Running an inn often appears on retirement wish lists, but shadow Mike Amery, owner and innkeeper of the Inn at Bowman’s Hill in New Hope, and you might discover that you don’t have the energy. This peripatetic Brit certainly isn’t whiling away his afternoons. Instead, he’s busy greeting guests at breakfast, booking reservations and attending to seemingly tiny details like shooing a fly from the jam. That is of course when he isn’t playing his violin, a passion of Amery’s that has him performing weekly at a nearby tavern and serves as inspiration for his travels, which as an innkeeper are admittedly few and far between. Amery’s talent has even been called upon by guests who had him play at their on-property wedding ceremony. 

His is far from a life of leisure, but it’s clearly one Amery enjoys. “I think the key to hospitality is empathy,” he says, sharing that guests visit the inn for a variety of reasons, from romantic getaways to corporate brainstorming sessions. Perhaps the reason why guests so often feel at home is that this inn was once Amery’s private residence. Ten years ago he converted his exclusive home, set on 5 acres just a stone’s throw from the Delaware River and downtown New Hope, into the Inn at Bowman’s Hill. His intention was to marry all of the details he appreciated from his years of travel as a pharmaceutical executive. 

“I always hated how the water would get cold in the bathtub,” he says, explaining how his tubs have circulation pumps installed to keep the water hot from start to finish. He even placed the in-room fridges outside the rooms in the cozy lounge. “You know how you often hear it go on and off throughout the night?” he asks with a smile. Problem solved!

It’s the details that make Amery and his inn a standout, but if you think this is a lord of the manor fantasy, think again. Those bricks in the courtyard? Amery laid them himself. He also drew the designs for the addition, which houses additional guest rooms and the conference room (which accommodates up to 18). The carriage house-style structure seamlessly blends with the home, which looks out over a swimming pool and lush gardens. There are just four rooms and four suites at this lovely country escape, ideal for corporate retreats where getting away from it all is the prescription for inspiration. The Inn at Bowman’s Hill even has resident chickens who provide the eggs for the delicious breakfasts prepared by chef Anastasio (go for the English breakfast for a real treat). And yes, there is even the requisite rooster, but in case you’re wondering, it’s likely the energetic Amery beats the rooster out of bed each morning. 

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League City CVB manager Stephanie Polk shares her career journey.

Originally from Kentwood, Louisiana, Stephanie Polk, TDM, CTE, first made her mark on the travel and tourism industry as director of marketing for the Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau. There, she helped to elevate the city as a destination for recreation travelers and business groups. Wowed by her accomplishments, in 2020, League City brought her on board to lead its marketing efforts. She shares with us highlights and advice from her experience in the industry.