October 8, 1996 — that was the date my late husband, Steve, and I became the owners/stewards of The Rookwood Inn. This is my story of our inntroduction to innkeeping – – our inncredible first week as innkeepers. Happy 19th Anniversary to me!
On October 6, we packed up most of our belongings from our house in Lansdowne, PA and set out on our journey to Lenox, MA and The Rookwood Inn. So began our move from PA to MA and our lives as innkeepers.
We arrived at the inn with a car towing a U-Haul driven by Steve accompanied by our daughter, Nina. I followed with my car and daughter, Maya, with our four cats. Our dear friend, Liz, brought up the rear in her loaded to the gills car.
During our five plus hour drive from PA, Maya and I were serenaded by a meow symphony — no match for the BSO and Tanglewood!
When we arrived in the Berkshires, Maya and I went straight to a kennel to drop the cats off until we closed on the inn and settled into our apartment.
On Monday morning after breakfast, we left the full house of guests, and Steve and I went to closing. Liz took our girls to find pumpkins.
Closing went smoothly and we returned to the inn that afternoon as the new innkeepers. That evening we again had a full house of guests including a large group of hikers who checked-in that afternoon.
Liz left for her home in New Jersey on Tuesday in the middle of a nor’easter. That evening we lost power! We searched the inn for candles but didn’t find any. So I grabbed the girls and the three of us set off to find the supermarket.
Steve stayed at the inn to help guests and begin breakfast preparations. After buying all of the votives in the supermarket, we returned to the inn. Boy do I wish there were smart phones with cameras in those days! We walked into the kitchen and found Steve with a flashlight between his teeth and a whisk in his hands prepping breakfast! What a sight!
As customary, on Wednesday when the hikers were checking out, we held aside the Williams Suite so they could shower and change before leaving. Everything was going smoothly until we got word that there was a woman locked in the Suite’s bathroom because the doorknob fell off!
Steve grabbed a ladder and helped the woman out through the window. (Again, a missed photo opportunity!) He then climbed into the bathroom through the window, fixed the doorknob and we were almost ready to greet the next group of guests (of course, after the room and bath were cleaned).
Lest you think this was the end of our inauguration as innkeepers, our first week wasn’t quite over and neither were the challenges.
Friday was a full turnover of guests and a full house coming in. We had brought the cats to the inn on Wednesday and they seemed to be adjusting well. Our veterinarians had suggested that we not allow them outside for at least two weeks so they could fully acclimate to to their new surroundings.
That evening as guests were arriving, I was sitting at my desk and looking at what I thought was a reflection of our Ashley (the white cat) in the window. What I didn’t realize for a while was that the window was open and I was seeing her sitting on the railing outside.
When I realized, I tried to grab her but she ran away. I ran outside to tell Steve who was directing guests to park. He had his flashlight and looked a lot like an airport runway attendant. (Later some of our guests affectionately referred to Steve as the “Parking Nazi” for the way he directed traffic. However, when he was in charge of parking, we never had guests parking on the walkway or blocking the front entrance or driveways — something to be said for the “Parking Nazi.”)
After the guests were parked, Steve and I, with flashlights in hand, crept around the perimeter of the building whispering Ashley’s name. We didn’t want to wake or disturb guests who might have been asleep at 11:30. Finally she came to us and allowed us to bring her in.
As many of you might remember, Ashley was the queen of The Rookwood for many years. She loved our guests and their attention and was often found being pet and loved on the front porch.
What a first week we had and what memories it made! Driving to the grocery store surrouded by the Berkshire hills afire with the most spectacular fall foliage made mundane tasks enjoyable. Nineteen years later I am still sure that I live in God’s country.
I am so very grateful for the experiences I have had with Steve and my daughters here, and for the friends, family and guests who have come and stayed with us and shared their time at The Rookwood.
I am very grateful for the wonderful women who make up Team Rookwood — Chris, Mel, Jen, Kali, Lana — and the others who served along the way. I look foward to seeing what the future brings as I embark on the beginning of my twentieth year as innkeeper of The Rookwood Inn!
I’m looking forward to seeing you here soon. The Rookwood Inn is where memories are made — I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing some of mine.
1. Make Plans for your Spring and/or Summer Vacations. Tanglewood tickets are on sale to the public so you can call the Boston Symphony or go to their website and order your tickets for Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, the Symphony or the Boston Pops, for Bernadette Peters, Idina Mendez, or a host of other wonderful concerts.After that, go to our website (or call us at 800.223.9750) and book your room.
