“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart
We have just ended our nineteenth year as a B&B here at Crabtree Cottage and we are closing our doors and starting something new!
“I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way..” – Carl Sagan
For the past year we have started to look beyond the lives as innkeepers. Our daughter moved to California, we suddenly had more freedom, and we started to think that maybe something new might fit our new lifestyle. The thought of having a new adventure became exciting. Yet, truth be told, it isn’t quite so easy to give up something you have loved so much. I planned on closing my B&B after the fall foliage season and here it is. I have one more reservation on the books and we will officially be closed.
“Don’t be afraid to change. You may lose something good but you may gain something better.” -unknown
The past nineteen years as innkeepers have been a great venture for us in so many ways. When we began our little Crabtree Cottage we had just moved in and renovated this “fixer upper” the previous year. Our daughter was five years old and just about to enter kindergarten. We had this big house with 6 bedrooms, and an in-law apartment for the three of us. Humm, what should we do with it? My boss at the time said we should turn the house into a B&B, and at our little housewarming party a neighbor who owned a B&B said the house would make a great B&B. My current career was no longer fulfilling and most importantly we needed tuition for my daughter’s private school – signs and ideas for an adventure. Well, we took a leap into the unknown, and thought, what do we have to loose?
“Somehow everything will fall into place.”
So far this had been the best career decision of my life. I was able to create a lifestyle I loved. This endeavor has been an extension of all things Jeff and I love to do. All things home and garden make our hearts sing. Nesting is my middle name! Being able to be home with my daughter as a working mom was the greatest gift of all. I was able to participate in every bit of her life. Our family life was all about home, now in retrospect that is more than I ever dreamed of. “
Creating this little B&B truly was a joy. Setting the stage for my guests to find respite and beauty in our little abode filled us with great delight. The most unexpected part of this B&B has been the absolute love of our guests. I worried about what it would feel like to have “strangers” in my house. Little did I know that the personal relationships we have formed with our guests would be the hardest part of letting go. We have formed friendships and shared our lives with so many people. Some of our guests have been here since the beginning. We have had guests from every walk of life and from every continent enter our front door. The fulfillment and enjoyment of learning about this aspect of hospitality has changed us, and we are beyond grateful for everyone who taken a chance of staying at this B&B. To our dearest repeat guests, who have remained loyal to our B&B year after year, and made us feel like friends, we just can’t thank you enough.
So what is next you ask? – And so the adventure begins.
I just don’t know! We have turned our in-law apartment into a sweet haven for my parents. They have been living here for a month. We always knew we wanted to do this, but we had no idea how great it would be. The new improved apartment just sings comfort and style. We had a blast creating this little “suite paradiso” too. They are so happy to have this new adventure too. They love living downtown and having that easy, pared down lifestyle of simplifying your life. Also, they feel a great relief from all of the chores of owning a home.
With our daughter Julia in California we need the freedom to just hop on a plane and see that beautiful soul in person whenever the mood hits us. In the summer – ahhh dreams of summer! We can wake up in mornings and take a swim, hike our favorite trails, and sit on our deck with our paper and tea. Rather than squeezing in all of our favorite activities, and all that the Berkshires have to offer, we can anticipate this freedom and luxury of time as something completely new to us!
We have loved this B&B and our gratitude to you is endless. Thank you for being a part of this chapter in our lives.
Crabtree Cottage trivia:
Crabtree Cottage was named because of the three crab trees we planted in our front yard. I asked my neighbor Sandy if she had any ideas for a name, and that was her very first thought. She has always been a part of my brainstorming and idea process. She is my “what do you think about this person.” It never fails; she has some input into a new idea, or into my confidence to follow through.
I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of making breakfast for strangers. At first we offered a continental breakfast (my mother would make the muffins!) and I would next take on a full 3-4-course breakfast. My goal was to offer something new to my repeat customers. After 19 years that was no small feat. I basically did it! Sometimes the tweaks to a dish were small, but still no real repeat breakfasts were served without a twist! I immersed myself in the art of breakfast. It became a passion. Baked goods were repeated and every guest had popovers! Jeff was 100% behind the scenes as the Popover King and chief bottle washer! He perfected the art of the popover. Here is his number one secret that I taught him, ha-ha, put a cookie sheet under the popover pan, not only to keep the oven clean, but to help pop the popovers from the steam it creates!
Off- seasons I would sometimes feel guilty for not working hard enough. Not contributing enough, and Jeff was always there to remind me that what I was doing had enormous value to our lives. He would encourage me to relax and remind me how hard I did work, without days off, even though it didn’t always feel like work. He would remind me always that the benefit to Julia’s life was because of our B&B. How amazing is that? Here he was contributing just as much in my business as I was and even more, and never a complaint. Never a day off in summer season except for our summer vacation! The most supportive man award for sure!
I took Max & Margot to a doggie psychic once. Max shared that they had jobs and took them very seriously. Sounds crazy right? Well, every morning that we had guests, Max would go out and wait for our guest to arrive for breakfast. Then Margot followed suit. On the mornings that we felt our guests might not be dog friendly, and they had to stay in the kitchen, they pouted! They have been an iintrical part of our hospitality. Our guests have thoroughly enjoyed their love and company.
We were number one on trip advisor for B&B’s in Lee for about 3 years. For a couple of years before that we shared the number 1 & 2 spot with another small B&B. Imagine little Crabtree Cottage getting the number one slot with the most excellent reviews. Our little 3 room B&B compared with the biggies! I know all of the other B&B’s in town are truly just as wonderful, if not more, and I say this because I know the other innkeepers as my friends, and their love and hard work is just as special to their guests… but WE had the very best guests who took the time to write what they loved about us. We had less rooms, less traffic and we were number 1! This helped our business grow enormously and had a great impact on our bottom line ~ thank you soooo much!
We will still be up to our old tricks. Changing things around. We are in the process of moving rooms around as we speak. We just can’t help ourselves. My blog may remain, and the Crabtree Cottage B&B may re-invent itself in some way in the future.
Thank you for coming by my blog today. We are filled with fondness and gratitude. Blessings to you all.
“Hospitality is love in action. Hospitality is the flesh and muscle on bones of love. “ –Alexander Stauch
This article was written by Janis