Saturday, December 1, 2012


It's December 1st already!  I know the holiday season was upon us even before we put the turkey on the table, with all the shops everywhere promoting holiday gift ideas.  For us, at The National Hotel, we spent the last month trying to catch our breath after Superstorm Sandy hit our area.  But tonight, we're in a celebratory mood, bringing  back Mike Pfeiffer, who has surprised us even further by announcing that he will perform tonight with his wife, Donna, and brother, Wex, with their own mix of great music (original songs and some classic), that will follow a performance by Rich Cashman starting at 8:30 p.m.  We've never had a night like this, so you can imagine our excitement.

To top off an already exciting music extravaganza, we have Carol Thompson and Friends performing tomorrow afternoon, 5 p.m. - 7 p.m. in our Restaurant and Bar.  If you were here when she last performed, you know why she is a Grammy Award-winning musician for her work with Paul Winter on Celtic Solstice.  

Together with all of the celebrations, holiday parades in our area, and holiday events, it brings me back to the absolute humanity that I witnessed first-hand right here, in Frenchtown, NJ, following the catastrophic events that Sandy brought to our are.  There's been so much press on this though, on the wonderful humanitarian efforts by so many, that I won't repeat what has already been said so often.  The only things that I would like to highlight, actually take me from the moment that we realized just how horrible the aftermath of Sandy was to present day.  Not only have I witnessed incredible volunteer efforts by individuals, but also tremendous conviction by those affected by the storm who were left with little--and some without homes.  
Wood turtle found in Frenchtown Nov. 2012
Photo Credit:  RenĂ©e Kiriluk-Hill, Hunterdon Democrat
It goes without saying that even in our own backyard, we witnessed people coming together to help, right here in Frenchtown, NJ.  Even yesterday in the news, there was an article about how, while working to restore a damaged creek after Sandy, the crew helped rescue a threatened species, the reclusive wood turtle.  As it turns out, it was reported today that it was a snapping turtle after all--but how wonderful that the crew erred on the side of caution and tried to help.  Even the littlest beings matter!

And others helped rescue other animals in our area and in the more affected areas.  What impressed me the most, was the impromptu group, led by Dawn Taylor, the owner of a Frenchtown shop, Country Chic, that formed what is now known as the Frenchtown Angels, collecting clothes, food, cleaning supplies, and more, from local residents.  They've taken truck loads to Staten Island, NY and more recently, to Toms River, NJ.  The devastation that they saw inspired them to continue this effort.  And, people have continued to donate goods.  Thank you to all of these wonderful volunteers, who spent countless hours collecting donations, sorting the different goods, and then delivering them to those in need.
Frenchtown Angels send two truckloads of supplies to Toms River
Photo Credit:  Rick Epstein, Hunterdon County Democrat
We were so lucky to be able to count on Dawn for organizing this, and just be able to drop off some goods, while we, at The National Hotel, took care of so many people in our area who had no electricity and came in for a little respite from the cold.  We blocked one of our hotel guest suites and kept it open for many in our area who needed a warm shower, or a warm room in which to change, or even something as simple as a flushing toilet, not to mention charging the electronic devices that are now very much a part of all of our lives.  The gratitude these local residents expressed to us is still a vivid memory.  I've been reminded of the good in people here at home, as well as while wearing my other hat working for a not-for-profit in NYC.  I have seen the remarkable hands-on work that the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) has done.  We had 5,000 nurses visiting their patients after the storm hit.  Someone I know personally, was unable to return to her home in the Far Rockaways, but continued to care for her patients, and put her own personal situation to the side, in order to make sure that no one went without care.  And like her, there are countless others who lost their homes and still continued to care for their patients.  Even Diane Sawyer accompanied one of our nurses climbing 17 flights of stairs to visit a home-bound patient.  

New York City saw many of those stories, because without electricity, there was no way for these individuals to climb down to pick up groceries or fill prescriptions.  Thank goodness for the great relief work of so many not-for-profits, but on a personal note, thank goodness for VNSNY--I mean that from the bottom of my's not a plug for this wonderful, nearly 120-year old not-for-profit community-based and home health care organization.  I am grateful to be associated with this organization, just as I am grateful to be part of this wonderful Hunterdon County community that is blessed with its own non-profits doing great work in our area, and individuals lifting others' spirits by visiting those who are home-bound, those who were without power for so long, and even our local churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions providing food and other goods to those who were in need.  

Frenchtown is truly a magnificent part of our country.  It encompasses all the natural beauty of the Delaware River area, the individual unique styles of artists who have flocked here, and the historic beauty and charm of a quaint and hidden country town.  Some of the individuals who are making this town so special are also the shop and gallery owners, who continue to strive to showcase hand-crafted or one-of-a-kind goods.  The town has put together quite a winter shopping experience, featuring prizes and special in-store events that truly live up to the name "Shopping Just Got Better."  Pete and I hope you'll continue to support these local merchants who put their heart and soul into everything that fills their shops.

It is our fondest wish that you will make Frenchtown, NJ one of your favorite spots to frequent.  There is truly something for everyone here, and at The National Hotel, we certainly hope to be able to welcome you to the town soon.  We hope you'll join us for dinner, drinks, come for our bi-weekly Tuesday Trivia, Open Mic Night, and/or our weekend musical programs, become a member of our monthly National Wine Club, or prolong your visit and make it an overnight trip.  For information, please continue to leave comments here, email me, visit our website, call us at 908.996.3200, or:

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Thank you for your continued support and patronage.