When 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 are Christmas plates, fabric quiltings, and a Santa tapestry.
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.Another 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”.Of 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.
How many times have you used the old clichés to mark the passing of time; ‘Where did the time go?’, ‘My how time flies!’, ‘I don’t remember when time seemed to past so quickly’, and so many more? This summer marked our ninth year as a Bed and Breakfast, and it sure did pass quickly. As I work my way through the daily chores in each room I try to think back to when we first opened the doors for our guests.
There have been improvements to our guest rooms. In an old house wiring needs to be upgraded and in the beginning we didn’t realize what would happen when three hairdryers were all used at one time! Bathroom fixtures have been upgraded, oh yes, and a bathroom added since we’ve opened our doors. Bedding has been improved for guest comfort, and we are using ultra soft Comphy sheets for better sleeping. Next on the upgrade list in guest rooms will be improved HD cable features.
There have been changes to the common rooms as well. If any of you remember, or if you haven’t been here, you will notice we like to “collect” things, particularly unique antique and vintage items. And, of course, these items are artfully displayed, changed for the seasons, and at times replaced with newer old décor. When I look back at photos of the rooms from the nine years of hosting, I notice that furniture in the beginning was sparse, and now the rooms have a more comfortable, relaxing feeling. Just this week guests walked through the door and said, “We’re Home!” That saying never gets old when we hear that feeling expressed by our guests, we hope to make guests feel comfortable.
Our kitchen, where the food magic happens has seen multiple changes. Some years back, Warren built a new island with an oak butcher block top. This was the final phase of remodeling without destruction of the character of the original kitchen. How did we ever work together in the kitchen, and plate the dishes without this? But our favorite, and pride and joy is the stove purchased two years ago. Six burners, convection oven, and wow, we’ll never cook on electric again! So much for our favorites in the kitchen, our guests just love all the new recipes I try and keep adding to the repertoire. (Who else gives a thumbs-up for Pintrest? wink, wink)
Eleven years ago I was asked to allow my gardens to be a part of the Secret Garden Tour, what?? What a chore, we really hustled to make the property presentable, after construction and getting ready for a bed and breakfast bulldozed about two-thirds of our acre. Since then I found out that gardens are constantly being changed, and weeds sometimes get the best of us. We’ve added fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs hoping to be able to offer fresh, in season food for breakfast. Last summer’s addition of a waterfall feature is absolutely my favorite change to the property. Although, it took a year to complete the pergola and landscape around the waterfall, it is already an oasis for guests to relax and enjoy.
I don’t think I’ve even begun to recall all the changes during the last nine years, and I can only imagine what the next nine years will bring. The best part of running a bed and breakfast business those years are the wonderful people we’ve met. There are no regrets and we hope you will visit us again soon.
What says Valentine’s Day to you? Is it flowers, perhaps roses, with that sweet, sweet fragrance? Is it a special dinner out at a fine dining restaurant? Perhaps you dream of getting away with your sweetheart to a romantic bed and breakfast. Maybe you need to give a box of chocolates or a beautiful piece of jewelry. My thoughts on Valentine’s Day is just spending quality time with my sweetie, and telling him how much I appreciate him and all he means to me. What says romance to me isn’t gifts, it’s realizing he appreciates me back by how he shows me, and tells me, and by meeting my emotional needs. As for all those other sweet treats mentioned. Well, those are just a great icing on the cake!! (Which by the way, cake is another great sweet treat, wink, wink)
At the James Manning House we like to think our romance is in the care and concern we show our guests. We like to think our atmosphere is one where you can feel at home, to relax. You are pampered with cozy settings, quaint fireplaces in the rooms, and a decor where you don’t have to be afraid to kick off your shoes. Delicious breakfasts are prepared for you, and you don’t have to lift a finger to do any cleanup. So we thought we’d arrange for one more way we think you can show your sweetheart your appreciation.
Sweeten your Valentine’s Day! All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt! Treat your love to a delightfully chocolate getaway at the James Manning House B&B. Your romantic retreat starts with a chocolate sampler waiting in your room. Relax and enjoy your private evening in the warmth and comfort of the inn. Enjoy a champagne and chocolate Valentine breakfast. Pick your time to enjoy 60 minutes of chocolate massage, by Marie Donovan, LMT, without leaving the inn. Come, stay, and pamper your Valentine for three days and two nights, Chocolate Valentine Package; $299 plus taxes. Valentine Package will be available February 5 through February 21.
January is Cabin Fever Month! There hasn’t been much chance to shovel snow, but it’s always nice to sneak away, forget the phones, (and work) for a little R&R. Can’t you just close your eyes and picture yourself curled up in front of the fire with a good book? Or maybe you’d like to engage your partner in a board game, or take the time to piece together a challenging puzzle. The James Manning House can provide all that for your retreat. Visit www.jamesmanninghouse.com
AND then we’ll add a hot, hearty comfort food breakfast to energize should you decide to venture outdoors. Manmade snow has been covering the slopes, and the black diamonds are calling the skiers. Perhaps there will be snow on the ground to enjoy the typical winter sports, such as snowshoe trekking, or cross country skiing, or maybe to ride the sleds. Why not try something without the snow? The ice is now thick enough for some ice-fishing and the perch and panfish are very hungry. Prompton State Park has trails to hike, from easy to hard, open all year round. The park is also home to an 18-hole Disc Golf course, which never closes. Nature provides wonderful natural ice sculptures for the nature enthusiast and photographer to find. Without snow, and minus the leaves and insects of summer, geocaching is fun in the winter. Visit www.friendsofprompton.com.
Not an outdoor enthusiast? Join the Delaware Highlands Conservancy on an Eagle Watch Experience. Right in our back yard (so to speak) the Upper Delaware River and surrounding region is one of the largest and most important bald eagle wintering areas in the northeastern United States. The visitor’s center of the Conservancy is open weekends throughout January and February. They offer tours or can give guidance for your own observations, such as good spots for you to view from your own car. Visit www.delawarehighlands.org.
Stay with us and shop our stores in downtown Honesdale. Have you visited the newest antique store, Union Chapel? Enjoy an evening at the Cooperage for some down home fun and entertainment. January has some interesting entertainment including game nights, open mike night, and performances by The Paramounts, Scott Ainslie, and Oren Fader. Visit thecooperageproject.org
Get away from the rat race, beat the winter blues, skip all the drama and reconnect with comfort. Reserve your two night stay at the James Manning House and enjoy the comforts of home; a queen bed, private bath, TV in the room, wi-fi, and electric fireplace in the room. The hospitality station is always filled with coffee and teas, but we will also treat you to some cappuccino and home baked goodies. Call us to reserve and let us know you’ve been reading and you will get two nights for the price of one! The only rules are that the nights are consecutive, in January, and no other discounts apply. Cabin Fever runs from January 5 through January 30.
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 hanging 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.
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.