The 1910 Inn
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Oh, the most lovely and loving events continue to be enjoyed at The 1910 Inn. A succession of Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, Weddings, and Receptions...and you can see photos of these beautiful events at: Facebook.com/the1910inn
|Posted on July 27, 2014 at 4:10 PM||comments (104)|
It all started with a phone call from Goldie…
no…not Goldilocks, though I have planted myself in a Goldilocks ‘just right’ location so the words can spill onto my writing paper. Some people call this type of paper ‘computer paper’ or ‘printer paper’…but to me, whose soul is intertwined with the tales of the inn, this is writing paper. And write my tale…I must.
If you know Goldie, who oversees a sacred shrine that beckons those in need of prayer, guidance, and healing, you know that Goldie knows everyone and Goldie helps everyone. I smile each time I see her somewhere. Goldie is fun and funny. She is animated, energetic…oh, I cannot really describe her accurately.
Well, Goldie called yesterday and said, “Are you at the inn? Remember I told you about Rose…she came to St. Michael’s Shrine today, and she wants to come see the inn now.”
Within minutes I gathered a young adult daughter, who has a soul as old as her mama’s, and raced to the inn. Within another few minutes Rose…Elsie’s daughter…arrived. Rose had spent her young adult years and early marriage years in this stately home…which is The 1910 Inn these days. It was about 65 years ago that Rose slumbered each night in the architecturally wonderful ‘round’ bedroom…which is Bedroom One these days.
Oh, every few months I wait for the tales of the inn to come to me. They always do. The inn’s history has some missing pieces, but bits of history continue to make their way to me and then to you, the readers of the tales.
Rose last spent time in her Mama Elsie’s house in 1964. Imagine…oh, how the world has changed since that year. But within the protective frame and plaster walls, it still feels like 1910. And to Rose it felt like 1952-1964, as she walked, looked, touched, smiled, reminisced, explained, and thanked.
My eyes just filled with tears…because Rose thanked me many times during our hour together. She thanked me for loving her mama’s house. Oh, how I truly love her mama’s house.
So…at this moment…I am writing this tale while I sit at the top of the staircase upon the 104-year-old wooden floorboards. A warm cup of honeybush, mandarin orange tea keeps me company. A clock ticks away the time behind the closed doors of what had been Rose’s bedroom when she was 20 years old in 1952. So peaceful…so serene…oh, this comforting home.
This is what I learned from Rose, and please forgive that I will list them in such a formal manner:
1) Elsie chose all the color combinations of the ceramic floor and wall tiles in the home’s eight bathrooms (gray/maroon; green/yellow; pink/gray; blue/maroon; pink/green; blue/purple/yellow/black…Rose exclaimed, “Oh, I hated that one!”.
2) Elsie chose the green marble in-lay for the fireplace.
3) Elsie chose the chandelier that cost $200 in 1952. Rose was silent for the long moment that she stared at her mama’s chandelier. Then she thanked me again for loving her mama’s house.
4) Rose’s daddy installed the bathroom tiles, the marble in-lay, the sparkling chandelier.
5) The side garden has space, because Rose’s parents bought a neighboring home and had it demolished so the family could have a yard.
6) A small building on the right side of the back yard was demolished because Elsie said, “It didn’t need to be there.” A 1919 map (oh, the amazing things that are found on computers) shows this ‘old house’ when it was a ‘young house’, and the small building at the back yard is labeled “Servants Quarters”. Yes...Elsie was right… “It didn’t need to be there.”
7) The veranda…oh, Rose was so upset with her mama when it was decided to enclose the veranda with jalousie windows. The glorious columns were camouflaged, the porch that caught the breeze each day was stifled, the grand home seemed hidden. Rose LOVES the veranda again. The veranda was the most costly of The 1910 Inn’s restoration. Specifically its ceiling restoration. Again the veranda has a presence that welcomes.
Well, a thought entered my head as I walked and listened to Rose: Her mama used to sing Italian songs in the backyard. ‘How do you know that?’, you may wonder. I know this sweet image, because Popi and Minnie told me. Popi and Minnie…oh, I am smiling at the thought of the darling sisters, who live together in the home their parents first purchased in 1937. Popi and Minnie’s mama’s backyard bordered Elsie’s backyard. And Elsie loved to sit outside, visit, and sing the songs of her native language.
A side story: Both Goldie and Rose have told me…there were only two Italian families in Tarpon Springs in those years. And as immigrant stories go…they embraced their new town and new life…and learned to speak Greek!
So, before I knew it, these words came out of my mouth and were spoken to Rose, “Would you like to go on a ‘field trip’? Would you like to go visit two sisters named Popi and Minnie? They live in their mama’s house, located behind your mama’s house. They remember how your mama used to sing Italian songs in the backyard.” Rose’s eyes and smile sparkled! “Why, yes! Let’s go. Let’s go see Popi and Minnie!” And so we stepped through a flower bed, crossed a dusty parking lot, walked alongside an ‘ancient’ corrugated metal garage (Oh, how I would love to see and touch the dusty and forgotten treasures in that time capsule!), talked to a few stray cats, and reached the front porch of Popi and Minnie.
Wonderful Tarpon Springs…in wonderful Tarpon Springs…when your thoughts are filled with 1910 and 1952 and 1964… you think nothing of stopping over unannounced to see a neighbor you have not seen in over 50 years! And in wonderful Tarpon Springs…your neighbor from 50 years ago answers the door, smiles, and welcomes you in for a visit. The ladies talked, reminisced, remembered, and laughed about their realization that there is much they no longer remember. I love watching ladies who are older than me. I want to be them one day.
Thank you for reading about Elsie’s house and Rose’s memories, and Rose’s visit with Popi and Minnie. Truly that afternoon was a highlight of my days at the inn. And oh, to see the wonder in my daughter’s eyes, to see how she soaked in their stories, to see her earnest stare and tear-filled eyes as Rose’s tear-filled eyes made a connection to hers. Rose left us that afternoon with beautiful words and wishes for the young woman who has a soul as old as her mama’s.
