Thursday, 7 January 2010


sunny breaks, mild, temps minus 1

Still in Burlington - having loads of fun. Went to Macy's and other shops in the big mall off Church Street to find clothes for our vacation to St. Lucia. Both Michael and I found some great things...very loose...this is an all-inclusive vacation, after all.

We really like Burlington. Unfortunately we were in a bit of a rush. Had to head back to the Essex Inn for an interview with Shelagh Shapiro for her show "Write the Book". Got back just in time for a quick shower and met her in the library of the Inn. She was set up in front of the fireplace. What a terrific woman and interview. It was 45 minutes, which is so rare, and such a pleasure. We could actually talk about things to do with the books and writing.

Then...ta da...I have an 80 minute massage. Heaven. They've just in the last 8 months opened the new spa here and it is stunning. Gorgeous aesthetic - modern, warm, clean, very, very impressive. As was the massage itself.

Sadly, the rest of the Essex Inn isn't up to the same standard. Well meaning - but not very special. Food ok - turns out this is no longer a campus for the New England Culinary Institute. This campus closed last year and it consolidated in Montpelier, Vt. So no students. No teachers. I don't know if the food was better before it closed, but now it is OK, nothing more.

The room, too is a little odd. Large. Very orange. I'm wondering if they're trying for a mid-century modern vibe. If so, they've missed. hard to pull off that look when you're also striving so a country inn feel. But our main problem is that whoever designed or decorated the room did not think how it might be used. Instead of a sofa in front of the electric (!) fireplace there are two comfortable club chairs separated by a large, tall, dining table. The chair I'm in has no lamp so it's quite dim. And there is one plug for the laptop and blackberry chargers...on the wall by the everything sits on the floor. It seems no one thought it through.

But this got Michael and me thinking about all the hotels, wonderful and otherwise we'd been in last year. Such fun! I adore home, but I also love a great hotel room. they're inportant to me. I guess because I'm a nester. I stayed in a wonderful hotel in Houston. A fun one in Quebec City. But our favorite by far was the Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona. It went for and nailed the mid-century modern. Very cool - but also exceptionally well designed for real people with real lives and needs. Brilliant. Thrilling design. We adored it.

Will not mention the bad hotels - but of course they serve to make the good ones all the better.

Have a Vermont Public TV interview tomorrow (my hair in standing on end after the head massage - so I will look like either Bozo or Phyllis Diller...depending on the amount of make-up they put on. I'm thinking any moment now the publisher will pull the promotional plug.

Back to sutton tomorrow. This has been a fun visit. Must say, Burlington is a GREAT city. Well worth visiting.

Speak tomorrow.


Barb said...

My sister in law used to live in Burlington, then they made the move to Berwick, Maine. I guess they like it a lot better there, they live out in the country and also have a cabin on a like, and have their own plane that can land on the water, what do you call that, senior moment here.

The hotel room definitely sounds "interesting".

Do you have trouble lying for an 80 minute massage? I tend to be fidgety....

lil Gluckstern said...

What a trip to read you,pun intended. One day I'm in a winter wonderland, the next I am imagining floaty cottons, and turquoise seas. It is so nice to go along with you!

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Barb,

Float plane! Ha - glad someone else gets those blanks. In terms of lying still for 80 minutes, I generally have to fight falling asleep...very annoying when you pay quite a lot for a massage and sleep through the whole thing! I could live on a massage table.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Lil,

Well, start thinking about what you'll bring with you to St. Lucia...of course, you already have loads of tropical stuff I imagine. We need to remember sunscreen and floppy hats. Yes, this is going to be a high fashion affair.