Life is tough . . or is it?
Life is tough as a child when you are forced to eat the food you don’t like. Life is tough as a teenager when your friends all get to go and you are grounded. Life is tough as a 20-something-year-old trying to live pay check to pay check. Life is tough as a 40-something-year-old trying to decide how many more years until retirement. And life gets really tough when as a 50-something-year-old you decide to start a second career and all of your friends think you have gone bonkers. BUT, let me tell you, life gets just a little easier when that second career is all about making the food you love, getting to play with your friends whenever you want, not having to worry about that bi-weekly paycheck, and proving that if being bonkers means laughing everyday with the people you love, then you are quite alright with that.
As my friends and guests can attest, my favorite phrase is “Welcome to my world.” This world is now the 1777 Americana Inn Bed and Breakfast where I, Denise, spend my days cooking, cleaning, and entertaining the best variety of people I could ever imagine. Along with my husband, Bob and our three sons, Ryan, Ross, and Reese we have created a second life here in Ephrata, PA amongst the horse and buggies and vast cornfields. We had a dream to open a bed and breakfast and establish a craft brewery on site. Plain and simple, my men discovered their passion for well-crafted home-brews many years ago, our goal was to share these same recipes with others. So the search began, five long years we traveled in vain until spotting the 1777 Americana in all her B&B (and vacant backyard) glory. The process began; we bought, we moved, I retired, we built the brewery, Bob retired, and here we are today with six beautifully appointed rooms, a rustic pine brewery, and six ales that will surely tantalize your taste buds. I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments of hesitation and more than one sleepless night, but we have settled into this new life and I feel truly blessed.
My first life (as I call it) was spent as a Family and Consumer Science Teacher (or for those my age, Home Economics) at Governor Mifflin High School. I LOVED my job, working with high school students, laughing every day, making small differences in the lives of “my kids” by letting them know I truly cared and wanted to see them happy. In fact, stop into the brewery and you will quickly discover, I did not leave my students behind rather I brought them with me on this journey. The majority of my employees are former graduates – including the architect for the building, our financial advisor, our pop up chef and our event coordinator to name a few. Regular customers of the brewery are always chuckling as the door swings open and former colleagues, parents of students and students themselves (21 and older) enter the brewery, excited to show their support AND of course sample our brews. But this, this inn-keeping business, is an entirely different beast. Sure, it’s still early mornings, cooking, presentation, informing, social skills…on second thought maybe it’s not so different after all. I looked forward to teaching lessons on nutrition and now I look forward to providing wholesome meals to our guests. I looked forward to the interaction with the young and vibrant students I taught every day, and now I get to talk to guests from all over the world. I looked forward to planning lessons that would spark interest in my classes and now I get to recommend anything from where to eat to which horse and buggy ride you should take. Looking back over the past year, these similarities have helped me face this new challenge head on and I feel blessed to find myself rejuvenated at the prospect of this second life here in Ephrata. I have probably worked harder than I ever did before, but the reward is oh so sweet because at the end of the day I get to say “Welcome to my world.”
Future blogs coming your way from our resident foodie and event coordinator, Amanda DeVine (owner of DeVine Destinations).