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Category Archives: Red Chair

Red Chair in Snow

December 30, 2012 by Beth Colt

Red Chair TravelsSnow is rare in Woods Hole.  The confluence of Gulf Stream waters that surround us keep it warmer here than other places.  Last winter it snowed only once!

And so it is special indeed to wake up to a frosting like the one inch we received last night.  Add that our Red Chair is back after months and months traveling all over New England and yes, you guessed it, despite my winter cold I threw on boots, wool hat and finger mittens this morning to catch the (already melting!) snow in bright light.

The wind was howling so hard out on Stoney Beach that it knocked the chair right over, more than once.  And crunch crunch crunching over the hoary ice on the golf course made me nervous that I might slip down one of those slick hills like the kids I heard squealing with delight on sleds.  My nose was running and my cheeks starting to match the chair when I finally stumbled back home to the Inn.  But without further adieu, here is my photo essay of Woods Hole in winter with my friend, the Red Chair….

 

Pie in the Sky

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Red Chair on Eel Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Chair in Woods Hole Winter 2012

 

View of Woods Hole Inn from Crowell House WHOI

Jud’s Museum

October 14, 2012 by Beth Colt

Dublin, New Hampshire with Judson Hale, editor of Yankee

 

 

The Red Chair is a great way to meet new people.  I know, that sounds really strange but it’s so true!

My humble red chair (rescued from the Falmouth dump, more context here)  is making a tour of all the best Inns and B&B’s in New England, and because of that, it was invited to meet the editors of Yankee Magazine.  And I got to tag along.

Yankee Magazine is headquartered in the village of Dublin, New Hampshire.  In the shadow of Mount Monadnock, this is a classic New England spot if ever I saw one with a white-spired church, petite village green, tiny sandwich shop and miniature rotary.

Blink and you will miss it.

We were ushered in the hallowed halls of this iconic spot, and amazingly enough, retired editor Judson Hale was there!  What an incredibly warm and charming fellow he is — curious about the Red Chair and eager to show us his famous “Museum,” a collection of objects gathered over the 50 plus years he has worked at Yankee, many of them as it’s editor in chief.

Red Chair visits Yankee Magazine

Jud’s Museum is irreverent, historical and downright hilarious.  He has a splinter of the sinking of the Maine (1898) which a man from Cuba claims to have rescued from Havana Harbor, a glove mold from the old runner factory next to “The Balsams” in Dixville Notch, NH and even a crows foot Jud says was stolen from the dead body of Sitting Bull.   He asked for Einstein’s brain but never got it, and that kind of detail does not set Jud back —  he has a fake.

You will enjoy his whimsy in this YouTube clip talking about the contents of his famous office.  I did get the sense he had told the stories he shared with me and the Red Chair a few times before, but you too can experience it with the magic of the internet:)

Here are a few more images from this special visit, one that both the Red Chair and I will cherish forever:

Hanging out outside the building, waiting to meet the Editors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents of Jud’s Museum, up close and personal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of the fragment of the “Maine” — “How do I know this is a splinter from the sunken ship?” Jud asked me, looking coy.  “The man who gave it to me told me so.” he answers himself with a wry smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the exact historical relevance of each the objects in Jud’s museum may be a bit suspicious, one thing is surely true — Jud has enjoyed collecting them, and there would be no better tour guide to this rare space than the inspired collector himself.  You can read more about our visit in the Yankee Magazine blog written by Heather Atwell.  Check it out!

Departure to a Gilded Age

July 25, 2012 by Beth Colt

Today the red chair left the Woods Hole Inn, departing on its latest journey across New England. Friend of the Woods Hole Inn, Kate Kavanagh, volunteered to help the Red Chair reach its destination. There were lots of photographs and a small goodbye as the chair made it’s way out of the inn.

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The red chair will be traveling for the next six months to 40-plus inns in the most beautiful corner of America. For it’s first stop, the Red Chair will be visiting the Cliff Side Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. Surrounded by the mansions of the Gilded Age, a scenic cliff walk and ocean-side views, the Cliff Side Inn was the perfect choice for the start of an epic journey.

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Opening Party

May 3, 2012 by Beth Colt

Remodeled room unveiled at the Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod.

This is a big week at the Woods Hole Inn as we unveil the five new rooms on the second floor of the Inn.  Last night, we hosted an opening party catered by Quicks Hole, with beer from Cape Cod brewery and wines provided by Travessia Urban Winery.

Le Tout Woods Hole was there munching on fresh salsas, lobster taco bites and crabcakes made fresh that very day.  Yum!  The building was packed with people, circling around and oohing and aahing over the new spaces and decor.  Very gratifying after six months of sawdust and construction debris.

Falmouth Town Manager, Julian Suso, presented the Woods Hole Inn with a proclamation from the town, in gratitude for our saving the old grey lady.  We were touched by the outpouring of compliments and appreciation from visitors, who seemed glad to see that this historic structure will live to see many more years in it’s prominent corner in the middle of town.

