Letters from Vermont



Recommitment in Marriage and All Things

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in Letters from Vermont, Weddings | 0 comments

Recommitment in Marriage and All Things

Last weekend it was my joy to officiate for a Marriage Recommitment ceremony here at the Phineas Swann between two wonderful friends. Marriage vow renewals are one of the many wonderful events we get to host here at the Phineas, and this one was wonderful because both of the couple’s children were able to make it all the way from Spain and Florida to witness it. I thought I’d just share the opening comments I wrote. I hope it speaks to you a little bit in the same way it spoke to those present: “Dearly beloved, we are joined...

read more

Hiking Northern Vermont

Posted by on Aug 29, 2017 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Hiking Northern Vermont

Earlier this week we mentioned all the cyclists who’ve been our guest this summer here at the Phineas Swann. Today we want to give a tip of the hat to those intrepid hikers who manage to hoof it to our door when hiking northern Vermont! It’s been a very busy year for hikers on the Long Trail, the 273-mile trail that stretches from Vermont’s boundary line with Massachusetts all the way to the Canadian border. The Long Trail actually predates the Appalachian Trail by a decade, and was one of the models for that 2,100-mile-plus...

read more

Cycling in Northern Vermont

Posted by on Aug 27, 2017 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Cycling in Northern Vermont

What a great summer it’s been for cyclists here at the top of Vermont! Our rainy spring and June finally petered out, and we’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny days and high temperatures much more seasonable than normal (Don’t forget: Up here, when the highs break the low-80s, we start talking about “heat waves”!) Here at the Phineas, we’ve been hosting every type of cyclist imaginable. Within a period of less than two days, we’ve hosted: A long-distance touring cyclist from northern California, making his way across country on his...

read more

30 Years of “Welcome Home”

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 2 comments

30 Years of “Welcome Home”

The year 2016 marks a very special year for the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast Inn. This year is our 30th anniversary. Back in 1986, Richard and Helen Kortea had no idea they were creating institution in the Jay Peak/Montgomery area. The couple opened up several rooms in their home, which was already hosting an outdoor outfitter in the back of its carriage house. Now, some three decades later, the Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast has hosted more than 20,000 guests, welcoming couples, families, thousands of dogs, skiers, hikers, bikers,...

read more

No, We’re Not For Sale

Posted by on Mar 3, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

No, We’re Not For Sale

Google searches always bring up interesting results. We’re fortunate that there aren’t too many places called “Phineas Swann,” so finding us on the web is very easy. But sometimes when people search “Vermont Bed and Breakfast For Sale” they get a surprise. They find us. It’s an interesting quirk, and proof that on the internet, nothing ever dies. Old pages from years ago still linger. This particular page, from almost five years ago now, still hangs out there. And it’s a little disconcerting for...

read more

Bed and Breakfast Feedback is a Gift

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Bed and Breakfast Feedback is a Gift

The late Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,”  always stressed that feedback is a gift. He bemoaned that so many companies were defensive about any criticism they received. They took it personally, and shut down or tried to make excuses to mute or refute the criticism. How many of us are like that? At the Phineas Swann, our team constantly reminds itself that bed and breakfast feedback is a gift. We don’t shower every morning in every room.  We don’t sample every bottle of wine...

read more

A Modern Bed and Breakfast Isn’t Grandma’s House

Posted by on Jan 23, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

A Modern Bed and Breakfast Isn’t Grandma’s House

We had an interesting experience last week. We were speaking with a young lady who is getting married in the area, and was looking for rooms for all of her wedding guests. It’s a common situation, and we love being the base of operations for weddings even when the ceremony and reception aren’t happening at the Phineas Swann. In fact, when wedding parties take our whole inn, we even provide complimentary shuttle service to the site for guests. The bride-to-be wanted to learn more about our B&B, because according to her we had been...

read more

Hospitality Includes Making Guests Safe and Secure

Posted by on Jan 5, 2016 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Hospitality Includes Making Guests Safe and Secure

In the Disney hierarchy, there’s only one thing that trumps courtesy when it comes to dealing with customers. It’s the only excuse that cast members (what Disney calls its employees) can cite for being less than courteous to guests. As priorities go, it is first, ahead of efficiency and showmanship. It’s safety. Safety in the hospitality industry should never be an afterthought, and yet for many organizations it’s not something to which hosts devote enough time. If you’ve ever stayed at an inexpensive hotel, or...

read more

When The Owner Is A Guest

Posted by on Dec 16, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

When The Owner Is A Guest

Found this yesterday while scrolling through Phineas Swann Bed and Breakfast reviews on TripAdvisor. We get lots of reviews on Google+, Facebook, Expedia, Booking.com and other sites, but I’ve found TripAdvisor’s to be the most popular. What I stumbled across on TA was my review, from back in 2012 when I was passing through Montgomery Center, a year before we bought the place. It was my first visit to the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast Inn, and it’s fascinating as the current owner to see what I thought of the place as a...

read more

Being An Innkeeper – A Peek Behind The Curtain

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Being An Innkeeper – A Peek Behind The Curtain

One of our recent guests, writer Thomas Lee Jones, asked us to pen a brief story about how Lynne & I came to be innkeepers in northernmost Vermont. Thomas’s wonderful blog, Orange and Magenta, is filled with great stories of travel, food and the arts. We include the article here, but encourage you to visit all of Thomas’s site for some very enjoyable reading.   Fulfulling A Fantasy Bob Newhart is a liar. Not the actor, mind you, but the character and situations he portrayed for eight seasons in the 1980s in his CBS-TV...

read more