Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Stepping Up, Moving Over

For various reasons I've decided to integrate my blog into the Inn's website. All of the old posts and comments should be at the new location, it will probably take me a little time to get the links back up. Any of you who have this blog bookmarked or read it in a feed needs to change your settings, as well as anyone who might have this blog linked to a blog or site of your own.

I can now be found here.

Thanks for reading & staying with me!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Social Networking

It's a connected world out there people!

Are you all aware that I have a Facebook Fan Page for the inn? No? Visit it here. Become a fan! Leave a comment! If you send me pictures from your stay I'll post them for you - or I think you can post them yourself.

You can also follow me on Twitter. I wasn't sure I'd like using it, but I actually do. I love the 140 character limit, it makes me think about my wording and it makes it much easier to go through the posts of the people I follow.

It's a beautiful day today, I'd best make the most of it. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slice of PAII

I'm off this week to the PAII* conference in Atlanta. It promises to be three days of information-packed sessions, a busy trade show and (I hope) some time spent with innkeeper friends from other parts of the country.

In other news, my occupancy for the first quarter of this year is up slightly from last year, economy not withstanding. Reservations for the summer are coming in steadily as well. Signs of spring are everywhere, even though the weather has remained chilly. When I get back it will be time to start thinking about yard cleanup and spring projects.

A guest snapped this nifty photo of a hawk at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary a couple of weeks ago and sent it, along with permission to use it here:

Thanks, Mia!

If I learn anything worth reporting at the conference I'll post about it when I return. Y'all have a great week.

*PAII is the acronym for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the trade association for B&B owners and Innkeepers. It's pronounced "pie".

Friday, March 13, 2009

Holy Sheet

The long search is finally over; I've found new sheets that will work for the inn and ordered them. The new sheets are just different enough to require new duvet covers as well, I ordered those two weeks ago from another source. I've also decided to put the duvets into storage in the summer and switch to a lighter weight coverlet; that order went in with the sheets. The final piece to the puzzle will be new bed skirts; the ones I'm using now were purchased with and matched the original sheets. They're just enough off the color of the new sheets & duvet covers to bother me.

I wouldn't have thought replacing sheets would be this painful, but as it turns out I have a very specific set of criteria and for various reasons it has been difficult to find what I needed. One of my primary issues is that I wanted sheets I don't have to iron; quite frankly I haven't the space or the time to iron sheets. That meant I needed a cotton/poly blend sheet. When I opened the inn in 2000, there were a couple of American manufacturers making nice blend sheets and that's what I bought. Within about two years, however, all the remaining American manufacturers of sheets closed down and all sheets were being brought in from other countries. Well, guess what? Polyester is pretty cheap in the U.S., cheaper than cotton, but in most other countries like China and Pakistan, where a lot of sheets are now being produced, cotton is much cheaper than polyester. For a long time I couldn't for the life of me figure out why blend sheets had disappeared, until someone made a comment - I've forgotten who and what it was - that made the answer crystal clear. If you didn't know, polyester is a petroleum product; our government was being run by people with interests in the petroleum industry - you do the math. Ergo, 100% cotton sheets became the norm. There were still some institutional-grade blend sheets available, but those were an unacceptable quality for my purposes. It's only in the last year or two that I've started to see a few blend sheets in higher thread counts come back on the market and I finally found ones that I liked.

It's a relief to no longer have to examine the offerings in every linen/home supply/hospitality catalog that crosses my threshold looking for "the" sheet that will work. I've ordered enough sets to get me through 2 - 3 years if I keep an eye out for stains, in a couple of months when my cash flow is a bit better I'll probably order a few more so I can get 4 - 5 years out of this pattern & style. Given how long I've been looking for these, I guess I'll have to start the search all over again in a year. I can hardly wait.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Laugh Therapy

Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a good belly laugh? I'm talking about the kind where you just can't control yourself and where tears come out of your eyes. A laugh like that just seems to release a lot of stress and suddenly whatever was bothering me seems a lot less difficult.

I have found a number of websites that make me laugh on occasion, but none so consistently as this site. Go spend a little time there, it's like a mini-vacation. Just one warning: don't have anything in your mouth when you open the site or I guarantee it will wind up on the screen.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Six Word Memoir

I just returned from my annual February trip to NYC. It was great, I saw a lot of friends and ate some good food. On my way out of the City yesterday I was listening to WNYC and the Leonard Lopate show. I used to listen to him a lot when I was living in Brooklyn and home on weekdays (read: unemployed). His show was always a bright spot in my day.

