Friday, August 13, 2010

mt washington b & b

Sometimes luck is just with you. I know it certainly was with my DH and I when we were planning our vacation this year. Every summer we choose a location that we don't know and explore it. This year I wanted to go to the Gorham/Berlin area of New Hampshire--just north of the White Mountains. I had been there once before when I worked as a waitress one summer during college at a now dead resort in North Conway. On my day off I would explore the neighboring area. I remembered cute little towns where real people lived without the hustle and bustle of North Conway.

The fact that the Mt Washington Bed and Breakfast was in Shelburne, NH didn't hurt. My studio is in Shelburne Falls, MA. We've been to Shelburne, VT and Shelburne, Nova Scotia--do you see a theme there? Besides the owner had posted sample breakfast menus--apple cinnamon pancakes, french toast, yum. What more can one want?

As soon as we got there, we knew we had made a great decision. How charming and friendly the house looked. A bit larger than expected but look at the wonderful porch where hummingbirds were fighting to get the hanging fuschia. I never knew how territorial they could be.

And the view from the parking lot--off to the left in the clouds is the actual Mt. Washington. I had forgotten how big the Presidentials are.

Inside it was charming. Old painted pine floors.  Comfortable, inviting, cozy--and not too grand. It turns out the B and B was built in 1853 as an inn and is reputedly one of the two oldest continuously operated inns in New Hampshire. Isn't that cool? I found myself dreaming of the visitors from a bygone era--wondering what they talked watching the mountain on the porch.  I could almost feel the memories of past vacationers as I walked on the old pine floors and examined the lay out of the rooms.

I was fascinated watching Mary Anne the owner run the place. There are so many different things one has to do to make guests feel welcome. When we were there, the guests included a retired navy couple who took the Cog Rail up Mt. Washington, a pair of English school teachers in the States visiting family, a family of three who went up at least one mountain in the Presidentials every day, and us. She  had to chat with each of us--provide us with restaurant advise, suggestions for places we might want to visit, and make us feel at home--only to have new guests arrive the next day. And of course feed us breakfast--maybe peach-almond pancakes today. This is the collection of blue bottles in the dining room. Homey, isn't it?

The rooms are all named after local birds--the eastern Phoebe, the Bald Eagle, we had the Nuthatch room. Each door has its own little guardian angel doll looking out for it. Of course each one is different. And the beds all have quilts. Nice thick quilts--in traditional patterns. This is the quilt in the Bald Eagle Room--sweet isn't it? 


So it was no surprise to me that in her "spare" time, Mary Anne makes quilts. She told me that come November she gets out her sewing machine.  Our room had this very sweet moose design--isn't the pine cone border the perfect edging.

There were basket quilts, bear paws, I couldn't see them all since most of the rooms were occupied. My favorite though was the moose quilt in the dining area. Interesting use of a more modern design.


This is actually a batik with these wonderful moose. She told me another story how she gives a special piece of fabric to her friend who then makes a quilt and sends her a picture for her scrapbook. 

Isn't that wonderful fabric? In November she has a Quilter's Retreat package where they make a mystery quilt, there is a Beginning Quilting week-end planned and who knows--maybe other quilt events.

See--I told you we were lucky. And we even made it up Pine Mountain--which is the last of the Presidentials (and no please do not ask me about President Pine but it was a great hike.) Are you ever lucky with your vacations?

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