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Archive for March, 2014

12 Years A Slave, Lyme And The Underground Railroad

March 17th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Lyme Center Academy Building

Lyme Center Academy Building – Home of the Historical Society

John and I recently saw the Academy Award Winner for Best Picture, 12 Years A Slave.  I had purchased the book on one of our numerous trips to Civil War battlefields.  You know how you always worry that if you have read the book you will be disappointed in the movie – filmmakers have a tendency to produce a movie for one overriding reason “Show Me The Money” (as in the memorable words from another movie).  Not so with 12 Years A Slave – the book is powerful but the movie more than adequately displays the brutality and the dark side of so many southern plantation owners and their overseers.  With that backdrop , I was delighted to learn that the Balch House in Lyme was an Underground Railroad safe house.  Lyme Underground Railroad agents had heavy fugitive slave traffic because of its proximity to Canaan, New Hampshire.  Once a month, fugitive slaves were taken from Canaan to Lyme and then across the Connecticut River into Vermont towns.  The story is told that one night slaves arrived at Samuel Balch’s house just a short time ahead of agents in pursuit.   When the agents arrived Samuel  Balch gave them permission to search the house with Mrs. Balch giving them a stern admonition not to wake the children that were sleeping upstairs.  The agents opened the bedroom door and found the children asleep tucked underneath the quilts.  They left empty handed.  But cleverly tucked under the bedroom covers and out of sight was a slave woman.  When it was safe Samuel Balch moved that slave woman and the others to the next stop on the Underground Railroad.  Lyme, NH has a wonderful historical society housed in the refurbished Academy Building where you can learn more about its past.  Breakfast on the Connecticut is proud to be located in Lyme where so many past residents not only “Talked the Talk” but “Walked the Walk”.

 

There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch – Or Is There?

March 4th, 2014 by donnanandersen

Enjoying the Connecticut River

Enjoying the Connecticut River

Recently I traveled with my daughter to a conference in Portland, Oregon where she was presenting a paper.  I will leave the plane odyssey for another blog but since I am in the hospitality industry I will comment on the accommodations.  We stayed at the site of the conference which was housed in a major hotel chain.  First item on the agenda – if you wanted WIFI you paid for it!  I could leave the hotel, pop into the Starbucks on the corner and voila, I was connected.  If I wanted a bottle of water – well that was available in my room but at $2.75 per bottle – OUCH!   Breakfast – well that was available at two different locations in the hotel but had to be purchased.  And have you seen the prices of Room Service lately?  A bowl of oatmeal was $11.75 and if you wanted a few berries with that you were charged an additional $2.25.  Renting a car meant that you had to pay for parking.  For years the B&B industry has had a promotion titled A Better Way To Stay.  At most B&Bs access to WIFI is free, beverages are free, breakfast is part of the room charge and in many instances is quite gourmet and parking, well that is free.  In New Hampshire, Breakfast on the Connecticut pays to the state a view tax – the better the view the higher the tax.  Our view of the Connecticut River and the hills of Vermont is free and can be enjoyed for hours while you relax in one of our Adirondack chairs.   Maybe not a free lunch but certainly A Better Way To Stay!