Facebook - The Ultimate Time Stealer/Friend Maker

A year ago if someone asked me how many "friends" I had, I would have a different answer than I do today. With the popularity of Facebook, people have more friends than they ever could have imagined. Some real friends, some new friends, some old friends, and some acquaintances, Facebook is the new time stealer for all ages. Here you can look up people you knew many lifetimes ago and reconnect. I have reconnected with people that I haven't talked to in many years. I recently became Facebook "friends" with a past classmate of mine. Wanting to take his wife somewhere for their 20th anniversary, he decided on The Meadowlark. So this past weekend, they checked in. I never really knew Scott in high school in NJ, and his wife, Valarie, was from Vermont, but when they checked in, it seemed as if we had all been friends for a long time. Thanks to Facebook, I had seen pictures of their son, their wedding, their life. For the past few days, George and I spent quite a bit of time with them. (Yes, and some of that time was wasted on going on Facebook together :). ) We enjoyed having them as our guests and we enjoyed having them as new friends, not just Facebook friends. Check out their website: Heavenly Honey Apiary. A very interesting hobby/business, these beekeepers make the best honey ever.

Along with Scott, I have over 100 other "friends". Now normally that would seem like a lot of friends, but in Facebook land, that is pretty low. Most of my "friends" have hundreds of friends and some of my "friends" have thousands of friends. Thousands. Who are all these friends?? Thousands, really? One of my "friends" has almost 3,000 friends. Who needs or wants 3,000 friends?? Maybe I'm just being unfriendly! It is just crazy. About a year ago, Facebook was reserved for the young. But now more and more older people are joining in. Even my mother-in-law and father-in-law have pages. Some people refuse to join in, I call them closet Facebookers. The ones that will not have a page, but go on someone else's to look around. My husband used to be in the closet. He'd go on my page and talk to friends. He would sign his name, but his words would be next to my photo. One day I made him his own page, put up his photos and friended people for him. 20 minutes later, he was an official Facebooker, and now 3 months later, hours of time have been robbed out of his life reconnecting with his many new "friends". Still others refuse to ever get a page. Yes, you know who you are, (Cheryl), and we know you are out there watching us.

It may be the mother of all time wasters, but talk to anyone and they will tell you the same thing. It's fun, and it gives us the chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Only through Facebook would Scott & Valarie, beekeepers from Vermont, end up at an inn outside Cooperstown that was run by an old classmate. And that is very cool!

The Innkeepers Stay at an Inn

This past weekend we closed the inn and decided to go away for our 20th anniversary. Not wanting to go too far, we decided on Skaneateles, NY, a beautiful town in the Fingerlakes area. We had never been to the Fingerlakes before and decided it was perfect since it was only 2 hours away from home. We stayed at a beautiful B&B called The Hummingbird's Home located on Route 20. Now in case you aren't aware of it, our inn is located on Route 20. So we headed west about 2 hours and stayed on the same street our inn is on. Well at least we couldn't get lost. It's funny when we go away. We spend way too much time comparing everything to what we would or wouldn't do. This particular B&B lived up to our high standards. It seemed weird in the morning to be the ones sitting at the table talking to the other guests and being served by someone else. We've decided we need to get away more. This winter for sure.

The first morning we woke up we decided to go on some wine tours. This area has over a hundred wineries. We headed out to wine country after breakfast. To get to wine country you need to pass a small mall with a Bass Pro Shop. George had heard about this store and said he wanted to stop in - just for 10 minutes. Well, 2 hours and $200 later we were on the road again. This time to be detoured by a very cool farm/pottery production studio called MacKenzie-Childs. Beautiful, but expensive, I walked away with dozens of photos for creative ideas. Back on the road we were hungry and decided to stop at one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at Pumpkin Hill Bistro. Every single thing we ordered was amazing. Feeling full, we still had to order dessert. Well, in case you haven't been keeping track of how much time we may have just used up in our day, it was now about 4:45 pm when we finally finished our lunch. Yep, we were off to wine country! Only wine country closes at 5 pm. WTF! What happened!! Where did our day go?? We were supposed to tour wine country all day! Well, we noticed a winery down the road and decided to try and see if we could still get in. We arrive at 5 pm and there were still plenty of people there drinking. Tours ended at 4:30, but they will gladly give us a tasting. It seems as if all the workers are walking around drinking wine too. Not a bad job. We taste 6 wines. We hate 6 wines. What?? Wait! We actually question whether maybe we just don't like wine anymore. Well, we leave and decide that that was the lamest wine trip anyone has ever gone on. On the way back to Skaneateles, we pass a small storefront that says "Wine Tastings" and stop. Here we taste 6 wines and like 6 wines. We didn't realize just how different wines could really be. We definitely have to come back to this area when our inn is closed and try the whole wine tour thing again.

