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GP15July:  Lexington: Built to Last

Holloway of Lexington.  Our old friend Roger Holloway of Riveredge Farms decorated the pages of the New York Times last week ("The Star of Elm Street Stages a Comeback,"  July 11, 2002).  Lexington, Kentucky, it seems, is fertile ground for more than racehorses.  Roger, along with James Sherwood of the Orient Express, if we remember correctly, and J. Peterman of catalog fame (see Best of Class, entry 234), all came from that blessed patch of bluegrass.  We talked about Roger in Best of Class (see Elm Revival, entry 188) a year or so ago, recommending his Princeton Elms to one and all.  They resist the Dutch Elm Disease and they grow like blazes.  Ours is now 11 feet tall and reaching higher every day.  By the way, the Times also mentions the Valley Forge variety, which we don't recommend, because, while handsome, it simply doesn't grow as fast as the Princeton, though it has a worthy spot on our back line.

Our Best of Class section, where we've parked Roger, is by far the most popular section of the Global Province.  It has a bunch of stuff on great locales (Alaska, San Antonio, San Francisco, New York City, France, New Orleans, etc) and on life's several delights such as books, restaurants, hotels, spices, tea, wines, museums, etc.  We recommend it to your attention and suggest you take a peek at our index (www.globalprovince.com/bocindex.htm) which will lead you to some of the categories that interest us.  Of course, there are also a lot of bests in our Best of Triangle, Two Rivers (Asia), and Global Sites sections. 

Only the Best.  As you've already guessed, what interests us to the point of obsession is the best of the best, whether we’re talking about business or life writ large.  For a great many, the best is always out of fashion.  In good times, they say, the mediocre sells very well, at a higher profit.  In bad times, the minions who decide what should survive always opt to take out costs and to offer the less than mediocre.

Oddly enough, that's a bad business strategy.  We understand, for instance, that Continental Airlines maintains some perks on its flights while others shave away the extras.  Ostensibly it enjoys a higher load factor as a result.  In any event, bad times and the prospect of a nine-year Bear market call for some long-haul thinking.  In bad times, one needs a car, a blender, a house, a piece of clothing that will endure for 6 years rather than wearing out in 2.  What we want to put on the shelves are products that don't have a shelf life, but hold their value.  Obsolescence is a terrible strategy right now.

Maybeck.  Years ago we studied the West Coast architect Bernard Maybeck, who had an active practice up to the 1930s, once the only winner of a gold medal from the AIA other than Frank Lloyd Wright.  Many said his houses were too expensive.  But a fine San Francisco architect told us it depends how you look at it.  “Maybeck’s redwood houses,” he said, “were built to last.  They're cheap if you realize how long they will endure.”  We hope that's what shows up on our Best of Class.  Experiences, and things, and services that are “Built to Last.” 

New Best of Class.  If you will take a look at Best of Class this week, you will find we have added some categories to the introduction page which will make a little of your searching easier.  You can now easily jump from there to our best stuff on spices, hotels, restaurants, New York, San Francisco, etc.—categories which we will continue to expand.  Good reading!

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