And so much more filled the weeks of Spring 2014 at The 1910 Inn, as I took care of Elsie’s house…
A ‘mermaid’ stayed at the inn. Amaryllis, the sculptor, who created Ama, the newest piece of art for Tarpon Springs, came to the inn from Paris and Las Vegas. Ama is a statue of a mermaid, who shed her tail upon the shore of Spring Bayou. A sponge, the accurate symbol of Tarpon Springs, lays at her new feet. Oh, Amaryllis, she was so delicate, sweet, childlike, enthusiastic, and kind. Magical, almost. She loved how the inn reminded her of her childhood spent in a 3-story home in Paris shared simultaneously by 3 generations of her family. Thank you, Tarpon Springs Public Art Committee, for bringing Amaryllis to The 1910 Inn. Readers, perhaps if you would like to make a donation toward the purchase of Ama for Tarpon Springs, please let me know, and I shall provide you with the information you would need.
Guests…oh, wonderful guests…they came to the inn for shared vacations with neighbor friends, job interviews in our area, retreats away from their busy schedules, birthday celebrations, graduation ceremonies, visits with grandchildren. Their lives are fascinating to me. Their joy is contagious.
I had long anticipated the visit of Mary, Jerry, and Jo-An. During the winter months, as they had planned their trip from Connecticut, each of them had called to talk to me individually. And each was ‘kinder than the other’…which in actuality is not possible. The inn was theirs for a week in June, and as I knew would happen…I miss them. Here is a sweet quote from “Words For Gardeners To Live By”: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.” Those are the words of Vincent Van Gogh. Thank you, dear Jo-An for the lovely book. Thank you for sharing my love of nature and its darling little sprouting plants that surprise us throughout the inn’s garden.
Another thought just entered my head: I wish Jo-An could meet winter tenant, Lucille. They are true gardeners. They are such wonderfully sweet ladies. They would have such fun together in the garden of the inn. They each know how to find the beauty that continuously sprouts in such unusual little places around the inn.
Baby Luke, Baby Penelope, Bride Ryan Marie, Bride Lindsey, Bride Sylvia, Newlyweds Erika and Brian, and Newlyweds Stephanie and
Greg were showered with love during the spring at the inn.
Life at the Apartments of The 1910 Inn: Oh, thank you Aunt Angie and Uncle Rico for visiting during May. I am so thankful that the apartment provided comforts for your USA visit, and I pray that Aunt Yvonne and Uncle Nick will one day soon enjoy good health and a special visit at the blessed and peaceful apartment.
Stephen from the Republican Party, Taylor from Auburn University, Katie and Zach ‘from Tarpon Springs’…the apartments were bustling like a village in itself and the ‘village people’ became like a family.
There was an Afternoon Tea for 102 darling ladies adorned with hats and gloves!
The ‘Century-Old Cactus’…a masterpiece of nature…had 89 blooms on its peak bloom morning. Each white flower was the size of a dinner plate. You can always see these amazing floral photos on the inn’s facebook page.
This was a wonderful surprise: BuzzFeed, an online publication, posted a story entitled, “11 Small Florida Towns You Need To Visit”, and Tarpon Springs was #2 and “Where To Stay” was The 1910 Inn.
As busy as the winter is with tourists, that is as busy as the spring and summer become with the continuing inn restorations. The veranda ceiling’s 12-month restoration was completed with the final painting by John Danapas, a new balcony door was installed at Bedroom One by John of JKC Custom Doors, vintage brick repair is being done by the young master craftsman, Michael Risola; vintage fence installation is continuing by Michael Smith and Michael Risola. And the front yard…wait…just wait…I promise that more ‘curb appeal’ will arrive.
Well, my dear dear friends, thank you for reading about life at The 1910 Inn. It is like its own little world within these walls. The people…the stories…I really cannot put into words how I truly know that these people and stories come together at the inn…because THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO.
Please be well, be thankful, and enjoy the beauty and blessings of each day.
|Posted on April 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM||comments (251)|
Here I am in the ‘Goldilocks Chair’ again. ‘Which chair is it this time?’ you may wonder. Well…April in Florida is PERFECT…so the Goldilocks Chair is on the curved shaded-yet-sunny 104-year-old Victorian veranda of my favorite old house…The 1910 Inn.
It has been the most wonderful winter (yes…colder than usual for Florida…but, oh, my…not nearly as cold as most of our country experienced this winter), I have met the most wonderful people, and I must put my thoughts onto paper…because they are ready to burst from my head. I fervently took care of some early morning tasks around town, worried that the thoughts and words that needed to be written would flee before I could get to the Goldilocks Chair. Does that ever happen to you? As silly as it may sound…it is a bit stressful, actually.
Often the Sesame Street song lyrics of “People In Your Neighborhood” fill my head and make me smile, as I encounter: Marty at the post office, Tracy who delivers the mail to the inn, Agnes and Nancy at the bank, the shop owners along Tarpon Avenue (where I love to comb through their treasures in search of antique furnishings for the century-old inn), the early morning cashiers at Wal-Mart, the smiling and helpful ladies at the Publix bakery, Irini at the Greek bakery, the knowledgeable men at Ace Hardware. My errand days are busy, yet only take me as far as one mile from the inn. Some additional ‘people in my neighborhood’ are also dear friends, Pauline, Maria, Margo, Loretta, Athena, and my mama, Sylvia, who delightfully appear at the Side Garden’s kitchen door. That is one of the great things about Tarpon Springs.
Oh, the darling succession of events at the inn! On January 6 the inn hosted an Open House for the Epiphany celebration. It was a rainy, cold day…we thought…until we encountered truly cold weather the next day. Things are put into perspective when that happens…we were suddenly thankful that we had the rainy ‘slightly’ cold day for the cross divers on the 6th. It was special to have Veronica and Tom come stay at the inn for a second Epiphany. Remember…they were the inn’s inaugural guests in 2013. And Sarla and Ronald came back, too, and brought sweet Christina from Greece with them. And Mary and Jim returned, too. Everyone becomes ‘family’ at The 1910 Inn.
