Sunday, December 7, 2008

The "Off" Season

While reading an article about Adirondack blogs this week. I found this quote interesting ... "The most common genre of personal Adirondack blogs is city-person-adjusts-to-mountain-life. A lot of these start strong and then abruptly stop, leaving you to wonder if city person adjusted, returned to city or fell off cliff."
Oops ... guilty!!! I know that I haven't blogged in awhile (a fact that some of you have been pointing that out!) but let me assure you that we're adjusting, we haven't returned to the city or fallen off any cliffs. In truth, a lot of what we've been up to lately is rather ... normal.
But I'll share it anyway.

We hosted a steady stream of guests through the first weekend in November ... and then on weekends through November. In fact, this weekend is the first in 21 weeks that we have not had anyone here but us! We've been enjoying the change of pace and discovering some really great things about a "no guest" weekend:

* sleeping INNNN!!!!!
* staying in your pj's until noon
* leaving your stuff laying around - just because you can
* sitting on the comfy livingroom furniture whenever you feel like it
* yelling up the stairs, "Come for dinner!"
* making lots of dirt and noise during renovations
* getting caught up on the laundry
* no room service duties
* no interruptions during dinner
* time for non-essentials like updating blogs
* staying up late because you can sleep in

One of the not-so-great things about a "no guest" weekend .... cereal for breakfast! Oh well - you can't have it all.
So ... what have we been up to in the last month and a half? We have been experiencing the "off" season here in Keene Valley - the lull between the fall foliage and the ski season. It's a time to rest, to get caught up on things that fall through the cracks during the busy days, and to prepare for the coming season.

We have enjoyed visiting with family ...
Wayne and his mom relive one of her favorite childhood memories ... sitting on a warm radiator!

My sister, Cinda, her husband, Bill, and son, Kenton, came for "work" weekend. It wasn't all work though ... we enjoyed an early Christmas by the fire.

The crisp cool days of fall reminded us of a stark reality ... heating this big house! There are 33 windows in this place and they are all old single-paned and leaky.

Wayne's dad helped prepare the 10 storm windows we found in the shed.

Meanwhile, Wayne has been tackling the other 23 windows one by one - putting on weatherstripping and in areas that don't show, covering them with plastic.

More winter prep ... this little shed used to be an ice house. We have plans to renovate it into a "friends and family" cottage so y'all can come and visit! The roof needs to be replaced, so the guys covered it to protect the inside for the winter. My nephew, Kenton, drew the short straw and had to climb up on the makeshift scaffolding to nail down the tarp. (This is what you do when your ladder is too short!)

Fewer guests have allowed more freedom for noisy playdates with friends. Sodie enjoyed making soft pretzels with her pals, Maddy and Evella.

The quieter nights have allowed us to have more family time. This is the final gameboard from our first ever family Scrabble game! (Hey I know the words are small ... but trust me, it took a LONG time to play this game!)

Thanksgiving Day ....

Anyone who knows us well knows Wayne's great love for snow! We have been looking forward to an almost guaranteed white Christmas. But we got a little bonus along the way ...

... a white Thanksgiving!

It was a little strange to have Thanksgiving with just the four of us. We're used to being surrounded by family and friends. But we had a good day decorating, cooking, eating, playing games and watching a family movie.

As we celebrated our first major holiday in our new home, we truly have much to be thankful for. A year ago, this dream was just that ... a dream. Today this is our life ... and it is good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events . . . and God's Grace!

Over the past few weeks, we've had the distinct sensation of living in an ever-evolving drama. And as in every good drama, there have to be moments of danger, fire, near-tragedy . . .

Well - maybe I'm being a little overly-dramatic, but as it is the season for chills and thrills, I thought I'd share a few of our recent adventures.

Adventure 1

About 2 months ago, my dear hubby decided that his work car (the white Honda) was no longer reliable enough for him to drive to work. Meaning that it was somehow reliable enough for ME to drive around town in! I had some mis-givings about this line of thinking, but since town is only 1 1/2 miles away, I figured I could walk myself out of any situation I might encounter.

This arrangement worked well for a few weeks. Oh - I lost the muffler one day in a glorious blaze of rusted parts flying along the road behind me. But it was just a muffler. Not necessary for car functionality. (Of course, now the townsfolk could hear me coming from 1 1/2 miles away!)

Then one day, as I attempted to back the car out of its parking spot, it began a clanking/grinding sound that sent a shiver down my spine. This cannot be good I thought. But because my daughters were just dying to run around on a soccer field (I knew they were dying by the wails from the backseat.), I again attempted to back up.

