by Paula Nicols
We’re both from the Chicago area, and after Joe retired we decided we wanted to do a Bed & Breakfast somewhere on the east coast, but we didn’t know where. After a considerable search, we concentrated our search in the Mt. Washington Valley area of New Hampshire. My partner, Joe said one day after an exhausting day of looking at real estate, “There’s something in Maine called the Lobster Festival, want to go?” So we went to Maine for the Festival.
We stayed at a B & B in Camden and went back and forth to Rockland to eat lobster. On the way back to New Hampshire, Joe said, “Let’s get off Route 1 and go for a ride.” (Which turned out to be Route 17.) When we saw the lake, with the all the little sailboats, and the house for sale across the street, we turned around to get the telephone number of the real estate agency before returning to New Hampshire. About six weeks later, frustrated by not finding a suitable property, one day Joe said “Hey, what about that property in Maine?” The rest is history. We bought the house in December of 1993 and after major renovation we opened the Lakeshore Inn on Father’s Day 1994.
One winter day while sitting in front of the fire noodling about how to fill the slow winter season with a pleasant experience to attract guests, I said to Joe, “Since I’m a licensed cosmetologist and having had a shop, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get women to come here for a weekend of pampering?” The idea was to offer spa services to women guests on weekends in the off-season. That thought was 5 years and 83 spa weekends ago.
I started out offering one night lodging and a few spa features. Now we offer 2 nights lodging, body/mind exercise sessions, massages, pedicures, manicures and facials, not to mention the appetizers on Friday evening, a full brunch on Saturday, and a chef prepared candlelight dinner on Saturday evening, topped off with a full gourmet breakfast on Sunday morning.
One day I received a call from a representative of Boston’s Channel 5 Chronicle show saying they heard about us and could they videotape a Ladies’ Spa Weekend here? I was so excited! We were featured on that Chronicle show two years in a row. Because of that exposure, we are completely booked for Spa Weekends in 2001 (through the end of June then starting again in mid-October through the end of the year).
Because we have no weekends open in the off season, we are now offering the same program relabeled “Ladies’ Spa Retreats,” held on Sunday evening through Tuesday, instead of the Friday to Sunday weekend schedule. Joe does all the fetch and carry during these weekends and retreats; like bringing in the wood to make a nice fire, and making sure the hot tub/jacuzzi is ready, and that the pathways are all cleared of ice and snow. I do the majority of the cooking for Friday night and Saturdays brunch.
My family was in the restaurant business and my mom taught me how to cook Greek food. So, now I offer some traditional Greek specialties at our Spa weekends and retreats. I love introducing new foods to our guests.
In each room we have a log book in which guests are encouraged to express their experience here at the Lakeshore Inn. The rewards of having these Ladies’ Spa Weekends come when you read what the women have written, and having the same group book the same time next year.
As one Spa guest wrote, ” If an Inn had arms to wrap itself around you, it would be the Lakeshore Inn.”
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926 Lenoir Rhyne Blvd., SE, Hickory, NC 28602 | Email us
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