The next morning we head back home, going east on Route 20, stopping to see several of the towns along the way. By the time we get back to our inn, we decide that the most beautiful landscape we have seen on Route 20 is in our own town and the most beautiful lake that we have seen in upstate so far is our own lake, Otsego. We are happy we chose this area to settle down in. For us, there is definitely no place like home!

A Guest Returns Home

This morning two of our guests who are staying with us for a week came in and decided to stay for an additional week. These two people just may be our longest staying guests so far. They are visiting family up here. Both born and raised right here in town, they moved many years ago to Jacksonville, FL. This very sweet couple arrived Friday night during a cool and breezy rainstorm. Peggie got out of the car to come and check in. Fred wouldn't get out of the car. He said he was cold. He said it was too windy. He said he wanted to go back to Florida where the weather was warm and balmy. George went to the room and turned on their heat, waving to coax him out of the car. After many minutes, Fred finally came in to say hi and that he wasn't happy with this weather. Fred grew up on a farm in this town and both he and Peggie went to the stone schoolhouse that stands across the street from us. Now a private home, this schoolhouse consisted of approximately 10-13 children per grade.

I can tell that they are enjoying themselves on this trip. They are visiting family in all directions, and then coming back here to their own private home away from home, not wanting to be an imposition to any of their relatives. Every morning they enjoy the conversation with the other guests. Having sat for breakfast with the couple who survived 9/11 two of the mornings was something that Fred told me touched them deeply.

I, myself, am enjoying the stories that they tell each morning. The stories about the area as it was in the 40's, 50's and 60's. When life was simple and this town was bustling. Back then there were several gas stations, hotels, restaurants. Although mostly a two lane road, Route 20 was a major roadway used heavily for traveling east and west. After the New York State Thruway was built in 1958 things began to change all along Route 20. It became a quieter country road, with many businesses closing, only to leave standing the remnants of what used to be. A beautiful road consisting of farms and meadows, I like it this way. I am guessing many of the residents here do too. Over the past several years, a few major businesses have wanted to develop right here in town. To take advantage of the beauty of the area, Madison Square Garden Music Festival, Cal Ripkin Baseball Parks and a Motocross Raceway have tried to acquire land, all plans to be eventually knocked down. Maybe someday, someone will succeed in capitalizing on the land, but for now, the pure beauty is the attraction that brings people back. Oh yeah, that, and The Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Smell of a Peach

This weekend we are lucky to have 10 rooms of amazing guests. It feels very appropriate to have one special couple here on this particular weekend. In 2001 on September 11th, they worked at Morgan Stanley in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center. On that particular morning, Al, for some reason unknown to him, was waiting for his bus to NY when he didn't get on the bus. He just stood there thinking and dreaming until finally he realized he was going to be late for work, (and Al was never late for work), so he got on the next bus that arrived. This is from where he watched as the first plane crashed into Tower 1 to his horror. When the bus was inside the Battery Tunnel, he had the bus driver stop and he got off, having felt an explosion under his feet and thinking the Tunnel too was being attacked. He was able to get in a car which took him back out of the tunnel and after many emotional hours arrived safely home. His wife, Lila, was just outside Tower 2 when she smelled fresh peaches at the Farmers Market. Stopping to buy some for her breakfast, she delayed her arrival at her job. As she entered the lobby of the building she felt/heard the crash. Fortunately, she was able to get out of the building unharmed, physically. But the effects of this morning will last a lifetime. On this morning, Al & Lila were friends/coworkers. But a week later as they arrived at the Brooklyn building where Morgan Stanley had taken up shop, they entered their new office not knowing who had survived. Amongst the tears and the hugs of all the coworkers was the beginning of a beautiful new relationship. The love that they have for each other is profound, and the joy that they have for life is obvious for all to see.

