Laugh and be Jolly

Christmas signDeck the hall!  Put up the holly, laugh and be jolly!  It’s time to start the celebration!  It’s just the perfect way to start the holiday season.  It’s time for the annual Holiday Open House at the James Manning House B&B!

Every year in the beginning of December our little historic community provides holiday spirit for visitors, the greater community and friends of Bethany with an event we call “Christmas in the Village”.  This year the event is scheduled for December 1, from 2-4, and is a free event.  Many of the area organizations plan special events for everyone to 019enjoy.  The library invites Mrs. Claus to come and help children write letters to Santa Claus.  She and a helper read stories to the children.  The librarian offers cookies and hot chocolate as well.  Bethany United Methodist Church is offering a “Keepsake Christmas for Families”, which includes a hands on craft for inspiration.  The Bethany Historical Society has an open house with cookies and punch.  They are also planning a surprise display, which reminds us of a great part of our country’s history.  Bethany Village, senior living, invites all to their tree lighting and Tricky Tray.IMG_3695

The two historic B&B’s, E. Kellogg House and the James Manning House will be hosting open houses.  Enjoy the Christmas decorations and see the beauty of these two lodging inns.  There will be seasonal treats at both.  Perhaps you’ll have to clear the doorway for the Victorian Strollers to pass with their hoop skirts much in the same way the residents of these fine houses did 150 years past.

The James Manning House is pleased to present the Honesdale High School Chamber Choir singing Christmas carols and seasonal songs.  This talented group of young people will delight all who stop to listen.  Here at the inn we are preparing dozens of cookies and treats to tempt your palette.  Enjoy seeing the Santa Claus collection and decorated trees of various themes.  We dare you to count the Santa Claus collection, numbering above 350!  (hint: count the snowmen instead, far less of those, for now!!) Maybe you need some unique Christmas gifts, our little gift shop, is ready to help fill the need.  Gift certificates are also available for holiday giving.

The evening finishes with “A Journey Through Bethlehem” a living nativity presented by the Bethany Presbyterian Church.  The story of Jesus’ birth told through living story and live animals. The living nativity runs from 4:30-6:30, December 1 and December 2.

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Thank You, May!

blossomsThank you, May!  Thank you for the sunshine.  Thank you for the flowers.  Thank you for the singing birds, and thank you for warmer temperatures.  It’s been a long cold winter into spring, but we’re not looking back!  Thank you May for bringing our guests.  Yes, we are very thankful for YOU, our guests!

May is the end of our ninth year in business!  Ten years ago we hosted our first guest in group awaythe B&B, so we are taking time to appreciate all those who have crossed our threshold into this wonderful historic house to take a reprieve from their lives.  Our guests travel for so many reasons; visiting family and friends, celebrating weddings, researching their roots, enjoying the wonderful outdoors, or just to get away.  We have met wonderful people, made new friends and enjoyed every minute of hosting you, our guests.

Our guests have helped us along the way.  Most of our guests love where they live, and are happy to share things to do and places to see in their area.  They have traveled to beautiful and fun places. Both of these conversations add to our bucket list of travel.  Guests have given us encouragement. They enjoy looking at our eclectic collections of decorations and antiques. They want to know about the comfortable beds and bedding. Guests have taught us how to provide more comfort. They like the fluffy towels.  They remark about the top shelf bath amenities, and locally made soap.   They enjoy lanchgsnuggling under the warm, weighty duvets.   Guests have given us ideas for the breakfast table. They enjoy our old and new recipes for their breakfast.   Repeat guests make requests for a previous dish.  They ask for recipes. They tell us about healthy eating.  They appreciate our ability to cook for allergy or specialty diets.

There are so many reasons we appreciate our guests.  There are so many reasons we love being innkeepers.  We hope that we are able to continue to make our guests feel at home.  We hope we have a chance to see you soon and demonstrate our appreciation for YOU, our guests.

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Aftermath

Oh the aftermath! Many of us have a whirlwind of a day on Christmas, family visiting, lots of cooking and kitchen clean-up. It’s wonderful and exhausting all at the same time. For us the family time is priceless. Then in the morning THE aftermath.  Wrapping paper piles, boxes, bows,  and boxes, all needing removal from the living spaces.  What is your mode for disposal?  It may take a little bit of time, but it sure helps to recycle the fiberboard, cardboard and non-foil wrapping paper.  We also reuse ribbon and some boxes making less of an impact on the landfill.  One of the good things that we managed to do for the last several years was create lists for what was wanted under the tree.  It may seem like a waste of time when creating that list, but it certainly saved time the day after, when among four families, there were only three returns and those for size and a toy that wasn’t working.  What are your traditions for gifts after Christmas?  Do you still stack them under the tree to show to visitors who stop by the house?  Times sure have changed!IMG_2846

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You Know Who’s Coming!

