Out of the Humidor

| By CA Readers | From Michael Strahan, November/December 2014

Dear Marvin,

I appreciate Brian McCallen’s excellent article on the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa in the October issue of Cigar Aficionado. His article was exceedingly accurate. However, when I stayed there in 2008 my cigar experience was less than stellar.

After arriving I went to the bar, where they sold cigars, but given the poor selection I opted to go back to my room and smoke on the private balcony.

I went to dinner and when I came back, a message from the management was on my desk letting me know that the entire complex was smoke unfriendly and it was reported that “…cigar smoke was seen somewhere in the vicinity of my balcony.” I was furious that they invaded my hotel room when I was absent and was further annoyed that there was no mention of their smoking policy in the hotel manual.

I remember a distant issue of Cigar Aficionado where you, Marvin, after not being allowed to smoke cigars at a hotel that was supposedly “smoke friendly,” wrote the hotel and explained why you were never going to frequent that hotel again. So I wrote to the Omni Bedford Springs my concerns about not being allowed to smoke outside, and the double standard set by their selling cigars in their hotel bar. A cigar smoking venue should have been provided. 

Again, thank Mr. McCallen regarding his excellent article, but I don’t think the magazine should highlight hotels with double standards.

Marc J. Schneiderman, M.D.

Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

Editor’s Reply: We understand your frustration with the experience you had back in 2008. We reached out to the Omni Bedford Springs Hotel to check on their current cigar-smoking policies. While smoking is not allowed inside the hotel, there is an outdoor area with a fire pit off the bar where cigar smoking is permitted, along with the golf course. The hotel still sells cigars at the bar.

The editors of this magazine smoke cigars, just like you, and we applaud properties that provide cigar-smoking havens. That’s one of the reasons we launched Where to Smoke, a free app available on our website cigaraficionado.com where you can find cigar-friendly venues on your travels. 

Dear Marvin,

When I read the article about vintage cigar posters in The Good Life Guide in your October issue I couldn’t help but think of my grandfather. He owned a barbershop in the old Virginian Hotel in Lynchburg, Virginia, back in the 1930s through the early ’50s, and every Christmas he would hang posters around the shop that he had personally drawn to celebrate the season.

The one I have sent you a picture of was a hint at what he liked to receive from his customers as gifts—either cigars or whiskey. The gentleman enjoying a cigar in the poster is a caricature of himself.

My favorite photo of granddad is of him as a young teenager heading off to his fishing hole with a bucket of bait in one hand, his pole in the other and a cigar in his mouth. He lived a long healthy life until he died at 89 in 1970. I don’t enjoy fishing but I sure love those cigars that I grew up around.

John D. Irvin

Cumming, Georgia

Dear Marvin,

I am not sure if it has already been done (if so please send info) but I would like to see an entire edition of Cigar Aficionado dedicated to our military, from cover to cover. Covering all sections of the magazine, the who, the where and the how our soldiers enjoy cigars and possibly having our soldiers do their own reviews of cigars. I’m sure it would make for some interesting reading and show our appreciation to our military at the same time. Just a thought.

Steve DeVita

Lynbrook, New York

P.S. I have a son who is presently a U.S.A.F. combat pilot and a cigar smoker.

Editor’s Reply: First and foremost, thank you to your son for his service. While an entire issue dedicated to the military probably isn’t in the cards, many of our Moments to Remember photographs are of those in uniform enjoying fine cigars. We have also featured a most prominent military figure on our cover, Gen. Tommy Franks (December 2003), who oversaw United States operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and in our long history we have done stories on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Sir Winston Churchill. The history of soldiers enjoying cigars is a long one indeed.