When thinking of all the reasons we love this business, nothing compares to having people come into our lives and touch us in this way. Watching the 9/11 tributes on TV brought back the horror that I felt on that morning, but listening this morning to these two beautiful people recount the nightmare that they lived made me feel the horror and appreciate all the blessings and love that I have in my life.

Splitting Up Our Time

With the end of Labor Day comes yet a different kind of life for us. We split up our time between our inn and our house in Fly Creek. George stays at the inn during the school week when we have guests, while Aidan and I stay at the house. This morning I passed George on the road as he went to his construction job and I made my way to the inn to put out breakfast after dropping Aidan off at school. We waved. Weekends we all stay together at the inn. It is a back and forth life, but the commute from only 15 miles away in Fly Creek is better than when we lived in NJ. For three years we lived in NJ and ran the inn. We stayed up here for the summer and the day after Labor Day we moved home. Every Friday we came back up to open for guests for weekends. Every Monday I took Aidan to school at 5 am to get to NJ by the 8:30 bell. It was a crazy life with a lot of driving. Things are much calmer now that we live up here full time and my son gets a little more of a stable life.

Yesterday my son informed me that he won't be going back to the inn this fall. He is going to stay at home by himself on weekends. Now call me overprotective, but at 14, I just don't think that is going to happen. I said no. But then I have had this same conversation with him 2 other times and somehow he forgets what the answer always is. Well, he is one month older than the first time he asked and 2 weeks older than the second time he asked.

During this past weekend, along with our other 8 rooms of guests, we had two rooms of my in laws up. My brother in law and sister in law have 4 of the cutest girls I have ever seen. We had an awesome weekend of just relaxing and enjoying each others company. The second room was my mother in law and father in law. Divorced for almost 30 years. The only room we had left, so unless someone wanted to sleep on the couch in our place, it would have to be shared. And it did have two comfortable beds in it. I kept teasing them that this was going to be the weekend to rekindle that old flame. Didn't happen. But they didn't kill each other either.

Labor Day - A Time to Reflect

After the hustle and bustle of the summer, it is a nice change of pace when the season slows down in September. The first two weeks of September are always the slowest two weeks of the year for us. But it gives us a chance to take a minute and breathe and get our son ready for "back to school". This year he starts High School. The time is flying by. When we bought the inn, he was this cherub faced little boy, so innocent. Now there is a little man upstairs, still asleep at 9 am. Probably would still be asleep all morning if I didn't wake him. On the wall in our bedroom are marks of growth. With a mark of my height as a reference, we watched as his marks slowly creeped up on my height and now have surpassed mine. Now looking up to my son, I realize that he is not my little baby anymore, but a boy on the verge of manhood.

This weekend is Labor Day. A quieter one than usual. It is later this year, so it almost seems as if last week was Labor Day. We have several rooms of return guests, which is always nice. It's nice to see familiar faces each year. We know we are doing something right. It must be those waffles :). People have started writing about them online. Others have asked when reserving, "Are you still making those waffles?" Many have actually bought a waffle maker after they have left here. Just a couple of days ago, a guest actually Mapquested a Bed Bath & Beyond on her way home so she could get the same one we have. Funny.

We have some of our family coming up this weekend. With the beautiful weather forecast and the slower pace of the weekend, we are hoping to get away for some R&R on our boat. The weather this summer was so uncooperative that we were only able to enjoy the lake about 4 times. Coinciding a slow moment at the inn with a beautiful weather forecast is a tricky thing. And beautiful weather was not exactly how you would describe this past summer, but a lot of rain means an amazingly colorful fall. (So come up and visit and enjoy the colors!)

I hope everyone has a fantastic Labor Day! Relax, enjoy the sun and spend it with the people you love. It might be the end of the summer, but it's the beginning of a whole new season (and all new episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Dancing With the Stars!). Enjoy!