Useless Information?

Dust off your Trivial Pursuit Game, it’s time to engage your brain in the strange, meaningless world of trivia.  Today is National Trivia Day. trivial pursuit Take a break from your work challenges and see if you can stump your co-workers, your kids or your partner.  (Where do they come up with these crazy days to celebrate?)
In ancient times, the term “trivia” was appropriated to mean something very new.
Over time, the word “trivia” has come to refer to obscure and arcane bits of dry knowledge as well as nostalgic remembrances of pop culture.

So here we go, let’s see how smart you are (or how much valueless information is hiding in your noggin):

1)      In which country did Cheddar Cheese originate?

2)      In which city did Starbuck’s coffee originate?

3)      “Granny Smith” is a popular type of what food?

4)      Which river divides New York and Pennsylvania?

5)      In which US state did the first steam locomotive run on rails?

6)      Which Pocono bed and breakfast is currently offering a BOGO deal?

Hope you enjoyed my little game.  Do you want the answers?  Scroll down to the bottom of this post.triviaEngland, Seattle, apple, Delaware, Pennsylvania (Honesdale to be exact), James Manning House B&B, of course! Hope you’ll check out Cabin Fever and pick a time to stay. (The innkeepers might just join you in a game of Trivial Pursuit!)

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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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A Wreath Upon the Door

There is no beginning, there is no end.  The wreath has significant meaning for the season. It’s circular shape represents eternity. From a Christian religious perspective, it represents an unending circle of life, eternity or life never ending.reflection

The evergreen, most frequently used in making wreathes, symbolizes growth and everlasting life.  A live wreathsimple wreath, greens and a bow.

Some believe that initially wreaths were hung on doors in Ancient Rome to represent victory.

In Christianity, the Christmas wreath was used to symbolize Christ. The circular shape, with no beginning or end.lighted wreath

fabricWreaths at the James Manning House can be found in a variety of materials.  Some favorites are homemade, fabric squares and cinnamon sticks, while another is a grapevine wreath wrapped in ribbon with a simple small embellishment, and another is a wreath made from bells to add a festive ring to the air.bellsgrapevine2

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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!


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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Got a Good Book?

bookstackWhen you travel to a Bed & Breakfast you most likely remember to pack a book, after all you are headed out for a relaxing vacation, right?  If the B&B you are headed for is the James Manning House you are certainly going to find plenty of reading material in your guest room and in the common rooms, perhaps stacked in a corner, maybe on the coffee table, even in the basket in the bathroom.  We like to provide books for our guests to read. There are books on the local history, on traveling, and loads of novels of all themes. Our excuse for all these books has always been “for the guests”, but then someone sent me the following article.  We might just fit the following definition of: tsundoku.                      How about you?

There’s A Japanese Word For People Who Buy More Books 

Than They Can Actually Read

 Book hoarding is a well-documented hoard

In fact, most literary types are pretty proud of the practice, steadfast in their desire to stuff shelves to maximum capacity. They’re not looking to stop hoarding, because parting with pieces of carefully curated piles is hard and stopping yourself from buying the next Strand staff pick is even harder. So, sorry Marie Kondo, but the books are staying.

The desire to buy more books than you can physically read in one human lifetime is actually so universal, there’s a specific word for it: tsundoku. Defined as the stockpiling of books that will never be consumed, the term is a Japanese portmanteau of sorts, combining the words “tsunde” (meaning “to stack things”), “oku” (meaning “to leave for a while”) and “doku” (meaning “to read”).

We were reminded of the term this week, when Apartment Therapy published a primer for those looking to complete book-hoarder rehab. Several blogs have written on the topic before, though, surfacing new and interesting details about the word so perfect for book nerds everywhere.

While most who’ve written on the topic of tsundoku use the word to describe the condition of book hoarding itself, The LA Times used the term as a noun that describes the person suffering from book stockpiling syndrome, or “a person who buys books and doesn’t read them, and then lets them pile up on the floor, on shelves, and assorted pieces of furniture.”

