Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Nod of an Author

As an innkeeper we endeavor to highlight reasons in our marketing of our properties for guests to stay with us. Sometimes, though, a guest's visit to our inns means one step in the path to making their dream come true. We learn in the process that we provide a place to stay during that step. Such is the case for Claire Dunn of Rochester (Kent) in the United Kingdom.

In mid-2010 I received a booking from a travel agent in the U.K. We, as innkeepers, get wary to some extent when communication from oversees promises a long stay reservation prospect. (Credit card scams trap uninformed small business owners every day). The reservation was for the end of October of that year and when a Claire Dunn actually showed with her lovely daughter, Kate, my worry was proved "unfounded".

Both Claire and her daughter were easy-going guests. The enjoyed breakfasts each morning during their 5 days with us. I learned in one of our first conversations that Claire was there to do some research for a fiction novel she was writing. I was very intrigued, of course, because so many people have a great story in their hearts to write to the world, and this lady was actually doing what I so often write about: taking steps to the realizaton of your dreams!

Bed and breakfasts, usually owned by individuals, or couples, who have had to take the step away from the security of corporate life, live their dream everyday. It seems befitting, on hindsight, that a creative sort like Claire would not confine herself to the (generally sterile) energy of a corporate property. She and Kate ventured out liberally during the days and reported back some of the "writing" activities and personal adventures they had experienced during each day here.

I received an e-mail from Claire Dunn recently. Her novel, Mortal Fire, is to hit the retail bookshelves in May 2012!! It is the first book (the name of the series is the same) of FIVE. I was so tickled to hear that this creative spirit not only will be published to tell the world a story, but that Claire is working on Book 5 of the series at this very moment!

She teased me about the story in her recent e-mail and it sounded delicious:

"Based in Maine and in the UK, Emma - a young professor of history from the University of Cambridge - soon learns that all is not as it seems, and that truth is what you make it - to her cost."

If you are a fan of romantic mysteries (and to me romance is always that!), you should write that Mortal Fire on your Summer To-Read list! If it is anything like the captivating, easy-going author that stayed at the inn (and something tells me there is a little of her daughter, Kate, in the main character of Emma!), this story will transport you to another place----and, hopefully, for a moment in your reading--to the great state of Maine!

I am blessed to live my dream every day. When I can (even in some small way) help another's dream come true it is sublime. She thanked me--and many others--in the acknowledgement in the front of the book (!)---and nobody walks daring creative roads without support. And, so....while many of us visit inns for nearby activities, or to rest, or to be pampered, Claire Dunn took her time at The Inn at Long Lake to move toward a dream many have only thought about in fantasy. I think for this new author her reviews are already in: "BRAVO!!

And for all of you who need a place to start YOUR vision: we'll have coffee on and a smile to help you find your way...

From crisp, snow-dusted Maine this morning, I wish you all a wonderful day ahead.

Keith A. Neubert

The Inn at Long Lake--Naples, Maine

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Winter Herb Classes

One of Naple's greatest treasures is Betsey-Ann Golon (aka "Mrs. Greenjeans.") She and her husband, Dale, exemplify the spirit of the innovative entrepreneur. As owners of Common Folk Herb Farm (at the other end of Lakehouse Road), Betsey is involved in the Shaker Community, organizes the Annual Inn at Long Lake Craft Show each November, and has her hands in almost every pot, flower or otherwise, around.

Betsey will be presenting classes at the inn on the following dates: January 29, February 8 and 19. Classes are $25.00/person and includes a light lunch. Time: Noon-2. Our lovely Great Room is very comfortable and is the perfect setting to hear Betsey's information. One class is "Preserving the Herbal Harvest. " Here, Betsey explains age-old and new ideas to make pastes, how to dehydrate veggies, and (upon my suggestion) use them to create unique spirits (like infused vodkas!).

Another class is "Cooking with Lavender." We all enjoy soaking in a hot bath of it but did you know how wonderful it is to cook with?! Betsey will be showing you how versatile this common herb is---and how we can wow our recipe catalogs with some novel ideas of using this herb.

If you have other gardening questions, I am sure that Betsey can be pulled aside after the classes for brief Q & A. (Spring is just around the corner!!)

For more information or to sign up, please contact Betsey at the herb farm (207.787.2764) between the hours of Noon-4. Hope to see you there!