Country Inn “Hudson” Day

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The Hudson Clocktower
As you may already know a Country Inn Day is a sort of “stay-cation day” where I step out of my usual routine and imagine my 1853 house is a Country Inn, but by using my imagination I add play to the agenda.  I play the part of Innkeeper, Inn Chef, Inn Gardener, Inn Maid and Inn guest.

These days are not always spent entirely at the Inn either.  I’ll often venture out into my town, or nearby towns, and act as a tourist.  After all, though long distance travel can be wonderful it’s also expensive and  exhausting so checking into my personal Country Inn where all my clothes and books and other favorite things  are already in place is so much more convenient.  Besides,  it’s fun to look at familiar sites with new eyes.  Do you take the time to do this too?  I hope so.  We often don’t appreciate the good things right in our own backyards.

I’ll hop on my bike and head for town.  There’s a farm market happening on the Village Green and on a Summer’s Day what could be more fun?

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Because my Inn is less than a mile from the center of town it took only a few delightful minutes to bike down the quiet village streets to get to the Green where all the action was taking place and here I was.  Ta Da!

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I already bought a cauliflower and put it in my basket, but let me show you what else I found.

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There was the plant stand with all the pretty flowers.  I had a nice chat with the vendor as I played the part of Inn Gardener asking questions concerning the  potted plants at the Inn.  The sales lady was very helpful and though I was tempted to buy everything I controlled myself.   The Inn is currently under construction –  an addition is in progress. Funds are being saved for major landscaping projects, but it was sure nice to look at all the pretty flowers for sale.

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There were olive oils to consider – so many different kinds.

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And I had a lot of fun talking to these Slovenian ladies who were selling their homemade bakery.  I bought a nut roll to pop in the freezer and take out for the Inn’s 4th of July party.  These ladies let me sample all sorts of their other goodies and since the vendors right beside them offered me coffee I had quite a nice brunch.

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Here’s the coffee man.  He runs a shop in the town of Kent.  You’ve heard of Kent State University?  Well, his shop is near the University on North Water Street in Kent.  His coffees are  called Black Squirrel Blend.  They are Fair Trade and organically grown.  I was told the next time I’m in Kent if I drop into his shop I can watch him roast the coffee beans.  That sounds like fun for another Country Inn “Outing” Day.

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I strolled around the Green, talked to a few people I knew and admired all the produce that was being offered.

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Vegetables picked that very day!  How could you get your produce any fresher unless you grew it yourself?

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But there was so much more to see besides food and garden items.  I had a nice chat with these ladies who represented Dining for Women.  This is a national organization which creates educational opportunities for at-risk girls and empowers nomadic women in Niger by offering them education and mentoring so they are able to develop new income-generating skills.

Members of this group gather together once a month bringing a dish to share at one of their homes.  The money they would have spent for a lunch out is contributed to the cause.  Perhaps your town has a Dining for Women chapter too.  Sharing is a good thing indeed.

I also had chats with The Friends of Hudson Parks, The Zonta Club of Hudson – another organization advancing the status of women in our community and worldwide, Velosano – a group of bikers that raises money to cure cancer.  (Velosano in Latin means “swift cure”  and there I was with my own bike so members urged me to join their cycling event.)  I also spoke with a gal representing The Hudson Newcomers Club even though I’m a Hudson old timer.  We spoke about me giving the members a talk about my favorite subject, The Art of Letter writing.

The Newcomers Club has a neat slogan – “Remember every good friend was once a stranger”.  I told Emily, The Newcomer representative, my favorite slogan – “Sharing doubles the joy and divides the sorrow.”  Letter writing is a great way to share and so is blogging.

What a fun and entertaining morning I had on this Country Inn Day.  I got a little exercise riding my bike, did a little shopping, had some good coffee and tasty Slovenian treats, met some old and new friends partaking in delightful conversation and all the while enjoying a classic Summer experience, a farm market.

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Country Inn Days are full of simple pleasures. We don’t have to go far away to treat ourselves to a vacation from life’s usual routine.  We can find it in our own town.  We can find it in our own home.  If we are the artists of our lives we’ll step off the treadmill of modern life regularly and give ourselves permission to focus on beauty and joy.

My Country Inn Days are composed of activities  which refresh mind, body and spirit. Some Inn days focus on the physical – spa days for example.  Some Inn days focus on the social – sharing tea and intimate dinner parties.  Some Inn days are quite intellectual – days where I treat myself to the theater or a Cleveland Orchestra Concert, and other Inn days are especially spiritual –  my spiritual retreat days.

