Thursday, October 1, 2015

The good, the bad and the ugly.

We have been getting lots of questions about the property! On one hand, if you are getting the property for $150, should it really matter if one of the 11 toilets isn't working properly? On the other hand, having arrived here blindly optimistic ourselves, I understand the hesitation of taking on a nearly 200 year old house! So, having been here for nearly 9 years now, we have a pretty good feel for what the strengths are, and what the house needs. Read on for our opinions!

The Good.
For starters, the walls are thick. Something like 22 inches thick. The houses in the 19th century weren't built like the ones today - obviously, because they are still standing. The bricks are double and triple stacked, and then faced with the exterior stucco, or interior plaster and lathe. This house isn't going ANYWHERE anytime soon. The roof on the 1882 house is slate, and we spent a small fortune when we came having it repaired. It's good for a lifetime and it's beautiful too!

The floors of the house are gorgeous, most of them old heart pine. Some of the exposed wooden beams, like the thresholds, are enormous slabs of beautiful wood, and you can see in some places the peg construction used to build the house. It's beautiful.

Most of the house has original plaster walls and ceilings - for me, that's a very good thing, because I like the bumps and wavyness as part of the history of the house! The window glass is also about 70% original wavy glass.

Little things abound...the washers and dryers are awesome heavy duty front loaders, the 2 garbage disposals in the kitchen are new and also heavy duty, and downright quiet compared to the old ones we replaced. We have replaced several old standard toilets with dual-flush, low flow models. The shower in the attic room is stone tile and glass, and beautiful. The instant hot-water faucet at the guest kitchen counter is new and terrific. We replaced one of the 80 gallon water heaters just a couple of years ago, the house NEVER runs out of hot water. We buried the propane tank for the kitchen, so you don't have that unsightly thing out back. We have added tons of new perennials to the gardens, and cleared the overgrowth along the southwest meadow edge, so it's ready for fence, or grading, or planting. The grounds are beautiful in every season.

The house is quiet - you do hear a few creaks and groans as guests walk around, but the main house guest rooms are quiet, probably because of the thick walls. Generally, we hear from guests how soundly they slept because of the quiet!

All but one of the 11 fireplaces either has a gas log stove, gas logs, or is open for burning (we use the ecologs for guests). Only one has been plugged at the top of the chimney, and even that one could have gas logs added if the next owner wanted.

The kitchen refrigeration is commercial, and is amazing, as is the commercial coffee grinder and coffee maker. We serve a lot of coffee, so we got the best! I posted once a long while back about how much I will miss the commercial dishwasher...and that is totally true. It uses very little water, and a cycle is about 2 minutes.

Also good - the 'feeling' of the place. I was walking through the house last night, it's raining and you can hear it on the skylights, and the house was just lit a bit from a few table lamps - for a brief moment I wondered if maybe we shouldn't leave! Just mother is already packing. It's just so pretty, and peaceful, and quiet. Every now and then, we get someone asking about ghosts - and the answer is no. I am pretty sure that every family who has lived here has loved the house, been happy here, and added to the happy 'feeling' that you get when you are here. I can't wait to meet the next happy owner!

Now, The Bad & The Ugly...It's strange, because what I consider to be good can also be seen as not-so-good...the original glass in the windows for instance. That means that many of the windows are old. If you haven't lived in an antique house before, that is synonomous with 'energy inefficient'. Same with the plaster - while I love the cracks and bumps, I have had several people advise to tear it all out and replace with nice, smooth drywall. Um, not me. But the next person may see that as easier to maintain, and clean, and paint. Certainly, the ceiling in 3 rooms, could use some love, and some new plaster. The skylights are old,- and the gutters are difficult to clean. That's a bad combination when it's stormy. Add trees that were planted too close to the house dropping leaves, and you have a recipe for leaks. It's a lot of maintenance. I'd be looking at a new cottage roof in the next couple of years, we were hoping to add a standing seam metal roof - would be adorable out there!

We painted EVERYTHING when we came here - and have since only retouched trim as needed, most recently about 2 years ago. The last 2 winters were very hard on the exterior - and it's time to paint again. There is a significant amount of gingerbread trim on the front house, so it's not for the faint of heart! (And here we go again - yes, that's kind of bad, BUT...what a stamp you can put on the place this spring! Are you wanting simplicity? or a colorful painted lady like we did? Since it's time for new paint job, you can do ANYTHING that suits you!)  The basement rooms could use some real, professional remodeling someday. We made do after removing some previous attempts at renovation that actually added to moisture issues. A permanent dehumidifier (we have a good one that we move around as needed), maybe radiant heated floors, would help significantly. It's definitely the 'working' part of the house, and the part most in need of help to really make it shine.

