Letters from Vermont



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...

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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...

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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 series...

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Scaring Up Some Fun

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Scaring Up Some Fun

We just completed our third Haunted Phineas, the annual Vermont haunted house we do here as a fund-raiser for Montgomery Elementary School. It’s great fun putting it together for the community, and each year we try to raise the bar just a little from the year before. The feedback from attendees this year was that we did just that, and that the spooks were a little spookier this year than in years past. We had a couple of guests over the weekend, and we were worried they might find all the decorations and chaos in the Main House...

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Hotels Now As Bad As Airlines

Posted by on Aug 27, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Hotels Now As Bad As Airlines

On our last airline trip, we actually spent this: $16 to have slow wifi on our flight. $15 to have a cold sandwich and a bag of chips $35 for a second suitcase What we could have spent money on but chose not to included: $75 for a seat upgrade to first class $29 to “upgrade” to a nicer seat in coach $10 to board early The airline we flew isn’t the worst offender when it comes to these fees. Stories about Allegiant Air are legendary. If you enjoy these airlines gouging you all these “extras” that used to be part...

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Hotel Scams Show Importance Of Booking Directly

Posted by on Jul 22, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Hotel Scams Show Importance Of Booking Directly

There always seems to be yet another scam out there. And the latest hotel scams have the potential to upset our guests. So we’re taking it personally. If you’re booking your stay with us at the Phineas Swann, or at another hotel across the country, you could potentially get scammed out of money, your identity or worse. A plethora of online hotel booking sites are popping up, and the damage they’re doing is immense. We’ve talked before here about sites like Expedia, Booking.com, Hotels.com and the like. While...

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Special Orders Don’t Upset Us

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Special Orders Don’t Upset Us

Most people think of special orders as “can you hold the red peppers on my omelette,” but for many of our guest these special food needs take on added importance. We’ve hosted many guests with Celiacs Disease. For them, gluten can be life-threatening. Other children who’ve stayed with us have had nut allergies. Oftentimes people allergic to dogs think they can’t stay with us, when in fact all of our Main House — including our Red, Green and Blue rooms — is pet-free. For others, their dietary needs are...

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Loss of Friends and Neighbors: The Black Lantern Inn

Posted by on Apr 6, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 3 comments

Loss of Friends and Neighbors: The Black Lantern Inn

Last week we mentioned the loss of the English Rose Inn. Just a month after it vanished, Montgomery, Vermont lost another historic inn, The Black Lantern Inn. The closing of the Black Lantern Inn was significantly less dramatic than the fire that razed the English Rose Inn, but its departure from the local restaurant and inn scene is just as notable. The Black Lantern Inn was founded as an inn in 1803. The building is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. Formerly known as Montgomery House, It was owned for two decades by...

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Loss of Friends and Neighbors: The English Rose Inn

Posted by on Apr 2, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 1 comment

Loss of Friends and Neighbors: The English Rose Inn

We’re still coming to grips a month later with the loss of two old friends: a wonderful nearby inn, and one of its owners. Just a month ago, The English Rose Inn was destroyed by fire, and one of its two owners, Gary Bouchard-Pike, lost his life in the blaze. It still hurts us every time we drive up to Jay Peak Resort and pass by the blackened remnants of what was a wonderful old inn that Gary and his wife Mary Jane built up from what was previously the Eagle Lodge. Lynne’s and my first meeting with the Bouchard-Pikes was just a...

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Top 10 Bed and Breakfast Questions

Posted by on Mar 23, 2015 in Letters from Vermont | 0 comments

Top 10 Bed and Breakfast Questions

We all have questions we’re afraid to ask. If you’ve never stayed at a bed and breakfast before, you’ve probably got several. During the past year, we’ve been asking our guests over breakfast, “What’s the one question you had before coming to the Phineas Swann, but were afraid to ask?” A lot of bed and breakfast questions came up repeatedly. So operating on the assumption that there’s no such thing as a stupid question, here’s the Top 10 Questions About Bed and Breakfasts You Were Too Afraid To Ask: # 10: Are there TVs? A lot of guests were...

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