Saturday, November 7, 2009


Three days after we opened our doors, we are still pinching ourselves. Friday night was a fantastic night--I don't even know what time we put our heads down, but it was well past 2:00 a.m.--full of stories, and memories recounted; it's a night that Pete and I will remember for a long time.

Amazing how much history is in this town; how many individuals recall the different generations of previous owners of The National Hotel, and the many famous people who frequented this establishment. For instance, I learned last night that Jimmy Stewart--yes, the Hollywood Jimmy Stewart--used to be a client, because he had a relative who lived in this area. This was told to me by someone who has been in the area for decades, Alan Runfeldt, owner of, and who tells me that if I dig hard enough, I'll find verbal historical evidence on other "greats" who've stopped by. Chris Poh, editor-in-chief of American Public House Review, and one of our very first guests at The National Hotel on Tuesday, shared that
Annie Oakley was one such guest, because she had a relative in Pennsylvania, and Buffalo Bill Cody and his Wild West Show crew would also stop in...can you imagine?!

I also met someone a couple of nights ago, who shared that when Claiborne Cary owned this establisment in the 1970s, it was frequented by the likes of Mike Douglas, (the talk show host), Mary Tyler Moore, Valerie Harper, and of course, Claiborne's sister, the actress Cloris Leachman.

These Broadway and media stars would arrive from NYC and set up musical evenings that would wow the clients, while creating an atmosphere of warmth and comfort for Claiborne's guests. I did find actual evidence of some of this in the New York Times--I had to research it!

So many other stories...and all told with enthusiasm, a verbal legacy to be left to the next generation at The National Hotel. It's such a privilege to be able to hear these stories, to find evidence of the truth and the folklore, and to hopefully continue to share these wonderful stories with all of you.

Three days later, and we're into the weekend...we're so lucky to be a part of this town. Thank you to those of you who dropped by just to say "hi," to those of you who joined us for a drink, to those of you who shared a meal with us, and to those of you who made the time to book a night or two with us already. And thank you to our dear friends who have greeted us with flowers, with warm wishes, and with beautiful cards. Among them, our fabulous interior designer, Kristine Marinelli, Gary Walia, co-owner of the critically-acclaimed NYC restaurant, Tamarind, and Jim & Kathy Mathews. Their flowers now decorate The National Hotel Bar, our lobby area, and even our private breakfast room. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to all of you for helping us make The National Hotel, your place.

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