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Five Months and Counting …

by Laurel ~ September 25th, 2011
Fall Flowers at La Belle Vie

Fall Flowers at La Belle Vie

We have been fully open five months!

Running a B & B is an incredible amount of work, to do it correctly. Each of us has fallen into the daily tasks that suit us, no competition about it. I cook. Llewellyn serves. We both clean up the post-breakfast kitchen and we both work at keeping the house and guestrooms clean. Llewellyn does the lawn a la John Deer, I (attempt) to keep the landscaping in control. Each day is filled with work.

We are both enjoying the guests immensely — naturally I will not talk specifically about guests here. I will say that we have had an amazing array of visitors from all over the US, Canada, Germany and the UK and we have enjoyed them all. Collectively it makes for quite an interesting group and everyone has a story.

We have been getting positive online reviews, and that has helped put us on the “radar” as an existing business. When we began it was mostly weekends filling up, but now we are booking rooms during the week and have gone several weeks with no vacancy at all.

We still have not managed to get our sign installed. However we were approved by the local Historical Society (we do live in a registered historic district), and have our permit in hand to proceed. So we are just waiting to work out details with our contractor. I know, I know … the sign is NOT the last task we should be working on, but then we have never been conventional people.

What I love about the concept of owning a business is this: it is all on you, the owners. The success or failure is based on the choices you make and the energy you are willing to put into maintaining and developing your business. And that is the bottom line. You are responsible for the direction it takes and ultimately the success or failure of the endeavor.

So yes, there have been times we have been exhausted. There is little time for things like television anymore. We seek an hour here and there to work on ongoing projects. But I can say it all has been worth it so far. We are attempting to streamline the general operating processes and try to create more free time — I see it happening somewhat already and we will get better at it.

But a part of me is looking forward to the off-season this year, and that my friends is no lie.

Ten Years Ago …

by Laurel ~ September 11th, 2011
September 9, 2001 Llewellyn and Manhattan from Brooklyn

September 9, 2001 Llewellyn and Manhattan from Brooklyn

Today my sister-in-law Julia wrote to me via e-mail asking about this photograph. I had kind of forgotten about it.

We were living in New York City on the Upper West Side at the time and were at odds with our landlord, being forced into a move. If we vacated our rent stabilized apartment the landlord would be able to obtain a much higher rent. We had given in and decided Brooklyn was agreeable enough, and so our weekends were filled with real estate: open houses, drive by viewings and meeting with realtors.

This image was taken by me on Sunday afternoon on September 9th. I am thinking it may have been somewhere in Carroll Gardens, but I forget the details.

Note the buildings above Llewellyn’s right arm. This image marks the last time I saw them. I think Llewellyn probably saw them the next day — since his office was located two short blocks away from the the World Trade Center — but after that they remain only in memory.

We sent this image out to our family and friends because it pretty much said it all.

And on this ten year anniversary I can still feel the pain, it isn’t something forgetable. I’m glad Julia mentioned this image.

Calling All Photography Buffs

by Laurel ~ July 5th, 2011

Llewellyn is a photographer, and like him, you may be interested in historic photographic techniques.

Next Tuesday evening, in nearby Dundee, New York, John Coffer, aka “tintype man” will be speaking before the summer dinner program of the Dundee Area Historical Society. This is a very short drive from us here at La Belle Vie. He will be bringing old cameras and talking about the tintype process. In a historic perspective, tintype was the photographic process that documented the Civil War. The cost for the lecture and dinner is only $14.50 for non-members.

This is a great reason to travel to the Finger Lakes! Then, with your own camera, enjoy your own journey of documenting this beautiful countryside!

Read more about John Coffer at his website.

Bad Decision Andrew Cuomo

by Laurel ~ July 1st, 2011
Mo Fracking

Sorry, I know this is a blog connected to our business. And I also know — and have been told by many people — to separate politics from business. “Keep it neutral,” we have been told. And we do for the most part, carefully avoiding political and religious hot topics.

But this one bothers me and in fact is connected to the successful future of our business and lives here in central NY.

In the news today headlines are everywhere citing Governor Cuomo’s intention to lift the ban on hydrofracking in NY state.

I am seriously upset about this because I think it is a dangerous technique in that there is no reliable way of knowing the ultimate impact of this type of drilling in any given area. I have made it my business to learn more than what appears in the newspapers and pro-gas spin in the media. In fact I have personally met and talked at length with people with serious medical ailments. Some of these same people have no potable water on their land where it once was plentiful, farmers with a greater than 50% rate of stillbirths and mutations in their livestock. Most people have seen the videos of tap water in flames. There are many stories out there with clear evidence of hydrofracking impact.

Now I “get” that not all hydrofracking instances have negative outcomes. Perhaps some have not impacted the environment. But I do not think it worth a game of Russian roulette to find out how it will impact us here — our environment and our lives are not a game of chance.

Like the campaign to reduce cigarette smoking. No, not everyone who smoked died from it but why take that chance?

Now the gas companies will wave the carrot of employment opportunities, but a little investigation will tell you the jobs that become available are for the most part low level grunt work with no health care benefits.

Nice of Cuomo to allow fracking here — he will be safe in Albany and NYC. But what about the rest of us? As our representative, is he even listening to what we, the people, want? Sure seems like there are deals going on somewhere.

Even NJ has banned hydrofracking and at 33 to 1. What does that say about NY? Thanks for nothing Cuomo.