Letter from the Innkeepers Winter 2009

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Dear Friends of Anne Hathaway’s:

Happy New Year to all — including the award-winning actress with the same name as Shakespeare’s wife (for whom we sometimes get calls).

Our first family Christmas holiday in Mexico was most restorative. We’re feeling refreshed and ready to repair and replace what needs to be and renew old friendships.

But before we talk about the future, we need to take a moment to reflect on the recent past. In November, we held a gala 100th birthday party for the house. The Sunday afternoon reception for our neighbors, fellow innkeepers, vendors, farmers and Ashland friends was well received (Mail Tribune article). As part of that celebration, we drew names of guests who stayed with us last year who win one night’s stay this year for $19.08.

Speaking of this year, our theme is Holding the Line in 2009. That means we have not increased our rates on most rooms, despite fairly hefty increases in city utility charges and food costs.

This also means we pledge not to cut back on essential services to you.

Ashland is bursting with activity in 2009. The actors are back in town and rehearsals have begun. We’ve seen or talked with a number of our favorite actors, who are optimistic that the season will be great. None of them seem too upset that due to financial cutbacks, many of them will be in three productions this year instead of two. The entire OSF staff is stretching themselves to keep costs down. Unlike many other regional theatres, OSF has sufficient reserves to continue its commitment to excellence even during an economic down turn, we have been assured by those who run the place. Previews begin in less than a month. Catherine Coulson just sent an email saying “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” is going to be great. And Jeremy Johnson says “Music Man” is terrific – they’re having a great time rehearsing. Jeremy’s parents will be with us in the Fall.

At Anne Hathaway’s, construction is underway on a new two-story, two-unit building backing up against the church social hall, just in front of the Marigold room. These new rooms will be ready for the summer and will provide more space than any of the others. Each will have a separate bedroom – twins that can be made into a king – and a small living-dining room with a full kitchenette, fireplace and TV. The upstairs room will have its own deck space with spectacular views, while the first floor room will have a patio surrounded by the gardens. The bathroom on the first floor will be fully ADA accessible. To be known as the Iris and Rose Rooms, they will cost a little more that our other Garden Suites and have already been reserved by some smart trendsetters.

At the same time, Marigold is being reconfigured with new deck space and a new entrance. We’re also using this opportunity to improve the heating and air conditioning systems for Marigold and Calla.

This project will also signal a new chapter in Laundrydom at Anne Hathaway’s. Those of you familiar with our infrastructure may recall seeing us duck (literally) into “The Cave” under Chamomile to do laundry or get supplies. Everyone, except maybe Alissa (who’s only 5’2”), has hit their heads on the beams at least once and usually a dozen times before remembering to duck when entering or leaving. This operation will be moving to the new building, where the ceilings will be 9 feet high rather than six.

We’ll be re-configuring the garden spaces to make sure there will still be plenty of room for those who like to use the yard for eating, cocktails, hammocking or reading. Most the old trees remain untouched, but we will be moving some of the shrubs to make more room. It will be a challenge, but our garden consultants have assured us it can be done.

Our off season time is also being spent catching up on our reading and our other activities. Deedie’s Peace Choir had dinner here and then caroled through all the restaurants at Christmas and is now getting ready to sing for Martin Luther King’s birthday. Work continues on her book, the AARP Bulletin and with Rotary, where she’s just been nominated as president for 2010-11. David is closing out four years on board of the state Bed and Breakfast Guild, but will continue to serve as president of the citywide Bed and Breakfast Network. He also finds more time in the winter for the bridge table.

Having witnessed many inaugurations firsthand in our old hometown, we’re watching the upcoming one eagerly from afar. We’re hoping for the very best as the new administration takes shape. We believe the Obamas already made a very good decision in the schools department, as Sidwell is where our kids went and Deedie served on the Board. Like many others, we hope and pray for the success of President Obama, his administration and the Congress in dealing with an overloaded plate of domestic and international issues that are all priorities.

This comes with our fond and good wishes to all of you for the new year as we again look forward to seeing many of you who will come over the pass into Ashland in 2009. Please let us know if there’s anything we can do to help make your visit the best it can be.

Deedie and David Runkel