Friday, September 11, 2020

Progress during a Pandemic (Part 2 of 2)

The pandemic continued on, guests were few and far between, and we continued to make progress here at the Bridges Inn. Our recent blog, Progress during a Pandemic (Part 1 of 2) discussed some of the projects we worked on, with the spotlight on the redesigned Bridges Inn website.

We also made many improvements to the property, both inside and outside.


During the colder months, we painted some interior areas, such as woodwork/molding and closets. Then when the weather improved, we focused on exterior painting. Much of the exterior is vinyl siding which is essentially maintenance-free. But the north section of the building, at the garage end, really needed painting. After a lot of scraping and gallons of paint, our casa blanca against the deep blue sky is striking!

Large white house being painted

Large white house freshly painted

New chandeliers

The double parlor is graced with new chandeliers! This was a huge project both because of the difficulty finding lighting fixtures that are suitable for the décor of a house built in 1792 and because of the electrical updating required. Also, the ceiling is not exceptionally high which meant the chandeliers could not hang too low. But we finally found the right chandeliers.

Our electrician has been here many times over the years to update the electrical wiring, which meant replacing knob and tube wiring, and in some cases doing a bit of detective work to locate the wiring behind the plaster and find the path to the circuit box. Thanks to his skill, the installed chandeliers are a beautiful enhancement, adding charm to the double parlor! 

The double parlor with Victorian wallpaper and two new antique-styled chandeliers, each with five pink etched domes, visible

Close-up of one of the antique chandeliers with five pink etched domes

Yard and Garden

Warmer weather also gave us a chance to work on the grounds. Our biggest accomplishments were the landscaping and the gardens. We have carefully selected flowering plants so that something is in bloom at all times from late spring until fall. For example, we have daffodils, magnolias, lilacs, rhododendrons, peonies, lilies, irises, hosta, roses, hydrangeas, daisies, morning glories, phlox, and sunflowers, to name a few (plus some that I don’t know that they are called). Our guests love sitting out front in the gazebo or out back in the screened-in porch.

Currently, we are enjoying our burst of sunflowers and phlox, some of which become out centerpiece at the breakfast table.


And last but not least are the blueberries, vegetables, and herbs. Our herbs this year consisted of chives, marjoram, oregano, mint, basil, dill, cilantro, and rosemary. The basil was plentiful enough to make many batches of pesto, which we freeze for use in breakfasts. We’ve had cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, pea pods, and more. Whenever possible, we integrate the fresh items into breakfast, and whatever we don’t grow here, we get from farmers markets or local farm stands. Summer 2020 has been a real treat in terms of fresh edibles!

A bowl of freshly picked basil

A pint of cherry tomatoes from the garden

Whether you’re a regular guest or simply thinking about a trip to southwest New Hampshire, please check us out. We can be reached at (603) 357-6624, via our website, or by email. We are taking extra precautions during the pandemic to ensure your safety and ours. If you check out our reviews, you’ll see that others have greatly enjoyed their stay here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Progress during a Pandemic (Part 1 of 2)

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a strange year. No matter where we live and what occupation or stage of our life we’re in, day-to-day routines have been greatly disrupted, from how we shop and where we can go, to the people we can see. Travel was one of the industries that came to a screeching halt during the pandemic. From mid-March until mid-June, the Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House had no B&B guests and, of course, we didn’t know how long this stay-at-home order would last. Other than going out for food and essentials, we stayed home during that period.

But we didn’t remain idle. Realizing we were fairly powerless over events and circumstances outside our immediate environment, we decided to take control of some of the things we can do at the inn. We used the time to spruce up the inn, do extra cleaning (such as windows and curtains), and do some of the projects that we never seemed to find time to do, such as updating our website. This blog focuses on the updated website.

