For months we have waited in anticipation for Perigee to open right across the street from our Inn and two weeks ago Dawn de Laroche, a local successful caterer, proudly opened her tasteful establishment. It has received only positive reviews from all of our guests who dined there this past weekend…….”comfortable ambience, very attentive service, loved the lighting, perfect choice of music and most importantly “ great food!”. We too snuck over twice and personally speaking the potato leek soup was creamy and very tasty, the calamari light and crispy, the balsamic glaze on the rib eye steak unique, and the beer battered haddock in the fish and chips the best I have had in quite some time. We are very anxious to return and since it is literally a two minute walk it will surely be often!
We created a lengthy “to do” list when we purchased the inn 6 months ago. At the top of the list was to make sure all 9 of our guest rooms had either a gas or electric fireplace installed by the time the leaves fell in autumn. We are happy to report we have ticked it off our list! ALL of our rooms now are toasty warm and cozy with a fireplace that is clean, efficient and perfect for guests with allergies. With the flick of a switch, the fireplace turns on instantly. We have received only positive comments from our guests who are content and cozy in their rooms where they can happily control their own heat and enjoy the ambiance at the same time.
The world continues to be so so small at times. We have had numerous guests from 12 different countries since we bought the inn 5 months ago, but we are always very excited when we have guests from any of the four countries [Peru, Venezuela, the Netherlands and Switzerland] in which we have lived and worked. In the past month to our delight, we have had different sets of Swiss visitors. Just this weekend, we had a lovely young couple, Stephan and Martina, who actually work in Basel, our home for three years. What fun it was to chat with them about our “Swiss life”. Then a few weeks ago, Enrique and Mara, from the Ticino area of the country, stayed with us and after chatting realized we have a mutual Swiss friend in Lugano! The crossed paths of those in our lives certainly is magical.
After a few frustrating moments with confusing directions [!], Brian and our son Justin finally were able to set up my new greenhouse. I laugh that I did not have a playhouse as a child so now I finally do! Currently, I have cool weather crops-arugula, radishes, Swiss chard and leaf lettuces all coming up nicely. Many of my herbs have been transplanted to their “new home” so I hope to continue using fresh chives, parsley and rosemary in breakfast recipes. Also, some of my tender annuals continue to blossom in this cozy warm spot.
My numerous visits to the Berkshire Botanical Gardens this summer helped to educate me on what it takes to be a “four season gardener”!! One of the many helpful employees at the garden recommend I read Eliot Coleman’s FOUR SEASON HARVEST, which has taught me how we can successfully use the sun to raise a wide variety of traditional winter veggies without supplementary heat [in plastic covered greenhouses]………..now we are hoping for that winter sun!!
Ahhhh, fall is upon us and the colors across the street from the Federal House on Beartown Mountain are spectacular! So much to do in the area this weekend…….Berkshire Botanical Gardens Harvest Festival, the “County Fair” at Hancock Shaker Village and of course apple picking! We spent a wonderful afternoon last weekend at Windy Hills Farm picking a variety that ended up in a delicious apple cobbler for breakfast the next morning! We so enjoy being able to use local in season produce in our meals….today it was roasted plums with honey, yogurt and chopped pecans which received rave reviews from our house full of guests!
Check out the Wednesday August 5 edition of the NYC Times [page C1] for a glowing review of THE PRISONER OF SECOND AVENUE playing until August 9 at the Berkshire Theater Festival just 5 minutes from our Inn. Brian and I were able to get over to see the show this past Monday and it was truly a delight. Stephen De Rosa, who happened to stop here the other night hoping to book a room for his mum who was coming in from the city to view the show, was outstanding “with his tortured eyes and Groucho-worthy comic inflections”. Veanne Cox, whom I recognized [as soon as she entered the stage] from her Seinfeld appearances, with her brittle comic style was a perfect match for Stephen’s character. The BTF has added another performance on Sunday August 9………not to be missed!