At this point, the faithful old car gave a mighty bang and fell in upon itself. Officially, the big important thing that holds your wheels and car frame together rusted through. To me, it seemed more like the car just collapsed in weariness. It had served us well (thanks again, Chuck & Barb) but apparently the mountains were too much for it at its age. At any rate, this is what it looked like:

Now this was a truly unfortunate event . . . except that in every cloud there is a silver lining. In this particular cloud, Wayne found a black and silver lining. This is what it looked like:

I now have my van back and Wayne is enjoying his new work wheels. (Ready to plow snow!) I am so thankful that the good old car fell apart in our driveway and not a few minutes later at 55 mph on Route 73! Thank you, God!

Adventure 2

Adventure 2 was truly a near disaster. My dad was visiting for a week and we had decided to tackle painting the front porch. Breakfast was finished, dad was already outside prepping and I was heading out the door when the phone rang.

Now I'm not one who can sit still while on the phone. I wander all about while I talk and on this day, my wanderings took me up the stairs. As I neared the top of the stairs, I smelled an awful burning smell. I noticed that CorrieAnne had left her room light on, so I investigated there first. Nothing looked amiss, but the smell was stronger.

I followed it down the hallway to the bathroom where I heard the sound of our little electric heater running. The door stood slightly ajar and the smell was now over-powering.

The scene that lay before me chilled my blood quicker than a bathroom on a cold Adirondack morning.

The girls had left the heater running when they left for school. The bathroom door was right up against the heater, trapping all of the heat and forcing it down to the floor. The burning smell was the linoleum literally melting and smoking. And right above the whole scene were the towels hanging on the towel rack - just inches from the heater.

I can only imagine what would have happened if the phone hadn't rung when it did. In another 10 seconds, I would have been out on the porch with my dad. Neither of us would have known what was happening until the whole upstairs was on fire.

We escaped with only an unsightly burnt mark on the linoleum - a daily reminder of how blessed we are. Thank you, God!

Adventure 3

To continue the fire theme . . . the weather has turned colder here in the North County, so we are now lighting fires in the fireplaces for our guests in the evenings. We also have a beautiful wall sconce that holds 9 tealights.

Last week, we had a wonderful woman staying with us. She loved to spend her evenings by the fire, so we got her all set up and then went out to the kitchen to play a game of Apples to Apples with the family.

Part way through the game, Wayne remarked about how cozy the livingroom had looked. I got a sudden urge to "spy" through the french doors and see how our guest was doing. Really, I wanted to see the livingroom and enjoy the scene.

What I saw . . . you guessed it . . . sparked a cry of horror! One of the tealights in the wall sconce had turned into a blow torch! I'm not exaggerating (this time, honest, I'm not!) when I say that the flames were shooting almost 2 feet up the wall.

What cracked me up later was that our guest was sitting there, feet propped up, nose buried in a book while right beside her, the wall was roaring with flames!

I burst unceremoniously through the french doors and ran across the room. The unruly tealight was just about the height of my mouth, so I tried to blow it out. However, since the flames were shooting so much higher, I just succeeded in blowing the flames in several directions . . . one of which was toward me.

I blew again and again - each time harder. With a final mighty puff, the blazing tea light sort of popped and flipped in its holder sending a shower of hot wax and flames right into my face.

By this time, Wayne had arrived on the scene (having seen me take off running, I guess his curiosity kicked in) and managed to put the thing out.

Somehow, the wall emerged unscathed. My face, on the other hand, bore several burn marks for a few days.

The guest . . . she just went back to reading her book. Must have been a good one - I should have gotten the title!

Once again, thank you, God!

We've had a few other unfortunate events lately - like running out of fuel oil two days before it was due to be delivered (A cold shower in a cold bathroom is a truly chilling experience!), a missing washcloth from one of the guest towel sets (Augh!), the bug that drowned in the coffee creamer and the discovery of a family of mice in our linen closet . . . but they can't hold a candle (bad analogy!) to the former events.

The moral of this story is . . . I'm not sure. But I'm sure there is one. While I'm thinking of it, never leave a burning candle unattended. Even an innocent little tealight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fabulous Fall Foliage

We just came experienced our first fall foliage season here in Keene Valley . . . there really are no words to describe it! Because of a very wet summer, the colors were exceptionally brilliant. The only "downside" was that when leaves were at peak color, it was rainy and cloudy for a week - making it hard to get good pictures.

