Homelike for the Holidays
by Lauren Payne
Posted November 12, 2008
Nothing brings warmth to the holidays like a B&B decked out for the season. Here are two of our favorites. (Photos by Laura Moss)
Terry and Richard Anderson have always been “people people,” so it was easy to welcome guests to Chimney Hill Estate after they purchased the inn in 1994. “We’ve always liked being around people, so becoming innkeepers was a natural extension,” says Terry. The key to their hospitality: “We make sure they understand that while they’re here, our house is their house.” So much so, says Terry, that guests have been known to put their breakfast dishes in the kitchen sink themselves.
The Andersons have adopted a hands-off approach to innkeeping. “We do our best to provide a stress-free environment,” says Terry. “Our guests are here to be taken care of, to reconnect with one another. There’s no forced interaction, but we make sure they know what’s around. We guide them, then leave them alone.” Despite the low-key atmosphere—or perhaps because of it—guests tend to congregate in the common room: a large, sun-filled, stone-walled space filled with comfy sofas, plenty of reading material, and a glass of wine or sherry for the taking.
While the Andersons keep the common rooms open, they also understand the need for privacy. “We make the bedroom and bathroom your sanctuary but leave the rest of the house open to our guests,” says Terry.
In keeping with the casual environment, the Andersons make the holiday decorations pretty, but simple. They trim the tree the day after Thanksgiving, calling upon guests who happen to be at the inn to help decorate. “Nothing is valuable or precious, but everything is personal,” says Terry. “We keep it festive but simple.”
Chimney Hill Estate
This historic country inn is nestled on a wooded hillside above the charming riverside town of Lambertville. Built of local fieldstone in 1820, the inn has twelve rooms, all decorated in period furnishings. Its light-filled common room is set up for reading and conversation. The restaurant serves a delicious homemade breakfast; the adjoining butler’s pantry is stocked with drinks and snacks for the taking.
A portion of the inn’s eight acres is dedicated to a working alpaca farm—the Andersons have thirteen of the lovable creatures. Guests are welcome to roam.
Warm Welcome: The fireplace at Chimney Hill Estate is almost always lit in the common room—where guests are encouraged to linger. Plenty of reading material, comfortable sofas, and a glass of sherry for the taking help achieve that goal.
Every room has a tea caddy so guests can prepare their own tea or first cup of coffee in the morning. They also put bottles of spring water in each room. “We try to do something so our guests say, ‘Wow, that was really nice’ when they leave,” Terry adds.