Long-time guests, Stephen and Megan Orr, have taken over the Buttermilk Falls Resort from John and Dale Rider, who are retiring after 13 years. The changeover happened Jan. 20.
Stephen Orr said he and Megan have been coming to the area for more than 20 years, discovering Buttermilk about 15 years ago. They developed a friendship with the Riders, other guests and introduced the resort to friends.
Stephen said during their September 2020 vacation, he flippantly said that if they sold their house in Markham they could afford the down payment on the resort – which the Riders had put up for sale. He said that later the same day, in the hot tub, Megan asked if they should seriously consider buying the resort.
“I almost drowned,” Stephen said.
He said they left the next day with a casual mention to Dale that they were thinking about it. They began a more serious ponder, meeting with the Riders for a “gut check” to ask candid questions.
Then the Riders got an offer. The Orrs were deflated but that offer fell through.
The Orrs drove north to have another chat with the Riders in October and then met with the realtor.
“A week later we had put together an offer and it was accepted,” Stephen said.
“Another five weeks and we had completed our due diligence on the resort and had accepted an offer on our house in Markham. Just nine weeks previously we were relaxing in a hot tub looking at the stars.”
Now, Stephen said they are looking forward to meeting new people and becoming part of the community.
It’s early days, but the couple plan to put their stamp on the place.
In the short-term, Stephen said the resort will be getting a new logo and the website will likely get a significant makeover sooner rather than later.
“The number one thing that we thought could make a big impact and that would be appreciated by all, is the addition of a new floating dock. It will be quite a bit longer than the current dock, allowing more room for boats to tie up, and it should be possible to tie up even in the late fall when the water is low. The dock also includes a large platform which should be ideal for swimming off of, or just as a spot for reading a book with a glass of wine and enjoying the sunset,” Stephen said.
He added they have a number of ideas aimed at bringing more guests to the region in the spring and fall and plan to be open March break for tobogganing, tubing and an ice rink.
As for the Riders, Dale said they’re excited for the Orrs, “and we’re very happy for our guests because we’ve worked hard to develop a good environment, business and a great client base and they’re really happy.” She said as former guests, the Orrs understand the resort.
John said they will take some time off and think about next steps. He added they were running out of energy and drive and had plateaued and the Orrs have different ideas to tweak and grow the business.
Dale said that when they bought the resort, the plan was to retire in the County but first move here, have a business, raise a couple of kids, and “get into the community.” She said they have met many people and “now we can actually spend some time when it’s appropriate. And, I’m imagining a Saturday morning in the summer on the dock.”