These photos are a combination of mine and some my friend, Valerie, took while she was here. (Hers are the professional looking ones!) Although the leaves were a little past peak, I think you'll get the idea of how stunning the foliage was. More than once while driving, we just pulled off the road and marveled (and took pictures!).

Hey - all you skiers! This is Whiteface Mountain . . . highest vertical drop in the east. The clouds were so low that day that you could only see the bottom of the mountain. But the leaf color was stunning.

This is my favorite picture of the whole season. If only I could put sound effects with it so you could hear the river babble.

This is the Ausable River - right across the road from our house. Me and the best Daddy a girl could ever have!

There is a huge mountain right behind that tree. Honest! Even with the fog, it was still a beautiful day - almost ethereal.

This is our favorite market stand . . . our friends, Doug and Cheryl, live at Maistar Farm and provide the valley with beautiful organic produce.

I love the multi-colored carpet in the woods. I found myself looking down with as much delight as I looked up.

I finally made it to the top of Snow Mountain (the mountain right behind our house)

and this is what I saw!

Here's where God spilled His paint bucket!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hiking Pitchoff Mountain

It's hard to believe it's been a month since I've blogged. Even harder to believe is that today is exactly SIX MONTHS since our moving truck pulled away from the little cottage in New Cumberland, PA. It's been a wild, wonderful ride - unpacking, getting settled, renovating and juggling a new job, new business, new school and family life!

But . . . lest you think that it's all work and no play, I wanted to share a hiking experience of which I am very proud!

It all began when our friend, Jane, was visiting from Pennsylvania. Wayne headed off to work leaving us and the girls to our own devices. We decided to go for a hike since that's what you do in Keene Valley! Of course, being new and having spent most of the last six months with my nose in a paint bucket, I wasn't sure where to suggest we hike.

Enter: the handy "Kids on the Trail" guidebook that describes 62 Adirondack trails that are appropriate for children. (My ulterior motive for buying this book was the thought: If a kid can do it, I probably can.)

We leafed through the book looking for the perfect trail for our timeframe and skill level. One description promised "a short and mostly gentle hike to a good picnic spot." We agreed we wanted something a bit more challenging. Several others sounded somewhat ordinary. Then one caught our eye. The description read, "Ease of access, a short trail, fine views and interesting balanced rocks all contribute to its popularity."

We had found our mountain - Pitchoff! (Perhaps the name should have served as a warning?!)

After packing a picnic lunch, we set off, driving up scenic Route 73 and parking at the upper end of the Cascade Lakes. Our hiking destination? The mountain top that you see in the background - right at the tippy top where two large rocks are balanced.

A close-up of the balanced rocks. If you look closely you'll see them at the top left of the mountain. And all the rocks below them? More about that in a minute!

The trailhead is located right on Route 73 and the trail begins with a series of steep steps that literally disappear up into the woods.

The trail was steep right from the beginning. Apparently painting and changing bed linens doesn't do a lot for the cardiovascular system. I couldn't let Jane and the girls down, so I squared my shoulders and plunged ahead up - trying to keep up a pleasant chatter between huffs and puffs.

I quickly learned that the people who write trail guide books have completely different meanings for the words they use - like the words "easy" and "trail" for example!

This was the first glimpse we had of the views that awaited us.

Now we were high enough to look down on Cascade Lakes where we had parked our car. We realized that we had climbed quite a bit!

Looking across to Cascade Mountain (one of the 46 High Peaks), we saw a beautiful waterfall cascading down the mountain. The woods were quiet enough that we could hear the water gushing clear over on our mountain.

Remember how this trail was chosen from the book for kids? Well - even the kids got a little tired climbing over the rocks.

No - we weren't lost in the woods. This is actually the trail!

The guidebook had mentioned "several steep pitches." I think I would have described it differently. Our last half hour was spent climbing one rock after another - sometimes pulling ourselves up by tree roots and will power!

By this point, Jane and I had given up on conversation. We had come far enough that we couldn't quit. But sometimes looking up the trail was quite daunting.

We did share a good laugh remembering that we had passed on the "short and mostly gentle hike to a good picnic spot" hike.

Now you may think I'm whining a bit (I'm just reliving it as I'm typing this) but those of you who know me know that this was quite a feat for this unathletic lady. More than once I thought, "I wish Wayne could see this!"

Along the way were stunning views (otherwise known as great excuses to stop hiking and take pictures).

