HAPPY BIRTHDAY LISA!!! MY WISH FOR YOU ON THIS BIRTHDAY IS TO SOME DAY BE ABLE TO SEE NORMA’S PARIS. PINTEREST MAKES IT POSSIBLE FOR ME WHEN IT SHOWS PICTURES OF WHERE I HAVE BEEN IN FRANCE. EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY IN THEIR LIFETIME TO FEEL THAT WARMTH, EXCITEMENT, AND TRULY INDISPUTABLE FEELING WHICH OVERCOMES YOU WHEN VISITING THIS WORLD CALLED PARIS! TEARS WELLED WHEN I SAW THE SEINE, WHICH IN MY YOUTH I HAD SUNG ABOUT MANY TIMES. ACROSS THE SEINE WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MUSEUM CALLED MUSEE D’ORSAY WITH ITS NUMEROUS IMPRESSIONIST’S PAINTINGS. NOT A PREFERANCE OF MINE THERE WAS EVEN A VAN GOGH THAT I DID LIKE! MY MOST FAVORITE WAS MONTMARTRE, I LOVED MONTMARTRE THE PAINTER’S HANGOUT. THE ARTISTS SOLD MANY OF THEIR LATEST PAINTINGS OF PARIS TO THE TOURISTS THERE. THE AMAZING SACRE COEUR CATHEDRAL WAS USED BY HITLER FOR ITS ENTIRE VIEW OF THE CITY AND VANTAGE POINT IN WWII. THE LATIN QUARTER WAS SO VERY INTERESTING. I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT IN A SEAT THAT HEMMINGWAY USED TO DO HIS WRITING. EATING ON THE STREETS OF PARIS FROM THE VENDORS PROVED VERY INTERESTING ALSO. CREPES WERE SOAKED WITH GRAND MARINIER AND SOMETIMES IT MADE IT A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO WALK AFTER HAVING ONE. MUSEE D’ORSAY, LUNCH AND WINE ALSO MADE IT DIFFICULT ALSO! I VIEWED THE CITY BEHIND THEIR BEAUTIFUL HUGE CLOCK AND WILL NEVER EVER FORGET THIS SIGHT!! WE WALKED TO THE EIFFEL AND DOWN THE CHAMPS, THEN WALKED BACK TO OUR HOTEL, WHICH WAS NO SMALL FEAT. DURING THE DAY I HAD LOST MY PASSPORT IN THE SMALL BATHROOMS, AT THE WHAT I CALL THE THE HUMANITY OF MAN NEAR THE PALAIS DE CHAILLOT. WE HAD DECIDED TO HAVE LUNCH UNTIL FINDING OUT THAT IT COULD COST $200 OR MORE, AND THIS WAS CLEARLY NOT AN OPTION. A WAITER TOOK PITY ON US AND BROUGHT US 2 DESSERTS THAT HAD BEEN REFUSED BY PREVIOUS GUESTS. I TRIED TO REPAY HIS KINDNESS BY TIPPING HIM A $20 FOR HIS MAGNANIMOUS GESTER!!!! A DEAR LADY LOOKING INTO THE RESTAURANT RECOGNIZED ME FROM MY PHOTO AND RETURNED MY PASSPORT. !!WHEW!! WALKING BACK IN THE MISTY EVENING (LOVED THIS)TO THE HOTEL WE DECIDED TO STOP AT A LOCAL HAUNT FOR DINNER…..I CAN STILL HEAR THE MUSIC. NEXT MORNING WE BOARDED THE TRAIN AT GARE ST. LAZARE AND WERE WHISKED OUT TO GIVERNY TO MONET’S HOME. LEAVING THE TRAIN WE DECIDED TO GET A BEER BEFORE GOING TO MONET’S. WE ALL FOUND THAT WE NEEDED TO USE THE SALLE DE BAIN OR CHAMBRE AND WERE STOPPED DEAD IN OUR TRACKS. INSIDE THE BATHROOM THERE WERE NO PARTITIONS BUT A HOLE IN THE CENTER OF THE FLOOR, AND NOT GENDER SPECIFIC! WE CLEARLY CHANGED OUR MINDS. HAILING A CAB TO CONTINUE OUR JOURNEY BROUGHT THIS CRAZY CABBY WHO DEFINITELY LOOKED LIKE TELI SAVALUS. THE GIRLS QUICKLY CLIMBED INTO THE BACK SEAT AFTER NOTICING THE SPIDER WEB SPLINTERED INTO THE WINDSHIELD. THIS LEFT ME TO RIDE IN THE FRONT, AND WITH NO SEATBELTS!!! “ON TO THE GARDENS”!!! TOURING MONET’S GARDEN MADE ME FEEL THAT INSPIRATION OF SO MANY YEARS BEFORE. OVERWHELMINGLY BEAUTIFUL! NOW TO BOARD THE TRAIN BACK TO PARIS AND DINNER. I GUESS YOU CAN CALL IT THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE WHEN LEAVING THE NEXT DAY, A NICELY DRESSED GENTLEMAN SWATTED MY BEHIND WHILE I WAS GETTING INTO THE CAB. I AM SURE HE MUST HAVE BEEN PAID BY THE HOTEL GENEROUSLY TO DO SO. SO YOU SEE LISA THIS IS MY HOPE FOR YOU TO EXPERIENCE, AND LIKE ME BRING SO MUCH JOY TO BE ABLE TO TELL YOU THIS, AND FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO TELL YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN YOUR SPECIAL EXPERIENCE OF LISA’S PARIS. I WISH YOU SUCH A HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AND PLEASE WATCH FOR THE MAIL AND A WALKING TOUR OF YOUR OWN IN THE GREAT WALKS OF PARIS. MUCH LOVE TO YOU ON THIS SPECIAL DAY, YOUR FRIEND NORMA
Petunia and Max…….my cottage cats
Many Friday nights, while waiting for guest to arrive, I would write poetry about my cats. The main and first character was Petunia. Naturally I called the many poems about her “The Perils of Petunia.” She was such an unusual cat and gave me so much to write about. The total of poems numbered nineteen.
