Spring has sprung!

April 24, 2018

Sweeny Todd opens at the Garfield downtown this weekend!

Beginning tomorrow, Plein Air artists will be everywhere around town!

Next Friday night there’s Piyo in the Park – a great chance to try a new exercise class in the fresh air!

The next day will bring an entire day of visiting local museums, beginning with Sumner Hall, which is one of only 2 buildings like it in the whole country!

Annual Museums of Kent Driving Tour
Saturday , May 5, 2018 | 10am – 3:00pm
Location: Sumner Hall – 206 S. Queen St.
Contact: Kent Museums
The tour begins at Sumner Hall, then continues around the county at other local museums. Enjoy refreshments and guided tours. Free.

Trees have budded, flowers are blooming, people are out and about, the Farmer’s Market is alive on Saturdays – it’s a great time to visit Chestertown!


February 13, 2018

My mind is full, just now, of two back to back events from the past 2 days: the first, a weekly community dinner where I volunteer, and the second, our monthly visit to the neighborhood public elementary school for our ukulele program. I love both events, look forward to each, and have a ton of fun at the two different places. Last night: the same. Great. Today, with the 45 little ones, though, I bombed. I’d been so excited during my preparation that I’d planned way too many things and the kids were wild. Sheesh. For an early childhood educator like myself, that’s not a good thing. I knew better. So although last night’s dinner put me on a high, today’s became a low. Aw, it’ll be fine and next month will be better – I”ll just reign things in and be more careful, and the results will be different. This is not the end of the world. Most have waaay more things to deal with than some tiny, poor-baby-feelings, but still, for me, my normally intact armor has a bit of a crack in it. I was reminded of the words below. (And I don’t know what you call a sort of 3rd-hand quote (one who quoted another who’d quoted another), but this is one, originally from Thomas Merton):

We are bodies of broken bones. I guess I’d always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human,….the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.
We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing…the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and ….deny our own humanity….
…each of us is better than the worst thing we’ve ever done….I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise….You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
–Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy, pp.289 – 290.

Anyway, maybe you, too, just need a small break in a hectic day; maybe you even could use a quick get-away! (This is a B&B blog, after all.) Or maybe just a reminder of what’s best and right in this time of history in which we live. Whatever. Hopefully, your day just got a little brighter. And now maybe you can pass it on. You are not alone.

Just January

January 6, 2018

Need a post-holiday get-away? Need some quiet? Need some healthy options for breakfast? No need to be afraid of going to a B&B b/c of fattening foods – (although that’s certainly an option, too, although we’d prefer the euphemism of “fab favorites”)! I love fixing what our guests prefer, so don’t let that fear stop you!

We’re open and we promise to be a place of respite. Come stay, if you’d like.

“…get close.” – Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

December 3, 2017

From p 14, Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

My grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved in Caroline County, VA. She was born in the 1880s, her parents in the 1840s. Her father talked to her all the time about growing up in slavery and how he learned to read and write but kept it a secret. He hid the things he knew–until Emancipation. The legacy of slavery very much shaped my grandmother and the way she raised her nine children. It influenced the way she talked to me, the way she constantly told me to “Keep close.”

When I visited her, she would hug me so tightly I could barely breathe. After a little while, she would ask me, ‘Bryan, do you still feel me hugging you?’ If I said yes, she’d let me be; if I said no, she would assault me again. I said no a lot because it made me happy to be wrapped in her formidable arms. She never tired of pulling me to her.

‘You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,’ she told me all the time.

A Dickens of a Christmas – in town THIS WEEKEND!

November 28, 2017

This Friday is First Friday in our little town, but it’s a very special First Friday….Miracle on 34th Street opens at the Garfield Center for the Arts. If you decide to catch opening night there, you can still go to hear the Chester River Chorale concert on Saturday afternoon. In between, you can stroll the streets and see Dickens-era costumes all around and also stop in to see the Festival of Trees. On 1 PM on Sunday, there’s the 2nd Annual Ukulele Christmas concert…. and these are just a few highlights!

Don’t miss this! There’s still room in the inn!

Fall is here!

October 12, 2017

The temperatures are finally cool, so it feels like autumn! Yay!

And oh yes, speaking of “cool,” I’m going to brag about the new, cool award that is now visible on our “reviews” page! Check it out!

(And while you’re “at it,” you might even want to book a stay to soak in some of these cool temperatures while you’re doing some cool things around Chestertown!) We’d love to have you!

Finding Voices: “The Way We Worked” at Sumner Hall

April 18, 2017

Source: Finding Voices: “The Way We Worked” at Sumner Hall

A Broken Clock

March 2, 2017

Just a short thought for today: “Even a broken clock is right twice each day*.

* From yesterday’s speaker at the Ash Wednesday service at Janes Church in Chestertown.

Travel Plans

February 12, 2017

Since Cambridge is about an hour and fifteen minutes away from Chestertown, the new Harriet Tubman Museum (opening next month) is on my list of places to visit. I’d like to couple it with the planned commemoration that will mark the anniversary of an event that highlighted the city’s painful past, a huge fire that almost obliterated the African American section of the town.