We had been working with a web developer long before the pandemic but never found the time to provide the content and direction needed to wrap it up. In the spring, we delved into the changes and released the new website. Because of the extent of the changes, it really was an “overhaul” instead of a mere update, but the web address remains the same:

          Part of the home page screen dump of the Bridges Inn home page, showing a photo of the inn

Perhaps the biggest change was making the website responsive, optimized to fit any size device. That means whether you access our website from your phone or a desktop computer with a large screen, our website will be usable. We also improved the content, enhanced the usability / user experience, added new photos, and added functionality. The new design is one that we can update and maintain ourselves, which means that the changes will be ongoing instead of waiting to submit a batch of changes to the developer.

There are five general categories:

·     Home page:
General information about the inn
General information about the area
Our breakfasts
Special COVID-19 message

·    About Us:
How to contact us
About the inn
About the innkeepers
The inn’s history
How to find us - driving directions from many major cities and airports
Guest reviews

·     Rooms & Rates:
Guest rooms, including amenities, rates, and 
photos of the rooms
Check Availability by room and by date
Buy gift certificates
Our policies
Make a Reservation*
* Note that during COVID-19, we request that you check availability and make reservations by calling (603) 357-6624

  Check out our rooms and amenities!

Part of a screen dump of the Rooms & Rates page, with photos of four of the guest rooms

·    About the Area:

Food & Drink:
Places to Eat
Wine, Beer, and Spirits
Desserts and Sweets

   Part of the screen dump of the About the Area page, with Food & Drink - a photo of a dinner, a photo of beer and wine, and a photo of chocolates

      Things to Do:
Outdoor Activities
Area Attractions
Arts, Culture, Education, Heritage

      Suggested Day Trips:
Within an hour’s drive
Within 1.5 hours drive
Within 2 hours drive

Covered Bridges: details of the local covered bridges plus directions for the covered bridges loop

·     Photo Gallery: Inside the Inn, Outside the Inn, and Breakfast at the Inn

As the pandemic lingers on, we are happy to say that we are accepting guests, with minor changes to adapt to the current situation. We hope you’ll find our new website helpful in planning your trip. You can select nearby activities, attractions, and places to eat before you even get here.

Our new website will give you a glimpse of what to expect. Call for a reservation (603-357-6624) so you can see for yourselves what we have to offer. 

An image with the Bridges Inn logo and contact into

Friday, February 14, 2020

Antiques, Antiques, Antiques

Until I bought the Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House over 13 years ago, I had little interest in antiques. I had always lived in a newer home but moving into the fully furnished inn, built in 1792, chock full of antiques and vintage items, gave me new reason to be interested in antiques. Over the years, antiquing has become a passion.

As much as I like antiques, I’m definitely not a connoisseur, because I primarily judge the value of a piece by such factors as how well it will go in the room, the condition of the piece, and whether I like it, not by how much I could sell it for some day. Sometimes functionality matters but some beautiful antiques are meant to be observed, like a museum piece, and not used. My collection of antiques might be considered eclectic.

My favorite piece that I have acquired thus far is the four-poster king bed frame, with detailed woodwork and inlaid wood in the headboard, that graces the Thompson Bridge Room. I bought this from the Cheshire Curio Shop on Route 12 in Swanzey, at the Cheshire Fairgrounds. I have since bought many items there, such as a bureau with mirror for the Coombs Bridge Room.
Four-poster king bed in the Thompson Bridge Room
I love this king bed frame, not because of its value as an antique, but because it looks like it was made for the Thompson Bridge Room. If you think about it, there’s probably no such thing as an antique king bed frame – it’s an antique reproduction – because “historically most beds were ‘twins’ or ‘doubles’ but in the mid-1940s larger mattresses were introduced by manufacturers. These were later standardized as ‘queen’ and ‘king’, and first made a significant impact on the market in the 1950s and 60s." [Bed sizes/North America,Wikipedia]

In our first-floor bathroom, we have a functional antique tin tub built into a wooden enclosure. It came with the house and I do not know how long it has been here – I’m guessing it was installed in the mid 1800s but I have no information on its history other than being told it’s “the oldest tin tub in Swanzey.” I suspect that’s true and that it’s likely the only tin tub in Swanzey. What I do know is that people love filling it with hot water and bubble bath (and sometimes rose petals) and soaking in there. A glass of wine is a nice accompaniment, too.

