We hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season and for those of you who are not, we hope 2020 is your year of prosperity. I like to use the end of the year as a time for reflection. A few weeks ago, I reflected all the way back to Sugar Tree Inn’s Origins. This week, I’m just reflecting back on the highlights of our 2019 season and sharing some exciting plans for our upcoming 2020 season.
1. Low-Tech Launch. 2019 brought about our “official” launch as low-tech. Basically, we removed TVs and video players from a few of our rooms, announced we do not offer WIFI and encouraged our guests to unplug while they were here. By and large, most of the travelers who stayed with us this year enjoyed the break from the constant demands of their phone. So we’re calling this shift a SUCESS and we look forward to filling this need for travelers as only Sugar Tree can.
2. Thanksgiving. Two Thanksgivings, down, two successes. This year we slightly tweaked our Sugar Tree Inn Thanksgiving, we only offered the Lodge rooms, (Sugar Tree Country, Tye River, and Crabtree) and our stand-alone units, St. Mary’s Cabin and the Creek House. This year, we ended up with three couples in the Lodge, fires crackled in the rooms, a beautiful wood banquet table was set-up in the Tavern for cozy family-style dining, and fun was had by all. True, some of the guests arrived hesitant about the set-up, but after a good night’s sleep and delicious breakfast, conversations flowed and friendships were established. We hope to keep this Thanksgiving offering a tradition, and we hope you’ll join us in 2020. Hint: Sign up early, some of our 2019 guests are ready to lock in 2020.
3. Overseas Travelers. This year we noticed an influx of overseas travelers. We kicked off our 2019 season with two couples from the UK who were in agriculture. They enjoyed exploring Rockbridge County agriculture, Wade’s Mill, Jump Mountain Vineyard, and McCormick’s Farm to name a few sites. As our season passed, we saw travelers from Australia, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and many more. For some, we were just a stopover while they traveled the famed Blue Ridge Parkway, just one mile away. For others, they stayed with us a few nights and we helped them explore Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. And for many, we were a welcome respite from hectic sightseeing in Washington D.C., New York City and the like. We hope that overseas’ travelers continue to find us and experience our piece of Americana.
4. Repeat Guests. Your patronage to Sugar Tree Inn continues to elicit our gratitude. We love Sugar Tree Inn and we love that you love it too. Thank you. Thank you for choosing to stay with us. Every year new faces come through the Lodge and we hope that we’ve done our job well and that maybe some of the new faces will return, but when familiar faces come through the Lodge we know we’ve done our job well. So, THANK YOU for your continued support of this little mountain inn.
1. Gratitude and Giving. We have decided that 2020 is a year for showing and doing, showing our gratitude by giving to others, guests and other organizations. As we mentioned above, we are thankful for your patronage. Innkeeping isn’t the easiest profession, much of our work is “invisible” work, the day to day operations, the cleaning, the planning, but instead of focusing on the tasks in our lives, we’d like to focus on what we are thankful for and try to give back in some small way. So, I don’t know if you want to call it a theme for 2020, or our focus, but you’ll see a LOT about gratitude and giving this year. We hope it encourages others to reflect on the positive aspects of their lives.
2. Weeknight Dinner Return. That’s right. We’re bringing weeknight dinners back. We will now serve dinner Monday through Saturday. Sundays will remain a low-key day with our European Basket available. We’re not going too crazy, but we will offer fresh sandwiches, salads, and soups. Russ is pretty excited about his new deli slicer, so let’s put it to good use. We’re still playing around with the menu, but we are excited to offer dinners again, now that we have a better handle on this innkeeping thing and our kids are a little older. So, thank you for your patience and understanding while we’ve been getting our legs under us; it’s greatly appreciated.
3. Room Updates. Nothing too crazy or elaborate, but maybe a few new things here and there, some new comforters, so we can extend the life of the many handmade quilts, some new towels, and a few new old things. We are looking forward to working with 3 Seasons Antiques & Unique Treasures in Fairfield, Virginia to give new life to some old things. (If you don’t know who they are, here’s a BLOG post I wrote about them. It’s a wonderful shop and I love Melinda’s eye.)
4. Phone Accommodations. You read that right. Last year we launched low-tech and this year we are following that up by offering FREE accommodations for your phone during your stay. Accommodations will range from vintage cigar boxes to wooden jewelry boxes procured from around the property and 3 Seasons Antiques & Unique Treasures. Boxes will be available in every room to use at your discretion. We hope that you will tuck your phone away for a goodnight’s sleep or at least a quick nap while you’re here. Disconnect so you can reconnect, as they say.
And there you have it, 2019 and 2020 in a nutshell. We’ll explain more of our 2020 plans as the year unfolds, but for now, these are the highlights we are most excited about and hope you will be too.
Wishing you and your family HAPPINESS and HEALTH this year! Happy vacation planning!
We’re looking forward to your stay and talking to you all this upcoming season!