Some September Sunday Thoughts 29 Sep 2013, 6:48 pm
It’s Sunday evening. Chef Frank let me sleep in this morning while he served two sittings of guests. What a guy!
I had no idea how exhausted I was. We currently have no housekeeping help. On purpose. Rappahannock County is a beautiful area. In spite of the fact that I’ve lived all over the world, to the point that I got some kind of award from PanAm for having been around the world so many times before I was 12, I love it here and don’t want to live anywhere else.
However, it’s really challenging to find undamaged help. I usually end up being mother confessor, psychic, psychiatrist and boo-boo fixer. Understandable, since that’s what I did (and still do) for a living. It’s innate. I know it’s my doing. In spite of myself, I do crazy things like…. “You look really down, do you feel all right?” And then, it’s off to the races: husband, children, finances, car, drugs, etc. And why they can’t come tomorrow.
The thing is, I really am interested. What makes people tick has always been a basic interest of mine. Helping them find a way through all the earthly challenges intact has always been my gift, even as a child. I’m really good at it I’ve been told.
But it’s no way to run a B&B. We have virtually 3 days (Tues, Wed & Thurs) to launder and iron sheets, clean the bathrooms, scrub down the kitchen, mop all the floors, fix whatever’s broken this week, fix what broke as we were fixing that, tend to the computer/web, make sure we have what we need for the breakfasts and dinners, replace light bulbs, polish brass fixtures, make soap, vacuum everything!, see clients and give them my full and complete attention, and probably a bunch of stuff that I can’t think of right now. Oh, and tend to the garden, the lawn, the outbuildings, and all. I Love Flowers! I love fresh grown food!
Whoa! We need to charge more! I’ve never worked so hard in my life, even when I was a dancer, musician and ceramicist in New York City.
And then the Guests come. When I escort them to their room, open the door and they step in and their faces light up and they say, “Oh, how lovely,” or “how cozy,” I feel great.
I remember, oh so many years ago, when the pace of my life was affecting my health, saying to myself, “oh, if there was just somewhere out in the country that is safe for a single, very young woman to go relax and recoup…” I was in Texas at that time, and there were very few B&Bs in those days, if any, and I didn’t even know there were such things as B&Bs.
So, in my mind, we’re giving that quiet, safe, and healthy retreat to our guests, who are working very hard, living in a noisy city, raising beautiful children and accomplishing sometimes amazing things in their daily life.
That’s why, whenever we clean, fix or paint things here at Thistle Hill, in the backs of our minds we’re always thinking, “Oh, I hope they like this, I hope this makes their stay just that much better.”
If what we do makes you happy, that makes us happy!
Have a great day!
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: Bed and Breakfast, Bed and Breakfast Virginia, getaway, vacation
One of Frank’s Fabulous Breakfasts 21 Jun 2012, 3:54 am
Chef Frank can sure do breakfast! And dinner! He makes one of the most fabulous Pot Roasts ever…. more on that in another post.
Anyway, thought I’d put up a picture of his popular Grapefruit and Blueberries. Many people love this dish who say they normally don’t like grapefruit.
How come Thistle Hill continually gets 5 stars for the food?
Frank goes the extra steps to serve only unadulterated food, no chemical additives, organically-grown as much as possible. It’s a challenge. But because we know, and sometimes have found out the experiential way, that the chemical additives in our modern foods not only affect the taste but also can be dangerous, we feel it’s worth the extra effort to provide our family as well as our valued Guests the best food possible.
For example, if I were to ask any parent reading this, “Here’s some lovely tasting food with anti-freeze in it. Give it to your children to eat.” Do you think anyone would give it to their children?
But, look at some of the cake mixes, or the ready-made cakes in stores. Or almost anything pre-prepared on the shelves. More often than not, you’ll see ‘Propylene glycol,’ and a whole lot of other unpronounceable words.
An excerpt from the ATSDR-Toxic Substances website: “Propylene glycol is a synthetic liquid substance that absorbs water. Propylene glycol is also used to make polyester compounds, and as a base for deicing solutions.” It’s generally regarded as safe in very low doses, but since it’s in almost everything, those very low doses become relatively high pretty fast.
Meanwhile, we-the-people are currently wondering why so many of us have asthma, especially so many children. What a puzzle…!