There is an addition at the rear of the house, we use it as a garden shed, I think it used to be an office, that needs to be gutted, or perhaps even removed. It's fine to store pots and garden tools in - but it's not a functional room anymore, after significant water damage from a damaged roof. It's only about 8 feet square, with a concrete floor (and an inground safe we have never managed to open! treasure maybe?). On the floorplans in a previous blog, it's noted behind the kitchen as one of the 'storage' rooms. I also thought about stripping it back to the studs, and adding clear poly panels and turning it into a greenhouse...anyway, it's not a great space. Neither is the back door 'mudroom' area, I don't have any good ideas for that space - we just walk through it quickly. lol It's where we store toilet paper, cleaning supplies, outdoor shoes and basic tools.

Plumbing and wiring were all done with the major renovation in the mid 80's. As we have changed things, we have also upgraded pipes and wiring as we went. That's not to say there still aren't places that will need work - the worst thing being there are still some places in the main inn with Qest pipes. If you don't know what that is, a quick Google search will make your heart's awful stuff, and why it wasn't replaced in the 90's as part of the class-action lawsuit against the product, I have no idea. That said - the leaks we have dealt with have lead to us adding better stuff in those areas, and I can tell the winner where they will still need to keep an eye out, or better yet - replace. It didn't scare us away, and it shouldn't scare the next owner - but it's all good to know.

There is central air, which could be changed to a heatpump - and thought the ductwork is all here, and fine, some of the finish work could have been some places, it's covered in a luan-type of wood instead of drywall - very DIY-ish. It's a cosmetic issue, like the acrylic showers in a few rooms, but it's bothered me all this time. Changing it out was obviously further down my list than other things - I'd have upgraded the showers to tile waay before worrying about how the duct system looks - but, it's kind of ugly. :)

So - it's a process, we have loved improving on what was here, very grateful for the solid structure and beautiful parts of the house that are original, and the other things we just work with - and on - as part of being lucky enough to live here. Living in an antique is an experience all it's own, and to do it - you need to love it. Really I suppose, nothing is totally Good or Bad, as it is in life - but if you love something, like we have loved this property, it all seems just as it should be. Feel free to ask questions on our Facebook page...happy to try to answer anything!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Other places to see photos and get information...

I thought I should probably mention here - if you haven't already, PLEASE go to Facebook and give us a 'Like'!

I've been posting some historic photos, and lots of other fun info over there - you can search for High Meadows Vineyard Inn on Facebook, we are pretty easy to find. Share with your friends too - the more the merrier.

Things we love...Part 3

And the countdown continues...

79. The WEATHER. I really can not emphasize this enough, this week's weather is absolute perfection, and it's like this quite often. It's cool enough to have the windows open, a slight breeze, the sun is out and the sky is blue. Sleeping when the temps drop at night is awesome, snuggled under one of the cozy comforters we have at High Meadows. For MOST of the year, it's a wonderful climate! It was one of the top three reasons we moved to Charlottesville, actually.

78. The SCHOOLS. This was another of the top 3 reasons we chose Charlottesville. No matter what you are looking for in a school for your children, you'll find it here. Private schools run the gamut and serve so many different needs...the Autism Institute, Little Keswick School, Peabody, and the Discover School help with special needs. Covenant School, Charlottesville Catholic School and a few others serve religious needs. Tandem Friends School, Renaissance School, The Charlottesville Waldorf School, several Montessorri schools, the Field School, Free Union School, St. Anne's, The Miller School...all have their individual take on education, some offering boarding. The public schools are awesome too - our little Scottsville Elementary is like a family. UVA and Piedmont Community College round out the timeline. And that's just a sampling...if you've got a family to raise - you can find the school that's right for you. Or not - the local homeschooling network is the one of the strongest I have seen anywhere!

77. Crabtree Falls. It's a great hike. People die here because they think it's Disney World, and of course it's actually be careful. But it's beautiful, peaceful, and only an hour away from the inn.

76. The Downtown Pavilion. So our Downtown is a "mall", as in a big public pedestrian place, along the lines of the National Mall in DC, but brick and smaller. It's about 10 blocks, and has tons of fun stuff to do. The eastern end is the Ntelos Pavilion, and is a covered area, that is home to free concerts as well as hosting everyone from Barack Obama when he came to town, the Dalai Llama when he came to speak, The Flaming Lips, Jack White, Alison get the picture. It holds several thousand people - but you always have a good view whether you are in the front row, or on the grass in the back. So lucky to have such a place in our little city!

