A Winter’s Country Inn Day

The Jeremiah Brown House 1853
On some Country Inn Days when the weather is cold and snowy it’s nice to stay all cozy and warm at the Inn not venturing out at all.  That’s today!  Though it’s a bit gloomy outside, inside the Inn is bright and buzzing with activity for the Innkeeper, the Inn chef, the Inn maid, the Inn gardener, and the Inn guest are all keeping quite busy… and all those people are me!

As you may or may not know the magic of Country Inn Days has the power to transform me into all these characters as I use my imagination.  What fun I have!  I hope you are in the habit of using your imagination too.

One of the Inn’s new rooms

The Jeremiah Brown House, my 1853 Country Inn of imagination, is where I spend much of my time, and its been undergoing an addition ever since last Summer.  The Innkeeper, me, has been busy buying furniture and designing the new rooms.  Today I stroll this and other rooms imagining how it soon will look for workers are coming in a day or two to sand, stain, and finish the floors and once the floors are finished the furniture will be delivered and then it won’t be long  till guests can be entertained at the Inn once again. I’m anxious for that day to come because I can’t wait to host my sharing teas and dinner parties once more.  This place is not for me alone.  It must be shared  with friends and family.  Sharing doubles the joy.

A few garden books from the Inn’s library
As Innkeeper I study the new rooms, but as Inn gardener I  have other things to do. A gardener can’t work outside when the snow is a few feet deep and the temperature is only 29 degrees, but she can study the gardens found in books to give her ideas and that’s exactly what I’m doing on this cold Winter day.


One particular book with lots of lovely old fashioned garden ideas is “Grandmother’s Garden” by May Brawley Hill.    It features gardens popular from 1865 to 1915.  Though my Inn was built earlier, it was still around in those later years too, so this book just might have some fine ideas for me. I do love old world ways and the Jeremiah Brown House needs old world ways to keep hold of its historic character.


There’s never a dull moment on a Country Inn Day.  So many things to do.  As Inn maid I always seem to have  ironing waiting at the Ironrite, the ironing machine I inherited from my mother.  It makes ironing table linens a breeze.  And of course the Inn always uses fresh, crisp linens in its  dining room.

What’s cooking?

The linens have to be prepared but the Inn cook, me, has other work to do in the kitchen.  Busy, busy, busy!  A new kitchen is being designed here, but until the new kitchen is ready the old kitchen works just fine. It will become a butler’s pantry when the new kitchen is finished. I’ve always wanted a butler’s pantry.

Here in the old kitchen I’m preparing a menu of  chicken with wine  accompanied by a pasta containing carrots,  mushrooms, and caraway seeds.  This pasta is seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika.  There’s also  an asparagus flan in the works.

Asparagus Flan

This flan combines asparagus, bacon, eggs, milk, and heavy cream, with parsley, salt and pepper.  It bakes in the oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees – very French!

I hope the Inn guest, me,  enjoys the meal.  I’m sure she will.  After all, she’s been enjoying the whole day free from  her usual music work.  All regular daily activities are aborted on Country Inn Days in favor of other playful and relaxing Inn experiences.   One of the Inn’s wonderful relaxing experiences is snuggling up with a good book.  Today that book is Jane Austen’s  “Mansfield Park”.

And another favorite activity at the Inn, or anywhere at all, is letter writing. I am an avid letter writer.   Today I’ve written two letters – one to my  pen friend Amelia in Minnesota and another letter to Susie in Virginia. As my dear “dead friend” Lord Byron always said – “Only in letter writing do we have solitude and society simultaneously.”   How true that is.  I relax all by myself at the Inn but I’m able to connect with friends through letters.

How nice it is to get away from it all without packing and traveling long distances.  Of course I would love to bop over to my favorite Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires of Massachusetts every week, but that’s not possible. Having my Country Inn Days really helps keep me amused between my visits there.  Just a little imagination makes the simple things in life great fun.

What was it Mary Poppins said? – “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.  You find the fun and then the job’s a game”!  She was so right.  My Country Inn Days truly make ordinary life a sort of game.  And adults have to play too.