I used to be terribly asthmatic. Especially when I was on the road as a Tour Director. After a particularly acute attack, my coach driver pointed out that much of the food provided had MSG in it. What?
MSG: Mono-sodium glutamate. It has been shown that it causes asthma.
I stopped eating anything with MSG in it. The asthma went away! Voila.
Look at the prepared foods: MSG.
…… Therefore ……, we don’t serve adulterated, additive-containing foods. Period.
Only the best! It costs quite a bit more, and driving around all day to pick up the freshest, grass-fed eggs, Amish sausage, additive-free old-fashioned bacon, potatoes and breads is gas and time consuming.
But it is worth it just to hear you say,
“OMG, that’s the best breakfast I’ve had in years!”
Music to our ears!
Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: food, health, propylene glycol, restaurants, travel, vacation
Our First Post 9 Jun 2012, 8:51 am
I’ve lived in a hand-carved houseboat in Kashmir, played in the Maharaja’s gardens in Mumbai, swam with very, very, Very large fish in the seas of Bali. I’ve peeked into volcanoes, sipped coffee in an outside cafe in Montreal, drank wine on the Queen Elizabeth, ridden elephants in India and begged to ride camels (to no avail) in Pakistan.
I’ve listened to the tinkle of 3 inches of glass and gold bracelets on my wrist, had my ears pierced at 7, watched beautiful Indian women dress my beautiful mother up in silken saris. Been smuggled out of China, was one of the first westerners to see Ankor Wat, caught strangely shaped fish in a Siamese klong.
Almost caused an international incident when I, as a young girl, wandered, interested, into a Muslim mosque.
In New York City, I worked for the attorneys of Sting and Mick Jagger while I danced and sang professionally and studied at Parsons to be a ceramist (busy years).
I’m only telling you this as background. After all these amazing, wonderful places in which I was treated as family, I came to roost in northern Virginia. At the Inn on Thistle Hill Bed and Breakfast & Wellness Center Spa. Where the land called me.
There are crystals buried all over this land. We have two wonderful wells, a huge kitchen and 10 acres of rich Virginia land.
There are three little cottages, the Meadowlark, the Azalea and the Rose Cottages. And a separate wing housing the Great Room for meetings, workshops and special dinners, and the upstairs bedroom, the Gold Room with a huge 4-poster bed. In the main house, upstairs is a delightful bedroom called the Dianne Room which I named after my best friend of 35 years, Dianne.
I love having a B&B! We have the most wonderful, interesting people visit us every weekend. People who we’d probably never get to meet and talk with in other circumstances.
I find that everything I do, or change, or paint has an underlying thought of, “I hope our guests will like this.” or, “Wait’ll they see this!”
It’s hard to believe we’ve lived here for 11 years. I have learned so much here! How to rewire electrical plugs or lamps, sweat pipes, grout tile. Clean floors, o-boy.
It has crossed my mind, when I’m on my hands and knees, cleaning behind a toilet with a tooth brush, that it’s Karma, man, Karma. I’m repaying the work of the servants who used to do these things for me as a child. I hardly remember what it was like to have my clothes laid out for me in the morning. Or to have clean sheets and clean pajamas every night. I’m too busy being sure that the guests sheets are spotless and ironed just so, with the pillows perfectly arranged. Or making my own laundry and cleaning soaps because the commercial ones just weren’t doing it well enough.
I love it, though! I’m never, ever bored. There’s always some repair or art project in which I’m up to my neck.
Frank never says incredulously, “You can’t accomplish that,” anymore. He just stands back, looks at me quizzically, and says, “How’re you going to do that,” and “Can I help?”
He seems to expand his energy throughout the kitchen, grab this pot and that pot and next thing you know, there’s a yummy meal steaming on a plate. I just can’t seem to get the hang of cooking.
Well, the sun’s coming up over the big old oak tree, and I have Guests arriving in a few hours, and I need to use some of my magic soap on the kitchen floor.
I love it when Guests come!!
Filed under: Bed and Breakfast, Bed and Breakfast VA, Bed and Breakfast Virginia, Uncategorized Tagged: Bed and Breakfast, Bed and Breakfast Virginia, Breakfast, Cooking, getaway, The Inn on Thistle Hill, travel, vacation