. . . and tiny treasures - low growing bushes laden with wild blueberries (otherwise known as great excuses to stop hiking and snack).

At last we reached our destination - a large flat lookout spot. The clouds had begun to move in, but we still enjoyed an almost 180 degree view of the High Peaks region.

Remember the two balanced rocks? This is what they look like up top! It looks like a good push would send them plunging off the cliff. Of course, Sodie had to try her muscles against them!

This was the view toward Lake Placid. As usual, there is no way a camera can do it justice. You just have to climb up and see it for yourself.

A turkey and cheese sandwich never tasted so good! We spent about 45 minutes up top - eating and recovering. We tried not to think about the fact that we now had to go DOWN over all those rocks!

Our happy smiles are due to the comradery and sense of accomplishment that come from conquering a mountain together!

While Jane and I relaxed, Sodie and CorrieAnne were busy making money. A nice couple from Boston spotted our blueberries and "hired" the girls to pick some for them. Their happy smiles are due to the $3 they each earned for their efforts.

We did make it down the mountain before it rained.
And the morning after?

In addition to sore muscles, we had . . . wild blueberry muffins!

Milestones and Memories

Today is exactly two months since our first paying guests arrived. In these last eight weeks, we've seen 44 guests and 17 friends and family pass through our doors! We have welcomed each one as "royalty" and have enjoyed preparing their rooms and creating an atmosphere where they could relax and reconnect with the people and things they love. In addition, we have experienced some wonderful moments learning to know and to love our small town and its people.

Here are some of our favorite memories from the past two months:

* The first time I pulled in the driveway and saw strangers sitting on the porch - exciting but weird!

* Our first "walk-ins" - only a half hour after we put up our new sign

* Getting the first reservation check in the mail!!!

* Cotton candy that the girls can eat! No artificial colors in this candy. . . it's pure spun maple sugar!

* The first time we had to tell someone "Sorry, we're full."

* Our first kitchen crisis - we ran out of maple syrup!!

* Getting to know our summer neighbors The girls have loved playing with Jake and Annie on their "homemade" see saw.

* Meeting guests from all over the world - we've now hosted people from Switzerland, Canada and Holland as well as Americans who were born in Russia, Germany, Belize and Puerto Rico. Just yesterday, our website had hits from Mongolia, Canada, France, Israel, Australia, Switzerland and Spain!

* Critters and creatures of the woods. These little salamanders appear after it rains . . . which has been just about every day.

* The first "they-didn't-cover-this-in-the-B&B-book" moment - guests got into a 45 minute fight at the breakfast table!

* Saturday night campfires - we got to introduce a family from Holland to their first S'mores

* Simple pleasures like a line full fresh-smelling laundry

* Hearing our guests' stories of their adventures from climbing Mt Marcy to a four-day canoe trip

* Family adventures like hiking to Roaring Brook Falls

* The first "Mama-said-there'd-be-days-like-this" day - a toilet broke while Wayne was at work, we found pen marks on one of our $200 comforters, a guest tried to open their window and the air conditioner fell out and we learned that our van needs $1000 of repairs. Ugh!

* The "secret" swimming hole. There's nothing as exhiliarating as a jump into an ice-cold mountain river!!

* The cool summer temperatures - we haven't hit 90 degrees yet!!

* Sharing the beauty of our new world with people we love . . . this is our friend, Josh, having a "mountain top" experience!

Thank you to all of you who have encouraged and prayed for us on this journey. Our adventure is still in the infant stages, but we are blessed and grateful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Day in the Life of a Brand-New Inn Keeper!

This past weekend was our first "no vacancy" weekend! Between Thursday afternoon and Tuesday morning, we had four different couples come through our home. They were all delightful - each with their own unique personalities and rhythms. We found great joy in watching them enjoy the place we have created. One "giggle" moment came when we overheard a guest flip out of the hammock and onto the porch floor the other day! (Fortunately he laughed too.)

Following our full weekend, I thought you might enjoy seeing what a day in the life of an inn-keeper is like - at least at this stage of the game:

10:00 pm - The day actually begins the night before. I got a late start on making Cinnamon-Raisin Bread and just at the point to roll it out, our last guests check in. By the time I show them to their room and make "small talk," a half hour has passed. I invite the woman into the kitchen to continue visiting while I roll out the bread and sprinkle it with cinnamon and sugar. It still has to raise another hour before I can bake it.

11:00 pm - The bread is in the oven. We crawl in bed and set the alarm on Wayne's cell phone to wake us up in time to take it out.

