When we received an invitation, a few weeks before Memorial Day, for an engagement party in the Hamptons, we were amidst an artic blast and happy to reply, “yes”; dreaming about our first beach weekend of the year.
My fiancé is a Marriot’s platinum member (he is very satisfied with his accomplishment) however, that means I am now loyal to Marriott. Before meeting him, I didn’t travel too often, so now I find myself scouring every Yelp review about each place we stay, eat or visit. Anyway, my job was to find the hotel for the engagement party (he finally trusted me to plan a trip). I looked around on the Marriott website and could not find a hotel within an hour of this party. I panicked and, when I panic, I make FAST decisions. So just like that… the room is booked. We are staying at the “Inn Spot on the Bay.” The pictures looked great online; small colorful, individual houses on the water (The boy is obsessed with water). I read the first review, five stars! My research was done, job over. I told myself I will tell the fiancé later. So, we drive up to the Hamptons, pull into the lot, and I wait in the car while JC “checks in.” OK, checking into a hotel at a bed and breakfast, very different. He comes out, looks at me and says, “What did you do?!” So great, the ice was broken, cats out of the bag, this is NOT a Marriott! Of course, early check in is not an option considering there are a total of five rooms in this woman’s home. The pretty huts I saw online are reserved for families and large groups only and, to top it off, the beautiful bay view was enveloped in heavy rain and fog.
We drove straight to the engagement party and enjoyed ourselves immensely. When we came back to check in to the Bed and Breakfast, the same woman was sitting in the same spot, as if she waits there all day long for her five guests to arrive. She handed over two keys and we walk about 15 feet to our room. Our luggage could not fit down the hallway, the bedroom had one small window, the ceilings were low, and I feel as if I’m staying with a long lost relative. I said relative, not friend or stranger, because as soon as you check in at this Inn, you are family. We walked down the steps and there she was again offering us a seat at her bar. We drank some wine and we asked to sit by a window to eat. It was then that we realized she would also be our waitress and, after placing our order, she became our chef. She shared stories of her bed and breakfast and her personal life. She was so passionate about her work. Were they tears, or just allergies when she was talking?
We decided to take our umbrellas and explore the town. We stumbled upon a karaoke bar, met the locals, danced together with strangers, and quietly snuck back into the Inn because we didn’t want to wake “mom.” The next morning, as we said our goodbyes, she boasted about how, if it wasn’t raining, we could have seen the beautiful sunset on the bay. She spoke in detail about her love for this place. I mean, her Inn was cute and all, but we spent less than 12 hours there and, with a four hour drive ahead of us, we wanted to get moving. Once again, her eyes were glassy while she talked.
As we were driving home, I was searching for houses for sale in the Hamptons (because when do you not Zillow your current location) and I stumbled upon the “Inn Spot at the Bay” for sale. Now it all made sense. My heart dropped and my stomach ached for this woman. The people who come in and out of her home are her family. We not only provide her financial livelihood, but we provide her emotional and social support.
Everyone finds wellness through his or her own journey. Spending the weekend at the Inn taught me how to appreciate the details of where I slept for that night. I took no notice of the rain outside. If we were at our second home, the Marriott, I am sure we would have complained much more about the weather. Instead, we were forced to make conversation, connect with strangers and gladly dance with the locals. Most importantly, we were part of the owner’s wellness journey. We made the cut into her “life at the Inn” before she sells the place. We will be part of her memory, just as she is now part of our journey. I grew that weekend and, even though I was out of my comfort zone, I plan to spend more time at these small, self-run bed and breakfasts. In that short period of time I was able to let my guard down, build new relationships, and appreciate the so-called “little things in life.” This is one way I can choose to be willingly well in my personal journey.