Letter from the Innkeepers Ground Hog Day 2011

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Dear Friends,

Back in our home state of Pennsylvania, they’re celebrating today because Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow and that means spring should be there in another six weeks. Here in Ashland, signs of spring are already here. The daphne odorata is getting ready to join the witch hazel and camellias with its annual dazzling show and the croci are up and about. We just signed on to our Community Supported Agriculture share for the year, which will ensure your plates are adorned with only the freshest, most local and organic food we can procure.

This year’s OSF season is dedicated to beloved Bill Patton, the theatre’s first paid employee, who died last week. The curtain’s about to go up here and the fever builds everyday. As Cappy and I come down out of the park each afternoon, we’re bound to meet an actor or two. Today Rene Millan was rushing home for dinner with his family, and said he had to return to Measure for Measure practice that evening. By the end of the month we will have seen all four plays set to begin previewing Feb. 18th. To Kill a Mockingbird has been such a blockbuster already that the festival has taken the unprecedented step of adding two performances even before the play opens. Veteran Mark Murphy plays the Gregory Peck role of Atticus Finch. The other plays we’ll see are:

  • Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” which runs all year at the Bowmer asking such questions as what it means to be a good ruler, how to remedy corruption and the conflict between revenge and justice. Bill Rauch directs.
  • Moliere’s medical comedy “The Imaginary Invalid”, as adapted and updated around the idea of people being responsible for their own health and well being. It’s also in the Bowmer, running all season. Tracy Young directs and helped adapt both story and music.
  • The latest play by Korean-American playwright Julia Cho “The Language Archive” about lost languages and failed communications. It’s in the New Theatre through mid-June.

Stay tuned for our reviews and sound bites from some of our favorite folks around town.

Unlike Garrison Keiller’s Lake Wobegone with its quiet weeks, it’s definitely not been a quiet winter here in Ashland. Around the inn, it’s been the Year of New Floors. The linoleum has been replaced in nearly every old bathroom. Even better, we have installed wood floors in five of the garden suites, replacing wall-to-wall carpeting in an effort to return the floors to their original state the century before last.

Deedie’s taken out her desire to go to Provence on the Viola suite. In collaboration with Pierre Deux, a new look has been achieved. We’re hoping even Van Gogh would feel at home there, even without a field of lavender or sunflowers to greet him.

The gardens have gotten their due attention and the trees have made our arborist’s third quarter a good one. Some old trees, including the beautiful but messy mimosa in the front, are gone — to be replaced with more space- and zone- appropriate greenery. For those who didn’t like having to duck under the ancient elder between the cottages, fear no more; the offending limb awaits our neighbor the woodworker’s artistic hand.

While OSF seems impervious to the economic downturn, you’ll find that’s not been true for some of the restaurants here in town. Some have left, others have opened and each day brings news of another hinted change. We’ve heard great things about a new restaurant at 5th and A, Coquille. We’ll give you a report when you get here.

When busy innkeepers have no guests to look after, they still like to stay busy. Deedie’s book “Boxes – Opening the Lid on an American Life” continues to sell well and get good reviews. She has done several readings and has one scheduled at Bloomsbury later in the month. A new book is already underway and she’s still wielding the gavel as president of the city’s largest Rotary Club. David spent much time in Pennsylvania with his 96-year-old mother, Lucille, who died a peaceful death in January. He’s now resumed his bridge game, his active participation on the city’s Conservation Commission, his leadership of the local bed and breakfast network and is gearing up for work on the city’s budget as a member of the 14-person committee that sets the city’s budget and tax rate each year.

That’s about all for now. We look forward to seeing many of you later in the season and hope some of you who couldn’t get in last year will plan a return. Let us know if we can help plan your visit to Ashland. Remember, we can get premium seats for $40 through May and then during September and October if you plan a visit between Sunday and Thursday.

This comes with our fond regards and hopes for your continued good health and happiness,
Deedie and David Runkel
Deedie and David Runkel

  1. Ginny and Dick Lombardi

    How does the interior court look for the first week of August? We are starting to begin to commence to think about planning this summer and look forward to seeing you two.
    Ginny and Dicl

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