My little niece Meghan and Ana at the Red Lion Inn
Here we are at my favorite inn, The Red Lion in Stockbridge. I love this photo, because it reminds me of the TV character Gidget, played by Sally Field, a happy-go-lucky California teen whose zany adventures are morally instructive.
What I like about inns and hotels is that they can transport you to another time and place like reading a book or watching a movie. As a rule, I like a mid-sized inn or hotel like the Red Lion best, because it's big enough that you can roam around and get lost among the other guests, but it's not so large as to be impersonal. (Another time I'll write about another favorite place - the very large Boca Raton Resort.)
I don't like bed-and-breakfasts as much, because I feel like I'm in someone else's house and it's not as easy to imagine living there. I feel a special connection to the Red Lion because I worked as a waitress there for a few months after I graduated from college in 1979, before I joined VISTA and moved to Oklahoma.
Meghan and the Red Lion's house cat Simon
No matter what size the hotel or inn, I always look forward to the touches that make it a special experience. The Red Lion has a lot of them, including:
1) An affectionate house cat
2) Fresh flowers everywhere, including a single daisy in all the bathrooms
3) A fireplace that makes the inn smell homey
4) Friendly employees-- KEY to a great experience!
5) Vintage decor and more antiques than any other inn I've ever seen
6) Locally made chocolates on your pillow at night
7) In-house pub
8) Year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub
9) Someone playing the piano near the lobby at intervals during the day
10) Herbal bath salts
Ana and Meghan playing Clue in the lobby