Tsundoku has no direct synonym in English, Oxford Dictionaries clarified in a blog post, defining the word as “the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.” An informative sub-reddit provides even more context, explaining that “the tsundoku scale” ranges from just one unread book to a serious hoard. “Everyone is most likely to be ‘tsundokursed’ one way or the other,” it warns.

According to Quartz, tsundoku has quite a history. It originated as a play on words in the late 19th century, during what is considered the Meiji Era in Japan. At first, the “oku” in “tsunde oku” morphed into “doku,” meaning “to read,” but since “tsunde doku” is a bit of a mouthful, the phrase eventually condensed into “tsundoku.” And a word for reading addicts was born.

Speaking of addictions ― the term “bibliomania” emerged in England around the same time as “tsundoku.” Thomas Frognall Dibdin, an English cleric and bibliographer, wrote Bibliomania, or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance in the 1800s, outlining a fictional “neurosis” that prompted those suffering from it to obsessively collect books of all sorts.

Bibliomania has a dark past, documented more as a pseudo-illness that inspired real fear than a harmless knack for acquiring books we won’t have time to read. “Some collectors spent their entire fortunes to build their personal libraries,” Lauren Young wrote for Atlas Obscura. “While it was never medically classified, people in the 1800s truly feared bibliomania.”

Tsundoku seems to better capture the lighter side of compulsive book shopping, a word that evokes images of precariously stacked tomes one good breeze away from toppling over. While there’s no English equivalent quite as beautiful, no one’s stopping you from incorporating the Japanese word into yourregular vocabulary.

“As with other Japanese words like karaoke, tsunami, and otaku, I think it’s high time that tsundoku enter the English language,” Open Culture wrote in 2014. “Now if only we can figure out a word to describe unread ebooks that languish on your Kindle. E-tsundoku? Tsunkindle?”

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Election Day 2016!  vote

Finally, coming to an end of this crazy year of campaign.  I’m very glad we live in a country where we have a choice.  I am not interested in how you vote or how you voted.  The important concept is that you have a right to learn the values, ideas and beliefs of the candidates and decide for yourself who you feel will be the best person to serve you.

I look at this election, and think about the past.  I think about the great leaders of our country and how they fought for what they thought was the best for me, my parents and my neighbors and coworkers.  I think how this country has made democracy work and how we accepted others who were oppressed from other countries and they blended into our country and how they too can choose the leaders for this democracy.

Then I look at this election and think about my grandchildren, the children of my friends and the youth, the future of our country. What kind of leader do we want and need for our country?  We need to think about who will provide the best  for their education, for their health care, their environment, their work conditions and above all their right to continue to have the right to make their own choices.

VOTE! It matters!


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In the Beginning

The local school district had a snow day today.  It’s a Tuesday, the day after a holiday, 2014-11-13 17.05.21and really it was a good call on the part of the Superintendent; snow followed by an icy mix, frozen, but with the promise of more rain and warmer temperatures.  It definitely didn’t thaw in time for the buses on those icy secondary, rural roads.  Thinking about the first winters Warren and I lived in Wayne County, we remember more snow, and rougher roads.  In fact, the mental picture we both have is thick frozen snow packs across the roads with two tire track ruts, that you definitely didn’t want to get your wheels out of while driving for fear of just the bumping making you lose control!