In February the inn again hosted the annual Burnette Society Reception for Helen Ellis Memorial / Florida Hospital North Pinellas. It was an enjoyable evening with a delicious feast and libations donated by The Original Mama Maria’s Restaurant and B-21 Liquors. Thank you, Mike, Costa, and Robert.
Baby showers…bridal showers…a celebration of life / memorial…birthday gatherings…almost one venue event each weekend. There is something charming, warm, and inviting about The 1910 Inn. It feels like ‘home’ to many people. Such love abounds at events at the inn. Remember Ava's Aunt Mary had a baby shower at the inn last fall? Last month Mary sent me a photograph of her beautiful baby boy! I am smiling now, as I picture his darling face!
One day a kind woman, named Rosanne, called regarding winter accommodations for her husband, John, and herself. Recently retired from interesting and long careers, their 6-week stay at the inn’s apartments extended into 4 ½ months…as they escaped the Boston winter. That is how the winter months were at the inn…the colder it got ‘up north’…the more the phone rang at the inn. Roger and Diane, my Indiana farmer friends, returned for a second winter visit, prior to their March planting season. They are such gentle souls. They became friends with Rosanne and John, and the four of them visited restaurants and the zoo together.
Lucille! She returned, also. And her grown daughter visited her, too. Lucille is quite the master gardener, and she enjoys the inn’s gardening potential. Her eyes would light up as she described which plants pair nicely with other plants for dish gardens and pots. She happily gardens, while she stays at the inn. I learn from her. Now that she is back in Maryland, I take plant photographs (with the new-millennium telephone that my grown children told me I would need at the inn) and text my gardening questions to Lucille.
Jim and Carla visited at the apartments again this year, while they completed renovations on their recently-purchased winter dwelling. They still stop by to visit when they are in Tarpon Springs…and it is always a nice surprise to see them walking along the garden walkway toward the inn’s kitchen, as I wash dishes and overlook the 'angel garden'.
Back to Rosanne and John…really, they became my friends, also. Since they extended their stay a few times, they took a multi-day trip and a 1-week Caribbean cruise while they awaited availability at the inn’s apartments again. I would miss them while they were away, and I would tell them what had occurred in town and at the inn during their absence. I believe Rosanne and John will move to Tarpon Springs one day. They have the flexibility to do that, and I know that John enjoys our Greek community, which reminds him of his youth in Greece. How wonderful that Rosanne embraces his culture!
Many new apartment visitors came for one-week and two-week visits and have begun to plan their 2015 return visits. The inn visitors can walk to everything they need: shopping, dining, museums, churches, kayaking, day cruises, bike trails, and even the beach.
Inn guest, Anna from Greece, shared an intriguing and powerful story about a religious icon.
Monk priest, Fr. Christodoulos, arrives unexpectedly in Tarpon Springs and at the inn occasionally. Inn guests are fascinated by his words during breakfast.
Claire and Dave and their most-wonderful daughter, Joanna, stayed at the inn for a succession of days. They brought to me a CD of beautiful music they created and perform in North Carolina, as a group called, “Vintage”. Claire runs a lodge, called Greer House, Dave is a country doctor, and Joanna is a nurse.
Cousin Tasia and her husband, Miltos, came from Greece and visited the inn. Oh, how I love them. Whenever I think of them over the years I feel small and helpless…like I am grasping for ‘time’ with them. A visit with family members who live half-a-world away is never enough ‘time’. Perhaps you understand what I mean…
One weekend the inn was home to the ‘Dueling Tonys’, as Tony DeBloise likes to call their dueling piano duo. Tony DeBloise and Tony Kidonakis perform throughout the country and on cruise ships, and their talent is astonishing. They performed in Tarpon Springs at a community event. Truly, it will leave you speechless, if you witness one of their performances. The musical genius, Tony DeBloise is blind, autistic, and one of eight musical savants worldwide. He has a repertoire of 8,000 songs. Perhaps you would like to plan a visit to the inn in December for their December 6, 2014 concert at St. Nicholas Community Center.
I could write endlessly about the days at the inn. As I gently rock in a black rocking chair with a cup of Earl Grey tea (oh…my favorite “Geoff with a G” and his wonderful wife, Harriet, came back to the inn in February for a conference in Clearwater. Remember…Earl Grey is Geoff’s favorite tea.) on the wrought-iron glass-topped table beside me, and Tarpon Springs comes to life on a sunny, lightly-breezy warm April morning, I smile because…I love ‘the old house’ (my affectionate name for the inn), and I love the visitors who have come from all over our country and from other countries (Norway, England, France, Holland, Greece, and Canada these past few months). They enrich our community. They enrich me. I love to hear about their lives and livelihoods. The world comes to The 1910 Inn.
Remember when CBS News and the 48 Hours television crew filmed at The 1910 Inn twice last year? It was so nice to hear from producer, Charlotte Fuller, recently that the 48 Hours episode was ready to air in March. The inn looked warm, cozy, and comforting in the interior footage, and the veranda looked delightfully wholesome, peaceful, and quite aqua turquoise in the exterior footage. The air date was March 15, 2014 and you can see the episode on youtube.com: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU_Uf3cgtLs
Well, restoration on the old house always continues. Just like my brain fills with words that share the stories of the inn. Restoration ideas busy my mind continually. All in due time. Upcoming work: the veranda ceiling will be painted; a long-awaited project will come to fruition in the side garden; the balcony door in Bedroom One will be replaced; and, hopefully, I will find ‘just-the-right’ Victorian carpet pattern for the inn’s main staircase (that task is harder than expected).
