People make the difference

I’m mentioned before how wonderful it is for us, as bed and breakfast owners, to see our guests not only enjoying their meal, but enjoying each other around the breakfast table. What’s particularly wonderful to see is when people end up exchanging email or phone numbers in order to connect again, whether for business or pleasure. Not too long ago, we had two sets of guests who have each come out several times a year apiece, never at the same time. We have so enjoyed each couple, and were pretty certain they’d have a lot in common. So we sort of “set them up” over a glass of wine around the fireplace. Such fun!  Chris and I finally cut out to make ourselves dinner, but we heard them all laughing and talking in the living room for a long time afterwards.

I have to believe that such connections happen in places that feel like home. A bed and breakfast such as A Butler’s Manor fosters a vibe that I’d like to believe attracts people who also care about others. This weekend, we had a couple of women traveling on business, attending a big charity shopping extravanganza called Super Saturday whose proceeds benefit the fight against ovarian cancer. They had flown in from Florida, and alas, one of the gal’s luggage was lost in transit. The airline had promised delivery by 11:30 PM, and documents were taped on both front and back doors to make sure a delivery person wouldn’t fail to leave the bag due to any missing paperwork. But at midnight, when two other guests came home from their evening out, Victoria was still pacing the living room, frantic that none of her clothing had arrived.  Hearing the story,Wendy –who had never met Victoria before — volunteered to loan her a T-shirt to sleep in, and sat up chatting with her awhile to wait. The luggage still hadn’t arrived by the time Wendy went to bed.

When when we found the release paperwork still in place on the back door the next morning, Chris and I too were concerned. And when Victoria wasn’t down for breakfast by 9:45, Wendy and the entire breakfast table were worried: If the luggage hadn’t arrived, how was Victoria going to attend the benefit? She needed her clothes and makeup. Everyone was comparing lost luggage horror stories and waiting for the answer.

And then Victoria came out to the patio, dressed in a lovely, freshly-pressed summer dress and gave the waiting table a thumb’s up.

The whole table erupted in cheers.

I love that kind of interplay. It’s a simple little drama, grueling to go through; thankfully, your stress level drops immediately after the issue has been resolved. But it’s just kind of neat when suddenly you have a whole house of strangers pulling for you, offering to loan you supplies.

That’s the difference between staying in a B and B and staying in a hotel. (Okay, if it were someplace like the Pierre, perhaps you could summon a concierge to go shopping for you. Maybe.)

By the way, Super Saturday was deemed quite a success…lots of shopping and celebrity-sighting. See a video of it here.

But for us in our little world, the fact that Victoria got her luggage and was able to enjoy her weekend was equally a success.

A small world? Maybe. I guess it’s all in what makes up your perspective.

Quote of the Day:  “One thing I’ve learned: Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change. Kindness that catches us by surprise brings out the best in our natures.” — Bob Kerrey, former Governor, Senator


The Italians have a word for it, which is so much richer, just rolling off the tongue: Abbondanza. High summer, and that is the word that springs to mind when I look out over the garden. The roses are on their second round (despite the wet June!), the dahlias are prolific, the hydrangeas in full bloom, and the grasses are lush and green. The bunnies (drat them) are having a field day.

Abbondanza also describes the perfect beach day today, with temps in the high 70’s and a light breeze blowing offshore, and of course, everyone wanted to be there to enjoy those rays. When we picked up guests Linda and Greg from Cooper’s Beach, they said it couldn’t have been a better day…well, as long as you were cautious of the undertow in the high surf. Have I mentioned that our own Cooper’s Beach is ranked #4 most beautiful beach in the COUNTRY by Dr. Stephen Leatherman (a/k/a/ Dr. Beach)? We are graced with such abundance.

Abbondanza was not the word that sprang to mind this week when we visited Bamboo, a favorite restaurant of mine in East Hampton. Bamboo, open year round, is a lushly Asian-style restaurant that Chris and I tend to forget attracts a hip summer crowd. It has a good sushi bar (and free sushi at the bar on Thursdays, if you can get anywhere close to the bar), a fabulous multi-course prix fixe menu offered year round, and are locally famous for their hefty watermelon martinis. We visited on a Tuesday, and it was crowded. Oh yeah — it’s July! For a change, we skipped the prix fixe menu and Chris started with crabcakes while I had a spicy crunchy yellowtail roll. One of their entrees is a mouthwatering black cod miso, which I love so much I invariably pass up the equally scrumptious Mongolian sliced beef (which Chris orders, thankfully, so I get to have a taste). But when the entree came, I was surprised: It was the smallest portion of cod I have ever seen…perhaps 4″ long by 1-3/4″ wide by 2″ high. What are these, Summer portions? So that we all keep our bathing suit figures? Hmmmf.
I can hardly believe it’s already August, the “highest” of High Season. In addition to the crowds at the beaches, the villages are thronged with shoppers and diners. We try to find for our guests here at A Butler’s Manor an abundance of whatever combination of sun, water, activity, great food, and great shopping that will make their visit especially relaxing and memorable. Some of our guests have rented a boat in Montauk, others are hiking over on Shelter Island, another pair are attending “Super Saturday,” the shopping extravanganza to benefit ovarian cancer, while still others are out enjoying the pool. The last is more my style. Maybe I can join them…
Quote of the Day: When you are grateful, fear disapperas and abundance appears. —Anthony Robbins
Wishing you abbondanza!!