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At our inn the guests never complain

I have a recurring fantasy about buying a country inn. It used to recur every six months or so, but now that my husband is out of a job it has begun to recur almost every day. Of course this is ridiculous. We can no more afford to buy an inn than we can dig to China. Nevertheless, it is a persistent fantasy.

It always starts like this: First I gather in my imagination a selection of my oldest and dearest friends. These make up the staff. My old roommate from college, the one who also likes to fantasize about this kind of thing, is my partner. Her husband and mine, two outdoors enthusiasts, make a great program-managing team, and they spend their days dreaming up marvelous trips and recreational activities for all the guests (who are all, incidentally, quite rich). I do all the public relations work, and Sue (my roommate) is the business brains of the operation. (These are separate fantasies which are too lengthy to be discussed adequately here.) Our various other friends take up their posts with great enthusiasm and we all get along splendidly, even when the water pipes freeze and the septic tank overflows. This does not happen often.

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My artwork is on sale in the foyer, and the income from that alone is enough to pay the maid, who does the cleaning. My husband often finds himself with a group around the campfire who love to hear him play his guitar. I can be induced to sing with him if the guests plead enough. (They always do.)

In all, we are very popular innkeepers, especially since the guests hardly ever find anything to complain about. It's just amazing how smoothly the whole operation runs, and we find that at the end of a mere two years we are running quite a profitable inn.

The inn itself is nestled comfortably in a rural, but not too rural, little town in New England. New England is always the setting. Indeed, any other place is inconceivable. Preferably it is in the exact center of the universe, New Hampshire somewhere; however, there is some flexibility here. It has about eight guest rooms, all furnished in a countryish manner, and it is definitely family style in flavor. (I don't want to spend all my time fussing over decorations, etc.) It is simple and homey. For my husband there is a beautiful trout stream running through the property and a lake not too far off stocked with landlocked salmon. We employ a marvelous cook, who only cooks when we don't want to, and a live-in baby sitter so I can go on all the cross-country ski outings the program managers have planned. Miraculously, there are three wonderful little cottages dotting the property where the staff lives happily ever after.

I never fantasize about the realities, such as the capital required for an enterprise of this sort. Those are details better left to the more pragmatic of our group. Besides, at my inn I never have to worry about cutting corners or being economical. That's the wonderful thing about dreams. They are always totally self-sufficient. In fact they are pretty much maintenance-free. If something goes wrong you just dream up a solution.

I can see all the practical planners among us considering this cautiously. I know what they are thinking. All fantasy needs fuel. And how true it is that the fuel is often money, not to mention a sensible evaluation of whether or not this is indeed one's life purpose.

I also know that there are some kindred, whimsical spirits who are applauding and in fact even now indulging in their own little perfect fantasy. This is helpful for me to remember as my dear husband tries to explain the pitfalls of mine. I suppose theoretically we must consider these technicalities. But if anyone does see my inn for sale back East, do give me a call anyway.

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