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But most Country Inn Days have a little of everything all rolled up into one 24 hour package.  I flit from Innkeeper preparing my afternoon tea to Inn guest enjoying it.  I read a little, cook a little, garden a little, wash up the dishes a little, pray a little, nap a little and it all amounts to a whole LOT of joy

Joy is important.  And it just doesn’t happen.  Work and worry are sturdy weeds, but joy requires cultivation. Country Inn Days are my days especially designed to cultivate joy.  I hope you’re cultivating joy too.  And when you experience joy don’t forget to pass it on.

Perhaps you have your own version of Country Inn Days.  I’d love to hear about them. Maybe you’ll share a good idea with me, an idea I can incorporate into my own Inn days.  That would be great!  So until next time…

Take Joy!

Another Country Inn Day – Hudson Day

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The Hudson Clock tower
On some Country Inn Days I like to stay close to the Inn, only venturing out into the neighborhood if and when I need to stretch my legs.  After all, there’s a time for adventure, but there’s also a time to lay low.  A day spent at the Inn, stepping out of regular routines and enjoying quiet pleasures with just a little larking about in town is exactly what I need every now and then, like today on this Country Inn Day, this Hudson Day.

Hudson, like my beloved Boston, is a mixture of old and new.  The town was founded in 1799 so there’s a lot of historic architecture to enjoy here and this I happen to love, but Hudson’s downtown area bustles with new establishments.  These establishments offer a nice mix of shops, restaurants and culture.

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The new Hudson Library and Historical Society

The culture is found at The Hudson Library and Historical Society. It’s here I begin Hudson Days and most other Country Inn Days as well.  The library is a wonderful place to meet  my beloved “dead friends” by way of books and old letters kept in the library archives.

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Here at the library spirits come alive.  I bring many of them back to the Inn with me so at tea time or cocktails I can visit with them and hear the tales of  their interesting lives lived long ago or sometimes lived right in our present day.  On this Country Inn Day I connect with C.S. Lewis, Claude Monet and the Duke of Windsor.  The aisles of the library are full of wonderful biographies just hoping people will pick them up in order to discover the lives described on their pages.

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Just imagine  each of these books to be a live person dying to tell you his or her story.  And with a little imagination that’s exactly what happens for me .  Country Inn Days are  days full of imagination you know,  the perfect time to get to know all these interesting personalities captured in books.

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I love to stroll around The Hudson library and its  many different areas.  It’s a very big place. One could spend the whole day here enjoying different rooms.  This is the main floor open space with magazines on the right, cd’s on the left, a seating area for reading at the windows and beyond the windows there is a great outdoor patio.

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Of course today it’s a bit too snowy and cold to sit on the patio, but come May you’ll know where I will be regularly.

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Today it’s a lot more comfortable reading and sipping a cappuccino here in the library cafe, and if your cup is covered you can take it up to the reference library.

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This reference room is beautiful with windows looking out over the town. How lucky we are in Hudson to have such a facility. There’s an archivist on duty most days too.  Any library is a grand place to hang out, but for a small city like Hudson this library is quite stupendous… and it’s free!  What a treasure.

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But after a nice time at the library I decide to walk through the new Village Green and pop into a shop or too.  This Green (now quite white with snow) is lined with shops and restaurants. There’s even an ice skating rink to the front of the pergolas.

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I first come upon a Talbots and it’s quite nice  that the store happens to be having a big sale just in time for my Country Inn Day visit.

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I take a few garments into this very lovely dressing room and end up with a new cashmere sweater, co-ordinating sweater jacket, plus a very nice blouse.  Every now and then a girl likes something new to wear.  Don’t you agree?  And who doesn’t like a sale?

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From Talbots  I stroll down the lane and pop into another nice shop.  This one is called Heather’s Heat and Flavor.  At this shop I find a most interesting cookbook.  It’s called “The French Slow Cooker” by Michele Scicolone.

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Did you think it was possible to make Creme Anglaise or Creme Brulee or an Orange Souffle in a slow cooker?  I certainly didn’t, but this book promises that even a novice can turn out dishes that taste as though they came straight out of the kitchen of a French grandmere.  I love French food so I had to buy this book.  I’ll let you know if my results are as magnifique as the book promises.

Well, with those purchases I decided I spent enough money for one Country Inn Day so I moved along deciding to take a little walk around the neighborhood before returning to the Inn.  Let me share with you some of the sights along my way.

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There were quiet streets lined with old, charming houses.

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Big houses

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Smaller ones

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and all sorts in between

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Beige ones

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And white ones

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And brick ones too,

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but the quiet streets also have  lots of public buildings which are fun to view  while strolling along.

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Churches

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Buildings on the Western Reserve Academy Campus like the Chapel

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and historic Main Street with the older shop buildings that have been around for more than a hundred years.

Hudson is a great town for walkers and that’s me, so a Country Inn Hudson Day is great fun any time of year. But it is getting late. These Country Inn Days just fly by.  It’s time to get back to the Inn.

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 stepping through the garden  all covered with snow and entering the Inn itself.