75. Van Clief Nature Area. About 200 yards behind the Maytag store in downtown Scottsville...there is a fairly unknown treasure, a beautiful recreation lake. Recently, the Town has built some nice trails on the 60ish acres surrounding the lake, which is also stocked with trout by the state fishery several times each year. It's amazing. And its literally feet away from the bustling activity of Valley Street. So lucky to have it!

74. The James River. If the serenity of a lake isn't your thing, no worries - the wide and wonderful James River is also mere feet away. Canoe, kayak or tube - summer activities on the river are endlessly fun. And it runs right through the heart of Scottsville, and is the backdrop for the awesome annual 4th of July Fireworks.

73. WEGMANS. Technically, we don't have this yet...but it's almost ready to open, and even better it's on the South side of EASY access from Scottsville! Can't wait.

72. Splendora's. Terrific gelato. I don't know why it came to me just now, but it's definitely one of the highlights of living here, and I don't want to forget it on my list. If your kids want gelato and you need coffee, no worries - they also have one of the best lattes in town.

71. Apple Cider from Carter Mountain. I'm going to separate this out from everything else wonderful at Carter Mountain. It's not pasteurized, sold cold, and it's worth the drive up the mountain to pick up a gallon. The flavor is unmatched. It's not organic, but it is DELICIOUS. The family business up there is run with lots of love - and that's worth quite a bit in my book.

70. The overlook on the eastern side of Afton Mountain. I live here, and I still pull over regularly to just sit for a few minutes and take in the view. So so lucky to live here!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

101 Things we love about Charlottesville & Scottsville...Part 2

As luck would have it, today I saw several little news bits about a few of my favorite shops, so since food was on my mind - this is just going be about some of our favorite food around here...remember these aren't in order of our favorites because really, they are all just awesome.

89. Gearhart's Chocolates.  The newsy tidbit about this shop is that they are moving into bigger digs - with a much wider array of chocolate decadence to choose from in the new shop PLUS I understand you may have a view of the chocolatier in action. if you want a taste before you move here. Pure, delicious, and gorgeous. THIS is how chocolate was meant to be enjoyed!

88. Caromont Farm goat cheese. Gail Hobbs-Page is a delightful friend, and amazing woman, and a loving farmer. I don't know many who don't admire her work for access to good, clean FOOD. Her goat cheese is extraordinary - the first batch in spring is heaven. The first farm dinner is this October 3rd - and I would have been first in line for tickets, but I'll be in I am just going to be jealous of all those who get to enjoy!

87. Albemarle Baking Company. I have NEVER had to live in a town that didn't have great bread. Even in Fort Myers, Florida - which still leaves a lot to be desired as far as food goes - had Andre's French Bakery. Asheville was Blue Moon bakery, Norwich Vermont - King Arthur Bakery...and Charlottesville - well, an ABC baguette and some cheese was the meal I picked up to eat in the rental car as I drove home to Vermont on my scouting trip down here in January of 2006, and it's what pushed me over the edge to choose Charlottesville as our home. 

86. MarieBette. Their instagram page will make you drool. It's crazy that in such a relatively small city, we have such great choices for just bread. I've never been to France, but when I go in here, and I focus in on a few items in the case (ok, maybe just the canele) I IMAGINE that's what it will be like someday. I LOVE THIS PLACE. It's not fast, it's not huge portions - it's perfect. Oh, the multi-grain bread, I forget what they call it - $10 for large loaf, so not exactly cheap - but OMG, it is delicious - I think it's fine to charge a little extra for the love they obviously put into everything on the menu.

86.  Brazos Tacos. This place started as a pop-up last fall, and now has a permanent home in what is number 85 on my list, the IX Art Park, which also houses number 84 on the list, Shark Mountain Coffee. Just go. I am not sure there is anything like IX Art Park anywhere, so I won't bother trying to describe it. Brazos tacos serves (vegetarian, breakfast and the best carnitas tacos in town). And watermelon juice. As a bonus, the guys behind Brazos also call the southern part of the county home, so they will be sort-of neighbors if you are the next owner of High Meadows... Esmont is a few miles from Scottsville.

