It was just another Country Inn Day — a day where I give myself permission to escape from normal routines and exercise my imagination, exercise it even more than usual. Have you used your imagination lately? I hope so. Imagination is a terrible thing to waste. Imagination exists for good reason you know, and that reason is to offer us delight.
Well, this particular Country Inn Day was certainly full of delight for me. I enjoy all sorts of Inn Days, each offering its own unique pleasures, but this particular Country Inn Day was slated for adventure, you know, trying something new, going somewhere you’ve never gone before, reaching into the unknown. A little adventure now and then adds spice to life.
You’ll be happy to know a satisfying Adventure Day does not require long distance travel, taking great risks, or spending lots of money, but it is necessary to step out of familiar surroundings and do a little exploring. We all do this sort of thing when we’re out of town on vacation, but we can have great adventures close to home too. It’s easy and it’s fun!
So I bet you’re wondering just what kind of adventure I came up with this time. Well, I decided to revisit a wonderful old house where I enjoyed tea a few years ago. I had been there with the Hudson Garden Club. Though I didn’t have the exact address I knew what street the house was on and felt sure I could find it so… Here I am driving down West Exchange Street in Akron, Ohio on a damp Winter’s morning looking for adventure.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this outing couldn’t be much of an adventure if I’ve been to this great house before, oh, but you’re wrong.
This time I had no reservation. I just planned to ring the door bell hoping to be invited inside, where I would introduce myself, explain how I had visited once before, loved the house, and hoped to interest the owner in friendship. I was anxious to get to know this owner, a retired English teacher. Why her, you ask? It’s because I knew she must have an adventurous spirit herself for why else would she buy a great old 1920’s house, saving it from demolition and turning it into a bed and breakfast among other things – like a beautiful location for tea parties and wedding receptions.
So where exactly was this house? Aha! I think I found it. I remember those pillars! So I pulled in and parked by the door.
Here I was. Oh boy! This is exciting. Now to walk up to the entrance and ring the bell . What an adventure!
I never really expected anyone would answer the door not yet invite me inside. I figured I’d just ring the bell, then write a note and leave it in the door, but SOMEONE DID COME TO THE DOOR … and what’s more, THEY INVITED ME INSIDE!
This was going very well indeed. The nice lady of the house, Gail Johnson, was very friendly, amazingly friendly, and quite trusting, for no sooner I was inside she excused herself to take a phone call and disappeared for 10 long minutes! Only her sleepy black dog kept me company.
I mustn’t have looked very dangerous, but still, I was surprised she left me alone for so long. I could’ve been a crook, or started exploring the house on my own, for believe me, I wanted to do just that.
Here I stood admiring the furniture and peering just beyond into the living room, dying to freely wander around this great place. I love old houses as you know, especially big ones and this is a big one! (Those of you who know me and know my blog know that my Dad always used to say “That’s a big one”, so I felt Dad was along on this adventure.)
Anyway, eventually Gail returned and we had a very nice long chat after which she asked if I’d like a tour of the house. Would I? YES INDEEDY! …so off we went, and now I’d like to share a little of that tour with you. Why? You know. Sharing doubles the joy. Besides, you might like to come here yourself some day, book a room at this bed and breakfast and enjoy a Country Inn Day of your own… So let’s start by entering the dining room. It’s not large, but very cozy and I loved the crystal chandelier.
The dining room windows look out to a very pretty patio, and don’t you love the window seat?
The patio was furnished with a neat canopy frame that sat ready for warm weather. The canopy is even equipped with a chandelier which hangs from its center, but now in Winter it rests on the outdoor table. Can you imagine this setting for tea or cocktails on a Summers day?
Crossing back through the foyer I headed to another window in order to get a good view of another garden area, and here it is. WOW!
Isn’t this marvelous? Can you imagine it with all the trees and flowers in bloom? I was told there are roses and honeysuckle among all the other plants. My favorites. Just beautiful! I could stay here forever. But let’s move along.
How about a look at the kitchen? Good windows, a wood floor, great big restaurant stove and oven (sorry I didn’t get a better picture of the oven, but I was amazed I got as many pictures as I did. So much to see.) The island is a gem, an old chest Gail found in a nearby antique shop. Isn’t it marvelous?
Gail told me the entire kitchen ceiling fell down one day with no warning, (that’s an old house for you), but she took the opportunity to add recessed lights in the new ceiling. She’s the kind of girl who makes lemonade out of lemons.
There was a butler’s pantry too. I love a butler’s pantry, don’t you? This one was so small, but so cute and efficient. I couldn’t really get a good picture, but believe me, it was nifty. Here’s one small corner of it.
Let’s move on to the library. Ah, a library! …every house should have one. A library is the perfect place to write a letter, cuddle up with a good book, or create a post for your blog.
Are you enjoying the tour? I sure was, and I’m so happy to have these pictures so I can revisit this great house with you. But now let’s go upstairs.
I was so impressed with all the wood paneling on both sides of the stairs… you just don’t see this sort of thing very often in modern houses.
The views from the upstairs balcony and the leaded front windows were terrific. Looking down into the foyer or out into the front yard… well, I was impressed.
But there’s one more thing I want to show you, well really three more things — two bedrooms and a bath.
The bedrooms and baths were comfy, but unpretentious. Gail wanted them to look their age and they do.
Sorry I didn’t take pictures of the nanny’s room, the maid’s quarters, or the room where the chauffeur stayed in days gone by. The chauffeur had a small door in his room that led to a private staircase taking him directly to the garage. How neat is that? He also had an old fashioned water closet. (That’s a tiny closet with just enough room for a toilet). So many nooks and crannies in this house. So many back stairways and halls. Everything was wonderful!
Well, there you have it. The O’Neil House. You probably didn’t expect to tour a great historic house today, but then, neither did I when I set out on my last Country Inn Day Adventure. I simply reached out in friendship but I got a whole lot more in the bargain. I’ll be writing Gail soon and you can write her too. (Gail Johnson, The O’Neil House, 1290 West Exchange Street, Akron, Ohio,44313) You might also want to schedule a tea at her place or book a room. If you do any of those things be sure to tell Gail that CarolAnn sent you, and give her a big hello from me. She really made my day with her friendly hospitality and the generous sharing of her beautiful home. Gail obviously subscribes to my theory – sharing doubles the joy!
I hope you enjoyed coming along with me on my adventure. I can’t wait for the next one, but I do like to mix things up. My next Country Inn Day may be more quiet — maybe a spa day. We’ll just have to wait and see. But maybe it’s time for you to have a little adventure of your own. You really should.
Adventure Days are Great!