That statement passed thru my head many times this past week. Clifton Heights Inn held their first Winter Boutique a week ago today. It was a great day all around. We had some very talented vendors who not only displayed their items beautifully but also did quite well in sales. As I wormed my way around the room (it was quite crowded most of the time,) I paused at these tables and reminded myself just how much work went into each and every handmade item. It is obvious that even though these artists were there to sell their items, there was also an abundance of creativity.
Many people (including myself) need a creative outlet. It fills a purpose. Finding a craft and honing it takes time and reflection. Honestly, I find the journey much more rewarding than the finished product. For me, it is soap making. Personally, I find making soap therapeutic and fulfilling. I am never going to get rich selling it but I find great joy in creating it and giving it away.
As I have matured throughout the years I have become very fond of Thanksgiving. As a child, our small family sat around the table and enjoyed an overcooked turkey, canned cranberry sauce, boxed stuffing, canned green beans and packaged gravy. It was always delicious (except for the green beans) and I didn’t know any other way to celebrate that day or any other way of cooking. Even back then, when I had no physical involvement in the creating of the meal, I viewed that day as being special. The house always smelled amazing. We all seemed to get along, tread lightly and did our best to enjoy the meal.
As I became an adult, married with children, my Thanksgiving morphed into a daylong celebration at my in-laws with young cousins playing on the floor and the adults all trying to pull the dinner together. Those Thanksgivings were wonderful. I didn’t have to clean house because we were going somewhere else for the day. My only requirement was to get my children ready and prese...
It has been a very busy week for us personally and at the inn. It is continues to amaze me the love that is all around us. The beginning of the week began with a flight home from Denver. While waiting in the airport I came across an adorable couple was waiting to board. Here was an elderly gentleman pushing his wife in a wheelchair to the gate. That in itself, amazed me. I was then honored to have an incredible conversation with him. He is a ninety-four year old World War II veteran. Spry doesn’t even begin to describe this beautiful soul. He allowed us to ask him questions and was very open with his answers. He was part of D-Day and landed on the beach in Normandy France. His description of that day gave me chills to say the least. He did not mind speaking of the day (as often, many war vets do…) In fact, he travels around the country with speaking engagements. Don’t forget he is ninety-four! His love for his country and love for his wife are abundant. I will not...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...