83. Hudson Henry Baking Company Granola.  The. Best. Granola. EVER. I don't care if you think you make your own really great granola. Yours isn't anywhere as good as this, it's just not. It's good right out of the bag, or for breakfast with milk, or as a topping on baked fruit - but mostly just right out of the bag. Anyway - the founder lives about 15 miles away from us, is always at the farmer's markets, and you can get it the stuff in bulk at the local Whole Foods in Charlottesville, and even though pretty soon you'll probably be seeing it everywhere, for now, it's here - and just one more reason to like it in Charlottesville.

82. James River Brewery.  This place is literally 1/2 mile from our front door. Great beer, great atmosphere, and because it's Scottsville, it's not ever really crowded...plenty of space to kick back and enjoy your drink and the company- around the firepit, out back, on the creek, in the fall, is the best place, in my opinion. Got it? 

81. Dr. Ho's Humble Pie. Some seriously good pizza, that's probably good for you. Local ingredients, whole wheat crust, and lots of love in that kitchen - it's way south of Charlottesville, but not too far from Scottsville. It's definitely worth the curvy backroad drive to get there.

80. Farmstead Ferments. I happen to love sauerkraut and pickles (if you saw the photo of the kitchen at High Meadows, I SPECIFICALLY mentioned that I was not leaving my pickling way), and I enjoy making my own. But this stuff, specifically the Garlicky Greens, is addictive - 
and I am happy to pay whatever price it is in whatever store I find it in, when the mood hits and I have to have some. It's great that we have such wonderful food choices here - from the farmers to the chefs, there is just a lot of care that goes into the food chain in this area. It's one of the reasons we are not moving too, too far down the road!

Come back in a couple of days - for Part 3. And please share our blog, our story, and the contest! We are so sure the right person is out there, and we can't imagine that at least 5,800 people won't want to give it a try - we just need to make sure they hear about it and enter, so share away please! Now I've made myself hungry...heading to the kitchen...

Monday, August 31, 2015

101 Things we love about Charlottesville & Scottsville...Part 1.

I bet you think I am exaggerating...but I'm not. Here's Part 1 of the list, kind of in order...

101. Spring. The state tree and flower are the Dogwood (I actually learned that on 'The American President'...Michael Douglas and Annette Bening) for a really good's gorgeous in April here.

100. Summer.  The beach is about 2.5 hours away. The mountains are less than half an hour. Swimming holes abound. Take your pick and get outside!

99. Autumn. Apple orchards and cideries, gorgeous foliage, the Blue Ridge Parkway, crisp, cool nights and warm days. And unlike Vermont, no snow on Halloween.

98. Winter. Wintergreen ski resort is a 30-minute drive, with slopes open from right after Thanksgiving til early spring -  there is snow to be had all winter, if you want it. But even when we get the white stuff down off the mountain, it's usually melted off the roads within days.

97. Location, location, location. You've got DC within 3 hours - free museums, Kennedy Center, big city stuff. Or the beach. Or the back roads in the country. You name it, you've got it within hours of Charlottesville.

96. Amtrak to NYC. People go to NYC for the weekend on the train, then return home to the country on Sunday night. Best of both worlds!

95. Blue Ridge Parkway. Get on the parkway going south, or Skyline Drive going north...the views and hikes are astounding.

94. Monticello. A World Heritage Site, beautifully restored. You'll learn something while you're there, too.

93. Scottsville Farmer's Market. Saturdays from late spring til fall, meet the farmers and local food producers. It's not the biggest in the area, but it's got everything you need...plenty of parking, and it's 1/2 mile down the road.

92.  High Bridge State Park. GREAT biking, because it's flat and easy. Got kids? Take them! Pets on a leash, too. 45 minutes south. Free programs, like the recent Bike to the Moon...leaving from the trailhead in Farmville at 8pm on the full moon in August - bike to the bridge, listen to a talk about the moon, then bike back in the moonlight. Talk about a great date night idea!

91. Greenwood Gourmet grocery. An amazing little market store out near the Parkway and wineries in the western part of the county. Fancy sandwiches and great coffee to go, plus gourmet food items...and garden art/pottery, and the best pumpkin selection in the fall.

90. Paramount Theatre. My favorite little restored theatre was the Osolo in Sarasota. This one is really nice too - with performances by everyone from Lewis Black to screenings of 'Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang'. Just a 20 minute drive from High Meadows, right downtown Cville. Watch Lewis Black reading the top 25 things to do in town the day he was here...hilarious.

