John grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Glenolden, PA, not far from the airport. Lynndell grew up on a small farm outside of the small town of Halifax, PA, fairly far from most things cities and suburbs offer. We met for the first time halfway between our homes in Lancaster, PA where we attended college. As a matter of fact, we met during freshmen orientation to play ping-pong and Frisbee. Five years later, we married and lived in Hatfield, PA.
We moved to Lititz in 1991. Lynndell taught 1st grade at a private school for 3 years, then stayed home with our two daughters, Karis now age 16 and Allie now age 14. John worked for two non-profit companies since then.
Our hobbies have mainly been renovating our first home over a period of 10 years and then starting again spending 3 years to complete our second home. Enjoying family activities such as going to the park, activities at church, playing ball, camping and going to the beach have been important to us. We still enjoy Ping Pong and John plays tennis when time allows. Lynndell is always baking something good and has read Tolkien’s books so many times we have lost count.
Our family has a furry member as well. We have a cock-a-poo named Lady. Lady is 12 years old and bounces around like a baby kangaroo. She is a real lap-warmer and may visit the inn by special request.
Traveling and staying at bed and breakfast inns has given us a desire to be innkeepers. For many years we had walked past the Alden House, impressed with it’s “Lititz Elegance.” Now we get to share the charm and hospitality of Lititz with everyone. So, here we are, today. We hope you enjoy your stay, and we hope to see you again.
It’s always something…
This winter one of our smoke detectors started to beep occasionally and Lynndell asked me to fix it. This usually means it needs to be replaced, so I did and all was well. Then Lynndell said she wanted them all replaced. Well I thought that’s just crazy; you don’t replace them all because one went bad. So being a red blooded American male I promptly told her “Yes dear, right away”!
5th Year Update
We have received a number of positive reviews on sites like BedandBreakfast.com and Tripadvisor.com. We thank you all for the many thoughtful comments and it shows how it has increased traffic to our website over the past year.As the old comedian said “Yes, but what have you done for me lately?” The renovation elves have been busy at the Alden House this winter. Lynndell and her crew have been doing the “spring cleaning”. John has been busy making messes. Sometimes we do it in the right order, sometimes not. Examples of recent work are upgrading the WIFI and extending its reach into the Carriage House. It’s always fun trying to run wires in a 1850’s house made of brick. We also removed the last of the old carpeting from the Parlour Suite sitting room. Now we have a pretty new carpet and pad up there with an ornate runner up the steps. A mini-fridge was added to the suite as well. We repainted the Carriage House bathroom and replaced the old bistro set with a new granite topped set; which is much more conducive to eating on. All of the suites now have a TV in both the bedroom and the sitting room for when one wants to take nap and the other wants to catch the game.
This winter (2011-12) we have been working on the Upstairs Parlour Suite. We replaced the carpet in the 3rd floor sitting room, put a new decorative runner on the stairs and changed the queen size canopy bed for a King size bed.Lynndell has also been trying new recipes this winter, which means I get to try them first! I don’t think you will be disappointed.
Fourth Year Update – Alethea Suite upgrades
This winter (2010 – 2011) we have been at the floors again. This time laying new oak flooring in the Alethea Suite sitting room. I had forgotten how much time goes into the preparation and laying of narrow strip flooring, so a weekend project turned into a Sat – Thurs project. So with new flooring in the sitting room, a new mattress and boxspring and a new 24″ LCD/DVD TV, I think we have a very comfortable suite.We also replaced the last of the old vanity tops by installing a new custom granite vanity top in the Lilac and Lace Suite.To celebrate the beginning of our 4th year, we had a special in March 2010 that included providing food for the local homeless shelter. Our guests provided 4 loads of food and a monetary donation that we delieverd to Water Street Rescue Mission in April.We recently (May) had dinner at Gibralter and Lititz Junction. Both were very good and offered a unique atmosphere. Be sure to try them out next time your stay with us.Our girls had never had a tour of the monuments in Washington D.C. So we packed them up for a rainy tour of the National Mall, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR memorial and the Washington Monument. Lynndell and I did not know there was an FDR memorial, but it was very nice. We ended the day with a museum tour and a parking ticket.
