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September 11, 2018

Autumn

Alexander Posey, 1873 - 1908

In the dreamy silence
Of the afternoon, a
Cloth of gold is woven
Over wood and prairie;
And the jaybird, newly
Fallen from the heaven,
Scatters cordial greetings,
And the air is filled with
Scarlet leaves, that, dropping,
Rise again, as ever,
With a useless sigh for
Rest—and it is Autumn.

Good morning from Emigrant Montana!

I am in the privileged position of spending a week with dear old friends in the mountains of Montana. I have never been to Montana and am in awe of the expansive fields of hay, horses, elk, moose etc. The backdrop of the Abzoroka Mountain Range is out our back door and is awesome!

Autumn comes early up here in the mountains. Already the trees are beginning to change color and there is a definite crisp in the air each morning. 

I have always loved the fall. Not just because I was a fall baby, but because to me, fall always represents renewal. As a child, the excitement built as I drew nearer to the beginning of a new schoo...

September 3, 2018

Happy Monday! 

The word “restoration” has several meanings in the English Dictionary. At Clifton Heights Inn, it takes on two very important meanings. First, being the act of restoring as in taking this old building and breathing new life into it. Second, a restorative state of well-being. One of the most common remarks we get upon check out is how our guests feel restored. There are endless amounts of reasons for guests to cross our threshold. I often know the reason for their stay such as a birthday or anniversary. What is often not revealed at first is the perhaps the underlying reason for the getaway. Many times it comes out over breakfast. 

Last week we hosted two sisters who just needed a night away. One was visiting from Florida. They were super tight and very close in age. They finished each other sentences. I spent more time with them than I normally do with guests and I am so glad I did. Getting to know them was a privilege. One of the ladies was about to hit her 5 year mark of...

August 28, 2018

We have had some wonderful guests in the past couple of weeks. I hosted people who came for all sorts of reasons. The main thread was to celebrate something. Be it an anniversary, birthday or just a get-away.  

Most guests arrive a bit guarded – not knowing what to expect here. They are cordial and yet a bit standoffish. I show them to their room and then they are out of sight. Some come back down and socialize a bit but most are here to explore St. Louis or just have some time alone. 

Breakfast time is a whole different animal! They come down refreshed. They have slept well and are relaxed. Conversation during breakfast time is always interesting and engaging. There is so much to learn about people. Everyone has a story. Personal details roll out quite easy over a cup of coffee! I love that part of my job. 

Some guests leave bigger footprints than others. Some tug at my heart and cause me to pause for thought as they check out and leave. I encountered a few people in the past couple...

August 12, 2018

A Celebration of Life tends to be bitter sweet. On one hand, grief is at it's highest while at the same time, that grief is met with love and support of others gathering to share this event. It is amazing to watch from a distance families work through this process.

This week, we were honored to be the backdrop for the Stone family. This is a lovely family who gathered here to remember a man who served in World War II. A man who lived a full life and one that loved the St. Louis Cardinals. 

As mentioned before, one of the "perks" of running this business is the transformation of meeting perfect strangers who in no time, become friends. What begins as a phone call, then a stay at our inn ends with a hug as they walk out the door. These "relationships" are what keeps this business alive for me! 

Mr. Stone once lived in this neighborhood, as well as his brother. His daughter, whom I worked with to make this happen, thought Clifton Heights Inn was a great place to hold his Celebration of...

June 25, 2018

I have very fond memories of childhood watching my mother create beauty in her lap. She was always creating some sort of handmade creation. Be it a quilt, pillow or rag rug her hands were always busy. I was fascinated and learned at that young age to appreciate the items she made. Most times, I would watch and then try to mimic her designs with not much success. To her credit, she would take the time to teach me the latest “craft” but I didn’t have the patience to see most projects to completion. 

I often asked her as I matured why she didn’t just “use the machine?” Her response was always the same. “It means so much more to say “ handmade.” I believe that part of the reason was that she liked to be comfortable and cozy and she could work on her projects while snuggled up on the couch. I rarely saw her sitting at a machine. 

