimes it is better not to see how the sausage is made.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Average Joe's Guide to Beating $5 Gas

The content of this post diverges from my usual Lake George related material and describes a method by which the average American can offset rising prices in gas, heat, food, clothing, etc.  As the owner of a business which consumes copious amounts of oil and relies on gasoline to fuel the cars that bring guests to our hotel, I spend a lot of time thinking worrying about ways to offset the impact of rising gas and oil prices.  Here is what I have come up with: 

During the last decade, the use of exchange traded funds (ETFs if you want to sound cool) have become all the rage.  An ETF is a fancy term for a stock which invests in bets on the direction of anything from the value of the dollar to the value of oil. There is an ETF for everything (even a social media ETF) and ETFs can be traded using a free brokerage account (E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, etc) for as little as $7 per trade.

What does this have to do with $5 gas?  Let's say that you believe that the price of a gallon of gasoline will increase to $5 (*vomit*).  Furthermore, let's assume that you will drive 2,500 miles this summer.  Assuming that your car averages 25 miles per gallon of gas, you will consume 100 gallons of gas.  If gas prices increase to $5 per gallon from today's $3.73 national average, then your costs will increase by $127 this summer (100 gallons X $1.27 per gallon increase in price).  Bottom Line: You will spend $127 more and get nothing extra for your money.   

Now to the good news.  Remember the ETFs (the stocks that allow you to invest in bet on almost anything)?  There is an ETF that tracks the price of gas (ticker: UGA).  So, if the price of gas increases by 10%, then the value of UGA will increase by approximately 10% (less expenses).   The Friday close of UGA was $56.48 per share.  If you purchase 20 shares of UGA for $1,129.60 ($56.48 X 20), and the price of gas increases to $5 per gallon, then UGA would rise to approximately $74 per share.  If you sell at the $74 mark, you would make a $350 profit on the sale of the ETF (($74.00-$56.48) X 20).  To determine your overall profit, subtract out the $127 that you paid in additional gas costs.  Bottom Line: You turn a $127 loss into a $223 profit from $5 gas (the math is boring but I am happy to lay it out step-by-step to anyone who emails me a request).

There is a risk of loss involved with this process.  If you are wrong, and the price of gas decreases, the ETF will lose value and you take a loss. No one wants losses but the loss that you take on the sale of the ETF is partially offset by the fact that you  pay less at the pump (remember that a decrease in the price of gas triggered the decrease in the value of the ETF).  Moreover, losses incurred while trading ETFs are usually tax deductible while price increases in gas are not. 

I realize that this post has absolutely nothing little to do with Lake George or the Motel Montreal but most of our guests are not rich and increases in gas, heating oil and food prices decrease the amount of money that a family spends on fun.  Less discretionary family income means less nights at the Motel Montreal, which means my family suffers.  Additionally, I am deeply disturbed by the notion that paying for life's necessities has become a substitute for the family vacation.  It is my hope that this post helps someone and that he or she returns the favor by coming to Lake George and staying with us at the Motel Montreal.  Feel free to call me at (518) 668-5439 with any questions or to discuss (I love this stuff).  Life is too short to worry about price hikes.  The kids grow up too fast and we need to enjoy the time that we have with the people that matter most.

Disclaimer: There are risks involved with investing in ETFs and any financial instruments.  Nothing in this post should be construed as advice to invest in a particular financial instrument.  As of the time of writing, I do not have any positions in the ETFs mentioned above but I am considering taking a long position in the gasoline and heating oil ETFs.