Be well, and I thank you, dear friends, for reading about life at The 1910 Inn during the first months of 2014. Come by for a cup of tea one day. Just call me about an hour ahead, and I will be sure to be there. And I love to give tours of ‘the old house’.
|Posted on December 27, 2013 at 7:10 AM||comments (21)|
October, November, and December 2013 Journal
The 1910 Inn in Tarpon Springs, Florida
Oh my, the fall months flew by at The 1910 Inn. The most wonderful people, the most wonderful love-filled events, the most wonderful stories…
…Again I am in the ‘Goldilocks’ chair at the dining room table in The 1910 Inn. I was sweeping the entry hall…dozens of flat, pale pink, metallic hearts…amongst the typical sweepings of a floor…and I had to stop and give you the October update. The update was almost complete, then the busy-ness of life at the inn took over, and the update never made its way to that modern device, known as a computer.
Remember the September journal entry mentioned the betrothal at the inn? Here is that wonderful tale. Sarah thought she would surprise Brandon with a birthday evening at The 1910 Inn. But Brandon, a creative and romantic young man, turned the event into a surprise for his beloved Sarah. With the help of inn guests (Janet who pretended to take pictures of the exterior of the inn; and Steve, who nonchalantly began a distracting conversation), and the innkeeper, Annie, (who distracted Sarah with a half-hour conversation at the dining room table and later arranged Brandon’s selected key lime pie, merlot wine, love letter, red roses, and candle in the romantic Bedroom One), and inn friend (Rose, who escorted Brandon and a boxed filled with a letter and an engagement ring to Howard Beach, guarded the buried box and protruding shovel, and photographed the unburying of the treasure) the unforgettable moment played out with precision.
The succession of inn guests…they arrive into Tarpon Springs in search of Greek food (we have that in Tarpon Springs, you know), sponges, antiques, sunsets, and …relaxation. Yes, there is that quiet calmness of years gone by at The 1910 Inn. As I tell guests…’the inn is yours tonight’. They smile and feel ‘at home’…and they should, because they begin to feel like family to me.
One weekend the inn belonged to Maria, Janet, and Steve. Dear friends. Old friends. Maria had a task to tend to…many who are reading this may have had to tend to that same task…preparing the empty home of her dear parents for a garage sale and a real estate sale. It can be an emotional and overwhelming task, and it may have been. But Maria is practical, humorous, wise, and systematic, and she tackled that task with help from siblings, sister-in-law Kim, and dear friend Tina. The inn was a safe and nurturing haven for Maria during that weekend. Janet…dear Janet…a high school classmate…visiting and reconnecting with friends. There just seems to be a wisdom that comes from these dear friends, who have reached the year of a milestone birthday.
October entailed preparations…for Pilar’s November bridal shower and Sara and Richard’s November wedding, but first I must tell you about Wendy and Ron.
Dear Wendy and Ron…our first newlyweds at the inn. They were married in the Round Room on October 13. Wendy stayed in the bridal suite (Bedroom One) the night before the wedding. She welcomed her groom, Ron, into her bridal suite for the next two nights at the inn. How sweet…how vintage…charming beyond words!
I saw Wendy and Ron many times in the months during the planning of their nuptials. They are family to the inn now. Sandra Caskey played beautiful wedding music on her violin. Oh, you should hear how live music resonates throughout the inn. Is it the high ceilings? The wood floors? The plaster walls? All three combined? Something in this structure makes music divine to the ears and the soul.
One week was Parker week at the inn. Torrance Parker, author of two books about the history and progression of sponge diving through the centuries and throughout the world, planned a special trip for himself, two of his daughters, and one of his nieces. Torrance was a Tarpon Springs sponge diver seventy years ago, and he recently came to Tarpon Springs for a book-signing event at The Tarpon Sponge Company, an intriguing shop created by friend, Athena, in the Sponge Exchange at the Sponge Docks. If you have not seen this shop, it is worth a visit to the Sponge Docks, so you can walk through an original and authentic sponge storage facility. Athena understands the ‘big picture’ of the history and culture of Tarpon Springs…she understands why it is important to preserve history and share it with the generations that come after us.
It was quite coincidental that another Parker was a guest at the inn during Torrance’s visit. Oboe professor, Andrew Parker, was in town as a guest of oboe professor, Amy Collins, and the University of South Florida. Andrew’s beautiful oboe music graced the inn for an impromptu Parker-family concert after breakfast one morning.
And oboe music…Amy and Friends at Christmas…a CD of heavenly oboe and harp music…just the right sound for a century-old Victorian inn. Amy appeared with the CD early one morning at the inn. My mind had been perplexed with finding just the right music for the inn during the upcoming holiday weeks, and that is when Amy arrived. Ironic…but not really…because these occurrences happen often at the inn.
There was another Wine Walk in the fall. Oh, the lovely oboe and harp music was playing on the vintage phonograph, as guests lined up for a taste of wine. Whenever the delightful trolley arrives in front of the inn and a group of six or eight guests come into the inn, I sometimes assume that the all those in the group are already friends. So when a delightful woman exclaimed, ‘I LOVE this music’, and Amy Collins happened to be behind her in the wine line, I thought the two had come to the wine walk together. I smiled and said, ‘This is the music of a wonderful oboe musician named Amy Collins’. Here’s the interesting part of the story…the woman did not know Amy Collins…the woman did not know that the woman behind her was the musician whose music she was enjoying…and Amy Collins did not realize that her music was playing subtly in the background. After the realization and the laughter, the women talked and were strangers no more. Nobody remains a stranger at The 1910 Inn.
“The door! The door!”…the new/old door! Can you believe it? It arrived at the start of November. It was located last spring during May, and that is when the refurbishing began. But…you know…or maybe you do not know…but this is Tarpon Springs. Think of Mayberry USA…1950. Yes, there is no hurry. I knew the door was in good hands. I knew John of JKC Custom Doors would know how to make the refurbished door look original to the house. Yes, he told me he would be away in Greece for one month. Yes, I knew that ‘one month’ can translate to ‘two or more months’ in Tarpon Springs. So, you see…I was patient. That’s not to say I wan not eager to see the completed transformation of the door…but ‘early May’ turned into ‘early November’…and ‘a door’ turned into ‘THE DOOR’ for The 1910 Inn. I keep smiling each time I glance at it. I am smiling as I am writing this. (Remember? I write these journal entries before I type them.) Come see THE DOOR one day. Please. And we shall take a few moments to sit on the front veranda and enjoy a cup of tea together.
