Imagine unplugging from the internet, mobile phone, iPad and other online devices for a day or two? Last week, we did just that. For 24 hours, we headed to the country and camped with our daughter, son-in-law and grand baby. I'm not going to lie, at first it was a bit unsettling to be so disconnected but after a short time, that feeling simply flowed away and that unplugging allowed us to just experience each other and the beauty of being present. That precious time created a calling to me to schedule the next "unplugging." Short as it may have been, it was treasured and we all experienced a noticeable change to our rhythm. Having that time to focus on each other (and the wonder of an 18 month old experiencing camping for the very first time) was EXACTLY what the doctor ordered. Without the distractions of technology, we laughed more, shared more and really took inventory of the sweetness of nature all around us. What a gift.
Speaking of gift: What a wonderful gift to give to...
What an interesting year we've had? If someone had told me last fall that we would be fighting a worldwide pandemic I would have have challenged that person with a "you're crazy" look and tell them to stop reading those creepy Stephen King novels! Who knew with the shut down of our city, that my life would slow down to such a pace that I would be given time to read all of those novels if I wanted to! I will admit, that at first, with no place to go and some serious social distancing, I found a new love for peace and quiet. Zoom became my new drug of choice. With all of this free time, what to do? Well, I cleaned like crazy for a few weeks until that urge wore off! We repainted the guest rooms and my husband Dan refinished the sanctuary floors. That was a huge dusty undertaking but it is done now. That still left me with plenty of time to "get in trouble."
Speaking of trouble: As most of you know, we create our own home made soap here at Clifton Heights Inn. I have been playing around...
It is Christmas morning and I have chosen to spend Christmas in a warm climate. Dan and I coaxed our children to come with us. It didn't take much persuasion! This is our first Christmas with our new grandson and I couldn't be happier basking in the glow that I get to spend such quality time with him during this vacation. He is 10 months old and such a joy. I can't get enough of him! Borderline gluttony.
That brings me to my next thought. Gluttony. Guilty as charged! People who know me know I have battled my weight my whole adult life. I have tried every diet known to man. Honestly, they all work, if you do them.... Due to having the attention span of a flea, I could win an award for the biggest goals and the shortest amount of time actually trying to achieve them. One fail after another. Yes, at times I have managed to hit my target weight only to sabotage it with a slippery slope of Halloween candy, sliding right into Thanksgiving, Christmas. You get the idea.
I recently traveled with a dear friend to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my 60thbirthday. I decided some time ago that I wanted to experience my birthday in a healthy open-air environment. My friend of over 25 years agreed to take this journey with me. Honestly, it didn’t take much persuasion as she is very much about experiencing the great outdoors.
After a couple of dinner meetings, cocktails and hovering over travel books we picked out destinations. Although I have been to the mountains several times in my life, Karen had not. She was excited about our trip. We both had our own assignments. I was in charge of picking out the towns and lodging and she was in charge of the events and experiences. This worked so very well and needed very little tweaking.
Our trip was to take 8 days and we both decided to pack as much in (and as much as our suitcases would carry) as possible. We did a fair amount of cussing each time we had to schlep our overstuff...
The past couple of weeks have been a great boost for St. Louis. Not only did we celebrate winning the Stanley Cup, but we celebrated that win in huge “Bleed Blue” fashion.
Our St. Louis Blues players returned home with the cup and a love for their St. Louis fans. Although tired and ready for rest, they stopped to speak to the press at 3 am on the tarmac and showed up at a local bar to celebrate with their fans.
The parade downtown and rally under the arch was well run and the fans showed up in the tens of thousands. It was a sea of blue under the arch. People were in a good mood and there were no reports of violence of any kind. Everyone got along and celebrated together.
Fast forward…I attended a Cardinals baseball game last Friday night. We were playing the Los Angeles Angels. Albert Pujols was returning to Busch Stadium for the first time since playing for the Red Birds. Getting in to the stadium was not easy prior to this game. It was packed outside, much like before a w...
Greetings! There is so much to do in St. Louis as the weather warms up. Here are just a few things going on in Forest Park. In the past year, we have a learned a lot from our guests and about what they like to do while in town. Here is just a sample of what is going on here in our great city!
The Muny Opera (America's Oldest and Largest Outdoor Musical Theater!)
--Guys and Dolls June 10-16
--Kinky Boots June 19-25
--1776 The Musical June 27-July 3
--Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella July 8-16
--Footloose July 18-24
--Lerner & Loewe's Paint Your Wagon July 27-August 2
Good morning from Clifton Heights Inn. I am SO glad to be able to say "Happy Spring!" I am not sure about you, but I feel that Father Winter has outworn his stay this year. We had more snow than usual here in St. Louis. Having said that, it really wasn't very much, just more than previous years. I enjoyed each and every one of those snow days. I love snow, I just strongly dislike winter. Hard to have one without the other. I am grateful for the peace and quiet snow brings. There is a cause for pause when it snows. Life slows down bit.
Today I am trading the gifts of winter for the anticipation of green leaves and grass. I am currently away from the inn and will not return until the end of the month. My hopes is that some magical stuff will have occurred and my neighborhood will have awoke from it's long Winter nap. It's kind of like when you are out at a restaurant and you have been waiting a long time for your food to arrive. You decide to use the restroom in hopes of returning to a...
We had two lovely couples stay with us this past weekend. One couple came to celebrate a birthday. The other came to see a play. We greet our guests with something to snack on and drinks upon arrival. I usually sneak away and let couples have time to be alone. This particular night, they were interested in hearing all about the inn and how it came to be.
In turn, I asked about them about their lives. It did not take long to become engrossed in the conversation. One couple just had their 5thchild. As we spoke, I learned of their newborn son in the NICU ward at Children’s Hospital.
What am amazing story of survival. He was born premature at just a little over 1 pound! These parents who live in Illinois, go every day to the hospital to visit this little guy. They celebrate small victories with this miracle of a baby. He is strong and is improving each day. Even though they came to town to celebrate a birthday, they ended up at the hospital instead. They just couldn’t stay away. When they...
“If you want love and abundance in your life, give it away” -Mark Twain
There is a lot of truth and meaning to that quote. I must admit that perhaps I have been especially sappy these past two weeks. No, not because it was Valentine’s Day but because my life took on a whole new meaning. I entered a new realm and have been dancing on air as I learn to appreciate just what this new position holds for me.
On February 18th I became a grandmother for the first time. I was honored and blessed to be present when my grandson took his first breath of life. I will spare you the details but let me just say that it was a moment so magical that it will be forever etched in my soul.
Some of my friends who are grandparents told me that just when you think you have exhausted all of your love for your children, you manage to open up little door and out pours more. Apparently that is true. By the time I left the hospital, I had already bonded with this tiny human and had fallen deeply in love.
Obviously I am a bit biased towards bed and breakfasts and inns. There are clear distinctions between the two different styles of accommodations. Being a bit of a hospitality expert (innkeeper and owner) and having stayed in many Airbnb homes I can verify those differences. The following are MY observations of those differences.
Top of the list is Hospitality. Only after the booking is made is the location revealed with Airbnb. Sometimes the communication is with the actual owner and sometimes it is with a booking manager. A booking with Airbnb will most likely give you access to the home without ever meeting the owner/manager. Keys are left and you are on your own to search around for information. Some owners are good at leaving notes and recommendations, others, not so much. Personally, we have had good experiences and some very bad. Case in point: A couple of years back, we took my husband's entire staff and significant others to a "Luxury Home facing the Ocean...