A lthough it is expected that the Capital Region, including Whitehall, will enter Phase Three of the reopening of businesses following the closures ordered to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Skene Manor, the historic home in Whitehall, will not reopen immediately.

“We do not believe we have the staff to implement the mandated requirements and the additional best practices at this time,” said Richard Brewer, President of Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation, Inc., the not-for-profit organization which operates the facility.

Brewer said the volunteer staff hopes to be able to open before the season ends in mid-December, and they will be working towards that goal.

“Most of our volunteers, due to their age, are in the high-risk group for contracting the virus, and we certainly want to be protective of their health,” Brewer said. “That concern also applies to the majority of our patrons, whether individuals or members of groups, who visit us to tour the house and to enjoy lunch in the dining room. Our area has been somewhat removed from the areas where there is a large number of people diagnosed with COVID-19, but the opening of the state for easier travel makes taking precautions even more important.”

Brewer stressed that the decision to delay opening was a difficult one. Skene Manor is a seasonally open tourist attraction, and the summer and fall months are the times when it is most visited and serves the largest number of guests in the dining room.

“The dining room income is the primary means for paying the operating and maintenance expenses of this huge house, and not to have that stream of income will create some challenges for us going forward,” Brewer said.

Unfortunately, because the manor is staffed by an all-volunteer workforce, it was not eligible for the federal programs which were put in place to ensure businesses could continue operating and keep their payrolls active.

“Believe me, we investigated every avenue!” said Brewer.

The monthly dinners that are so popular during the summer and fall cannot begin right away either. Restaurants can only operate at 50% their capacity, which for Skene Manor means no more than 25 persons seated at one time and maintaining at least six feet between tables. The logistics just don’t make it possible and cost effective.

“All of these factors make our other fundraising efforts more important than ever this year,” Brewer pointed out. “Anyone with a house knows that there are bills which don’t stop arriving just because the front door is locked! We are so encouraged by some local organizations who have agreed to help us raise money to keep those bills paid. We are grateful for donations and hope that the people of the community and beyond will help us meet this challenge. It sounds a bit crazy, but perhaps you and some friends came to eat at the manor once a month or attended one or more of the monthly dinners. If our friends could donate what they would have spent, it would make a huge difference! It would be the no-dinner-fundraiser! It would still be considered a charitable donation. Let’s get creative.”

Contributions can be sent to: The Treasurer, Skene Manor Preservation, 8 Potters Terrace, Whitehall, NY 12887. Updated information about the manor can be found at skenemanor.org; and on the Skene Manor Facebook page.



Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Read more in this week's Times in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , ,

Obituary: Donald Herman Herbst

Herbst, Donald

Whitehall-Donald Herman Herbst, 81, of Champlain Ave., passed away peacefully at the Glens Falls Hospital, after a valiant fight with […]

Man shot after hitting cop with car


Two Rutland, Vermont men were sent to the hospital Wednesday after a shootout and chase with police. Just after midnight […]

Obituary: Jason C. Thomas

Jason Thomas obit photo

Jason C. Thomas, 44, of Willow Spring, NC (formerly of Granville, NY) passed away peacefully with family by his side […]

Backpack program marks 14 years

Skyler (left) and Melody Schinski, Ann Schinski’s grandchildren, show off some of the gear that will be given away at Saturday’s backpack drive.

By Matthew Saari School is scheduled to start in a little more than a month, so it’s time to think […]

Man shot by Rutland police


Two men were sent to the hospital Wednesday following a shootout and chase with police in Rutland, Vermont. Just after […]

Local businesses get big money from feds


By Matthew Saari Many of the region’s leading employers were the leading recipients of federal coronavirus stimulus money. The U.S […]

Village, town order cuts in water usage


By Matthew Saari The village and town of Granville both are restricting water usage in their respective municipalities due to […]

Whitehall Times 7.9.20

Granville Sentinel 7.9.20

Poultney man charged with arson

police lights

A Poultney, Vermont man has been arrested in connection with a May fire in Middletown Springs, Vermont. On Monday, Vermont […]

Magill to host virtual concert

Magill and Macri 3 cover

By Matthew Saari The show must go on. Despite all of the COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines in place, Daryl Magill is […]

Chasin’ Racin’: Fonda welcomes ‘Jeffer,’ Jeff Heotzler

By Mark Kane Who would have ever thought when you looked out the window early Saturday morning or right up […]