11:45 pm - Wayne crawls out of bed and retrieves the bread, butters the top and sits it back in the oven to cool overnight.

5:30 am - We are jolted awake by a crazy tune on Wayne's cell phone alarm. You may wonder why we're using his cell phone . . . we had to donate our alarm clock to the second guest room for the weekend!

5:40 am - We hear a car pull out of the driveway. One of our guests is climbing Mt. Marcy (the tallest high peak) today and is getting an early start.

5:45 am - Wayne heads downstairs to brew coffee for a guest who requested coffee at 6 am. I roll back over for another hour of sleep.

6:45 am - I am up and getting dressed. Mentally I review the menu for the morning. Today we are serving fruit and yogurt parfaits, omelets with fresh salsa, sausage and of course the cinnamon raisin bread which is baked to golden perfection.

7:30 am - The parfaits are in the refrigerator, the table is set and we are in that frustrating "waiting" time where we've prepared as much as we can. The rest of the food has to be done all in the last 10 minutes.

7:50 am - The craziness begins. Omelets and sausage are on the stove. I set out water, juice and creamer, sprinkle Maple granola on top of the parfaits and warm the bread in the toaster oven.

7:59 am - The guests are assembled in the livingroom. I invite them into the diningroom and serve the parfaits. Meanwhile, Wayne flips the last omelet.

8:05 am - We deliver the plates - we've decided to try making up the plates this weekend instead of family style. The guests seem appreciative of the effort we've made at "presentation."

8:40 am - The girls are peeking out of the pantry door. "Can we eat yet?" "Almost." The guests linger around the table discussing their plans for the day as Wayne and I begin to clear their dishes.

9:00 am - The guests have all headed off into the woods the girls happily enjoy the leftovers. Over the past weeks, Sodie has said repeatedly, "I love living in a Bed and Breakfast." Her comment usually comes over a plate of food! (Note - they are eating at our "family" table in the kitchen. I don't have laundry hanging outside the windows where the guests sit!)

9:30 am - The dishwasher is loaded and running. Everyone piles in the car and we head into town to deposit Wayne's paycheck. (The banks are always closed by the time he gets home from work.)

9:45 am - We stop at a yard sale on the edge of town. The man is selling an almost brand-new mini-fridge. It would be perfect for the upstairs hallway and would enable guests to refrigerate leftovers and chill beverages. We decide to buy it.

While Wayne loads the refrigerator into the back of the van, I speak to the man who we have heard is a local artist. I ask him if he would be interested in displaying any artwork at the Snow Goose. I have a two-fold reason for asking. 1) I want to celebrate and support local artists. 2) Our walls are bare!

The man is very interested. He shows us some prints and then offers for us to take a look at an original painting. We drive down the road to his home where he shows us a large painting of Baxter Mountain - a true Keene Valley scene. It will be perfect for our livingroom. I am thrilled when he says we can take it right off his wall!

11:00 am - We return home to find a guest reading in the hammock. She watches as we carry in the mini-fridge and painting. I tell her what I tell all the guests, "We are a work in progress. Things keep improving - even while you stay!"

11:15 am - The picture is hung and completes the livingroom beautifully. I can't believe we have a $2400 piece of art hanging on our wall - for free!

(Sorry the picture is blurry)

11:45 pm - We decide that we need lunch before tackling "room service."

12 :30 pm - Wayne and I head to the guest rooms. We have been blessed so far with extremely neat guests. Both couples have made their beds! We straighten, clean the bathroom, empty trash and run the sweeper. Last week, I placed a sign in both bathrooms indicating that a "towel on the rack means I'll use it again" and a "towel on the floor means please exchange." Since I posted the signs, no one has left a towel on the floor - saving tremendously on laundry.

Sodie and CorrieAnne sweep the front porch and wipe the Adirondack chairs. They each earn $1 which goes into their jar. At the end of the summer, they'll have a nice amount to spend on a trip to the city.

1:15 pm - Sodie comes running inside yelling, "Somebody just pulled in!" (We get pretty excited about customers around here!) I hurry downstairs. It is a woman who was scheduled to stay with us this weekend. She was a participant in Ironman - unfortunately she fell and broke her elbow during training last week. She is stopping in to say "hi" and see the Snow Goose. I give her the limited tour - can't show the guest rooms. She loves the place and books two nights for next year's Ironman. This is our first "year-in-advance" booking!

2:00 pm - We are terribly slow with this room service thing! I guess it takes awhile to develop a system. Wayne finishes vacuuming the livingroom while I cut, wrap and label locally made honey soap to put in the guest rooms.

