Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ahh, Late Spring, There You Go...

This was our first Spring here at The Lancaster.  We knew there would be tulips and daffodils galore in the garden ready to show their proud faces after such a long winter.  We saw them a little last May before we moved in. But we were most anxious about just where they would begin to peek out.  Those slumbering bulbs not wishing to be disturbed with other pesky plantings (to be sure, some of them were ornery after our planting of mums last fall.)

But peek out they did, and what a show, but they lasted such a short time.  You'd think they would hang around a bit longer after being so bored and sleepy all winter.  And to be honest, we were so happy to exclaim with guests how grand they were.  We can only thank the hearty soul, who many decades ago, long before the house became a B&B, spent such time bent over digging in Lancaster's great soil.

Graciously, other plants, whose names I am still learning, and some I may never know, are following suit.  The hundred year-old lilacs (they became trees instead of bushes long ago) showed their fragrant pompadours just after.  

And so many others colors throughout the neighborhood. Flowering Japanese Magnolias in our lovely neighbor Kimberly's yard, those pink puffy trees I don't know the name of, and the largest Forsythia bush ever in the history of mankind.  

Somehow though, at dusk, in back of the main house, there was a magic we fell in love with.

The excerpt below from the poem "The Enkindled Spring", by the great British novelist and poet D. H. Lawrence, may say it best, at least from an innkeepers view, all the different flowers stopping by like so many guests, to share their grand faces for just a little while.

"I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, Faces of people streaming across my gaze." - See more at:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The (Not Very) Off-Season

Wow.  So that's what its like to run a bed and breakfast!  Its been exactly 9 months since Brad and I moved into the Inn, and I wrote the last post.  Time flies when you're washing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, dusting, weeding, raking, pruning, planting, and painting.  And then there's the emails, the phone calls, the booking, and all manner of marketing:  Facebook, Twitter, various B&B listing sights; all while rebranding a business formerly known as O'Flaherty's Dingeldein House for the last 25 years.

We never doubted that "The Lancaster" as a new name for the inn would serve us well, but we were not aware of the due diligence it would require.  Changing over utilities - including Wi-Fi providers (such another story!), leaving cable behind and installing whole-house satellite TV, updating old internet listings and creating new ones.

Then there's the little dance we do with a 100 year-old house.  "Hey, did you turn down the thermostat?"  "Not me.  Hey, the water won't get warm!"  And down to the basement we go to look at the furnace so it can tell us to call the heating and plumbing man.  Or maybe during breakfast, the first floor lights go out.  Come to find out, a certain plug in a certain room can't handle the power of a certain hairdryer.  Down to the basement.  Which box?  That one way back there under the kitchen?  There it is!  And lights are back on at breakfast.

But none of this is to say we are bothered or exasperated.  We love doing this so much and are surprised we hadn't made the leap long before.  Innkeeping is simply an all-encompassing profession.  And it is a profession.  There are standards we gratefully adhere to.  And there are nuances necessary that make this profession an art.  And blogging became abstract!  But really, what a great way to let our raison d'etre (reason for being, for those who took Spanish instead) our once and future guests, whom we cherish, know what and why we do what we do.

And so now, since I've checked in with the backstory, its time to keep you all up to date with the amazing goings-on in our adopted new city, Lancaster, PA.  There's so much to see and do and learn and taste and feel here.  Lancaster is such a funny little microcosm, with fine art, theatre, dining, music, ideas, venues, and all walks of life.  Farmers, artists, preps and punks.  Oenophiles, and Locavores.  Spritualists and Politicos.  Oh, and this town really likes beer!  So, check in with us to see what's happening in Lancaster and the county, and you'll see what we've all been up to and what's coming up so you can join in too!

And now for a little Then and Now:

Monday, May 28, 2012

New Innkeepers, New Life, A Fine Old House

A little excited.  A little nervous.  Okay, those sentences are complete understatements.  As we, Brad Loman and Keith Jenkins (that's me) begin our new lives as innkeepers, we realize that there are those that came before us, stewards of this fine old house, hosts of interesting travelers from all walks of life.  We want to do it right, maybe even do great, and put a new spin on things as this bed & breakfast enters its second quarter century, and the house itself enters its second full century.  Since we reopen on June 1st, after  a little bit of hair pulling and back breaking, and warm feelings towards our new old home, we've decided to let that day be The Lancaster's birthday.

Built in 1912 for members of the Armstrong family, this summer sees the close of it's first hundred years.  Wow.  Kids grew up here, kids came home from college here, brides and grooms left in love from here.  Grandparents grew older here, and moms and dads took care of a good house here.  Maybe somewhere in there, parties were hosted, guests discussed the Titanic, the wars, and Kennedy.  I like to think that Lancaster native and modernist painter Charles Demuth visited here once or twice in the early days.  Demuth in my house!

Any old house needs a lot of work and care and love.  Restoring, redecorating, reinventing an inn as a new innkeeper is nothing but a labour of love (I write these words at 2:30 am; there couldn't be any other reason).  So, to share that experience with guests who knew the house at it was, and future guests (friends) who may come to know it well, and even the passerby who maybe spent a childhood here or relaxed here once with drinks and friends, I would like to record the changes - hopefully artful and deserved - that Brad and I, as new innkeepers, give to this fine old house.

Lets's see what happens!

The wallpaper comes down.  And the walls exhale.

And look who was there to greet us!  Mr. Keeports reaching out from 1916.
Previous owner, Dave Blaich, found Mr. Keeports' John Hancock on an upstairs bedroom wall too.

Come back and see what new life comes to this house, your home-away-from home,
The Lancaster, a Bed and Breakfast.