Posts Tagged Innkeeping

Friends Returning

15 March 2015

Of the many “perks” that we feel come with this “job” as Innkeepers, certainly, one of the most rewarding is the opportunity to welcome back friends from one or many more previous stays.  This past weekend we were so very fortunate to have a full house/”no vacancy” sort of weekend with six of our nine guest rooms filled with returning friends.

We had Louise (Weezie) and Allen here (all the way from southern Vermont!) returning to the Brass Lantern Inn to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.  These friends enjoy Vermont so much that they actually stay here and we are so richly rewarded to have this opportunity to host them again and again.  And we were so humbled that they felt that the Brass Lantern Inn was the “perfect place to be to celebrate our 40th anniversary!”  Thank you Weezie and Allen.

Bruce and Sheila have been coming to the Brass Lantern Inn for more years than we have even been the Innkeepers here.  They come at least once a year, typically for the winter activities of cross country and downhill skiing but have also come in the summer with bicycles in tow.  This past weekend, like all previous examples of their stays, they bring their guitar, beautiful musical voices and warm, infectious laughter.  This time they brought family with them taking over four of our nine guest rooms.  Thank you Bruce and Sheila.

Paul and Maria made their yearly trek from the Boston area.  We joked that they had to come north to great a break from the record snowfalls that the Boston and southern New England area experienced this year.  At least here they can do something with the snow other than just shoveling it out of the way.  Thank you Paul and Maria.

This past Friday, the main gathering room of the Brass Lantern Inn was filled with music and good times thanks to the Bruce and Sheila.  We sure wish we could have them here every weekend as it was such great way for all of our guests to get to know one another gathered around the fireplace, sharing Cabot cheddar cheese, wine or your favorite local micro brew.  Our music night was shared with Weezie and Allen, Anthony and Carol from Nashville, Tennessee, as well as  Susan from Toronto (and family of Bruce and Sheila).  I think we all made new friends this past weekend.

I miss my family back in Columbus, Ohio and our friends from our former lives in Baltimore, Maryland.  While that loss can be tempered by phone calls, social media, and the occasional off-season trips to see family and old friends, our lives are so full now with so many new friends through our current position in life here as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn.   We have also had the occasion to host family and friends which is even more special here in Vermont!

How can this role as an Innkeeper be classified as a job when we have the greatest opportunity to meet so many wonderful people?  Ok, when the printer breaks down during the busiest weekend of the winter or a heating valve sticks in the closed/off position on a night where it is 18 below, or the housekeeper quits on Valentine’s Day Saturday morning or any number of small issues like this you get a sense of why it might be considered a job.  But truly these are all trivial matters in the larger context of this wonderful experience.

And this is all before you realize you are in this wonderful corner of paradise called Stowe, Vermont!  Yes, we are so very thankful to be here and it is only through the support of our guests and friends, both new and returning that allow us this unique opportunity.  We never take that for granted and hope you see that in return from us through our service and warm welcome.  Thank you all!  

George

Happy Anniversary (to us this time)!

26 November 2014

 

November 26, 2014

This coming December 29th, Mary Anne and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary!  We will also be celebrating our 5th anniversary as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn which will occur on the 16th of December, 2014.

In both cases it’s amazing to realize how quickly time and events pass through our lives.  For our wedding anniversary, we have, in part, Stowe to thank as this was the special place where Mary Anne and I first crossed paths in that fateful summer of 1983.  It was that summer where I met Mary Anne here in Stowe at the start of a week long, guided bike tour of Vermont.  Who knew that 26 years later from that summer encounter that we would find ourselves back here in Stowe.  And of course we never imagined at that time that we would return here as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn.  Ok, to be fair, the Brass Lantern Inn, Bed & Breakfast, didn’t exist in 1983, but, you get the idea!

As Innkeepers, the stories that we have shared with so many literally thousands of guests over these past 5 years could fill pages and pages of blogs.  Fortunately, I am usually so busy experiencing this life that I typically don’t have time to record it on this keyboard.  Our guests provide us with a renewed sense of excitement about Stowe and this area of Vermont as we get to see this place through each guests’ unique perspective (each and every day).  Throw in how very different this setting is with each passing season and you can see how life just quickly marches on with us just trying to squeeze every moment and experience all that we can from it in passing.

So, you see, these two anniversaries are really so very intertwined that it is impossible for me to respond to those guests who ask, “what brought you to Stowe?” and “what made you want to be an Innkeeper?” without mentioning our very personal connection to this unique place in Vermont.

