Sunday, June 6, 2010


It's been just under 1 month since my last post and so much has happened that I'll have to pace myself and post things in smaller "bite sizes" so that it's one that you can read without it just becoming a long, run-on sentence. There's so much to announce..from our "official" grand opening on July 3rd with The National Palooza, a musical festival from noon to midnight, including a dedication of the building that marks its 160th anniversary, and Dancing-Under-the-Stars from 10 p.m. - midnight. But there's more! Stay tuned for information on dinner theater we're hosting in our Restaurant in July. For a sneak peak, click here.

Let's get back to the last few weeks: The month of May was filled with wonderful events, from Mother's Day, to the Classic Bikes and Bluegrass Festival--did you come to Frenchtown to enjoy the day?--to Frenchtown's launch of their First Friday evenings where businesses stayed open until 8 p.m. Click on the link for Art of the Bike and you'll see an embedded video that truly captures the essence of that great spring day.

If you've been to our lovely little town, you know that that is quite a departure from the normal business hours of this lovely hamlet. And what a treat for those who made the time to come by in May or this past Friday. Businesses were not open later than usual, they also gave away freebies, food, and made the town light up with life.

Our Poetry Open Mic was renamed "The People's Poetry" by Skye Van Saun and John Smith, our fearless master poets who organize, host, and lead this monthly series. Our May installment marked the 2nd month Pete and I were treated to a wonderful afternoon. And so it has become official that the third Sunday of the month will be the dedicated afternoon of poets and poetry enthusiasts. Once again, we were graced by the presence of some published authors, including Guy de Sapio (whom Pete and I had had the pleasure of seeing in April at the Hunterdon County Library in a Poetry Slam with Warren Cooper) and others. I'll have to upload more (and next time use a real camcorder and not my cell phone!) to YouTube, but here are a few samples of the wonderful presence these writers are making right here, in Frenchtown, in our community. I'll share the remaining videos I took on my next post...

We also had the good fortune of hosting several wonderful musicians. Our Sunday Musical Afternoon series has really given us so much joy. We had Chuck Schaeffer, the Dennis Thatcher Trio, Ray McGeehan, and Jeffrey Fadden. Now you know I will have to write more about these talented musicians...stay tuned! I have to say that I am truly blessed to have been PRESENT, yes, present, while they shared their immense talent, their passion, their love, with all who were in the room. Perhaps once I share some video clips and photos, you might have an understanding of what this means. The National Hotel is not just a place to work for us; it's a place, an entity that calls to us each and every day, and that beckons us "home." We just love being in the building. We love hosting these talented poets, musicians, and artists. But it's not us. The National Hotel has a history of being "The Place" for artists to congregate. Pete and I are just fortunate enough to have been...what's the cliche?..."in the right place, at the right time" and continue the legacy of this wonderful building and all the work of those long gone who established it as a cultural center of the town. What an honor! And I say it with all humility and without jest. Truly an honor. Truly something worthwhile sharing with our next generation, our children...your children.

Our devoted patrons come to enjoy a bit of entertainment by talented musicians, while they enjoy the wonderful dishes carefully prepared by our kitchen staff, led by our executive chef, Ron Rittenhouse. Pete and I are just so proud of the ownership that Ron, Lisa, Teresa, and Mike have taken in creating signature dishes, Additions to the Menu on Thursdays to Sundays, and in being absorbed into the breathing, living space that The National Hotel embodies. I mean, doesn't the thought of Shrimp Gazpacho just make your mouth water on a hot summer-like day? Well, that's on the Additions to the Menu this weekend...and pair that with our Bar's special drink choice for the weekend, The St. Germain Cocktail (St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Champagne, Club Soda, garnished with lemon), available by the glass or carafe for larger parties...YUMMMM!

There's still tomorrow (oh, I mean today...where did the time go?) if this peaks your interest, for you to enjoy these special items. But don't worry if you can't make it. We're already hard at work developing our summer menu. I'll definitely post something once we go "live" with it. If you're not yet a fan of The National Hotel on facebook, just click on the right hand side and join our family. You'll get quick posts of upcoming events and items--and don't worry, we won't overwhelm you with posts, just the things we feel the community would want to see/read.

We have so much planned for the remainder of June and the month of July. Check back on information about our "official" grand opening on July 3rd, and our featured musicians. Do post a comment here if you have any suggestions or feedback. More later...