THE SIGN…I told you about THE DOOR…but I cannot forget to tell you about THE SIGN. The thought makes me smile and actually laugh. As I mentioned…I am patient…and this is Tarpon Springs. It took 12 months to fully comply with the procedure for an ‘old house’ that is in the Historic District and on the Historic Registry to get approval from various government boards for the design, creation, and installation of a simplistic vintage-like sign. And I am glad about that. As I have said many times, “I love Tarpon Springs”, and with that mindset I totally understand and appreciate the reasoning behind the sign approval process. So, thank you City of Tarpon Springs and Historic Preservation Board.
Dear Friend Maria continued to send to the inn pieces of wrought iron furniture that belonged to her parents. She kept saying, ‘you will need them’, and she was right. I continued to spray paint the sturdy furnishings glossy black. All these items will be needed for the upcoming showers, events, and luncheon gatherings at the inn.
Here’s a poignant thought: Every day I think of the many people whose special belongings now live at the inn: Mama Harriet, Sue, Marni, Maria, another Maria, Goldie, Pauline, Phyllis, Angie, Esther, Margo, Linda. I love their names! Vintage! I love these ladies. You would, too.
The mailbox. I have to tell you about the ‘new’mailbox. Some of it is old, and some of it is new. It took me awhile, but I finally realized what type of mailbox the inn needed. A simple mailbox. One day I asked Tenant Wesley, who likes outside projects, if he could paint the mailbox purple and white. Knowing that it is always nice to recycle, reuse, and refurbish, we kept the old wooden post, painted it glossy white, and purchased a simple black mailbox…but really…it needed to match the trim of the inn. So a quick trip to our local hardware store…(oh, my, that wonderful hardware store is a story in itself. I believe that ‘Ward Cleaver’ may have shopped there! And surely ‘Andy Griffith’, too.!) produced a discovery of plum-colored spray paint. So now the mailbox is in place, and looks simple, vintage, and whimsical.
Okay…a side story is coming to you now…here’s an interesting story about that old mailbox. I told Wesley we needed to keep it at the inn…we could not throw it away, even though it was broken. Why? Because printed on the inside…actually the letters were embossed into the structure of the mailbox…were the words: “Youngstown, Ohio”.
I was stunned when I saw that. But this story goes back a few months to July, when the veranda roof was being replaced. During the removal of the rotted pieces of wood and shingles and beams, heaps of debris filled a truck. Early one July morning I noticed that a lone piece of ‘something’ did not make its way into the truck bed. Its color was pretty. Green. That’s what made me notice it. Glass. How pretty. It had the vintage glass color. ‘What is it?’ I wondered. It was shaped like it was part of a cup…no…part of a bottle…no…I really do not know what it was during its useful life one-hundred years ago when it must have fallen between two roof beams during the construction of the inn in 1910. The veranda roof was a TIME CAPSULE for this lovely green glass…that stunned me when I noticed the embossed word: “Brookfield”. I just paused as I wrote this. Still stunned. ‘Why?’, you wonder. Because, although I always say that I have been in Tarpon Springs FOREVER, and I almost have been, I was actually born in YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO and lived in the small nearby town of BROOKFIELD. Not too many people know that. Why did this inn have an embossed ‘something’ from Brookfield and an embossed mailbox from Youngstown, Ohio? Was I supposed to find my way to this inn? (Did I ever tell you that a special Mary told me recently, “the inn is good for you. It’s like watching your mama grow up and blossom into the young woman you always knew she was.”)
Oh…the October writings stopped at this point two months ago…life took over…the inn duties were plentiful…so here is the remaining and condensed story for November and December.
Camille surprised her daughter, Pilar, with a bridal shower at The 1910 Inn. It was darling and adorable…and had an unexpected delight. A slumber party, too! After the afternoon bridal shower, the guests enjoyed Night In The Islands at the Sponge Docks, and returned to the inn for a slumber party comprised of cousins, sisters, aunts, and mothers. So cute!
That was a busy day at the inn, because after the bridal shower, another love-filled event transpired at the inn. Sara and Richard were married in the garden of The 1910 Inn! Sara’s father officiated over the ceremony, as the love and excitement radiated from their faces.
A few weeks later an event that had been secretly planned for many months by four adult siblings came to fruition at The 1910 Inn. Gordon and Jacqueline celebrated their 50 anniversary with a dinner party attended by close friends and family. It was a touching and emotional day…too beautiful for words. One special part of the story, though, is how a young man…a grandson…took special care to ensure that his grandparents would enter the inn and have a FIRST DANCE together. This was so especially important to him, because he knew that his grandparents had never had a First Dance when they married in 1963.
One day I was asked to join the Old Timers of Tarpon Springs group. I have lived in Tarpon Springs for more than 40 years. Surely, my gray-streaked locks attest that I am ‘old-ish’…and I LOVE that idea! So I attended a meeting in October and I was asked to speak about The 1910 Inn at the November meeting. But wait…it gets better! I asked if the November Old Timers luncheon could be held at inn! If you could see my face as I am writing this…weeks after the luncheon occurred at the inn…you would see my huge smile! I loved having the Old Timers at The 1910 Inn. You see…this ‘old house’, as I affectionately call the inn…feels to me that it belongs to the community. It is a living museum. Work in progress. Loved by many over many decades and generations. I am a part of its long 103-year timeline. Many people feel a connection to this ‘old house’. And for that reason it was truly my honor to host the Old Timers at The 1910 Inn. I love Tarpon Springs, its history, its people. To me it was truly fitting to have the Old Timers (and I am one of them now…I am smiling again!) spend an afternoon at The 1910 Inn. And now a new tradition has begun, because we are planning to have each November Old Timers meeting at the inn in the future years.
