How I look forward to Country Inn Days, my regular escapes from reality and ordinary life. Every Inn Day is a little different. Today my Country Inn Day has magically transformed me into an Innkeeper. Why Innkeeper? It’s because tonight guests are expected here at the Jeremiah Brown House and someone has to prepare for them. Who better than me! If you’ve ever entertained you’ve assumed this role of Innkeeper yourself whether you realized it or not.
I love to entertain because I believe in sharing. Sharing doubles the joy. If we’re lucky enough to have a home I think we should share that home with others. It shouldn’t be for us alone. What fun is that? So today as Innkeeper I will get busy and also supervise the Inn staff, that being the Inn housekeeper (me) and Inn chef (me). Together we’ll work at fluffing, polishing and preparing the Inn for tonight’s guests. There’s much to be done.
I order the housekeeper to wash all the floors and vacuum all the carpets. She gets right to it. Do you enjoy cleaning? Well, having guests in gives one a little extra incentive to pull out the rubber gloves, bucket of hot soapy water and any other tools necessary to make the place sparkle. Having frequent guests inspires one to keep things in tip top order.
If a little cleaning is done regularly not too much has to be done to prepare our place for guests. Besides, we should all live well every day in every moment and that’s easier to do if our surroundings are tidy, clean and pleasing all the time.
The night before this Country Inn Day, because I am a conscientious and caring Innkeeper, I got a head start preparing the Inn for my guests. I visited the local gourmet market to pick up a few things.
Flowers for sure!
“How can one help shivering with delight when one’s hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with newborn vigor” – Colette
I am lucky to have the Hudson Heinen’s Market nearby where I can find flowers of every kind – roses, Asiatic lilies, delphiniums and many other gorgeous blooms. Some women love shoes. I love flowers!
All dwellings deserve flowers every day. I want my guests to step into the Inn and be delighted with what they see. Flowers delight.
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” – C. Monet
At every turn flowers give the eye something beautiful to gaze upon.
“Flowers really do intoxicate me.” – Vita Sackville-West
To walk in the door and be greeted by flowers is just the nicest thing.
“Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed the soul.” – Koran
I keep fresh flowers around every day. You should too. Life is short and we must treat ourselves to beauty every chance we get. But on Country Inn Days, and especially when guests are expected at the Inn, a few extra blooms are added. And that’s just one of the reasons why I love Country Inn Days.
“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” – Chinese proverb
On a personal note I feel sad that my own mother did not enjoy flowers in her home as I do. This was for good reason. My mother lost many sisters and brothers in her lifetime, attending many funerals with many flowers, so flowers began to represent death to her rather than life. This was so tragic because beauty is designed to lift us up, not put us down. We need flowers in our daily life now, flowers all around our happy moments. Why? It’s because beauty is a very good thing. It becomes us. It improves us. Then when flowers are sent at sad times that beauty will help us feel better, not worse.
But flowers are not the only thing I buy at the gourmet market. This market is a good place to find special drinks as well as prepared food items. Buying prepared food items on Country Inn Days takes the pressure off the Inn chef. She (me) always creates something special for guests, but appreciates a little extra help too. So today I buy grilled shrimp to serve guests at cocktail time. I will also serve the Inn chef’s specialty of the day. What is that specialty? Today it’s Cheese Straws. Have you ever made Cheese Straws? Let’s step into the Inn’s kitchen and see how they’re coming along.
I see the puff pastry is rolled out ready for the Gruyere and Parmesan cheese topping. I’m told the cheeses are mixed with thyme amonst other things.
twisted, and placed on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They bake at 375 degrees for just a few minutes and
the Cheese Straws are ready for our guests.
The Innkeeper, Inn Housekeeper and Inn Chef have done their things and now it is time they are transformed into Inn guest. That’s me! I now will enjoy the fruits of their ( my) labor along with the other guests who will be arriving soon. Ah, the magic of a Country Inn Day.
The candles are lit and the fire is set.
One last look around to be sure everything is in just the right place. I must place the Cheese Straws on the table.
And it looks good to me. I hope the Inn will look good to the other guests as well for I want the best for my guests who deserve nothing less. I want them to enjoy their stay here. I intend to enjoy mine. Each Country Inn Day is a great escape from the ordinary. The shopping and cleaning and baking and polishing is always worth the effort in the end.
The guests arrive. We have a lovely time chatting and sipping and sampling the appetizers and then we decide it’s time to venture into Hudson for a little dinner. This dinner the Inn chef (me) does not have to prepare. She gets a night off. Goodie!
We’re headed to one of Hudson’s best restaurants, Solaire. It’s almost a secret because it’s hidden away upstairs in one of the buildings at First and Main. I don’t think too many people know about this luxurious hideaway, and that’s fine with me, because it’s never crowded and always quiet. I hate noisy restaurants where you have to strain to hear or be heard by your dinner companions. One purpose of Country Inn Days is to ‘rest and relax’ and at Solaire dining is a luscious, restful experience. Come with me.
Just follow the oriental rug.
and we’re here! Lovely, isn’t it? Intimate and elegant.
There are tables for two and tables for more, all set with crisp, white linen and flowers.
The gal behind the bar is sweet and attentive.
She shows us to a table and takes very good care of us. It’s nice to serve others, but it’s also nice to be served. There’s a time for everything under heaven. I hope you take that time to treat yourself and others well.
A little work, a little play, a little imagination and life seems so much sweeter. Country Inn Days put it all together. We don’t have to venture far away, packing our bags and spending lots of money in order to have sparkling fun. We can do those things, but we don’t have to. It’s possible to stay right at home or in our very own neighborhood. All we need do is look into ourselves and create the life our heart imagines, a snazzy life for ourselves, our spouse, our family, and our friends. We should create this sparkle every day, but add a little extra pizzazz on Country Inn Days. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes agrees with me for he wrote the following words in a letter to a friend back in 1911.
“Life is a romantic business. It is painting a picture, not doing a sum – but you have to make the romance , and it will come to the question how much fire you have in your belly.”