fabric santaYou better watch out,

You better not cry,

You better not pout,

I’m telling you why,

Santa Claus is coming to town!santa shines

He sees you when you’re sleeping,

He knows when you’re awake,

he sees youHe knows if you been bad or good,

So be good for goodness sake!stylin santassitting big santaAnd just a few more…collection of santasBack in time…turn of centruy santa“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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The Wall says it All

magicWhen visitors look around at the inn, they will find that even the walls decide it’s the Christmas season.  There is cheer in the Gathering Room, asking you to “believe” in the magic.  There aresanta throw Christmas plates, fabric quiltings,  and a Santa tapestry.

plates

 

 

 

The kitchen boasts a collection of kitchen gadgets and other replicas of Santa.  kitchen wall

But some of our favorite seasonal wall decorating is accomplished with print material. If you have been to a wonderful Christmas attraction making a collage of photos can not only add Christmas spirit to your decorations, but you’ll also have your memories of that experience close to sight and heart.  These are some of our favorite photos from Longwood Gardens at Christmas time.  Longwood Gardens is open year round and is located near Philadelphia, PA.wall collageAnother favorite is a series of prints from an original 1950′s story book given to good little children who sat on Santa Claus’ lap in Pomeroy’s Department Store in Reading.  It is depicting “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.night beforeOf course there is always a unique treasure that we hold dear.  In our case it’s a picture made by our grandchildren, with those little hands and feet.child art

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Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

build a snowmanSpending time with grandchildren is always great. This past week my three-year-old granddaughter has been playing and singing Christmas songs all rolled together. She likes singing “Rudolph” the best, but asked me to help her to sing “Frosty the Snowman” which she did know with only a little help. Then we were watching Frozen, a favorite movie, with a favorite character, Olaf (a snowman for those not familiar with Disney). Children love snowmen! At the first flakes they cry, “Can we build a snowman?” Day three of decorating involves the lovable characters in a variety of styles: Snowmen!

snowfriends

One of my favorites is this beautiful painted gourd.  Created and purchased locally, this snowman is nestled in a hemlock cone forest of trees made by family.  This snowman graces our house all winter long.painted gourd snowman

Some of the snowmen have been with the family a long time and we have inherited a few more from other family members that had been used in the 40′s and 50′s, that vintage time of our parents.  I like to take a section of  the book shelves and create a little snow scene, such as pictured here.snowscene

 

Snowmen have become very popular in decorating and of course come in all sizes and shapes.  they are supporting favorite sports teams and added to collectors creations.  If you are interested in learning more about the frozen snowballs, author Bob Eckstein has written a book “The History of the Snowman” , available on Amazon or eBay. And say, “Let it snow, let it snow!”snowmanshelf

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Five Reasons We are Thankful for Our Guests

1. Our guests come in all personalities and experiences, a different way of looking at the proverbial “shapes and sizes”.  We enjoy the unique stories and life experiences they are willing to share with us.  Appreciation of different cultures, family traditions and occupations is developed.  There is always good conversation around the breakfast table keeping life interesting.friends

2. We are thankful to be able to share our historical house and its character with our guests, and so we are thankful for our guests who come and stay.  Let’s face it, it helps to pay the mortgage! More than that we honestly love to talk about the history and continue, as do our guests, to marvel at the handcrafted woodwork and look out through the wavy glass in the original windows. Even more we are thankful that many guests choose to stay with us again and again, they have become friends and “family”.

3. Link-Badge-75-x-75There has been a tremendous increase in our Travel Bucket List thanks to our guests.  Each guest has been somewhere they love and would love to return.  They are so happy to talk about these places and our interest peaks, too.  The guest will share insights as to what to see and do, and maybe where to stay away.  Then there’s hometowns, and you can tell who loves where they live, and hear the pride in their voices when they talk about those places, and the bucket list grows.

4. Thankfully our guests love to eat!  We like to cook, Warren experiments with casseroles and Janet prides herself with some tasty baking.  If our guests didn’t like eating we would never get to expand our recipes and skills.  And if they didn’t have good appetites, well, we’d be stuck with way too many leftovers!brek

5. This may be a stretch, but we are thankful our guests are indirect personal trainers.  They keep us hopping with all the chores that give us exercise throughout the day.  Keeping our grounds and gardens pleasing for guests gets us outside and moving for fresh air and muscle toning.  Many of you wear Fitbits, or Apple Watch (I know; we’ve discussed this, you remember).  I can tell you that making a bed can add ten active  minutes and over 1200 steps to                                                   your day.yard13

We hope this may have brought some humor your way today and do realize that we appreciate your support of our endeavors.  Many you have a blessed holiday season starting with Thanksgiving, and take time to appreciate all you have.

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We’re “Happie”

happiesmilesHappy New Year!  Well, I suppose you think I need to move on with things, that New Year’s was a few weeks past.  Instead I’m choosing to be positive, each day is a new day, put them all together and it’s a new year!  That’s how it goes in a “Happie” place.