Petunia, a British Shorthair, had the most captivating eyes. She was clumsy, bull headed, and “NO” wasn’t in her frame of reference! Her other side, that made her so endearing, she was loving and so affectionate. When looking into her powder blue eyes you knew that you couldn’t be upset. Although she was such an unresponsive divergent cat, she always managed to make you smile.
Petunia is an outside cat, she stumbles if she’s in.
She always finds the tallest spot to show where she has been.
If she should in her quest for height knock down a precious gem,
She startles, and then looks at you as if to say, “AHEM”.
Her most indignant attitude, her bumbling and her quest,
Has never seemed to comfort her cause seldom did she rest,
Her head upon a pillow or even on a chair, to feel the warmth that others feel
Has kept her unaware.
I had two suites in the Bed and Breakfast. One, The Victorian, was approximately 500 sq. ft. with separate entrance and private bath. Breakfast was served in the dining area of the suite. This one seemed to be a favorite of many of my guests. It was the most private.
Some Guest Comments:
“A step back in time….a fantasy to be experienced. Another dimension…..how marvelous, gracious and wonderful. Such peace for my soul. Thank you! Returning for me is a must”…..J.C.
“You’ve discovered the wonderful details that make a great Innkeeper….Martha Stewart would be so proud of you….we are delighted.” M.C.
“We’ve done the West Coast B&B circuit: yours is one of the finest! Enjoyed your lovely garden, great breakfast and comfortable suite…thank you.” H.F.
The Queen Anne was on the 2nd floor. There was a suite upstairs on the 3rd floor also, but it was opened only when couples were traveling together. The 2nd floor was around 600 sq. ft., and the main dining for the 2 suites. It had a private bath, kitchen (although that was for guests convenience only).
The 3rd floor had private bath, sitting area, and large bedroom and was 400 sq. ft. There was a private entrance and deck to enjoy.
Guest comments: “It was an enchanting visit. The magic began when we sat in that one chair…then we began to read that one book, and that one “little kitty” joined us. It was then, and we were certain of it that time stopped and the moment that followed, which was no moment, we experienced an endless romance.” B.H.
“Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away.” -Elbert Hubbard….thank you for giving to make our stay so enchanting.” M.B.
I guess what I am trying to show you is don’t be greedy. The 2 top suites could have been filled separately, but that return is not as great as making sure that your guests have privacy, and long to return. This will give you a business that guest will find desirable, and will schedule many times. The Winter season has more of a chance when attention to detail is key. Some came to hear the howling of the winds and found it a great time to read in the warmth of their suite. The bottom line is we all know that the best advertising and least expensive is ‘Word of Mouth’!
Attention to detail is key! For those of you who aspire, the guest books are so very important. Guests read them often and pattern their comments accordingly. Always an important item! I love to read mine and I’m sure you will too.
An area with 13 festivals, was clearly a draw for visitors. A local restaurant just steps away, that had been supported by James Beard, an author and chef, was exceptionally beneficial. The restaurant’s penchant for local mushrooms, seafood, and delectable bakery goods was the main attraction. It is no longer open, but when it was there was a flurry of excited patrons to to fill it throughout the Spring and Summer season. All of the happenings kept the Bed & Breakfast owners hopping. I guess I am giving this information to you who aspire or dream of having one someday, and to check the draw to your area. Depending where you are interested being the mountains, sea, prairie, country or urban areas, all of this plays an encompassing factor. I ran mine for a period of approximately 12 years with an easy access to entertainment of all types. I saw a B&B in an issue of Country Living years ago in the town of Poulsbo, Washington. As I said before the large company in which I had worked was not my calling. I was looking for a different venue.
The Awakening – As I look out my window on the world below, I view a sky of wonder birds, clouds, and hills asunder. Then next below Cypress trees and boy with barge in tow. The beauty of it makes me breathe and mirrors thoughts each day. To say “Why me”? “How could it be that I’ve been blessed this way.” I will accept your kindness of letting me reside, in such a panorama held near before my eyes.
The dictionary quotes that coterie is a group of persons who associate closely for social purposes. My explanation of Cottage Coterie is a group of people tied in some way to the past with a vision of warmth of the hearth, and a passion to re-create a vision that signifies their love of past times. To take a tattered, sometimes discarded item or home to be loved and brought to its pinnacle once more. To give new birth and inclusion, to be embraced. WELCOME to The Cottage Coterie, a place to be embraced by all.
Living in Seattle all of my life was comforting to me. A place where I knew I could never get lost. Sure, there were roads I had never traveled, but the main highways by-passed everything that was not of consequence. I worked at the largest company there, and the 7 to 3 grind was more than I could stand. For me Seattle was a lonely place with everyone rushing to multi-task their life away. I lived in a beautiful spot in Redondo Beach. Saltys was our local restaurant, and the Cessna Castle was grandiose to drive by every day elevated on the hillside by the water. Still I was lonely! My home was simple, not as impressive as many of the homes surrounding mine, but the view was amazing! The house had at one time been the first hunting lodge in that area many years before. The interior mostly made up of pine walls, and waxed end cut 2×4’s in a herringbone pattern had been placed lovingly for the floors. An additional lot with tall trees towered on one side. In my mind I pictured the hunters coming in with their bounty after a good days hunt in the woods. With all of that, what was the attraction that drew me elsewhere?