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.
Even after the hubbub of summertime, the towns surrounding The Rookwood Inn are as eventful, lively, and entertaining as ever.
Whether you’re looking to relax, eat some delicious food, or put your athletic ability to the test, Lenox, Massachusetts has an event that will suit your fancy.
Here are a few of our favorite events coming this September:
The Tub Parade – September 15th, 2013
Held in downtown Lenox, the Tub Parade is an extravagant display of festive carriages and horses, decorated with local flowers. The small carriages, known as “tubs” trot around the downtown loop twice before heading out. The traditional parade dates back to the 1800s when New England’s rich and famous showcased their finest carriages and horses in a friendly competition which celebrated the fall harvest and the end of the summer season. This year, the Tub Parade is just one event of an entire heritage weekend. Some of the original Berkshire estates will be open for tours.
Josh Billings RunAground – September 21st, 2013
The Josh Billings RunAground is the 2nd oldest triathlon in the United States.
Hundreds of participants bike over 27 miles of back country, rolling hills, and through five towns in the Berkshires; then canoe, kayak, or paddleboard five miles around Stockbridge Bowl; and end with a six mile run around the lake to Tanglewood. Afterwards, everybody comes together to celebrate at the Josh “Bash” with awards, food, and live bands.
Hurry! The last day to register is September 14th!
The 34th Annual Apple Squeeze – September 28th, 2013, 11am-4pm
The annual Apple Squeeze in Lenox is a two-day autumn and harvest festival celebrating all things apple-related. There will be apple cider, apple pies, apple cobbler, caramel apples – even apple pizza. The event also includes pony rides, children’s dog shows, hayrides, crafts, sidewalk sales, and much more.
If you didn’t get as much vacation time in as you’d hoped for this summer, or really missed out on that truly relaxing weekend away, book a room at The Rookwood. We look forward to seeing you this September!
Whether or not we want to accept it, the holidays are quickly approaching. Even if we wanted to forget them, the stores and television commercials keep reminding us. Chanukah and Christmas will be here soon! Can’t bear the thought of another tie or pin? Don’t want to buy fuzzy socks or scarves? Look no further. The Rookwood Inn has some great gift ideas for you – one size fits all – including your budget!
How about a weekend (12/7 & 8 OR 12/8 & 9) at The Rookwood Inn including two tickets to the Lenox Holiday Inn Tour, Choral Festival and Gingerbread House Contest? We’ve wrapped this one just for you with a very special package price of $299 (plus tax and gratuity)!
If you can’t get away this weekend, a gift certificate make the perfect gift for anyone in your life – a loved one, business associate, good friend, birthday or holiday. You pick the amount of the certificate and we do the rest. We will issue a certificate and mail it to you or the recipient with a note. They can then use it toward any Rookwood getaway, at any time of year and toward any room they wish. As our special holiday gift to you, we’re offering a second gift certificate for you to use however you wish for 10% of the purchased certificate value. This means that if you purchase a $500 gift certificate for Aunt Mary and Uncle Bill, we will send you a certificate for $50 for you to use yourself or gift to someone else.
Should you prefer a smaller gift, Rookwood Inn mugs, bathrobes and cookbooks are available.