A genuine taste of autumn has arrived. The hummingbirds have left, and firewood is on order. The lawn is filled with wonderful mushrooms of all colors and sizes – we’re waiting for a fairy ring to appear. The full moon on a cool night has Lucy ready to stroll the grounds in the wee small hours. Duvets are appearing on the beds. Summer should return next week, but in the meantime preparation for the fall is well underway.
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Chester has survived an earthquake and a bit of a brush with Irene. Fortunately, all of the old trees came out unscathed. We were grateful for the rain and are gearing up for the last push of summer gardening. As the leaves have begun to drop, our thoughts are also turning toward fall, cool evenings and football games!
Half of 2011 is over! The Wild Women have come and gone, and the dog days of summer are upon us. At Chester we’re looking forward to football season in the fall. This month Dave Mathews returns to the area for a concert. Garden events are mixed – the roses are giving their all in a mid-summer bloom. (The deer don’t seem to have noticed!) However, the earwigs did find the clematis – it is exfoliated. If some rain comes along, it may survive. New restaurants are opening in Scottsville – perhaps a renaissance?
Scottsville’s annual 4th of July celebration continues! Due to a fast-moving weather front, the fireworks have been moved to Saturday, July 9th. What a great way to spend a summer evening!
‘Tis the season to be busy! Weddings, reunions, graduations, honeymoons, and spring get-a-ways have us hustling to get everything done. The roses have finished their first big bloom – half of which our resident deer consumed! Our Lady Rebecca Staunton lilies are just beginning to open in glorious numbers, and the lawn is requiring constant attention. It is a beautiful time, and we’re enjoying sharing Chester with our many guests.
Finally, after many false starts, spring has appeared in all her glory. The dogwoods are nearing their peak, and the deutzias have spread a veil of white over the lawns. It’s a shame we don’t have a wedding here today! Our arboretum suffered two losses over the winter. Unfortunately, both were heritage varieties – stewartia and franklinia. We’re mulching, planting, cutting and pruning. May 8th will bring the annual bird census – lots of migratory birds are stopping off and the feeders to refuel. Tis’ truly a glorious time.
As innkeepers we frequently encounter folks who need to get away and “recharge their batteries.” We work to provide peace and quiet, good food and an environment that is responsive to all kinds of needs.
We are fortunate to be able to recharge ourselves on an annual basis. Our “retreat” is to a warmer clime where we spend hours diving. It is refreshing to swim with sea turtles, observe huge schools of colorful fish flowing by, find the occasional shark on the prowl, and watch enormous eagle rays “fly” gracefully through the turquoise waters.
Something about the sea quiets us, reminds us of our insignificance in the whole scheme of things, and challenges us to protectively cherish that which is our world.
The winds are howling sending us scurrying for cover. Lucy nand Suzy head out of doors reluctantly and return quickly. Mother Nature must be doing housekeeping chores as dead branches and twigs tumble from the trees. On a positive note, March is nearly here – crocuses are peeking out of the ground, and green swords of daffodils are pointing skyward.
Although winter storms continue to rage, we are turning our thoughts toward spring. A random flock of robins on the wintry lawn is a lovely reminder that warmer times are ahead. Bicycle groups are setting up their itineraries. Bird-watchers are scheduling time to view the large numbers of migratory species that make refueling stops at our feeders. After the Superbowl – can spring be too far off?
Chester’s unsung heroine is Mary Frances. When we need a long period of R and R, she is at the helm – meeting, greeting, cooking, and cleaning. Lucy and Suzy get to snuggle with her at night. When an emergency arises, she cheerfully says “I’ll be right there!” We are so grateful for her presence – she is irreplaceable and greatly loved. Thank you, Mary!