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After all that walking in the cold it’s nice to be all cozy and warm inside sitting at the piano where I decide to play for a while as cocktails are being prepared.  Playing the piano is one of my favorite things and Country Inn Days are devoted to the enjoyment of favorite things. You know what that famous song from “The Sound of Music”  says  – “I simply remember my favorite things and then I don’t feel so bad”.  But it’s not just when we’re feeling bad that we should enjoy our favorite things. We should take time for them regularly in order to prevent feeling bad.

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So as I play the piano a fire is lit and my husband acts as Innkeeper setting out crackers, cheese and drinks.  Here, just as in the lounge of my favorite Red Lion Inn, we relax, chat, and make dinner plans. We decide to dine out of the Inn this evening, going to a fairly new Hudson establishment called The Three Palms.  It’s a gourmet pizza place.

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This is  the exterior of The Three Palms restaurant by day.

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And this is the interior of the restaurant by night. My husband and I sit at the bar so we can look right across the way to the kitchen where the staff is working busily.  Sometimes on Inn Days I am the one-woman kitchen staff, the Inn chef, but on other Inn Days like today I am pure Inn guest.  It is nice to be served now and then.

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It’s fun watching this fellow prepare the pizza dough,  throwing it into the air.  He’s good, never dropped it even once.  A little entertainment while we sip our wine.

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I enjoy the food here and I enjoy the setting too.  The lighting is very pleasant creating  an  ambiance just right for a romantic Country Inn Day.

So all in all I’d say this Country Inn Day was quite the success. Though it was too short, as all days seem to be, it did provide  rest, relaxation, imagination  and sights and experiences outside of my regular routines. That’s all I can ask for on any Country Inn Day so I’m quite content.

I hope you’re happy too, having your own Days of Imagination and Fun,   your own version of my Country Inn Days.  You are the artist of your life.  Only you can create the sort of days which will make your life glisten and glow… so seize the day  and remember…

If you can imagine a perfect day you can make it so.

Enjoy!

Not singing, just writing in the rain

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Hattie’s Coffee Shop

It’s a rainy day in Hudson, but for January I’m not complaining.  Usually at this time of year we have a few feet of snow.  Crazy weather these days!  I decided to take my work out on a date.  I love to work at coffee shops and I’m happy to say Hudson has quite a  few.  Hattie’s is located right in the center of town on Main Street.  You can see our lovely  clocktower out the window.  It’s a Hudson landmark.  The clocktower sits at the edge of the village green.  Another time I’ll take you for a walk around the green, but on a dry day.  In good weather I like to get a coffee and plop myself on a park bench there watching the world go by.  We have a farmer’s market  here in Summer and Autumn and   there are also weekly concerts on the green in Summer as well as an old fashioned ice cream social every June.  I love small town life, especially if the town is old and charming,  and Hudson is that!  Living here helps me imagine I’m still back in Boston for Hudson has that New England charm or maybe I should say New England has our Hudson charm.

I told you how my life is filled with coincidences.  Well, one of the places I lived in Boston was an area called Cleveland Circle (and in case you didn’t know, Hudson is near the city of Cleveland, Ohio)  and the next town over from Hudson, a town I go through frequently, is called Boston Heights.  That’s not all.  I lived in another Boston town called Waltham and do you know some of Hudson’s clocktower parts were made in Waltham.  There’s more!  The little town of Waterloo, New York where my husband was raised had a clock factory, and you guessed it — more of the clocktower  was made there. Did you ever feel you were exactly where you were supposed to be?  Well, with all these coincidences I’m pretty sure I’m where I’m supposed to be.

But let me tell you about the work I’m doing here at Hattie’s.  I’ve written a book on the beautiful art of letter writing and I’m putting a few finishing touches on it.   This book is a series of handwritten letters to the reader in which I share my experiences  and  enthusiasm for  this lovely art form.  Today people seem to think the art of letter writing is DEAD!  Can you imagine anything so ridiculous?

 In the past 20 years I’ve written more than 8000 letters and I continue to write at least one more letter every day.  Obviously I’m not writing to myself.  All the  letters I write are in answer to other letters sent to me  by enthusiastic pen friends who share my passion for writing .  So you see the art of  letter writing is not dead.   Modern people do exist who realize old and new forms of communication can and should co-exist. I hope you’re one of them.  Unfortunately  many people need to be awakened to the pleasure letter writing offers, the pleasure they’re missing, and that’s the purpose of my book.

It is because I love to share joy that I’ve taken it upon myself to be an advocate for the beautiful art of letter writing.  Hopefully my book will help with this mission.  One of these days  you might be able to buy my book right here on my website, that’s if I stop writing here and get back to work putting a few finishing touches on the manuscript.  So back to work for me.  Catch you next time and maybe at that time I’ll show you some of the art for my book of letters.

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