The city’s mayor, Victoria Jackson-Stanley, who is exactly my own age, is spearheading the planning, with her goal being “not to dwell on the past, but rather to release the city from its hold” (The Baltimore Sun, Sunday, Feb 12, 2017, p. 21). Pain, loss and forgiveness are intertwined, the reason why one must revisit the past in order to try to figure out how to cope in our roles and relationships today.

Jackson-Stanley remembers the blazing of the fires and the sounds of the gunshots on July 24, 1967, the night that her dad had warned them not to go out at all, the night that so much of their heritage and livelihood went up in flames. She was 13 and Black. The only things I remember about 1967 were that I had had 4 English teachers that year, when I was in 8th grade, at a time when one’s personal developmental changes dictate the necessity of stability. I’d felt the loss. I remember going to a Girl Scout event in NYC (my first trip there) and realizing for the first time that my family must not have had much money, since my homemade Girl Scout skirt was the wrong color. The darker, dingy-looking, light-forest green was the closest (I’m certain) that my mother could find before she sewed my homemade skirt, but it was different from the thin cotton, bright Kelly-green of the standard uniforms. I was ashamed as the difference hit me. I’d been crossing the street, en masse, with seemingly a hundred other Girl Scout Cadettes, with the instant realization punching me in the gut about how much The Wrong Color marked me. Too many teachers and a wrong skirt: the life problems of a 13 year old white girl.

I want to go to this planned event in Cambridge because I know how important commemorations are. We need to face truths.

For “exorcisms” (“Exorcising a Painful Past” – the title of the article in The Baltimore Sun) to occur, we need to make showings of support. Last year, when the flying of the Confederate flags was all over facebook, one family member unfriended me for my stand on banning them. I shouldn’t have been shocked – Chestertown is a lovely little college town, but has its own deep history of racism – but I was. Another extended family member said that we should “move on,” that we “don’t live in the past.” Which was why the Cambridge mayor’s comment resonated with me. She will be criticized for dredging up “old stuff” that is “done.” It’s not “done.” She needs me to show up with support for her and for her story. So I’m making my travel plans, and in the meantime, am looking for folks on the streets of our town to see whose story I can perhaps be privileged to listen to.

Shared Things

February 2, 2017

I pulled A Man Called Ove out of our Little Free Library that is in front of our house, and our niece loaned me a book by the same author, Fredrik Backman, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, and I read them both about a month or so ago. Both books are about grief, a topic almost always welcome to me, since when the subject crops up unexpectedly, can throw me for a loop. I’ve found that I’d really rather make a trip to that particular place with my eyes open. That way, it’s like a visit to a dear aunt who always seems to have a whole pack of unopened Butter Rum Lifesavers in her purse saved just for my little 5 or 10 year old self, along with her unstated instructions that I don’t have to share unless I want to – a memory to surprise and savor, or to save for a rainy day.

Elsa’s grandmother (in My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry) was a storyteller who knew that “no stories can live without children listening to them.” (p 231) Her stories were made up but they helped Elsa (and others with 8 year old souls) with real life things.

Miploris is the most beautiful of all the kingdoms of the Land-of-Almost-Awake….no one lives there, [the houses] are only used for storage. For [it] is where all fairy creatures bring their sorrow, and where all leftover sorrow is stored. For an eternity of all fairy tales.

People in the real world always say…that the sadness and loss and aching pain of the heart will ‘lessen as time passes,’ but it isn’t true. Sorrow and loss are constant, but if we all had to go through our whole lives carrying them the whole time, we wouldn’t be able to stand it. …So in the end we just pack it into bags and find somewhere to leave it.

This is what Miploris is: a kingdom where lone storytelling travelers come slowly wandering from all directions, dragging unwieldy luggage full of sorrow. A place where they can put it down and go back to life. And when the travelers turn back, they do so with lighter steps, because Miploris is constructed in such a way that irrespective of what direction you leave it, you always have the sun up ahead and the wind at your back.

The Miplorisians gather up all the suitcases and sacks and bags of sorrow and carefully make a note of them in little pads. They scrupulously catalogue every kind of sadness and pining. Things are kept in very good order in Miploris…. you can’t put up with disorder when it comes to sorrow, say the Miplorisians. (pp. 220 – 221)

Sometimes people tap dance, sometimes they’re storytellers; they play ukuleles, they make cookies — all to share.

Once every other week, Alf…drives Maud and Lennart to a large building where they get to sit in a little room and wait for a very long time. And when Sam enters through a small door with two large security guards, Lennart gets out some coffee and Maud produces some cookies. Because cookies are the most important thing. And probably a lot of people think Maud and Lennart shouldn’t do that, and that types like Sam shouldn’t even be allowed to live, let alone eat cookies. And those people are probably right. And they’re probably wrong too. But Maud shays she’s firstly a grandmother and secondly a mother-in-law and thirdly a mother, and this is what grandmothers and mothers-in-law and mothers do. They fight for the good. And Lennart drinks coffee and agrees. And Maud bakes cookies…. (p. 367)

So. Just more reasons why one of the first questions I ask new guests when booking on the phone is “What is your favorite cookie??” You just never know, unless you ask, what the best kind is to share.

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Location, Location, Location.

You might notice the WAC Administration Building cupola out of the corner of your eye as you walk onto Simply Bed & Bread's brick path, since our house is just a stone's throw away from the college. Or it might be the ...
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