So there ya go...the first few reasons to want to live here. Enter the contest to win High Meadows, and you could be living and working here for just your best essay and $150.  And stay tuned in a couple of days for the next best reasons, if you still need more motivation!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Floor plans to help with the dreaming!

So many of you have asked about the layout of the inn...I admit is is difficult to imagine being in it in person! When we first moved here, for a week, I found myself going up or down the wrong staircase to try and reach a room I was aiming for. It's not that the house is that big, but the way that the two houses are joined together make some things really connected, and some things not. And it took a few days to figure it out. :)

These are VERY ROUGH plans...yes, I can do better, but these will give you the general gist of everything, and then you can go online and see photos of the particular rooms for windows, and fireplaces, and if you still have questions, please ask! (BTW, yes the fireplaces work. The basement and dining room have gas stove inserts, the rest we burn ecologs in, seasonally.)

English basement...only 2 steps up/down to outside, big windows in each room. The bottom of the page is the front of the building. We currently live on this level.There is one full bath, and one half-bath. The floor is poured concrete, or loose-laid brick. The front two rooms are approximately 20' x 21'

The main level to the inn...double pink front doors and the porch are shown at the bottom of the page. We call the joining hall the Breezeway, and it's got a sofa/chairs/guest kitchen area and half-bathroom. The ceilings are about 10' high. Great wood floors, all have been refinished except the Peony Room. Again, not exactly proportional - most rooms have  a king bed plus other furniture and plenty of room to move about. Refer to photos for a reference of what the individual rooms look like, this will give you an idea of their relationship to one another. The room we currently use as an office was an enormous guest room when we first came - with a separate bedroom, and sitting room, and we used it as such for a while. It had an entrance from the back porch, but we closed off the bedroom area (could be reopened easily) for our massage room, and still found the space plenty big enough for either a guest room office/sitting area for us. This fireplace has a gas line to it, but currently no gas logs or stove, because we just didn't need it set up that way.

This is the third floor of each house...they are not connected to each other, and both the Willow and the Robin's Nest rooms have windows that look out onto the Breezeway rooftop/skylights/and at the shingle roof of the 1832 portion of the inn. The front windows look out over the front lawn and vineyard. These two rooms have exposed beamed ceilings, very high.  The Dogwood room is the charming peaked attic room...we lived in this area when we first moved here, because it is very large. The small room to the right has a built-in daybed under the eaves.

Last important building on the grounds (we didn't count the toolshed, gazebo and chicken coops as 'important') is the Cottage. We have it divided into two rooms that we rent separately, though it's fun for a group too. We never lived out here because it's so popular - but if you were looking for a bit of privacy, this is an adorable space for owner's quarters. Originally, it was built in the 1990's for the previous owner's aging parents, so it actually has plumbing for a kitchen, and 220v for a stove. It's about 300 feet from the back of the inn. Very modern feel, with vaulted ceilings, and attic storage accessed by pull-down stairs. There is also storage underneath, accessed around the back under the deck, because this is built on a slight slope...the front is just slightly above ground level, the deck outback is about 8 feet off the ground.

Hope this helps! It's fun imagining how the spaces could be used differently. When we came, the basement level was the restaurant...the rooms on the left were the dining rooms, and the room connected to the full bath was a guest room. We have used these rooms as dining rooms also, but a few years ago decided to move the dining room upstairs. It does make for lots of carrying up and down from the kitchen, but we also have a lovely brick patio that we serve breakfast on when the weather is nice - and that's out the side door, on the basement level (to reiterate - it doesn't really feel like a basement...the windows are big, and it's just 2 steps up to the patio or backyard to get outside. The kitchen also has really nice big windows beside the hood and it's bright.)

Happy planning, and happy writing! It's such fun to read the dreams and plans of everyone...I know that it's going to be tough to choose, but what an awesome day that will be, when we can finally call the winner!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Story of How We Came To Do This Contest Thing.

This is by far, the most common question! Just today,
The swing stays...Ariel, our puppy, does not.
guests enjoying the swing out front(yes,even in this heat!) asked us WHY are you leaving such a beautiful place? It's also the most common question asked by reporters - and to be fair, it's a long and tedious answer, so no one is going to be able to report it just right, 1) because I tell the story differently every time, and 2) because it isn't that interesting. But it's a good question,and people are asking - so I thought I'd lay it out all right here. Then, no matter what story you read that might only have room for one part of the explanation - you will know the whole story, because I am telling it now.This will be TMI for many people - but it's what happened. If you just want the rules, go to Once upon a time, a long, long time ago...