That’s right the James Manning House is a Happie place.  We are proud to say that in December we were honored with Happenings Magazine’s Happie Award for Best Bed and Breakfast.   Winners are chosen by satisfied customers who vote for businesses that make them most “Happie.” Each year Happenings invites readers to vote online for the businesses that make them the happiest.  There is always an enthusiastic response from readers, throughout ten counties in Northeast PA, they want their voices to be heard.  “They’re looking for businesses that make them happy. And, when they find them, they want their friends and neighbors to know who these “best of breed” businesses are,” says Happenings publisher Paula Mackarey.

Founded in 1969, Happenings Magazine reaches more than 110,000 readers across Northeast PA every month. The hard-copy version is distributed free at hundreds of locations throughout the region, and www.HappeningsPA.com is viewed by thousands of visitors weekly.   Happenings covers events, lifestyles, people and businesses and has become a well-known forum for telling the region’s story in the most positive way.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all our guests, friends and voters for their support.  We are pleased and grateful to be honored and recognized.  It is our goal and pleasure to make our guests and their visit with us a “Happie” event!Happie-badge-square#2015E69_1

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Most Important – A Girlfriend Getaway!

three-girlfriendsWomen.  We really hold so much together, ourselves, our families, our households, our jobs, our volunteer groups, etc. etc.  Our lives are frantic, hectic, frustrating, loving, joyful, worrisome and downright exhausting!  Time to get away!

Taking a vacation with the family is very nice, it can be relaxing, but most of the time we’re busy making memories with our loved ones and want that trip to be grand, and special. We can’t let our guard down and need to keep it together while worrying that everything will be just right and everyone will stay safe.  Taking a trip with girlfriends is a whole different event.

Enjoying a getaway with girlfriends includes talking, and eating, thinking about our own needs, and talking. Did I mention talking?  Girlfriends share so much of themselves when they get away.  Girlfriends together share thoughts about the family and hash out ideas about the kids, the pets, the husbands, and how they dealt with a coworker.  Girlfriends can giggle about a dress with green and pink polka dots when shopping, or notice that they like a pillow fabric, and girlfriends can discuss why they don’t like the same shoes.  It’s all about sharing ideas, understanding and compassion for one another.  Girlfriends on getaways don’t compete, they listen.

Girlfriends away will shop, and give honest opinions of necklines, and hemlines, and give ideas of coordinating accessories.   Girlfriends will treasure hunt, they’ll look in the gift shop, and in the second hand shop.  They’ll understand the need for checking every rack or shelf for just the right treasure.  Girlfriends never say they’ll “wait outside on the bench”, so the others will feel they can only look for five minutes.

Girlfriends like to eat.  They will try the French restaurant or tapas bar, a quiche & tea buffet.  They’ll take their time to chat over a glass of wine.  It’s not the food, it’s the experience, the conversation and most of all the social bonding while eating.

Once girlfriends are back at home, after a thousand topics were discussed, their minds are clear. Relaxed, de-stressed a woman can see the solution to that problem of how to answer a teen why they can’t attend the party, or how to get more storage in the laundry room, which color drapes go in the newly painted living room, etc. Start a new tradition.  Girlfriends need to get away, plan your getaway today!

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Five Days of Holiday Traditions

Antiquecollage

Tradition #4 Deck the Halls!  If you have visited us during December you know we like Christmas and decorating the inn might just be an understatement.  It’s the time of year when we all get out our special, once-a-year treasures; our family ornaments, fine china, and other types of festive decorations.  At the James Manning House you will find a bit of merriment in every room.

Welcome to each guest room and enjoy a jolly little tree.  Perhaps you will remember some of the vintage ornaments and dream of Christmases past.  Twinkling lights adorn the staircase adding a warm glow to the hall.  Did you see the old Shiny Brite glass ornaments shinybriteshanging from the greens?  The living room tree sparkles with antique ornaments of all sizes and shapes, indents and mercury, beaded and Venetian dew.  Some of these are from Germany and some from the early 20th century.  This is my favorite of nine decorated trees in the house.  I enjoy seeing all those beautiful colors, and fourth generation hand-me-downs.  I hope they survive several more generations giving joy to the holiday season for years to come.

nativity

When I think of our Christmas heirlooms my mind is focused on a very special Nativity Set.  This set has beautifully hand-painted ceramic figures.  The three wise men and camel even have some gold trim and jewels.  What really makes this crèche special to me is the story.  My aunt glazed and fired all the pieces and gave the set to my parents as a wedding gift in 1946.  The pieces are still in mint condition and I have set them up every year to tell the story of the birth of the Christ child since I was a young girl.

Entering the house you will encounter that magical belief; “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.  And another Santa Claus and another, and another, in fact three years ago there were at least 350! (Of course none disappeared and more are added and I don’t think it’s cheating to count the ornaments on the Santa tree.)  Some are elaborately dressed, some made of wood, or metal, or glass, mink, beeswax, and so many more combinations.  There are some dressed in red, or green, there’s even a purple Claus.  I can’t imagine just how this special elf started to fill our rooms but now the tradition is there and there always seems to be a place to display a new addition.collector santa

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