Functional antique tin tub
Another little gem that came with the inn when I bought it was this antique ice cream maker, patented in 1910. While I’ve never attempted to make ice cream using this hand-cranked ice cream maker, I appreciate such antiques as a reminder that it wasn’t until the 1940s that refrigerator and freezer units became common in homes, and as technology advanced over the years, ice cream became readily available commercially.

Hand-cranked Ice Cream Maker 

Inside the ice cream maker says, “Pat. June 21, 1910 Made in USA”

The dining room might be my favorite room in terms of antiques. Not only did the inn come with several sets of antique and vintage china that we use daily for our B&B breakfasts, but also an antique tea wagon (shown below, on the left of the highchair) and an antique sideboard buffet with mirror (shown below). A few years ago, I bought an antique wooden highchair and stroller combination chair with cane-woven seat (shown below, on right) from Colony Antiques in Keene, where I have found many treasures over the years.

Bridges Inn dining room 

And there's also our old Christmas cactus that came with the inn when I bought it. The giant Christmas cactus is about 75 years old now which I think qualifies it as an antique. I do not have a green thumb, so it is a bit of a miracle that after over 13 years of living at the Bridges Inn, the Christmas cactus is thriving. When a branch falls off, I just stick it in dirt and water it; it forms roots and the offspring become beautiful, blooming plants. We have given away numerous plants over the years. More information about this amazing plant can be found on our blog.

The giant Christmas cactus (rear) and the offspring in a separate pot (front)

To observe the antiques and vintage items at the Bridges Inn, please visit us. You can reserve by booking direct at (you can Check Availability first) or by calling us at 603-357-6624. You’ll find treasures throughout the inn, some vintage and some antique, such as doll carriages (prams), saddle shoes and old clothes, a handmade wool quilt, marble-top bureau with mirror (in Coombs Bridge Room), and a Magee Oxford wood stove which is now used as our our "desk" and rack card display. 


The Monadnock Region has numerous antique shops. If you’re interested in antiquing, refer to the list below for some of our favorite antique shops in the area:
  • Bowerbird & Friends, Peterborough, 18th through 20th century antiques and furnishings, a selection of new accessories and décor; a unique collection of casual farmhouse style furnishings, ironstone, glassware, linens, uncommon accessories, re-purposed & painted furniture, glassware, jewelry, rare books and ephemera, illustrated children's books, and unique and hard-to-find trees, shrubs and perennials (Spring through Fall)
  • Cheshire Curio Shop, Swanzey, offering unique and special items, from furniture to antiques to new items and artwork; often offering collections from estate sales; new acquisitions posted on Facebook weekly
  • Colony Antiques, Keene, multi-dealer antique shop offering a variety of items including antiques, vintage items, collectibles, books, jewelry, and eclectic items; note that Colony Antiques will be closed for renovations until April (2020)
  • The Simple Nest, Keene, offering antiques, furniture, home furnishings, timeless décor, dwelling essentials, new and vintage finds, gifts, jewelry, and linens
About an hour from the Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House are two of southern New Hampshire’s largest multi-dealer antique shops that antique lovers won’t want to miss. The New Hampshire Antiques Coop and the Antiques and Collectibles Mall of New England, LLC are about 15 minutes apart, and could easily be visited on the same trip.
  • New Hampshire Antiques Coop, Milford, NH, offers period furniture, fine art, country antiques, porcelain, silver, jewelry, coins, vintage, collectibles, books, mid-century modern, affordable home furnishings and distinctive décor; featuring more than 200 dealers and 2,000 consignors selling quality merchandise in showcases, room settings, booths, display spaces, and fine art gallery
  •  Antiques and Collectibles Mall of New England, LLC, Greenville, NH, multi-dealer antique and vintage collectibles and home décor, such as furniture, hunting, fishing, militaria, gold, silver and costume jewelry, artwork, toys, coins, glass, pottery, hardware, musical instruments, tools and lamps 

Written by Susan Karalekas, who owns the Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House.