It was fun to re-visit with the contractors and sub-contractors as well, enjoying the space they all worked so hard to make beautiful.  People lingered over the wallpaper designed from 1946-era check-in cards, gathered on the water view decks, and wondered when they could justify checking in despite living a three minute walk away!

So, without further adieu…drumroll please….here are a few views of the new rooms:

Romantic getaway on Cape Cod, open year round.Room Eleven, a spacious room with king bed and private bath offers a wonderful view of the village green from it’s corner spot overlooking the WCAI building and Pie in the Sky bakery.

Modern decor, doily-free zone at the Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod.Modern decor with vintage restored details define the bath of room 10.  This sink was found in the attic and restored at the Tub Doctor.

Romantic getaway in water view room on Cape Cod.

The Nonamesset Room has distinctive red coral lamps and a private deck with water views over Woods Hole harbor.

Woods Hole Inn romantic getaway Cape Cod.

Hardwood floors, vintage restored bathtub and an unusual shape cast iron sink define the bath in the Nonamesset Room.

Blues and greens restfully dominate in this water view room at the Woods Hole Inn.

The Nobska Room is on the same side of the building as Nobska lighthouse, and looks out over the ferry terminal, Woods Hole harbor and Martha’s Vineyard in the distance.  Love those soothing blue/greens.

Suitcases at the Woods Hole Inn Cape CodSo, pack your vintage bags and come on over for a fabulous romantic weekend at the best new inn on the Upper Cape.  Book NOW; if it goes like last year we will sell out early.

Woods Hole Inn stairs with vintage hardwood floors and hip light fixtures.Escher would appreciate the view from the top of the three story staircase looking down on the famous red chair in our lobby.

We look forward to showing you the place in person.  Some of you have been following along all winter — What do you think??

Red Chair Travels

March 26, 2012 by Beth Colt

The red chair looks out over Vineyard Sound and the Martha's Vineyard ferry before heading on an epic journey to Provincetown and back!

Remember the story of the red chair?  You know, the image I put on Facebook that inspired a visit from a Californian photographer who then sent me the most amazing photograph she had taken of the chair?  I wrote all about this last spring, and told everyone I ever met all about it, and you can catch up with the story here.

Well, now the red chair is headed on a very unique trip.  I have reached out to innkeepers all over Cape Cod.  This chair is going to have the most amazing spring visiting the very best places to stay on the Cape and Islands.

Having checked in on the phone with these fabulous hoteliers, I can genuinely say I am jealous of the chair’s journey.  I too want to spend five weeks crisscrossing the Cape, exploring every nook and cranny from the dunes of Race Point to the shops of Nantucket, from the farms of Martha’s Vineyard to the sand flats of Barnstable Harbor.  I too want to try a growler of Cape Cod beer in Hyannis, or see the whales and dolphins off Provincetown, or chow on steamers in Truro, or skip the boardwalk in Sandwich.

Why send a chair on a journey like this?  Because, like the surrealists used to say, this chair is not just a chair.  It is a metaphor, an invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place.  It is an open seat at the table of relaxation.  It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature where you can lose and find yourself at the same time.  It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.

And that, my friends, is why the chair needs to travel!

Today I prepared my  heart, then drove the chair to thirty minutes up the road to the lovely village of Sandwich where the chair will be hosted by the Belfry Inn and Bistro for a few days.  This is a really cool place — a converted church with all the stained glass still intact.  I must admit, I felt a bit like a mother taking their child to overnight camp for the first time!  I mean, all the preparation I have put into this trip, and when it came down to it I really did not want to let that chair out of my hot little hands.  I was feeling anxious and worried, wrote a long note to my fellow innkeepers about it’s care and safekeeping, even fretted a little about leaving it on side deck rather than handing it directly to the next innkeeper.

But I have to remember, the soul of this chair was meant to be shared.  I found it at the swap shop, and so much joy has come already from sharing it.   I have to believe more joy, laughs, curiosity will come as others are touched by it too.

Some nostalgic images of the chair at the Woods Hole Inn before it headed out:

Red Chair before making it's journey from the Woods Hole Inn to Provincetown and back.

Oooh, that Cape light.

Red Chair enjoying the end of the day at the Woods Hole Inn.

On a foggy day:

Foggy day red chair in Woods Hole, looking over Coffee Obsession.

Then getting ready to head out today, with a little note that says “Read Me!” filled with instructions and well-wishes.

Leaving the waterfront across from the Marthas Vineyard ferry can be traumatic:)

Here we are all loaded up in the car:

Leaving Woods Hole in my Prius.

Arriving at the Belfry Inn in Sandwich MA, a lovely 30 minute drive on a windy bright day:

Arriving at the Belfry Inn in Sandwich, MA.And finally the hiding spot:

Red chair hidden in red brick wall at the Belfy Inn in Sandwich, MA.

Isn’t everything better when shared?

More to come on this story, plus read about it directly in a new blog called RedChairTravels.com.

