Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We had family from Chile who visited us last week, and I had the great pleasure of welcoming them to Frenchtown, NJ.  It was such a treat to be able to show them my little hidden gem of a town--from the natural beauty of the Delaware River, walking paths, and scenic country routes, to the splendor of the town's businesses all ablaze with fall colors and decorations.  I was inspired by the shops' variety of merchandise, but moreover, by the shop owners themselves.  The owners of each unique gallery, shop, and boutique, invited us into their space with warmth and genuine interest in learning about my family.  "Where did they come from?"  "How long will they be in town?"  "Is this their first visit to Frenchtown?"  "Have they already been here or there?"

There truly aren't too many places where one can be made to feel so special by complete strangers.  These inquiries were genuine and their interest in making sure that my relatives enjoy their visit, was authentic.  This was an unplanned acknowledgement of everything I had shared with my family all these years about Frenchtown and the joy it brought us after Pete and I took ownership of The National Hotel and became part of the community.

This coming Sunday, November 3rd, will mark FOUR years since we opened our doors in 2009.  With no advertising, just word of mouth, we quietly opened this grand old building and our first guest wandered into The Rathskeller Pub (a.k.a. The Rat).  With a look of true happiness, he had a drink and exclaimed, "Running across the street to vote.  I'll be back."  And when he came back, others had joined him...and others...and others...Today, we still enjoy the patronage of that very first guest, and so many of you.  Thank you for making the last four years an absolute adventure, that allowed Pete and me to build a new life among you.
Halloween 2012
I'm particularly pleased with the way the calendar worked out this year.  Our annual Halloween party landed on Saturday, November 2nd.  That means, we'll be celebrating our fourth anniversary that night right after midnight--costumes and all! Having booked Rainbow Fresh for the Halloween party, we are all sure to be in a festive mood all night, and I cannot wait to see what our patrons will wear this year!  Remember, prizes will be given out for best costumes (individual and couples).  Come early for a great time hosted by our bartender extraordinaire, Donna Jane Sampler.
Last year, she had a terrific mix of music that everyone enjoyed leading up to the live music performance by Rainbow Fresh.  Guests ordered micro brews and beers on tap, as well as other drinks.  I wonder what specialty shots Donna will create this year?

We'll need to keep up the good spirits on Sunday, because we'll be enjoying the first Additions to the Menu selections since launching our new Fall Menu last week.  Thank you to all of you who have already left us feedback on our facebook page or told us in person how much you enjoyed your dining experience.  We're so glad that you liked the new choices, like the Arugula & Pancetta Salad and the Lamb Shank.

Arugula Salad (Arugula, Pancetta Crisps, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Strawberry Honey Vinaigrette) 

16 oz. Lamb Shank (Slow-Roasted with Onions, Carrots, Celery, Garlic and Mediterranean Spices, Couscous with Currants and Dates) 
We also heard you loud and clear, and made sure to keep the favorites untouched (e.g., The National Burger, Fish and Chips, Spicy Tuna with Lotus Chips, and more).  You'll have a chance to try these dishes all week, and/or choose something from our Additions to the Menu all weekend.

There's a lot planned for November, so do check our music pages frequently for our calendar of musicians and special events.  We'll keep this tradition of music at The National Hotel going throughout the upcoming months, with our weekly Thursday Open Mic Night, our Saturday Night Live Music series, our Sunday Musical Afternoons, our Bi-Weekly Tuesday Trivia (next installment:  November 5th), and some special Wednesday events coming up next month and into the new year.

It's a privilege to be able to write this blog and know that the commitment we made four years ago, is part of the fabric of The National Hotel, with music and special events making it a community center of sorts, an inter-generational meeting spot, with something for everyone.  I just love that!

Please do email me with any feedback or questions, or leave a comment on this blog.  You can also reach us at 908.996.3200, or fill out our guest inquiry page on our website.  Stay up-to-date with all of the activities and programs we have planned for the fall:

Find us on Facebook  Visit our blog  Follow us on Twitter  View our videos on YouTubeFind us on Google+

Thank you.