"The Ice Cream Guys" 


Jeff Shilts and I had visited the prior owner of the Twelve Mile Store ( the name of the ice cream shop since it opened in 1981) and fell in love with the garden hidden behind the store. The dream was to expand it to restore the historic and breath taking limestone walls built behind the building in 1869. Jeff, whose heart is in every inch of the hotel,  imagined how great it would be to sit in a European style garden and enjoy a cup of cappuccino or coffee with a special dessert. Fire and Ice was born out of that desire.

  We hit Alma in a snowstorm in March of 2005 and were somewhat disappointed at how much more work it was to open a French style ice cream and dessert shop than we'd seen in the movie "Chocolat", which we loved.  I now realize that "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is more apt but I digress.and will elaborate more later.  We slept in a largely unheated building, chasing a minor flock of birds out of it in the morning, before I nailed plywood over the broken windows and began the renovation. Within weeks,  and much to our surprize, we were known as "the Ice cream guys" by the locals.

 It has been well worth the  massive effort to restore the lower wooded garden and create a Formal garden that has features of both French and Italian design. We put in an exciting two weeks traveling to five different bronze crafting studios Bangkok to bring home some life sized bronze statuary and fountains cast in the classic European style. 

 The Hotel de Ville was an after though as we had to do something with the rest of the first two buildings but it has turned out to be something pretty special and successful.  I built it and jeff ran the hotel totally himself - along with the ice cream and coffee shop. Life used to be so simple then.

 The Hotel de Ville is getting to be as large as anything in the area and has begun to host seminars and parties on occasion. Success is killing us but it is a wonderful way to go.  The endless thanks we receive from our wonderful guests make it truly worth our effort.  Well over half our guests are "regulars" who return to visit us several times a year.  We greatly appreciate all of you.