About two weeks ago I celebrated my one year anniversary at the inn. It has been a great year and here is why…
The people I’ve met: First and foremost, Tom and Sarah (I bought the inn from them) built a wonderful business. Over the last year they have helped me whenever I needed helping. We see each other regularly and through them I have become great friends with Sarah’s sister, Mary. The four of us go out for dinner or they come over for breakfast. They all come over to visit and see the place that holds so many special memories for them. Thank you for making my transition to innkeeper such an easy one!
The guests that have walked into the front door, and therefore into my life, are fantastic. I can say that each and every one has been a light in my life, even if they only could stay for a single night. But many of my guests have been back several times already: Pamela and George from Key West, Pat and Gary from Maryland, Becky and Terry from Maine, John and Elizabeth from Cleveland. The list goes on and on… It is amazing that a guest goes from a mere reservation number to a friend so quickly.
My fellow innkeepers are great people, too. I am a member of the Authentic Bed and Breakfasts of Lancaster County. The association has been around since the early 90s and currently has 35 member inns. These colleagues are as close to co-workers as you can get when you are in this business. They are the ones that I first call if I have any questions about anything (reliable 24-hour plumber, where to get the best local produce, where do I send a guest who is looking for that one special souvenir that they can’t find). They have become great resources and wonderful friends!
The places I’ve been: Ha! I mostly only go to grocery stores, hardware stores, and home stores in Lancaster County. No complaints, though. I am very happy having a very small travel radius. But I still get some good culture in as I can. As a local, one often misses out on the specialties that the tourists get to enjoy (I lived in Philly for years and never once went to the liberty bell). But in this business, to be able to help your guests you have to go out and learn the area. I’ve had dinner at an Amish farm, I’ve been to Sight and Sound to see the shows, I’ve eaten at the local restaurants and smorgasbords, I’ve shopped at Central Market. Next on the list: a hot air balloon ride, a zip-line, and a buggy ride. All part of the job.
The things I’ve learned: An old house is a constant challenge but I have never been afraid of repairs and renovations. I can now re-wire a lamp, re-string the weights that work the windows, and do small engine repair on the push lawn mower if the string breaks. I can also whip up a quiche or an almond cake in my sleep. But the most important thing that I have learned is that despite the fears associated with a complete career change, it was well worth it. I have a very happy and fulfilling life here at the inn.
The future: Now that I have a year under my belt, I am going to try to up my game a bit. I had great intentions of keeping up with the blog on a regular basis (I failed miserably at that), posting fun inn-related things on facebook (an even more miserable fail), trying out or developing some challenging recipes (I’ve done some of that but I can do more), and having a stronger presence in my community (I went to the Lampeter Community Fair this year, but I should have entered a quilt or some apple butter into the contests). These are all areas where I need to do better this coming year. I am going to set some goals and work hard to meet them. But above all, I want to continue making my guests feel welcome and at home here at Walnut Lawn. To do that I will keep adding my own style touches to the house and property that will enrich the experience of my guests. Here’s to another year!!