Arrived as planned. It was actually easier to find than I had expected, kudos to my Garmin. Even with a detour at Bellows Falls, VT, we got there in about 2 hours. I do have to say that once you get to Vermont their roadsigns are excellent. Very clearly marked. [not the case everywhere I go]
Checked in and discovered that the cottage we were staying in was just across the road from the main Inn. Moved the car to the cottage parking lot and wandered off to find the room. The whole feeling of the Inn is more like you are visiting friends in their home who happen to have a lot of bedrooms. A childhood friend of mine lived in the East Wing of her home, and this layout reminded me a little of that. Nothing gave away the fact that is was an Inn except for the modest room numbers on the doors. Real keys, yep, real keys…LOL no swipe cards. The main door still has it’s original Jailhouse style key and a lock bigger than my laptop. I’m sure all these things have proper names and terminology, but I am not a history buff and you will have to bear with me and tolerate my layman’s description.
There were several ways to get into the building as it appeared to be an amalgamation of two very large houses that had been joined by covering walkways and creating new rooms to link them. Our room was at the end of a very long corridor, most of which was a glassed in corridor filled with antique seating, and featuring a brick floor. I think that was probably once an outdoor walkway judging by the weathering of the brick, but don’t quote me. That quickly became my favourite room/area. The room was called ‘Karen’s Room’ – the rooms being named after people and the numbers being secondary and very discreet. The room was cozy with two double beds and two wing back chairs in a bay window. Lots of antiques and a fabulous welsh dresser [I think Americans call them ‘hutches’] filled with willow pattern tureens and plates.
On my bed was a canvas tote bag, decorated with a gift tag and a ribbon. Stocked with bottles of water and cookies. On the table was a locally made cheese board with an apple, crackers and samples of Grafton Cheese company cheese. A side note to gadget addicts. The rooms have no TV, no fridge, and only a boosted GSM cell tower. No GSM = no cell. The do have wifi. The en suite bathroom was stocked with green products for personal care. Including an awesome rosemary and mint glycerin soap. I make my own soap, so I’m a bit picky, and this was a GOOD soap.
I freshened up, dropped all my things, grabbed my files and left hubby in the room to unwind while I hunted for my bride and groom. I forgot to mention that in the tote bag was a printed itinerary card, so the whole weekend was scheduled and organized for the least fuss and confusion. Rehearsal meeting in the Old Barn for us, and cocktails for everyone else.
Met with Elisa and Chris, their wedding planner and the Innkeeper. The bridal party members who had already arrived [most people coming from Long Island] and various members of the Inn staff. I was very impressed with how easy the staff of the Inn made everything, and also with how laid back my couple were. I already knew how great they were to deal with, but sometimes that changes as stress levels rise. I would be hard pressed to find any stress or taut nerves at this meeting.
As a side note, as I become older, my couples look younger to me, and I confess to being a little sentimental at how young, fresh and full of hope for the future they are. It’s always the best part of the event for me, seeing how this event marks a new chapter in their story, and it’s also why I keep in touch with as many as possible, however tenuously.
We discussed the impending wedding day weather, and there was some doubt as to whether we would be indoors or out, due to the tornado warning in place. Could be as little as muggy humidity, or as bad as a major storm. We were going to have to keep an eye on the sky. We planned for outdoors with a contingency plan of retreating to the old barn and holding the ceremony in there. We walked to the outdoor site, finalized our plans and went back to our rooms to get ready for the casual dinner in the Old Barn.
What a pleasant surprise! To accompany the dinner there were a selection of locally brewed beers. The very helpful young lady in charge of those was well informed and enthusiastic about the product. Hubby is a Porter fan, and was very happy with the choices. For myself, a nice IPA. Served in 1/3 pint tasting glasses. Dinner was a served buffet of veggie lasagna, locally made sausages with onions and peppers, artisan bread, fresh local corn on the cob, locally grown salad veggies with asparagus and beets, and a very yummy Russian Balsamic dressing. Dessert was a spin on a black forest gateau, using freshly made brownie triangles served with locally grown blueberries and strawberries, and clotted cream, straight from the local farm. I think you are seeing the theme here. Just about everything provided, right down to ketchup was made locally. And you could taste it. I like to support farmer’s markets, but I cannot always take the time to drive off my normal beaten path, so I look for farm stands and veggie stands. It’s worth it, if you can find one. Fresh food, gotta love it.
There was a bonfire scheduled at Grafton Ponds, which is the centre of the hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and other seasonal activities, but I decided to leave the family to their celebration and headed off to relax in my very comfortable room. Hubby firmly ensconced in the historical surroundings, sitting in a wing backed chair with his laptop, watching Top Gear. We love the 21st Century!