2. If music isn’t your thing, how about theatre or dance? The Berkshires offers different types of theater through its different companies: Berkshire Theatre Group (in Stockbridge and Pittsfield), Barrington Stage (two venues in Pittsfield), Shakespeare & Company (two venues in Lenox), the Williamstown Theatre Festival or Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
3. Perhaps you enjoy the white stuff when its prepared properly. There are great locations for downhill and cross country skiing near the inn as well as opportunities for snowshoeing and snow tubing. Some offer rentals and many have places to warm up with a hot chocolate. We promise to have plenty waiting for you at the in along with a delicious afternoon treat.
4. Prefer to cuddle up with that special person in front of a beautiful fire? Book one of our fireplace rooms, bring your special honey and we will supply the romantic ambiance. Check out our packages on our website for some special goodies (Sweetheart Package, Spa Indulgence Package for example) to add to your visit.
5. Bring your BFF(s) and have a girls weekend. We can arrange for massages, yoga classes, meditation for you at the inn. We have jigsaw puzzles, board games,cozy robes to make your slumber party extra special!
6. Did you know that March is Berkshire Festival of Women Writers’ 5th Anniversary? What that means is that there are literally tons of workshops and readings by women for women (and men) throughout the month of March. In addition, The Rookwood Inn will be co-sponsoring a three part series on memoir writing in conjunction with the Festival. The first weekend will be June 5, 6, & 7th at The Rookwood. Details will be coming out soon! Space is limited so if you’e interested, email me so I can get you the information soon!
The exciting details of Tanglewood‘s 77th season (June 28 – August 30) have been released giving all of us another reason to be thankful this weekend!
This summer, Tanglewood and the Berkshires welcome Andris Nelsons for his first festival appearances as BSO Music Director Designate.
2014’s program highlights American music. Along with the concert performance of Bernstein’s Candide and the movie presentation with live orchestra of The Wizard of Oz, mentioned above, Tanglewood will present American baritone Thomas Hampson in a selection of Old American Songs by Aaron Copland, with Christoph von Dohnányi conducting (7/18), and the world premiere of William Bolcom’s Circus Overture to open a BSO concert celebrating Leonard Slatkin’s 70th birthday (8/8).
The American music theme will extend to the season-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of Ozawa Hall with an appearance by Chanticleer in a program entitled She Said/He Said, with music ranging from Renaissance madrigals to new arrangements from Chanticleer’s popular and jazz repertoire (7/9); a performance of Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.
The 2014 Festival of Contemporary Music, July 17-21, under the direction of John Harbison and Michael Gandolfi, will present programs featuring works by American composers, with a special emphasis on music from a younger generation of Americans, many of whom have been Fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center.
The Boston Pops Orchestra with Keith Lockhart and John Williams will be joined by two American icons: Jason Alexander, and Josh Groban. Besides leading the Boston Pops in the score to The Wizard of Oz to accompany the universally beloved movie classic (8/22), Keith Lockhart will conduct Boston Pops concerts featuring Broadway veteran and Tony Award-winner Jason Alexander in a program of comedy, song, and dance (7/13), and superstar singer Josh Groban in a program that brings the 2014 Tanglewood season to a close on August 30. John Williams will lead Tanglewood’s Film Night, one of the most eagerly-anticipated evenings of the Tanglewood season, with special guests to be announced at a later date (8/2). The annual day-long musical celebration, Tanglewood on Parade, culminating in an evening concert with the Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood Music Center orchestras, led by Keith Lockhart, John Williams, and Stéphane Denève will take place on August 5.
Tanglewood welcomes back James Taylor and his extraordinary band for two performances in the Koussevitzky Music Shed, July 3 and 4. A spectacular fireworks display over the Stockbridge Bowl will follow the concert. Mr. Taylor, who regularly performs to sold-out audiences at Tanglewood, has returned to the festival 21 times since his first performances there in 1974.
Tickets go on sale to the general public beginning on January 26, 2014 ; and for James Taylor’s July 3 and 4 concerts on Thursday, January 16. All proceeds for the July 4 concert to benefit Tanglewood. Rooms at The Rookwood will start filling up sooner. Make your reservation early to avoid disappointment!