Thursday, November 11, 2010


Just a little over a week ago, Pete and I were the guests of Chris Poh's weekly radio program, Bleeker Street CafĂ© on WDVR's 89.7 FM station (in Hunterdon County, NJ), where we were asked questions about reported friendly spirits at The National Hotel, sightings, etc.  Of course, "'tis the season," with Halloween just following the radio interview.  It was actually a lot of fun to sit in front of the microphone and recount the many stories that have been told to us, that have been written down by previous owners of The National Hotel, and which now make up the colorful past of Frenchtown.  As far as I'm concerned, the bottom line is that if in fact there is a ghost, it's a friendly ghost.  That's all I need to know.

Pete was recently contacted by a descendant of the "Apgar Sisters" and she was so generous that she has begun to send us original photos of her family when they owned The National Hotel.  Check out this photo montage of the flood of March 22, 1936:

But Halloween is over.  The costumes are back in the closet.  The temperatures have dropped and we are in the middle of November gearing up for the upcoming Holidays.  The National Hotel has been a fortunate recipient of the embrace that only artists can give.  We are in the middle of a fantastic holiday season filled with music, poetry, and new initiatives.  And this all comes from the heart and soul of trite as that sounds.  It is the local artists that have chosen The National Hotel as their venue of choice to put the arts in the limelight.  It's not Pete; it's not's the artists themselves.  And on top of that--our local patrons and arts enthusiasts continue to thank us!

The latter has never ceased. The thank you's from our patrons and from our Frenchtown neighbors continue to this day. It's truly unbelievable that one's customers (many of whom have truly become a member of The National Hotel family), demonstrate their gratitude for having this grand old lady of a building open again. Pete and I have many a conversation over how unusual an occurrence this is, having been business owners for many years. But that's the power of The National Hotel. The power of this historic establishment and what it means, deeply and profoundly, to our area neighbors. The power that it evokes to our patrons, but also to us, to Pete, to me, to Marlon, and to everyone who is involved with The National Hotel.

Pete and I have these conversations daily.  I'm being completely honest with this statement.  There has not been a day that Pete and I have not felt the warmth, the embrace, the grateful endorsement by local patrons, tourists, and neighbors alike.  All I can say is "Thank You," back to you.  There is absolutely no way, no possible way, that we could open our doors day after day, if it weren't for your patronage, your dedication to continue to keep the building alive and breathing. 

Our artists' listing keeps growing, our volunteer hosts and program developers continue to self-identify themselves, and you continue to support us.  What can we say other than "Thank YOU!  Please keep coming back!"

Check out our ever-expanding listing of performers, our special events and our weekly additions to our menu, not to mention our most recent seasonal menu launch.  Thank you for supporting us, and moreover, for welcoming us into your lives.  Pete and I are having a BLAST!  Did I say this already???

Please let us know if you want to recognize your server, our bartenders, or anyone on our staff.  They'll be pleased to know you remember them.  Follow us on Twitter, find us on facebook, check out our youtube channel, and sign up on our guest book to receive frequent updates of upcoming events.  Isn't it good to be the first to know?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


[Photos courtesy of Terry McCarthy Earhart]
Now that Halloween is over, the costumes have been put away, the Halloween Bash at The Rat is finished, with three prize winners enjoying their gift certificates for their terrific costumes (even The Mike Pfeiffer Band members were in costumes as they performed late into the night), we decided it was the perfect opportunity to launch our new seasonal menu. I finished typing it into our website and even before I clicked on the "update" button, I was craving too many of the new items on the menu; just had to reach out and get some.  Virtual reality has nothing on the real thing!  Delish!!!

Amazingly, November 3rd came and went, without much fanfare, without any special celebration.  Oh yes, November 3rd--election day in 2009, was the day we quietly opened the doors of The National Hotel--and this year, this past Wednesday, those of us who have been working there from the beginning, again, quietly, wished each other a Happy Anniversary.
We've been so busy planning and preparing for our first Wine Tasting Dinner that this past Wednesday's significance didn't get the "play" it might have deserved.  But we're so excited about this's coming fast--Sunday, November 14th, 2 p.m. onwards, by reservation only.  The wines of the Rodney Strong Winery will be featured and Chef Lisa has prepared an exclusive menu that will complement the different wines that have been selected for that special event.  If you're interested in joining us, click here for more information.

Many of our patrons have been asking us to put this type of an event together, but we wanted to do it right.  We wanted the experience to be memorable for everyone involved, and for it to be the type of event that our patrons and wine enthusiasts will gladly attend the next time we offer it.  As soon as we mentioned it to some of our clients, you could feel the excitement.  More hugs!!!  But we weren't the only ones giving out hugs this week...we had many, many loyal patrons who remembered our anniversary, who sent us texts during the day and who came in on Wednesday specifically to extend their well wishes and their thanks. 

As business proprietors we owe so much to our clients, but we also owe so much to our staff.  We have been told time and again just how inviting and dedicated our staff is, and we know this ourselves.  The staff is completely vested in bringing their best when they walk through our doors.  And they gladly give of themselves.  Just watch them interact with each other, as well as with our patrons--whether it's one of our loyal and consistent patrons, or a new individual coming to town.

And our hotel guests have shared this same sentiment with us--they've even written about it on travel blogs and websites.  That's partially what distinguishes our lovely little gem of a town from so many other destination areas.  Our business owners and residents alike, all truly enjoy having out-of-towners visit and explore Frenchtown.

In closing, I just want to extend an invitation to all of you to drop by and support our local artists who perform week after week during our weekly Thursday evening Open Mic Night (a.k.a. The Frenchtown Underground, renamed by our friend and The Rat's Open Mic Night originator, Alex Wolfson); come read one of your favorite poems (or one you've written yourself) during our monthly poetry open mic, renamed The People's Poetry by one of its originators, Skye Van Saun, who together with John Smith, created this wonderful and intimate afternoon series, the 3rd Sunday of every month; stay after our weekly Wednesday 1/2 priced drink special Ladies' Night for our By The Fireplace music series that just kicked off this past Wednesday, featuring Steph Hayes--check out the video she and Mike Pfeiffer created:

...join us for our weekly Sunday Musical Afternoon Series; or come and have a great night out on Saturday night for our Live Music Series organized by Mike Pfeiffer, as we feature different bands who will perform late into the night.  There's literally something to see or do almost every day of the week in Frenchtown, and The National Hotel has become "the late night destination" to wrap up your day.  Subscribe to our youtube channel, follow us on Twitter, or find us on facebook for the latest news or activities at The National Hotel. 

If you'd like me to add you to our email list to be the first to know about upcoming events, email me directly at  Your comments and feedback are always welcome, posted here or emailed to me.  Looking forward to seeing you!