A couple of nights ago, Pete told me that we had the distinct pleasure of being joined by a Frenchtown resident who pulled him aside to share a little bit of inter-generational history: One of the photos we have in our upstairs Bar, features either his grandfather or his granduncle. There are two men standing in front of a Frenchtown shop that has the sign "Variety Store" and they are standing next to a smaller sign that says "Opdycke's Ice Cream Parlor Inside."
Turns out that Mr. Opdycke himself was in our building and by coincidence had started walking around our Bar to look at the different photos that we have hanging on our walls. There is just so much history here!
But that's not all: Also this week, we were hosts to the Sieps anniversary dinner. It was wonderful to see them take a few minutes to also walk around our Bar and look at all the photos--many of them reproduced from the very original photos they lent me--which feature not just the town, but also Mr. and Mrs. Sieps (father and mother) who owned this establishment from the 1930s to the 1970s. There are photos of them standing in their back yard...our parking area today! There are photos of them at the Bar, and photos of the front of the building with practically all the men in hats (as was de rigueur in those days) and horses in tow.
Last night was another busy night--NO COMPLAINTS!!! We finished closing up the upstairs Restaurant and Bar, and everyone migrated downstairs to the Rat and to the lounge area we created in the cellar. It's so nice to see people enjoying all of the different areas of the building, from the hotel, to the lounge, to the restaurant, to the Rat. And we keep seeing people starting at the Rat and then making their way upstairs, and vice-versa; exactly what we envisioned as the ideal exchange of ideas, conversation, and everything in between.
We have been joined by local Frenchtown residents, Milford residents, Kingwood residents, and even people from towns and cities that are farther away. I always ask, "How did you hear about us?" and time and again, we are pleased to learn that either they googled this area and found Frenchtown to be a destination--which led them to start looking for a place to stay and eat--or there are those who found our website (or even our blog) and then found Frenchtown to boot. It looks like the information that is easily accessible on the internet on both the town and on us, is helping to boost the people traffic Frenchtown is getting. Wonderful!
People keep coming, keep dropping by, keep making reservations, keep visiting us. We are so grateful to all of our fellow Frenchtown friends, and all of the new friends that we are making from areas near and far. Each night is more exciting, more fun, than the last. And our staff keeps going with the flow, managing this little wrinkle and that one; we'll keep tweaking things to make everything grow organically and continue to assess, improve, and develop this into a place that our friends will be proud to continue to frequent. Friendly service, quality dining, beautiful surroundings; that's The National Hotel.
We'd love to hear from you if you were at our establishment and saw a photo that reminded you of your family, or features someone you know from long ago. Photos are an important part of preserving the history of this beautiful town. But verbal historical evidence is just as important. Let's start recording these little tidbits. I bet you that the next generation will be just as intrigued by the motivations of the early residents to make this town their home, as our generation is today. Historic towns--and charming ones such as this one--preserve the very fabric of our nation's birth. They are often a microcosm of the struggles of a nation that is not even 300 years old! Look at how far we've come in just over 200 years.
Can you tell we love history and historical nuggets of information? This is going to keep getting better.