...about 8 and a half years ago actually, we set out to own High Meadows. The property was for lease - and that was good, because we couldn't have afforded to purchase it for the 1.6 million dollar asking price. For those keeping track - this was 2007. Real estate values, anyone? Yes - very, very high. So - the inn had been closed for a while, and it was winter, and the place needed a lot of love. We loved it! We leased it for a while from the people who had loved the inn enough to renovate it the first time, then extended the lease another little while...all hoping we would someday be able to purchase the inn outright. Spring of 2010 rolled around, and a very supportive family member who knew this was our dream - made purchasing the property possible!  Yay! Part of the owner-financing required us, in 5 years, to make a balloon payment on the property. Not a bad idea we thought, as the business was growing and we had plans! Yay!

Well, those 5 years sped past quickly. We had been working on a 'regular' business loan through our bank that would take care of the balloon payment, and enable us to build cabins, revitalize the vineyard, and maybe even add an event barn for weddings. By fall of 2014 I was in planning mode, clearing brush readying the land for cabins, and we had even hired an amazing assistant innkeeper, excited about adding 5 new rooms by spring of 2015!Yay!

But things didn't go as I had hoped...and we were not able to get that bank loan (BOO!HISS!), so in February of this year, we began to think of other options. I heard about the Center Lovell Inn contest in Maine - that became a possibility in the back of my mind, but really a 'last resort'. We set up a GoFundMe. And I reached out to good friends asking for help. This is where I get emotional, thinking of ALL THE AMAZING friends I have! I am not kidding...we had people telling us how much this place meant to them, how much we meant to them, and contributions of LITERALLY everything from one dollar and up came our way. There is no way to explain how inspired I was, and how excited I was to keep moving on with my plans. I also had the very good fortune of meeting an amazing man, a friend of a friend if you will, who after many conversations, and questions, and meetings - all of which made me really think about my business inside and out, and love it even more - was going to become my partner! And this guy, well, suffice it to say - HE IS AWESOME. If I could have written down the qualities I'd want in a business partner, he would have every single one. I was excited to learn from him - and most special of all, he understands the quirky, enchanted craziness we have going on here, and he likes it. So awesome! Double Yay!

Then, life happened. Or in this case, death. My eldest sibling, my brother that I looked up to and adored for as far back as my memories will go, died of a traumatic brain injury. The injury was sustained a while ago - it had happened suddenly, crazily, an overhead door at his workplace hit him on the head, and an hour later, he was forever different. So it's not that this was unexpected exactly, it's just that his death finally happened. I have lost grandparents, but you sort of grow up knowing that will happen. For me, this was different.

It's a classic time when you lose someone you love, to take stock of your life. We've all seen the movies. That's how it was for a matter of a day, maybe two, my path forward became crystal clear, as my mother and I talked. She was ready to move 'home' - to Florida. For real. Soon. My children, both teenagers now (they were 4 and 7 when we moved here!), have different needs than when I wanted High Meadows so I could work from home, and be there for all the things young children need. Now, they want to be able to take trips, or be loud, or spread out with friends - be teenagers - and I want that for them. Having this as a home and a job rolled into one suddenly was simply not the necessity it once was. My full-steam ahead approach came to a halt so fast...and I said no to the amazing offer of a partnership with one of the most inspirational men I have ever known. (This is the ONE little part of my story that I still wonder if I will regret!)

With the whole-hearted support of the previous owners, family, friends and colleagues - I decided to run the essay contest. You hear the cliche 'a weight was lifted off my shoulders' often...but that's the closest thing to how light I feel after making this decision! I know it's exactly the right decision at exactly the right time! The inn is busy and growing, but there is room for someone to make it their own.There are still a few showers that could use updating. (that's a future blog...The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly). The vines need replanting - or perhaps someone else will want something else! We have some fall repairs to make around the inn as we do every year, but I'm not repainting everything as I had planned - because in a few months, someone else will have the joy of choosing colors that speak to them.

So that's The Story of How We Came To Do This Contest Thing. Incidentally, though those are all the reasons why I made the decision, there are nearly as many reasons why this is truly the perfect way to pass on this particular inn...I know there will be people who don't like, or simply don't get the idea. They aren't the ones who would love it up here anyway. The people who will want High Meadows are creative, think-outside-the-box optimists and dreamers. People I know I will be friends with, and who will love High Meadows as much as we do, wrinkles, worn thresholds and all.
My favorite old threshold in the English basement, in the kitchen. It's part of the 1832 portion of the inn.