I’ve always wondered what life would have been like living in Wayne County two hundred plus years ago when the county was new and people were just starting to settle in this wild, remote area.  Winters were hard.  We hear so many stories of how many feet of snow and how many blizzards were in a “normal” winter.  Right?  Isn’t that what our grandparents always told us? “ We didn’t have snow days, we had to walk miles to get to school”.  Yes, and the schools dotted the countryside, one room, and only a few neighbors made up the student body.  Early records of our sweet community of Bethany document a lot set aside for a school in the public grounds around the village square.  These lots were surveyed and mapped in 1800 by Jason Torrey.  The house lots sold to the public and original settlers at auction in Wilsonville, the town now under Lake Wallenpaupack.  Bethany, as it became kinown, at this time was slated to be the county seat of Wayne County, the county created by an Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature on March 21, 1798. And so it began.

one room school BethanyThe first true, recorded resident of Bethany was a pensioned Revolutionary soldier and shoemaker, William Williams, was living as a squatter on the area where the new courthouse was to be built.  The Trustees for the county paid him to move, and it is said that “school was held” in the Williams log cabin.  Bethany has more history in schooling, including the Beech Woods Academy, and Pennsylvania University.  The picture shows the one room schoolhouse that was on the square until closed in 1931.  There will be more about the schools in later posts.  Let’s return to the beginning.

Settlers to early Wayne County came mostly from Connecticut and Massachusetts.  Two log houses were built in 1800.  The courthouse, jail and sheriff’s residence were built in 1801.  Henry Drinker, the original owner of the land donated for the county seat, also built a house in 1801.  This house is the oldest house still standing in Bethany.  It is the house to our inn’s immediate right and pictured here.drinkersidebyside  This house became a hotel and tavern in 1805.  At that time the house was assessed for $200.00.  The house remained a lodging hotel into the 1900’s.  In the meantime, going back to the early 1800’s from 1801 until James Manning built his house in 1819, at least a dozen other houses were built, as well as the proper buildings for a growing county seat.  The two room school was built, a sawmill, a gristmill, law office, apothecary, a post office established, a store, and the Presbyterian Church.  The glass works was established bringing even more to the area.   So this sets the stage until the next history lesson, snow day school, yep, it can be fun!

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Off the Beat and Back in Time

I like glass.  Ever since I was a little girl and I saw my first glass blowing demonstration at Williamsburg, I’ve been hooked.   Anyone who visits our inn knows I enjoy decorating around the light of the windows with beautiful colored crackle glass.  I loved the trip with my parents to visit Corning.  Crackle Glass DecoratingI will watch any glass demonstration at a craft fair.  I think it is fascinating that the area where I live has a rich glass history, and there are still many original panes of glass in our windows, 197 years old, and most likely created at the Bethany Glass Works.  I visit the Dorflinger Glass Museum at least once a year, simply in awe of those beautiful masterpieces of brilliant cut glass.  I was very excited to finally purchase my first piece of Dorflinger glass.

A few years ago we found a hidden gem to our area, Gillinder Glass.  This is a glass factory in the town of Port Jervis.  They are celebrating their 155th year in business in 2016, and have been in Port Jervis since 1912.  They are a family owned business and under the sixth generation of Gillinder leadership.  The company produces commercial and industrial pressed glass.  Gillinder produces over 50% of the airport runway light lenses in the US!  Actually, I think we take most of our commercial glass for granted, it being basically invisible in our lives.   This factory brings it to the front of your thoughts as you take a tour of the actual working factory.  As you walk through the old brick building you see real bits and pieces of history in kilns, and glass pieces, as well as molds for forming the glass, pictures of the factory history, and piles of stock, etc.  For anyone interested in the history of life, it was all fascinating. Gillinder-Glass-Store61 What makes the tour even more remarkable is that the way all of this glass is made, the old-fashioned way as it was 104 years past one piece at a time. There are crews of workers heating lumps of glass on rods in open kilns, that glass being poured into molds, inspections, and finally carrying the glass to the annealing oven.  The tours at the factory take you right to the stations where all this happens.  Fascinating!

gillinderglassThe tours take place on weekdays, while the factory is in operation.  Several times a year they also have special glass blowing demonstrations by featured glass artists.  Some of this work and other glass pieces are available in the gift shop.   Of course, I could find a souvenir to take along home.  This is a worthwhile excursion in the Northern Pocono.  Visit for more information.  Gillinder Glass Vase

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