Third Year UpdateRefinishing the Lilac and Lace Suite Floors – An Odyssey in Floor Scraping
Last winter we removed the carpet and refinished the floors the Parlour Suite and Scandia Room. This winter I (John) really wanted to do the floors in the Lilac Sitting Room and Bedroom. I always pull up a corner of the carpet well ahead of time to make sure the floors are salvageable underneath. So after the New Year when the Inn was empty for a couple of days I pulled up the carpet in the Lilac Sitting Room, vacuumed up what was left of the pad underneath, patched the holes from the old radiators with flooring from the downstairs closet, sand, stain, 3 coats of polyurethane and done. Takes a little time, but gives a great result.Next it was time to do the Lilac Bedroom. Now I have to tie up 2 suites because the bedroom furniture is too large to move into the Sitting Room so it has to go into the Parlour Suite. “No problem” I thought, as we had 4 days till we needed that room again. So I pulled up the carpet, peeled back the carpet pad and what do I find – vinyl tiles stuck to our precious 1 ¼ inch oak strip flooring everywhere except the one corner I had pulled up several weeks prior! What to do now. Lay new carpet? I could do that in about 2 hours. Lay new hardwood? I could do that in about 5 hours. But I really wanted the old floors; they had character, matched in several rooms and you just cannot get that look with new wood. So, off the hardware store to buy assorted floor scrapers. After all, how hard could it be, the old vinyl tiles must be 30 or 40 years old.I then learned that this glue is getting stronger with age. After several failed attempts with various hand scrapers and chisels, I thought I would try a special scraper made for my reciprocating saw (picture a small jack-hammer with a really sharp blade). It worked; sort of. Now I could get one tile up in a minute or two instead of ten. But when it caught on the floor, the blade would dance along the floor, slicing as it went, usually in the direction of my sneaker; or smash my hand into the wall. After about an hour and a half, Lynndell asked if I wanted to put down carpet. I was too stubborn to answer and just went back to my jack hammering. Sometime the next day my blade broke with about 8 tiles left to go. I just kept shoving the broken blade back in the tool, chiseled a little more till it went flying across the floor then shoved it back in the tool again. I got the last tile up with the trusty hand scraper. Now we had a room filled with 50 pounds of broken sticky vinyl tiles that stuck to the floor, my feet, each other, and they were even in the curtains! It took Lynndell and girls over an hour just to scrape the chips off the floor into several bags.Okay, now that that’s over I can start sanding and get this project back on track right? Not on my life. Next day I rent the big floor sander, drag it up the steps, pop on my sand paper and start sanding. I soon learned that you cannot sand glue. I should know, I tried 3 times. All you get is melted and re-hardened glue. So now it’s back on my knees to wipe the floor down with paint thinner to get the glue off. Then more sanding, more wiping down with paint thinner, more sanding more cleaning with paint thinner; its 20 degrees out and I have the windows wide open. So after many hours of scraping and cleaning, 3 rounds of paint thinner, a half dozen rags, very sore knees and 2 days behind schedule, I can finally sand the floor. I got home for dinner about 7:00pm and since the floor finish dries in ½ hour, I go back at 10pm to put on another coat and then the last coat at 7:00am the next morning so Lynndell can start cleaning and putting her Inn back together. Now we have a very nice floor and a very long story.Otherwise out third year has been great and uneventful. Being in recession does not help, but the new Carriage House helps make up for that. John keeps trying to upgrade the rooms. The Tea Rose Suite is our first suite with a TV in the bedroom and one in the sitting room. Lynndell keeps expanding her breakfast menu and the choices seem to keep getting better. We are trying new advertizing and different specials throughout the year. And there is no rate increase for 2010; so come on in and enjoy our wonderful town.
First Year Update:
Well it has been one year since we became innkeepers. We must have the best guests that an innkeeper could ask for. Everyone has been so considerate and supportive that our first year, while very busy, was also very pleasant. We were able to enjoy guests from around the world last summer including those from: Japan, Germany, France, Australia, Argentina, Ukraine, Israel, Spain, Poland and California (of course California is not a foreign country, it just seems that way).
We are slowly worked our way through our winter projects of cleaning and upgrading. We have new carpet in two rooms, now, and John has been working on some of the bathroom fans to make them sound less like jet engines on take off. John installed a new granite vanity top in one of the suites and we have plans for the other baths in turn. We removed the carpet from the dining room and restored the oak floor underneath. It was well worth the 3 days of removing staples, sanding and finishing. Here is a triva question “How do you remove 1000 staples from your floor?” Answer below.
Karis and Allie continue to grow, they both share clothes with Lynndell, now, and they have their routines at the inn. They stay busy in the winter with reading, sewing and Irish Dance classes.
This summer we took the girls to Gettysburg for the day. It was about 60 miles from Lititz. We listened and followed directions from an audio tour as we drove through the park stopping at each site and imagining the battles. We had a nice cloudy day to keep the heat at bay. Karis liked the Pennsylvania Monument and Allie like the Devil’s Den. Please ask if you would like to borrow our copy of the Audio Guide for the day.
We look forward to new faces this year and seeing former guests come back for another busy season.
~John & Lynndell
Trivia Answer: How do you remove 1000 staples from your floor?
One at a time!
Carriage House Update
Well, after 11 months of paperwork and 4 months of blood, sweat and tears, the Carriage House opened to guests just in time for the Chocolate Walk, this October 2008. (Please see the rooms page for pictures). There is a photo album in the Carriage House that shows many stages of the project as well as our girls holding John’s big nail gun (no air hose attached!). With heated floors throughout, it should make a cozy getaway this winter. Our thanks to Wagner Heating and Cooling, Schillaci Architects, Hurst Contracting, Brooklawn Paving and Hummer Excavating for their help in completing this project.
Winter 2008 Update
Well, John is at is again. We found very nice oak floors under the carpet in the Scandia Room and the Parlour Suite. So John is removing the carpet and refinishing the floors in those rooms. Lynndell is busy cleaning up behind him and shopping for area rugs to keep guest’s bare feet happy. As you can see from the picture, some very talented carpenter put a lot of work into laying the Parlour Suite floor some time in the 1940s. We are glad to be able to show them off again.