And finally, to finish this celebratory note I give a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday – we are so very grateful for this opportunity we have had as Innkeepers over the past 5 years.  We have and know that we will continue to meet funny, touching, gracious, caring and friendly guests that in many instances become our most recent friends.  I am so very thankful that I had that chance meeting with my incredible wife, dearest friend, Mary Anne, and know clearly that without her I would not be living this dream today.  Thank you my dear!!

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Hugs to our friends,

George

Sunsets in Stowe, Vermont

19 July 2011

We are very fortunate to have some pretty amazing sunsets here in Stowe.  This past Sunday afternoon/evening, for example, Mary Anne and I attended the “Music in the Meadows” Concert Series at the Trapp Family Lodge Meadow.   What a beautiful venue to watch the day turn into night. 

With a generous glass (or two…) of Chardonnay, some Extra Sharp Cheddar Cabot Cheese, French bread with a little prosciutto, live music, in this case, from “Crooked Still” (folk/bluegrass “with a contemporary twist”) and wonderful weather, I found myself absorbed with the ever changing natural light of the background scenery and keeping only an ear on the great music.  It is amazing how quickly and dramatically the light changes the sense of depth and scale of the Sterling Mountain Range.  As any amateur photographer can easily attest, it is impossible to capture that sense with a photograph, no matter how fancy of a camera you may or may not have. Ok, and maybe that glass of Chardonnay had some effect as well…

At this concert we shared the evening with some good friends that happen to also be Innkeepers in this small New England town.  Like most people, our community of friends and neighbors  is also closely tied with our type of business and profession which in our current station in life happens to be Innkeeping.  We all have a feeling of deep appreciation for where we live and the opportunities we have at this point in our lives to participate in this lifestyle.

Last night, the sunset from our back porch was as dramatic as last night but without the live music.  Instead, we shared that moment of the sun slipping behind “the slumbering man” (Mt. Mansfield) with some wonderful guests from Boston as they played a rousing game of scrabble on a blanket stretched out on the floor.  The sun going down behind Mt. Mansfield, highlighted by streams of light through the distant thunderhead clouds, again memorable, but so very difficult to fully capture or permanently record.  Good thing we can see this event repeated many times over in a typical summer! 

Summer in Stowe, Vermont, filled with great memories….  Why not come on up to Stowe and create your own here at the Brass Lantern Inn?

Innkeeping in a Stowe Vermont Lodging Business

7 July 2011

Even in our relatively short tenure as Innkeepers of the Brass Lantern Inn we have spoken to many, many guests that tell us, “you know, my husband/wife/partner/better half and I have always talked about running a Bed & Breakfast.” We realize that this lifestyle may inspire some romantic notion of a wonderful alternative to the corporate 9 to 5 work style but please note this innkeeping gig is not just about baking cookies or sharing life stories over a glass of wine with our guests. Though these are a couple of the perks.

We tell our guests, with a very sincere smile, “perhaps you would like to take the Brass Lantern Inn on a test drive.” “We would be happy to let you step in and get the experience of what it is like to own and operate a B&B” here in Stowe where there are numerous choices for owning and operating a Stowe Vermont Lodging experience.

Even our local banker, when completing the final loan approval documents, asked me this one final question “This isn’t the Bob Newhart syndrome is it?!” And if you are too young to know that reference just Google it. I’m sure the local bankers have seen these corporate type burn-outs looking for utopia here in Stowe, Vermont, many times over. Perhaps even a place like ours in the form of a romantic and historic farmhouse. And perhaps there have even been a few, or maybe, unfortunately, more than a few who never fully understood the risk of this type of business and somewhere in pursuit of the dream they lost track of reality. You have to do your homework.

And we did our homework. Among the many “due diligence” items the number one item was attending a three day seminar for “Aspiring Innkeepers,” through the B&B Team, www.bbteam.com . The setting for this seminar was at a beautiful Bed & Breakfast, the Captain Jefferds Inn, in the picturesque coastal resort town (and summer home of George Bush) Kennebunkport, Maine. The B&B Team, which at the time included Peter, Rick and Jan gave us an amazing level of personalized service from this first seminar to our initial searches of B&B’s for sale through in-depth due diligence analysis of the purchase of the Brass Lantern Inn. Completing your homework is essential. Remember what your high school teachers told you about completing your homework assignments? They were right.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a hobby or a side venture, it is a business that we have developed, work on daily to maintain and is the basis of the support our family. It is our livelihood. And it is through this business that we now have the luxury to call Stowe, Vermont our home, with a commute that requires only a walk down our hallway and the incredible opportunity to welcome guests to this beautiful area, guests that quickly become our new friends. And as you would imagine, it is the opportunity to meet incredible people from around the world that becomes the real reward of this business/lifestyle.

So, you still want to be an Innkeeper? Give us a call, we would love to chat about it and perhaps even give you a chance to take her out for a spin around the block.