2:15 pm - I check email and respond to a few inquiries. Unfortunately, most of them want rooms for tonight. Every place of lodging is full - due to Ironman. 2,000 athletes and their families and friends have descended upon the greater Lake Placid area. Revenue for this weekend will exceed $7 million. I'm happy to report that we've been blessed with a small portion of that!

3:00 pm - We decide to head back into town. The school is hosting a photography exhibit and we are hoping to snag a few more pieces of art for the walls. One of our guests rides along. The exhibit has some beautiful photos, but none of the artists are available to speak with. We chat with the photo-show's organizers. They are quite enthusiastic when we tell them about our B&B theme: Celebrating Adirondack Arts.

On the way home, we stop at the Valley Grocer to pick up some S'More fixings. We're planning to have a bonfire this evening and have invited our guests to join us.

4:30 pm - I must hurry! We have been invited to a potluck with several Keene Valley families. Even though I am told most of the families are vegetarian, I am making lasagna - simply because that's what I have ingredients for. I have just enough time to get it in the oven. Wayne heads outside to mow the grass around the firepit area.

5:00 pm - The lasagna is in the oven. One of our guests is returning from a dip in the Ausable River. She and I strike up a conversation as she dries off on the porch. She asks me about my writing and before I know it, we're having a lovely conversation about destiny and the greater purpose for life. She is interested in our website and more information about Destiny Ventures. I know I should be writing - have an article due tomorrow - but inspiring others to live with purpose is part of my mission in life.

5:50 pm - The timer is going off. We have ten minutes to get to our potluck.

6:00 pm - We arrive at the potluck. About 8 families have come together - all taking a break from the busy summer season for a night of fun. The girls head off with their new friends to visit the family horses while Wayne and I enjoy the conversation and meeting new people.

6:45 pm - My lasagna pan is EMPTY. Apparently there are some other "meat-eaters" in the group! All of the food is terrific. This group is very committed to organic eating. In fact, most of us buy our veges from one of the couples in the group who have a small organic farm just outside of Keene Valley. It is the first potluck in a long time where I could turn our girls loose at the table and tell them they can eat whatever they want!

7:30 pm - I am sitting on a side porch with the ladies - watching the sun lowering over the mountains. The horses graze near the woods. The view is amazing.

8:30 pm - Time to head home and start our bonfire. We arrive to find the house and driveway empty. The guests are probably in town getting dinner. We wonder what time our "Mt. Marcy" climbing guest returned.

9:00 pm - The fire is crackling. The girls get their pajamas on and sit on our laps to roast marshmallows. The evening sky is crystal clear after an overcast day. The humidity has dropped and the fire actually feels good. Wayne and I talk about how we love living in a way that allows us to do things we love as part of our "job."

9:25 pm - A car pulls into the driveway - a family looking for a room for the night. Wayne tells them that we're full. I doubt they will find anything tonight.

9:30 pm - The girls are curled up - almost asleep when our guests return. The "Mt. Marcy" man is exhausted and heads straight for bed. He did reach the summit only to find the visibility at about 100 feet - disappointing. (On a brighter note, he borrowed one of our plastic containers to carry his cheese. We may never make it to the top of Mt. Marcy, but one of our containers has!)

The other couple also turns in. They hiked most of the day as well. One woman joins us at the fire for awhile. Together we listen to the night sounds. CorrieAnne falls asleep in my arms.

10:00 pm. - We tuck the girls in bed and head downstairs to make preparations for tomorrow's breakfast. We are making a Blueberry Cream Cheese Bake which needs to be prepared and refrigerated overnight.

10:15 pm - OH NO! We realize that we forgot to buy maple syrup when we were in town. We'll never have enough for breakfast and none of the stores will be open early enough. It is our first official "Kitchen Crisis."

After a few minutes of hand-wringing, we come up with a plan. Wayne will head out early in the morning and visit Trail's End - another B&B right up the road from us. They sell maple syrup in their lobby and someone will surely be up early fixing breakfast for their guests.

10:30 pm - The doorbell rings. A young man stands in the livingroom asking for a room for the night. Again, we have to send him on his way. We have rooms for next weekend . . .

11:00 pm. - All is quiet. We lock up the house and climb into bed. Our day has been full, but we fall asleep with a deep sense of satisfaction. Our home is filled with people who have spent the day immersed in the beauty of nature and the comfort of loving care.

Life is good!