It has been a busy week at the Inn with Tony Bennett in town……rave reviews from our guests who saw him at Tanglewood Tuesday night. Tony is truly a legend and one truly cannot see him too many times in concert.
The Capitol Steps are always a delight. We were able to get away to Cranwell Thursday night and once again enjoy the political satire and their odd way of looking at the news. As they declare “When they hear of a scandal, they don’t think about whether it is good or bad for the country. Their two questions are -is it funny and what rhymes with it?”
Last weekend, we had numerous guests attend the World Premier of Orbo Novo performed by the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet at Jacob’s Pillow. Their excitement upon their return to the inn was contagious. After listening to their rave reviews, I was able to nab a ticket for the Sunday afternoon [and final] performance [thank you Brian for "holding down the fort" ] and was so thrilled I could attend. In my fourth row seat, I was spellbound. Choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, the dance incorporates the words of Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor from her original work MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, where she expresses her experience of having a stroke. The live music composed by Szymon Brzoska, played by the Mosiac String Quartet who are based in NYC and perform extensively for dance, only added to this unusual and powerful piece. It is a “must see”!
I might add we were thrilled to have Margaret Selby, CAMI Spectrum LLC, who did all the booking for the performace, as our guest at the Inn!
Federal House Inn
Route 102, P.O. Box 248, South Lee, Massachusetts 01260
Brian & Kolleen Weinrich – Innkeepers
How wonderful the past two weekends to have a full house and it has been exciting to hear our guests’ reviews of Prarie Home Companion at Tanglewood [Thank you Arlo for your guest appearance!] and Diane Krall’s exceptional 4th of July “dry” concert! After all the rain, everyone was worried of a very wet evening but Mother Nature cooperated.
Our guests continue to be such a delight and a joy to meet. We have had folks from Germany and the UK in the past week as well as numerous towns in New England and San Francisco.
One of our guests’ favorite pastimes is just tooling around the Tanglewood grounds during the afternoon listening to the BSO practice and taking in the gorgeous surroundings…..all free of charge!
Guests this week who have attended the EINSTEIN PROJECT have given it raves reviews [playing at the Berkshire Theater Festival until July 18 which is ideally located 3 minutes from the Inn].
The Georgia O’Keefe exhibit at The Clark in Williamston also has been popular and we hope to view it ourselves before its closing in September.
The Berkshire Bontanical Gardens continues to thrill all who visit. “Great Gardens of the Berkshires” tours are sure to delight. In July one can visit “Under the Hemlocks” on July 10
and “Good Dogs FArm” on July 24.
The sun, the sun where is the sun?! Since we have only lived in the Berkshires for 3 months, we are beginning to wonder but the locals assure us this is VERY unusual and we of course do believe them…….we think! Our garden continues to thrive with the wet weather but many of the annuals are just not willing to produce new blossoms without some warmth. We so enjoy using the 12 different herbs we grow in our morning breakfasts. Basil is the only one which is crying for some sun. We now have had 2 straight day of lovely sunshine………..hooray!
Brian and I have owned the Inn now for 11 weeks and each Wednesday we “celebrate” another “birthday”. My sister, Aimee, shared a perfect analogy for being a new innkeeper….. it is like giving birth to a first child…..interrupted days, not having time to get a haircut, being on a steep learning curve, waking up in the middle of the night worried we will run out of baked French toast at breakfast, etc. and most importantly, just like the love for a new child, we have fallen in LOVE with innkeeping!
The best part is truly the guests. In our short time we have owned the Federal House Inn, we have had such wonderful people walk thru our door. Amazingly, we have had guests from eight countries in just the two months we have owned the Inn…..China, Germany, Rwanda, France, England, India, Nigeria and Brazil. We so enjoy meeting new people from all walks of life. That is the reason we enjoyed working in international schools overseas for 10 years………..the people, the people, the people. Our inn truly feels like “home” to us.