November…Mia…Felipe…the WLRN documentary continued to develop. I still feel that I cannot share all the details surrounding the topic of this documentary, but I promise to tell you more in 2014. Just know that Mia and Felipe’s research was finalized in November, and their many visits to Tarpon Springs and at The 1910 Inn were winding down. It is a bit sad, really…because they are my friends now…and I miss their regular visits at the inn. But, as I always say, ‘there is something about this inn’, and I know that I will see Mia and Felipe again.
Winter tenants, John and Roseanne, found their way to the apartments at the inn. It seems that they are feeling at home amidst the Greek heritage of our darling town. John is originally from Greece, and his wonderful wife, Roseanne, truly has embraced his culture. John and Roseanne are now ‘family’ at The 1910 Inn.
One sunny warm Wednesday a few months ago, I walked into Tarpon Tavern for lunch.
Some local merchants were having a luncheon meeting at a nearby table, and Sue Thomas, our Chamber of Commerce President, called my name, smiled, and asked, ‘Annie, we had an idea…can we have Santa Claus sit at The 1910 Inn and meet with children during the There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs event in December?’ Oh! I was delighted! ‘YES…YES…I would LOVE to have Santa Clause at the inn. Thank you so much!’ And so, the ideas began to dance in my head for the early December community event.
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Avenue…thousands of people…excited children…food, music, holiday shopping, outdoor movies, carriage rides, real snow, real reindeer, letters to Santa, visits on Santa’s knee, and the arrival of the illuminated boat parade in Spring Bayou…just steps from the veranda of The 1910 Inn. It was delightful! And dear, dear Wendy came for the event…along with her dear friends and neighbors. New inn friends!
The innkeeper (really…she is a shy person…but her inn guests do not see that…because the inn is intertwined with her soul…and she bubbles with excitement when she talks about the inn) had to appear before the Tarpon Springs City Commission meeting in December at City Hall, speak about the inn for two minutes, and accept a Beautification Award from the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce on behalf of The 1910 Inn. Thank you, Chamber of Commerce, for recognizing and acknowledging the ongoing restoration at The 1910 Inn.
Ava came back to the inn! Remember dear, sweet, young Ava attended her Aunt Courtney’s bridal shower in September? It was so nice to have Ava and her family members come back to the inn for her Aunt Mary’s baby shower in December. Yes, Ava feels like part of the ‘inn family’.
One day, friend Linda came to deliver a bagful of vintage lace and doilies for the inn. She remarked that she is concerned that young generations do not have a love nor an appreciation for vintage treasures and antiques. Oh, the first thought that came to my mind was Ava, and I shared my Ava stories with Linda. I reassured Linda that some youngsters have an ‘old soul’ and love history. When these special young people appear at the inn, I love to share stories about the inn, the furnishings, and the ‘olden days’. The history is appreciated by some quite-special people, and together we can work to keep that history preserved, shared, enjoyed, and alive!
Oh, dear friends, know that these anecdotes you have just read are only a handful of the delightful and enriching days at The 1910 Inn. Please visit The 1910 Inn one day. Please come share some tea and stories from a rocking chair on the front veranda.
Be well. Stay safe. Enjoy time with loved ones. Help others. Have a blessed upcoming 2014. Reflect back on 2013, and appreciate the blessings.
With much love,
|Posted on October 9, 2013 at 4:18 PM||comments (551)|
September 2013 Journal
Ah! A spare moment…a moment when the September thoughts are ‘brewing’ in my head and I must stop (the clean bed sheets for Bedroom Three with its precious cherub wallpaper can wait a few moments), ‘brew’ a cup of fresh coffee, sit in just-the-right-chair (like Goldilocks, I guess), and let the words tumble onto my paper (yes…I am old-fashioned…I must write my thoughts on paper before I type them onto a computer keyboard) so you can know what has been happening at The 1910 Inn.
I had the pleasure of meeting inn guests, Billie and Larry. Billie’s eyes twinkled with fond recollection, as she told me about her dear grandmother, Mabel. Remember the comic strip “Hazel”? I know some of you do remember it…and some of you can conduct a quick internet search on what I call a ‘fancy phone’. Well, Hazel was modeled after Mabel Horton in Crawfordsville, Indiana during the 1940’s. Mabel became a widow, and farming just was not meant for her anymore at that point in her life. So Mabel became a nanny for a nearby family. Next door to that family lived a cartoonist, who would write his cartoons and through his window would watch the antics of Mabel and the young children. Thus, Mabel transformed into “Hazel” and enjoyed many years of nanny-hood.
Wholesome. Yes, that is quite an accurate description of Tim and Melissa, a young adventurous couple who explored our delightful Tarpon Springs in early September and discovered some fascinating nooks and crannies. They had done their research ahead of time and were in search of some specific intriguing sites, such as historical cemetery plots (you must go see the plot of Morris Lofton who loved his bed so much that he was buried with it; you can see his wrought iron headboard protruding up from the earth of the Rose Cemetery), and a unique brewery, St. Somewhere, which specializes in Florida Saison flowery beer. Upon meeting them my thought and words were, “Are you an ASTRONAUT!?” Really, I did not ask this just out-of-the-blue. Tim’s shirt had the NASA wording and logo. Not too many people have arrived at the inn sporting such a shirt, you know. Sweet Melissa said, “No…but he WANTS to be one!” Tim and Melissa are bright-eyed, fresh-complexioned, still-somewhat newlyweds, who shine with all the goodness of America’s Midwest. Tim’s specialty occupation brought them to Florida (because when your education is Space Law…really it’s true…there is such a thing…you really cannot live ‘just anywhere’), and systematically (how else would a Space Lawyer tackle a task?) are wandering their way around our state during weekend adventures.
(Baklava…it just takes a simple question at the right moment and fresh baklava is made with love. That is what happens when I least expect it at The 1910 Inn.)