I have often thought of those conversations over the years as I sat pounding away at my machine working on my latest creation. My mother has since passed away but hi...

June 13, 2018

Saint Louis is the host to the “nation’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre” according to The St. Louis Muny’s website.  The idea of The Muny was formed back in 1917 by a group of St. Louisans  primarily made up of Mayor Henry Kiel, attorney Guy Golterman and the Parks Commissioner Nelson Cunliff. It took approximately forty-nine days to create the outdoor theatre. The first performance was Aida. By 1919, the theatre was called the St. Louis Municipal Theatre or “The Muny” for short. Robin Hoodwas the first performance under the new name. Mayor Kiel was recruited to play King Richard. For many years after, musical concerts took the stage with top named performers. The Muny quit offering concerts in 1991.

The Muny’s season, which only operates in the summer time, (mid-June to mid August) consists of about seven musicals. Shows run from Sunday to Monday. The facility seats 11,000 ticketed seats with an additional 1500 free seats in the rear of the amphithe...

May 23, 2018

How does one define true love? 

I just spent the weekend with a couple of lovebirds I was honored to have here as our guests. Admittedly, I was not prepared for a 5 day visit with this senior couple. Upon arrival, they needed my assistance with their luggage. I quickly thought, incorrectly, this couple was going to need a lot of help. Wow, I was wrong. I learned quite a lot about the human spirit and about late in life connections. 

John (80) and Peggy (86) are newlyweds. Well, not really, they have been married for about 8 years now, but they ACTED like newlyweds! As stated in previous blogs, this business is all about connections. I have come to expect a great connection with my guests, but this couple really stole my heart. 

This is a second marriage for both. They both lost their first spouses after many years of marriage. They allowed me to ask them personal questions about finding love after their long marriage to their previous spouses. They were quick to say that they were not loo...

May 10, 2018

This is my living room window. Every morning, as I leave our bedroom, I pass by this beautiful 20 foot work of art and marvel at the light coming in through this magnificent treasure.

I call this a “Living Window” because every moment of the day, it changes as the light moves overhead from east to west. Even on the dreariest of days, light flows through with a constant reminder of the work that it took to create this piece. It has withstood the test of time. It also endured some periodic damage by our contractors as they moved around with the scaffolding.

The world is a crazy place right now and there is much animosity being shared thru the news and social media. It’s easy to get caught up and to absorb the negativity those sources provide. As best as I try, the news can get me down at times. It is important to stay current with world events but it’s a fine line. All too often I find myself feeling hopeless and concerned about the world that we are handing over to future generations. Wha...

April 16, 2018

Childhood was taken for granted. As tiny humans, we were fed, clothed, housed and introduced to local happenings. We were not required to search out those things. Someone (presumably our parents or grandparents) guided us along with what they knew and passed it along. My childhood was filled with memories created by adults in my family and in my neighborhood. 

During the hot summer days, it was cooler to sit outside on our patio rather than to battle the sweltering heat inside. Waiting and hoping the temperature would drop enough for us to get a good night’s sleep.

Many nights were spent huddled around a transistor radio broadcasting the baseball game. Of course, as a small child, I had no idea what they were talking about but the sounds of the game combined with the hum of crickets created a symphony at sunset. One could go from house to house in our neighborhood and find the dads sitting in their lawn chairs, watering lawns while listening to the game.

As we grew, we were taken to games...

April 9, 2018

We had wonderful guests this weekend. They were busy running around all weekend spending time with family and friends who live here in town. I didn’t see a whole lot of them except at breakfast each morning.

As I served up their meals each day, we chatted and I found through conversation with them that we had a lot in common as parents and innkeepers. The first breakfast I spent most of my time talking with them as they ate. We asked questions of each other and shared stories.

The following morning I made a comment to my husband that perhaps I stayed too long and did not give them a chance to just be alone during their breakfast to talk with each other. I informed him that I would hold back a bit the second morning and not engage as much. I didn’t want to come across as the chatty innkeeper.

As they approached the dining area, they grabbed a cup of coffee and instead of heading to their table, they grabbed bar stools and sat down at the breakfast bar where I was preparing food. The conver...

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