The dinner bell has rung.  I must leave you now. Linens, candlelight and a yummy meal just for me, well, for my hubby too.  He always joins me on my Inn getaways. Others check into the Inn too, but I’ll tell you about them another time.  So I have to run.

After dinner perhaps a bubble bath and then hopping into a warm and cozy bed with sweet dreams ahead.

There’s nothing like a Country Inn Day, a day to  hibernate at the Inn and escape from the world if that’s what I need or it could be a day out in the world  exploring favorite places and looking for adventure.

I’m happy you joined me today because  sharing doubles my joy.  It really does.  Maybe now you’ll go off on your own Country Inn Day adventure.  If you do, let me know.  I’d love to hear all about it.

Till next time.


Country Inn Days

The Red Lion Inn

Those of you who know me well know all about my Country Inn Days, days in which I give myself permission to step outside of  regular routines  escaping  into  a world of imagination and delight.  My Country Inn Days were inspired by a very real country inn, an inn I first discovered  more than 27 years ago.  This charming old establishment, The Red Lion Inn, touched my heart the first time I saw it and it continues to stir up romantic feelings in me whenever I so much as think of it.

I still can clearly remember the circumstances of my first visit to The Red Lion Inn.  I was driving my little Fiat to Boston.  I took back roads all the way across Ohio, into Pennsylvania, through New York state and finally into Massachusetts, and there in the Berkshires I stumbled upon the  inn quite by accident—just in time for lunch.  It was a Sunday, and I was all dressed up in a beige linen pants suit wearing a white blouse with an embroidered butterfly on its collar.  Funny I remember that because I can’t even remember what I was wearing yesterday.  It’s just that I felt great that day!  The weather was  beautiful, I was young and free,  exploring on my own, when this gracious, old, wonderful inn pops up out of the blue almost like magic.

The wicker-filled porch

I parked the car, walked up the steps to its charming large front  porch filled with white antique wicker furniture covered with pastel floral fabric.   So pretty!  It was like stepping back into time.  Flower boxes bursting with red and pink impatience added a beautiful touch as only flowers can do, and I knew this was just the place for me.

The dining room
My table

Stepping inside I was delighted to see and hear a grand piano. A lady was  playing light classics, just the perfect music to accompany a delicious lunch in the inn’s formal dining room.  Ah!  This was shaping up to be my kind of day. (which reminds me of a song my sister and I wrote called “My Kind of Day”.  I’ll share the lyrics with you another time).

Writing room window to the world

The windows of the dining room were covered with old fashioned curtains that had giant ball fringe attached.  I bought a  few pairs of those curtains and I’m happy to say they are now hanging in my writing room.

That first visit to the Red Lion Inn made a mark on my heart.  I loved everything about the place and I was determined to return again and again and that is exactly what I have done over the years, but not often enough for me.  How I wish I lived closer to Stockbridge so I could pop over once a week, but this could never be, for the inn was, is, and always will be too far from Ohio for frequent visits. So what to do?  I need my inn days!

Necessity is the mother of invention.

THE SOLUTION:  With clear memories of all the charming things I loved about my days at the old Red Lion Inn, (plus a few hundred other musings), I created Country Inn Days, days to enjoy a country inn experience right at home whenever I need a  romantic escape from reality.  Living in a 160 year old house, set in a historic town  founded back in 1799 does make it easier to pull off a Country Inn Day experience, but you could probably manage Country Inn Days no matter where you live IF you have enough playfulness, imagination and romantic spirit.

One of these days I’ll write up my notes to help you create your own Inn days.  They will take the form of my third book, (a book on the art of letter writing is my first book and it’s completed, a book on sharing tea  is my second, and I’m working on it,  but then I’ll write The Country Inn Day book),  and  till that book is out  I’ll post a few Country Inn Day tidbits now and then… stay tuned.

But now I must leave you.  I have an appointment at The Inn Spa.  A fragrant bubble bath scented with Bronnley’s ‘Pink Bouquet’ is calling me.