Thursday, April 20, 2017

HER: THE CHARM AND THE CHALLENGE


Stately old manor homes, who doesn’t love them!!  They speak of a time gone by when craftsmanship meant oak floors, spacious foyers with grand staircases, multiple fireplaces, high ceilings, solid wood trim, and, best of all,  deep-set windows with sills - a spot to sit, sip hot coffee, and ponder a snow-laden morning.   Visitors who come to Wilson House will often remark, “They don’t make houses like this anymore.”    During the renovation of a guest room this winter, I pondered this sentiment, noting the charm and the challenges of this 19th century manor home. 

In January 2016, we remodeled Wilson House's living and dining rooms. In January 2017, our major project was to dress up Her Room.  Her’s former look was one partly inherited from the previous owner and partly ours:  Victorian style flowered wallpaper, a medium brown woodwork, wine colored curtains, gold bed linens, and an oriental style rug:
 
 

 Her was to have a complete makeover, floor to ceiling.  First she was stripped naked and plastered. 
 


Quite unlike modern drywall, plaster is solid and provides better soundproofing, but it does present its own challenges, the first of which was finding a craftsman who knows how to do the job.  We found one, Bud Whisler, whose fine workmanship left a smooth palette for the next task.

With Her’s wounds healed, make-up was lovingly applied to walls, ceiling, and woodwork by local painter, Ron Yorks.  The gorgeous antique dresser with mirror, a piece original to the house, remained to welcome the warm peach of the walls outlined by white woodwork and trim.  

Come in and have a peak:


A vintage, crystal ceiling light added a touch of elegance:


Windows were dressed anew in soft, billowy, drapes:


 
When opened the room is filled with light and warmth!



 

When the ladies came to hang around, a second plaster challenge ensued.  Plaster tends to crumble when confronted by picture hanging tools and implements.  Using nail and hammer is impossible.  Inserting a screw and turning it with a slight pressure is a more compatible method.  However, one must treat the plastered wall with gentleness, a little tape to bind the screw, and a lot of respect.  

The challenge overcome, the charming ladies return to their place of honor:
 
 
 
 
Lastly the comfortable sleigh bed was prettied up a bit:

 
 
By February, when we re-opened Wilson House for our annual Valentine’s dinner with wine pairing, the challenges were overcome and the charm renewed. Her is now more attractive for Her guests and never tires of showing off Her engaging view:
 

THE END
 





 

 

Monday, January 2, 2017


CHRISTMAS 2016


The Christmas season at the Juniata Valley Winery Wilson House Bed and Breakfast is a time for celebrating and a time for giving.  Please come in and see what we’ve been doing this year.

 
 

DRESSING UP FOR THE OCCASION

Before the fun begins, there is much work to do dressing up the tasting room and the B&B.  We decorate just as November gets underway in order to prepare for the wine trail (see "Heartland Wine Trail Christmas" below) that commences before Thanksgiving.

 Santa Greets His Guests
 
 
No Chestnuts Roasting, Just a Cozy Fire!

 

Santa, It's DOWN the Chimney!
 

 HEARTLAND CHRISTMAS WINE TRAIL

Our Christmas season kicks off with the Susquehanna Wine Trail’s Heartland Christmas wine tour.
 
Tasting Room in a Festive Mood for Wine Trail

The tour spanned three weekends beginning on November 19.  A multitude of trail travelers come from miles around, filled with a holiday spirit for sampling fine wines and shopping our selection of gifts, gift boxes & baskets, and, of course, wines.  Many choose to order custom labels on their wine to personalize and, perhaps, add a whimsical touch.
 
Santa Loves Our Gift Baskets & Custom Labels
 
SANTA VISTS WILSON HOUSE
 
On December 11, just as the crowds enjoyed their last day of making the rounds of the wine trail's 17 wineries, Santa arrived at the Wilson House.   Each year Santa spends a morning here for children from around the area to sit on his lap, whisper in his ear, and have their photos taken by proud parents. 
Soldiers Guard Santa
 
 
Make Yourself at Home
 
To add to the festivities, JVW provides a fun craft and plenty of cookies and milk for the children and their parents.
Crafty Couple
 
 
Hey, Leave Some Cookies for Me!
 