Now, back to the Tim and Melissa story. The veranda…Melissa loved sitting in the rocking chairs on the veranda. On the first day of their visit Tim excitedly asked, “What time do the café lights go on? Melissa LOVES the veranda.” I mentioned a time (that equated with ‘evening’, ‘dark’, ‘after sunset’)…then moments later, as I prepared to leave the inn (while it was still daylight), I smiled at the thought of wholesome, sweet, polite Tim and Melissa who APPRECIATED the 103-year-old veranda, and I excitedly turned on the café lights for them. I was as happy as I envisioned they would be.
There is something ‘hopeful’ about such a young couple. They look like ‘the future’. To see them makes you want every blessing for them. Sometimes a sweet gesture brings tears, and baklava and a lone yellow chrysanthemum from the vase on the veranda table seemed to do that. As Tim and Melissa left the inn (that I hope they will visit again), I wished them a house full of laughing, loving babies.
It seemed to be Bridal Shower month at the inn during September.
Courtney’s darling sisters hosted a shower for their youngest sister. It was a lovely afternoon filled with happiness and love. Oh, I must mention young, darling Ava…just seven years old…she was fascinated with the inn, the kitchen, and the Side Garden. I loved answering her many questions about ‘the prettiest house she ever saw’. Knowing that youngsters of today are quite proficient with computers, I asked Ava if she would want to read about and see pictures of the inn on its website…maybe she could do that with her mother, I suggested. “Oh, yes! I know how to use the computer”, her sweet little voice exclaimed. So I gave her a pretty deep-purple business card with its lovely Victorian logo and the inn’s website address. A really cute part of this story is that a few moments later darling Ava delicately walked back to the business cards and took an extra card with her. And the cutest part of this story…as Ava left with her mother at the end of Aunt Courtney’s shower, her mother stopped the car and darling Ava ran up to the veranda and handed to me a sweet little jar of honey tied with a lavender silk ribbon. Each morning I see the jar atop the third shelf on the left side of the inn’s kitchen window…that overlooks the Side Garden that Ava loved.
An Annie had a bridal shower at the inn. Her dear Aunt Kay hosted the precious afternoon. Maybe you saw the quite-purple, quite-vintage, quite-(cupcake)sweet photo on the inn’s September 21, 2013 facebook post? I remember bride-to-be Annie Koulianos, when she was just 6 days old. Of course, she may think that was a long time ago…but those of us, who have witnessed the passage of time and the passage of generations, realize that those 20-plus years were a mere blink-of-an-eye. Oh, such love filled the inn, as sister groupings of all ages celebrated Annie’s special afternoon.
Another Wine Walk! Kaila DeLany graced the inn with heavenly classical music on her heavenly oboe, as Wine Walk guests toured the inn, sampled wines, enjoyed decadent chocolates, and savored the whole experience. The 1910 Inn is a step back in time…to an earlier millennium, a more graceful century, and a simpler era. If you have not entered The 1910 Inn during a Wine Walk, you really should. You would enjoy the moment.
Upcoming Wine Walk date: Saturday December 14, 2013. Ticket information is available at Wine At The Docks (727-942-9463) and Tarpon Tavern (727-945-1000).
Mia and Felipe…from WLRN…came back for another busy business week in Tarpon Springs. Remember, they are creating and filming a documentary…and I promise to tell you more about it when the time is right. The 1910 Inn is a ‘home away from home’ for many business travelers.
Thank you dear Marie and Tom for sharing a wonderful stay at the inn with Tom’s many sisters, as your family celebrated the life of Tom’s dear mother, Jeann Knowland. Such a poignant evening filled with a lifetime of stories. Tarpon Springs was home to Jeann for twenty years.
Phyllis…wonderful Phyllis…I first met her during the summer, but I have heard about her for many years. She is the grandmother of dear Jake, who grew up with my children. Jake always said, “My Mimi is SO nice.” Whenever he would say that I would smile and think, ‘It is so wonderful that he has such a nice connection to his grandmother’. One day during September Phyllis contacted me to ask if it would be alright if she brought something for the inn’s Side Garden, and we planned a morning for her to visit for coffee. Angels! Garden angels! A diversity of angels: concrete; cast; white; gray; terracotta; weathered; smooth; metallic; standing; reclining; providing water to parched feathered-friends. Phyllis said her garden angels needed a new garden…oh, Phyllis, Jake’s dear Mimi, you are an angel yourself! Since that day, more angels have moved into the garden. They arrive with a note from Phyllis and a raspberry teabag or a jar of Phyllis’ homemade apple butter…her grandmother’s recipe. Did Phyllis know? Apple butter was my FAVORITE topping on buttered toast during my childhood. It is time for apple butter to re-enter my life and greet the inn guests at breakfast!
The new/old door…is making progress. When just-the-right-door was discovered with an accurate and historically-correct window, John of JKC Custom Doors began his work for the door to fit the uniquely-sized doorway at the inn’s side veranda and match the colorings of the century-old entry woodwork and foyer staircase. It is quite a process, yes, but perhaps you agree that this Grand Victorian Lady deserves such an entry.
Inn guests…oh, I love them. Yes, I mention that often, but that is how I truly feel. They enjoy our Tarpon Springs, our beaches, our restaurants, our stores. One guest, Jeff, mentioned, “I haven’t taken a day to do nothing in five years. I needed this.” I smiled and said something like, ‘I am so glad that you relaxed and enjoyed your time at the inn and in Tarpon Springs’. But his comment has stayed in my thoughts, because I know that many people lead such busy lives and may not stop to smile at a passerby, greet the mailman, read a book, sip a lemonade, visit a friend, place their feet in the warm Florida beach sand, watch the purple-orange-red-pink sun dip into the Gulf of Mexico on a blessed evening. Did you know that you can do all of these things at The 1910 Inn and in Tarpon Springs? Yes, you really can…and you just might have a moment to savor a still-warm-from-the-oven, sinfully-delicious, ‘When Harry Met Sally’ pie-scene piece of baklava made with LOVE.
