Thursday, June 24, 2010


Father's Day was not just a beautiful day outside, but also a stimulating and enjoyable day The Rat, The National Hotel's cellar pub. What a great way to spend a Sunday, enjoying the People's Poetry (our poetry open mic, now officially the 3rd Sunday of EVERY month!). It was supposed to be just 2 hours (2 p.m. - 4 p.m.), but we had so many participants, so many poets "in the house," that it ran past that hour, and everyone happily lingered until the last poet read the final poem of the day. We had writers reading poems that dated back to their school days, to others sharing poems remembering their fathers in honor of Father's Day, to poems about deeply moving and personal topics, life-altering experiences, and tragic losses. From laughter to having a knot in your throat after listening to some of the poems, the People's Poetry did NOT disappoint.

I'm uploading some webclips and more photos to share in another blogpost, of last Sunday's People's Poetry. Next time...

We're nearly a week away from The National Palooza, an all-day live music celebration in honor of The National Hotel's 160th anniversary and its "official" grand opening. Each day that passes, brings us closer to this special day, Saturday, July 3rd. Pete and I can hardly believe that it's been nearly one year since we signed the papers that put this grand old lady of a building in our hands. Nearly one year since our lives changed course and we experienced a new dimension--a new depth--to how we became a part of the fabric of the community of Frenchtown. This community, this circle of friends that is always open and welcoming of outsiders, has filled our days and nights with stories, laughter, and wonderful challenges that have allowed us to demonstrate to ourselves and those around us, the value of integrity and character. That is the essence of The National Hotel--it's all about the community, the people who fill its many rooms. This has been a unique part of its history, and today, its future.

[Ray McGeehan]

The artistic community in Frenchtown and the surrounding areas, have brought the arts to the building, very organically, not forced, not conjured. See what some of the artists who have participated in the many cultural programs offered at The National Hotel have shared with us:

[Chuck Schaeffer and the Chuck Wagon]

[Jeffrey Fadden--Guitar, & Suzan Bartels, Marie Scodari, Lori Ingwerson, and Ren Porter--vocalists]

[Jay Wilensky and Marie Trontell]

Mark your calendar for more music--12 hours of it!!--on July 3rd. As the day nears, we remember the months it took to take the boards off the facade of the building, clean and restore, polish the brass and bring the bar back to its splendor. We remember the many, many friends and neighbors who helped us, who stopped by to help clean, to plant flowers, to weed, to provide professional assistance here and there. We remember the break-neck pace at which we renovated and restored, fortunately mostly cosmetic at the core, but the weeks that became months, until November 3rd rolled around, and we quietly, without any fanfare or comprehensive marketing plan, opened our doors.

Then: And Now:

July 3rd will mark eight months to the day, eight months of having our establishment breathing, welcoming new patrons and old friends, eight months of sharing our lives together. Even today, when I had scheduled a meeting with one of our very first supporters, Chris Poh, editor of American Public House Review and Pub Talk, at 8:30 p.m. and he called to confirm but also to alert me that it might be later than that...he said, "I know you like to be home for your children, so if tonight doesn't work for you, perhaps we can find an earlier time another day to meet." This is why I know that our friends, our patrons, are so in tune with our lives. They know that we are parents and that our children come first. They know that I can do certain things from home, by computer, or in the building during the day, but that Pete is always on hand, every day, to make sure all the details are looked after, all the pieces falling into place. Our patrons know that Pete is in the building not because he has to be there, but because he just loves being there. He loves the conversation, the energy, the spirit of community.

So on July 3rd, The National Hotel will pull all the elements that are important front and center: great food, live music, companionship, and drinks to boot. Oh, and let's not forget about the 10 p.m. - 12 a.m. dancing-under-the-stars session. Right there, in our back area--the parking lot will be converted into a tent-covered area, where people can dance, eat, drink, and just enjoy a wonderful Saturday in Frenchtown. And why not stay 'til the bitter end: bring in July 4th and help us celebrate our great nation's Independence Day as we close out The National Palooza.

Do call 908.996.3200 or email Pete ( directly for information on tickets or day's performers. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the Frenchtown National Night Out over the summer.

The National Palooza will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, quickly followed by numerous live performances, including Chuck Schaeffer and the Chuck Wagon, Top Soil, Rainbow Fresh, among other local entertainers, that are sure to delight and bring people out to the dance floor.

The National Palooza is an outgrowth of The National Hotel's cultural events, including a weekly Open Mic Night on Thursdays in our Rathskeller Pub and our Sunday Musical Afternoon series, in addition to our poetry open mic (The People's Poetry) the 3rd Sunday of every month, in addition to other cultural events (e.g., dinner theater in July, Boxing with Gaia) in conjunction with River Union Stage. It's going to be a great way to start the 2010 summer season!!!

We hope you'll join us for these events, and make The National Hotel a place where you can feel comfortable, connect with great friends, and enrich your lives with the talent that so many artists are willing to share with all of us. Share your thoughts here by posting a comment if you have a minute, or send us suggestions/ideas for future events or activities you'd like to bring to the table. Talk soon...


  1. You are right that poverty, tragedy & suffering are common themes in many poems, but many of the poems that were read at our last People's Poetry, also dealt w/happiness, w/memories of fathers, etc. We are so fortunate to have writers, poets in our area, who are willing to open their hearts and their feelings to those of us fortunate enough to be in attendance.

  2. 河水永遠是相同的,可是每一剎那又都是新的。......................................................................