 
CHRISTMAS TOY DRIVE
 
We are ever mindful of the most important aspect of CHRISTmas - why – that is, Who - we are celebrating
 
REJOICE!  A CHILD IS BORN.
 
and what He asked us to do, that is, love and care for our neighbor.  Therefore, each year at JVW Wilson House we sponsor a toy drive, asking our patrons to bring gifts for children of families in need.  We acknowledge the generosity of our patrons with a 15% discount on their wine purchases.
 
We are most grateful to the many kindhearted people who donated a gift to our toy drive, and who thereby made a child somewhere in the area very happy on Christmas morning.  That's the spirit!  THANK YOU!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 AND

A VERY HAPPY 2017

TO ALL!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

COMMUNING WITH OUR GREEN FRIENDS


This summer we undertook phase one of a landscaping revival here at Juniata Valley Winery Wilson House Bed & Breakfast.  Here are excerpts from a note I recently sent to our friend Suzanne King who created a design plan that she is helping to implement over the next few years.

              Dear Suzanne,


"I think of you often when standing on the front lawn for hours, hose in hand, communing with our green friends. 

 
"Yes, sad to say, 2 transplants have died from post surgery trauma and thirst.  It has been a challenge to keep everything adequately watered with our primitive, by-hand/sprinkler system, rationed time and manpower available for the task, and a dearth of rain. . .As for pulling the two bushes, there is a contingent that believes in magic and thinks those two boxwoods will come back . . . It’s not looking good.


TREE HYDRANGEA OFFERS CONDOLENCES TO SAD BOXWOOD

"All your other plantings seem to have adjusted to the environment.  The little trees and bushes have taken quite happily to their new digs. 


 

NEWLY PLANTED EVERGREEN COURTS POTTED PETUNIAS

 

The foxglove and lavender are also settled – I cannot wait to see them when they come back next year.  All of the pots look fabulous.


A HAPPY GATHERING

 

 My favorite is the gray one out back."

 

GORGEOUS - AND KNOWS IT

 
 

 
I'm sure for someone like Susan, the surroundings of the gorgeous stone home we call Wilson House Bed and Breakfast are a veritable playground.  The towering deciduous and evergreen trees on the grounds occasionally give way, so that the property is variously studded with sun-drenched sections juxtaposed with areas of deep shade.

 

SHADED HYDRANGEA FEELS FOR SUN-ROASTED FRIENDS

 

Then there are the dappled spaces:
 

*"GLORY BE TO GOD FOR DAPPLED THINGS. . .LANDSCAPE PLOTTED AND PIECED"


A favorite of Suzanne's additions to the landscape is the tree hydrangea that delighted us with delicate white flowers.


CLOSE UP PHOTO OF HYDRANGEA TREE


Sadly, the many existing hydrangeas yielded but one, lone, albeit gorgeous, pink flower this year.
 

NEEDS A FRIEND!



We capitalized on Suzanne’s creativity on a small patio beside the winery.  Susan added a tropical feel with enormous pots of canna and potato vine on this shady side of the house.  We added garden seating to provide a cozy, shaded nook for our patrons to “chill out,” sip wine, and chat.
 




INVITATION TO AFTERNOON WINE & CHEESE!




Suzanne’s invaluable input is part of an ongoing beautification project in the gardens at JVW Wilson House.  The vision is to include most of the existing landscaping, enhanced by Suzanne’s plan.  Phase one called for re-arranging our boxwoods and added new flowers - foxglove, lavender, a hydrangea tree - some evergreens, and large, strategically, placed pots.  The evergreens, to use Suzanne’s words, are “the key elements. . . to add structure and some winter interest.  As for the overall feel of landscaping, Suzanne says, “I wanted just a bit of formality with some cottage whimsy feel.”


TRUTH



BEAUTY

 
*From "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manly Hopkins