Think About It

Life at The Ellmaker House

by Don Meyer, Ph.D. | September 18, 2010

"Life, within doors, has few pleasanter prospects then a neatly 
arranged and well-provisioned breakfast table."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

If you have never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast, you must try out The Ellmaker House in Gap, PA. It has been several years now since we spent our first night there as guests of the proprietors, Jonas and Anne Beiler. But after experiencing the charm and elegance of that wonderful place, we knew it would not be our last visit. 

There are always two features which make any bed and breakfast unique: the overall décor of the facility including the particular room where you stay, and the breakfast the next morning. Of course, you never know who you will meet as you sit around the family table for the morning meal, either. Without exaggeration, it is the totality of the experience which remains with you long after you leave. 

Our first bed and breakfast stay was at The Stillwater Inn in Stillwater, MN. We will both remember that place because it included the element of surprise. On a Friday evening, we joined several friends for dinner in the dining room. As we finished and were about to make our way to our car, I hesitated in the lobby. Unbeknownst to Evie, I had made previous arrangements for us to spend the night. I had even packed our suitcase which I had conveniently hidden in the trunk of our car. We still smile when we remember that stay at The Stillwater Inn. 

We also will always remember the exquisite bed and breakfast in Oxford, England where we stayed with our dearest friends, Roland and Judy, and Jim and Maralyn. We'll never forget the creative way they served toast on a silver tray with each piece neatly standing upright. 

One of our favorite bed and breakfast places is in Cape May, NJ. The Victorian charm of the town along with the beautiful flowers in every yard and the briny smell of the air all around us inform our souls whenever we get a chance to return to that world famous stop for anyone interested in a memorable Bed and Breakfast experience. 

But whether you travel from Minnesota to England to New Jersey, there is no place in the world like the Ellmaker house in Gap, PA. We even love the drive to get there. It doesn't matter if we arrive from Route 23 and go through New Holland meandering across the Amish farmland, or go west on Route 30 toward Lancaster and come to that familiar hill with the incredible view of Lancaster County, we almost always say these words, "We're back." The Ellmaker House was built nearly 200 years ago and changed hands many times over the years. But when the founders of Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Jonas and Anne Beiler, purchased it in 2001, they lovingly restored it to its previous grandeur. 

And though we love the d&eacutecor, it is also the breakfast which makes a stay there unforgettable. Of course, I could talk about the fresh fruit with a dollop of yogurt, the ham and cheese bread pastry, the asparagus filled scrambled eggs served with fresh orange juice and coffee, topped off with fresh strawberry shortcake served by the world's best innkeeper, Verna. 

But even more memorable were the eight guests around the table. Our dear friends Tom and Kim had joined us. From Annapolis, MD Craig and Kim were in town for a Saturday afternoon outdoor wedding of a work colleague. But we were most surprised to see Tony and Beth from Hatfield, PA who were celebrating their wedding anniversary. Tony is a 2002 graduate of Valley Forge Christian College. Neither of us knew the other was coming. 

I wish you could have heard been there. The sounds of laughter and the taste of delicious food interspersed with good conversation between those guests and our wonderful innkeeper...priceless. 

Think about it.

Dr. Don Meyer is President of 
Valley Forge Christian College, Phoenixville, PA 
Responses can be mailed to president@vfcc.edu
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