Red Chair Diaries

June 18, 2011 by Beth Colt

The first red chair photo, January 2011

Becoming an innkeeper is a curious transition that starts with worrying about all the little details (do we have enough toilet paper?  Is the boiler working?) and eventually transforms to a place where the small interactions with one’s guests can make or break a year.  On that front, 2011 is a very good year.

Thus begins the tale of the red chair.  We moved to Woods Hole last year and made numerous trips to the swap shop (a wonderful institution at the town dump where you can drop off or pick up gently used stuff) and one day we found these two painted red wooden chairs.  Pretty solid, I said to my husband.  Yes, perfect for our new porch, he mused.  So into the trunk they went, paint peeling a bit, dirt crusted in the corners but a nice solid color, definitely worth cleaning up.

Six months later, in January, the small pond behind our house froze.   We decided to go skating one afternoon.   I grabbed one of the red chairs to help the kids get their skates on.  It was glowery and cold, with the light threatening to turn to actual darkness.  The pond was grey, silent, ringed with houses many of them dark in winter.  I stamped my feet to keep warm, listening to the skates whisk across the ice.  Cold and too dark now, I hustled the kids inside for dinner.  As we cleared the gear, I looked back and noticed we had forgotten the red chair.  There is sat, alone on the pond.  I snapped it’s portrait with my handy iPhone.

Later that evening, I posted the picture on Facebook as part of my photo project (“365″ – I attempt a new picture every day).  The image of the red chair ignited my FB friends and fans — I have never received as many comments.  People wanted copies of the photo, poster size.  I explained that this picture was taken on my iPhone in low light — unlikely to look very good blown up beyond 5×7.

One day in March, I received an email from a prospective guest from Santa Barbara.  She was coming to Boston to see her boyfriend and they were looking for a good place to stay.  She had seen my photos of Woods Hole on Facebook and wanted to come to the Woods Hole Inn because Woods Hole looked so beautiful (which it is, BTW).  Wow, I thought, all the way from the west coast…it really is a small online world.  She booked the room.  As we got close to the date, she emailed again.  She was a photographer, she said, and she loved my picture with the red chair.  Could she borrow it over the weekend for a photo shoot?

Well, I have to admit my first reaction was, huh? Now that is an unusual request!  That’s MY chair.   Then I remembered the swap shop.  This is not my chair at all, it is a chair passing through my life and I need to share it, I reasoned.  It is meant to be shared.   I loaded the chair up in my Prius, drove it over and parked it on the front porch of the Inn.

The red chair comes to the Woods Hole Inn, March 2011.

We had a family obligation that weekend and I left the Inn in the hands of my very competent staff.  When I came back, on Monday, the chair was still on the porch and I asked — did our guest use the chair?  Oh, I told her where it was and I think she did.  Well, did she say anything about it?  Nope, said she had a good time, that was it.  Hmmm, not very satisfying after hauling the chair across town but I brought it home and forgot about it.

About a month later, the red chair guest emailed asking for our address.  She had taken a picture with the chair and wanted to send me a copy.  She said the red chair had opened a whole new place in her work and she wanted to thank me.  I emailed back that she could just send me a digital file or post it on Facebook but she said no, she had something to send me.

Turns out our red chair guest is a professional nature photographer.  And a really good one at that.

About two weeks later a huge package arrived — what is this, I thought, what have I ordered now?  I opened the package, and there was the most incredible shot of Nobska Beach in winter, with the red chair out on the beach before the crashing waves.   I was literally breathless looking at this image, tears welled.  It was such a simple composition, both the chair and the beach so familiar to me and yet a totally fresh and new juxtaposition.  The winter waves crashing toward the grey sand.  The snow fence perfectly framing it, inviting me in.  Breathtaking.

I carried it around the inn like a teenage girl with a Justin Bieber autograph.  Look at this!  This came from our guest!  Can you believe it #@*?!!   It’s the red chair!  I put it right up in a prominent place by our guest water cooler.  I put a little sign next to it with the photographer’s website.   I emailed her a love note of appreciation.

Red chair on Nobska Beach in winter now hangs in the front room of the Woods Hole Inn.

So now, whenever I pass this picture, I think about the dialogue we have with our guests.  Sometimes it’s as simple as can I have another towel, or where is the best place for dinner tonight?  Or repetitious, yes the Martha’s Vineyard ferry is right across the street.  Or even disappointing,  as when someone is tired or grumpy.

But this dialogue always involves the give and take between real people who come to the inn with the rich back stories of whole and interesting lives.  It reminds me that we mostly scratch the surface when there are oceans of personality, talent, life experience floating underneath the rote interactions (here is your room key, breakfast is served between 8 and 10, the parking lot is right behind the building).  I wonder if we added questions like, what is your favorite color, what does the ocean mean to you and have you ever read Sartre? —  would we learn more or just scare people?  Probably the latter.

For me, the metaphor of the red chair is the invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place.  It is an open seat at the table of relaxation.  It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature where you can lose and find yourself at the same time.  It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.  We are all – on some level — lovers of destination, landscape, color.

What does the red chair mean to you?

To read an update on this story, check out this post.

Skating with the red chair, January 2011.

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