Upcoming at The 1910 Inn:
1) Wendy and Ron’s October wedding in the music room filled with the live violin music of Sandra Caskey. Oh, the acoustics in this dear old house! Bliss!
2) An oh-so-romantic BETROTHAL…as I write this, the betrothal has already occurred. Oh, the details, the beach, the shovel, the ring! Please come back again, so you can read about it in the October journal.
Be well, dear friends!
|Posted on September 1, 2013 at 4:32 PM||comments (410)|
August 2013 Journal
Because ‘the old house’ was newly ‘adopted’ during the first week of September a year ago, this past month has completed the first year in the life of The 1910 Inn.
Once in a while I have to stop for a moment and ask those around me, “Does it look different than it did a year ago? Does it look better than it did a year ago? Can you tell?” And those around me answer with a laugh, a smile, and a look of bewilderment at my questions. Then I sigh (as I actually just now did) with relief and say, “Oh…good…I hope so…because I have been working hard.”
My beloved inn experienced a year of repairs and replacements of water heaters, air conditioners, plumbing, electrical components, kitchen cabinets, counter tops, appliances, veranda ceiling, veranda roof, and garden beautification. The stairwell and mantel were polished, walls were wallpapered with vintage patterns, and interior and VIBRANT exterior paint helped bring The 1910 Inn to life!
There was that time last fall when I spent an entire month cutting, rolling, and removing 3-foot-wide strips of worn carpeting from almost every room in the inn. My plan for the carpet/floor task was: If I can do it myself, I will, no matter how long it takes me. Occasionally, a friend or a daughter would stop by and take pity on me and help me carry a carpet roll to the curb outside. Then after that massive effort I began the tedious effort of eliminating decades of ‘spots’ (I do not really want to know what those ‘spots’ were) off the wooden floors…cotton ball…by cotton ball…’painstakingly’ is the word that comes to mind. ‘Spot’ removal took two weeks and 600 cotton balls. During those days I kept thinking (and talking to myself, too), ‘Oh…you know I must love this old house…for me to be doing this!’
Ah!…then…FINALLY…what I had been waiting for and working toward…what had been my motivation…I could FINALLY begin to wax the century-old wooden floors into the gleaming surface that graces the inn today. I know that most people will not know or realize the efforts that went into the inn floor they walk across. It is ‘just a floor’, right? Oh…but I know…and I smile…and I am happy that I was able to help restore and revitalize its beauty.
So…back to the story…or to start the August story…August was like a wonderful reunion at The 1910 Inn. Pat and Bob came back for a second visit. Bob is a teacher, and their visits to our darling Tarpon Springs and the Pinellas Trail fit their schedule during spring break and summer. Carol and Bev, Rose’s dear ‘aunties’ visited again. (See “A Stranger Brings A Rose to the Inn” on the inn’s website: the1910inn.com; blog: “Hello…”; posting date: March 27, 2013.)
Mia from WLRN returned for a week-long stay, along with cameraman, Felipe, as they continued the work on their documentary. I will have to tell you more about that during 2014.
During the monthly ‘Night In the Islands’ event an entire inn-ful of guests dined and danced the hours away at the Sponge Docks. Guests LOVE their evening of being ‘Greek’, and I LOVE to hear about their adventures the next morning at breakfast!
I look forward to hearing about the birth of Victoria’s and Ben’s baby. And thank you pilot, Steven, and ‘co-pilot’, Ben, for replacing that heavy jug of water with such precision.
Wendy (remember there are three recurring Wendys at the inn) and Jim finished their two-week stay at the inn and headed to their two-week African Safari. Upon their return they stayed at the inn an additional night. Thank you for the colorful Maasai tribal bracelet that you brought to me from Tanzania. Soon we shall plan an evening for you to visit and share the story of your African journey.
There was Miami Weekend at The 1910 Inn. All the guests that weekend had come up from Miami for weekend getaways. None of them knew each other, prior to their visit…and here is the ironic part…yet maybe not so ironic, really…none of them met each other during their weekend. The inn is a private respite to many.
Judith and David visited for a few days to celebrate Judith’s birthday. They both had careers that took them throughout the world, and it was fascinating to hear their stories.
August brought a much-awaited visit from a European guest. This guest, a movie producer, found a peaceful haven at the inn, where work on a manuscript could be done uninterrupted. This guest mentioned one day, “There’s something about this town… (long pause)…it is different here…it is not like America.” I had to smile at that thought. Yes…there truly is something different about our Tarpon Springs. Sometimes I joke that our town is Mayberry USA. Oh, but as the years go by, less and less people know what Mayberry USA is. Sometimes I think that our town is caught in a time-warp with the morals and culture of the 1950’s. And that is one of the BEST things about Tarpon Springs. Yes, Tarpon Springs is a gem. Life is different here. But…hush...do not tell too many people!
The month ended in a multi-cultural flurry. One morning at breakfast eight guests represented six countries and cultures at the dining table. Oh…such interesting conversations and languages! “The World” comes to The 1910 Inn!
It has been a good month of finalizing some first-year maintenance goals. Did you know about the weekend that the BIG red ‘circus tent’ came to Tarpon Springs? Some of you may have seen it. Well…you know…when you love an old building…you do what you must to continue to preserve it.
And some sweet and dainty touches were added to the inn Lace curtains with the loveliest scalloped side and bottom edges now adorn the four windows of the ‘round room’, where Wendy (another of the three Wendys) and Ron will become husband and wife in October.
And soon…oh, very soon…front landscaping and the new/old door will find their way to the inn. You see…my mind never rests and is filled with visions of what The 1910 Inn will continue to become.
So, August completes the summer here at The 1910 Inn. Our first summer! Oh, so sweet!
Come by for a visit one day, dear friends. We shall sit in the rocking chairs on the front veranda, sipping cold lemonade and watching our little Tarpon Springs…where time stood still.