Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The National Palooza

What a couple of weeks! We are still reeling from Sunday's People's Poetry at The Rat, where poets read and shared, and left us all wanting more. It ran way past the 2 hours set aside for this, and we would have gladly kept on reading, listening, sharing. Don't miss July's session (it's the 3rd Sunday of EVERY month)! And from there, Pete and I kept going, kept planning: we have been busy finalizing our plans for our "official" grand opening, which in fact is a celebration of The National Hotel's 160th anniversary! Oh yes, 160 years since the building was re-built into its current size, structure and entity. Should we mention that it was a stagecoach stop and brothel before that??? Nah, another day...

Well, on July 3rd, we are going to host The National Palooza, from noon to midnight, celebrating, commemorating, remembering and just enjoying a special day of live music, food, drinks, and dancing-under-the stars. Call us at 908.996.3200 or click here to find out more about this special day or how to get your tickets. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the annual Frenchtown National Night Out.

But there's so much already planned...stay tuned for another blogpost on our Farm to Table fundraising dinner (TONIGHT!!), to benefit the Hunterdon Land Trust, our remaining musical performer line-up from now to the end of June, and our July Dinner Theater--3 Sundays filled with the arts!--together with Frenchtown's own River Union Stage. How's that for having the community "take over" The National Hotel with their plans, their vision, their artistic expression. And Pete and I are more than willing to host these events. Our pleasure--a tremendous grateful "thank you" from both of us to YOU!

Music is something that has become an integral part of our establishment. If you have been in attendance during one of our weekly Thursday Open Mic Night sessions, or our Sunday Musical Afternoons, you know to what I refer. We've been so blessed with the talent that has come to The National Hotel. Week after week, we are honored to host different musicians expressing themselves and sharing their talent with our community. For instance, Chuck Schaeffer and the Chuck Wagon played their rockabilly unique sound, truly foot-stomping music, in April, and we had Teri Rambo back again as well as the Dennis Thatcher Trio return for another performance, along with Ray McGeehan, and Jeffrey Fadden & Lori Ingwerson in May. So many wonderful musicians. Let's not forget The Jericho Mountain Grass ("The Grass") that returned yet again to The National Hotel, or Jay Wilensky playing with Marie Trontell, back in April. And June has also graced us with other performers, including Dan McCluskey and the Tom Hyland Trio. We greeted our dedicated patrons and made friends with new folk who came from far away just to listen to their music. And no wonder these groups have a following!

Here is just one of the many webclips of their music, that I'll soon share on another blogpost.

I'm working to finish up the editing of several other webclips...worst part of it all...b/c there is so much that can be shown, but youtube wants clips to be under 10 minutes! Still, I love reliving the experience, watching them again & again. Wait for Chuck's and other clips...Aren't they wonderful? And they performed just in time to accompany that Sunday afternoon hour that lends itself to a "slowing down" of our lives, a "let's-enjoy-Sunday" hour. And they didn't disappoint. Week after week, the musicians who have performed have lifted spirits, created joy, and helped us all escape from our daily grind if even for just those couple of hours. What a treat!

I recently got this email from Pete's cousin and had to share it...doesn't it sound like something that Kasey, Donna or Tobi might say to this individual--and actually help? Yeah...that's what I thought (and no disrespect intended to all those mental health practitioners who are our patrons...or those who are members of my own family):


'I've got problems. Every time I go to bed I think there's somebody
under it. I'm scared. I think I'm going crazy...'

'Just put yourself in my hands for one year,' said the psychiatrist.
'Come talk to me three times a week and we should be able to get rid
of those fears..'

'How much do you charge?'

'Eighty dollars per visit,' replied the doctor.

'I'll sleep on it,' I said.

Six months later the psychiatrist met me on the street.

'Why didn't you come to see me about those fears you were having?' he asked.

'Well, Eighty bucks a visit three times a week for a year is an awful
lot of money! A bartender cured me for $10. I was so happy to have
saved all that money that I went and bought me a new car!'

'Is that so?' With a bit of an attitude he said, 'and how, may I ask,
did a bartender cure you?

'He told me to cut the legs off the bed! - Ain't nobody under there now!!!


See why I had to share? Now if you come to The National Hotel, not only will you find our bar staff equally able to listen to your situation and create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable, able to talk, able to de-stress, but moreover, our very own patrons sitting around The National Hotel Bar, will be able to lift your spirits, and take away that fear or anxiety that may be engulfing you. Just come by. You'll see. And make sure that you put down on your calendar July 3rd. It's such an important date!!! It's our way of celebrating The National Hotel's 160th anniversary, our "official" grand opening--remember that we opened our doors ever so quietly on November 3rd, as our way of honoring our fellow Frenchtonian residents' support of our efforts...The National Hotel is theirs, not "ours." It belongs to the community; Pete and I just happen to be the proprietors now, but this building is just too important to "belong" to any one person or family.

Pete and I are incredibly thrilled to be at the helm right now, enjoying the support and encouragement of the community and many who have traveled from far away. So on July 3rd, be sure to join us for The National Palooza, a music festival and commemoration of our building, beginning at noon with a ribbon cutting ceremony and running to midnight. That's right, midnight! We'll have Dancing-Under-the-Stars from 10 p.m to midnight, just in time to bring in July 4th and celebrate this great nation's Independence Day. Wow...the closer we get, the more I like this plan...really!!!


  1. I love that...we're all about "changing the mood" for the positive at The National Hotel. Thanks for your kind post!