Yesterday's show centered around a contest to write a personal memoir in six words. It was surprisingly interesting and it inspired me to come up with my own. Here it is:
Living a life I didn't expect.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Two Good Things

I almost always have guests on President's Day weekend, although it may only be two or three rooms. This year for some reason the stars seem to have aligned and deposited Valentine's Day on the Saturday of the long weekend. As a result, I have a full house for two nights. Woo hoo! I also have a couple of rooms booked for Sunday night, which is a bonus since not everyone gets President's Day off. Most of the reservations were last minute, all but one came in a week or less before the weekend began. That's not unusual for winter reservations; people wait for the weather forecast before deciding to drive anywhere.
Edit: I spoke too soon... my one guest coming for a single Saturday just cancelled. Anyone want a last-minute room for tonight?
Edit part 2: Someone called hoping for a room tonight. They got one. The "No Vacancy" sign is back up and all is right with the world.

There's a couple that has stayed here several days to a week every summer for about five years. They didn't stay last summer and I actually did notice their absence. He called a couple of weeks ago to reserve a room for this summer and I asked him about last year, he told me they'd taken a special trip for a big birthday and hadn't had enough vacation time left to allow for a trip to Wellfleet. He seemed pleased to have been missed. This summer he and his wife want to stay for two weeks! Typically I request a 50% deposit to guarantee the reservation, but since this was going to be a fairly big number and because I know some people are struggling, I offered to break up the deposit into two payments for him. He replied that there was no need; when the stock market began to fall he'd liquidated some investment he'd had and that he could think of no better place to put his money than at The Stone Lion Inn.

Most of the time I like what I do. Sometimes, I love it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'm having a bit of trouble with pronouns lately. It took me years of conscious effort to learn to use we and us when speaking of the business because my husband, quite rightly, wished to feel included. Now that he is no longer part of the business, I find that the habit is thoroughly ingrained and I catch myself using the plural where the singular is now correct. This is one of the odd, unexpected consequences of splitting up, I guess.

On a lighter note, reservations are definitely coming in for the summer so I'm cautiously optimistic about the season. If anyone out there is considering staying with me this summer, making reservations early is advised. That is particularly true if you are tied to specific dates for an event or anniversary, or for any time in August.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breaking the News

Now that the holidays have passed and apparently despite the economy, people are beginning to think about summer travel plans. Among those people are some of our repeat guests, particularly the ones who come every year. They are the ones who know they need to reserve early in order to get the dates and/or room they want. Because we have established something very close to a friendship with these frequent repeat guests, every one of them, in their call or email, asks me how I am and then asks about Adam. As difficult as it is, I'd rather tell them up front about the split than skirt the issue and have to deal with it during their stay, possibly in front of other guests. Adam has been a strong and constant presence here, making breakfast at least two days a week and interacting with guests. They like him every bit as much as they like me. His absence, and his skill as a storyteller, will not go unnoticed.

It's an awkward thing, telling people about the divorce. I've almost gotten good at saying the words, but I've had some practice and time to get used to the idea. For someone just hearing it I think it's harder. I frequently hear "I don't know what to say." That makes me sad, but it's honest and I appreciate that. Several people have told me they've been through it themselves, which is surprisingly reassuring. I see them with their current spouse and I see how devoted they are to that person and it gives me hope for a future relationship. Not that I'm wallowing in sorrow or actively searching for anyone new in my life, but is good to see that happiness with another person can be achieved. That is something I will never get tired of.

One of my absolute favorite couples arrived for a stay about a week after Adam moved out. When they arrived, my assistant Nancy was covering check-ins and I was at my weekly riding lesson. By the time I got back, the husband had dropped his wife off at the seminar she was attending, so I knocked on their room door to at least greet him in person. The third sentence out of his mouth was "And where is Adam?" Ouch. I knew it was coming, but this was the first time I'd had to actually do this.

"He's not living here anymore" I told him, and I was literally choking back tears. Adam & I both love this couple, we even exchange gifts with them. And then he told me the oddest thing.

"Ah," he said. "I had a dream the other night that we got here and Adam wasn't here."

I was speechless. Fortunately, he was not. And he broke the news to his wife, who I didn't see until the next morning. They were very supportive. I knew they also wanted to see Adam and I knew that Adam was going to feel uncomfortable about seeing people after they were told what was going on, but I did make sure he came to see them before they left and I think all three of them were happy that I did. But that doesn't change the fact that it's awkward all the way around and it will continue to be so for a while.