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. 

A lifelon New Yorker, Emily Schmalholz was a TV producer at VH1 before moving into the events industry and landing at Westchester’s The Capitol Theatre. As director of special events at the historic space and its bar, Garcia’s, she says creating events and working in television have lots in common. “The ultimate goal for both is to tell a great story and create memorable moments.” Schmalholz, a self-described “event therapist,” had more to say about her work.

What’s the biggest difference between producing for television and producing events?

 

With so many people searching for niche, unique vacations, it can be difficult to find the perfect spot. However, if it’s rich history, a variety of event spaces, and a plethora of outdoor recreation activities you’re looking for, look no further than Altoona, Pennsylvania.

 

From Baltimore to Boston to brainstorming, Ralph Weaver has never been one to say “no” to trying something new. After studying communications and marketing at Boston University, the Baltimore native made his way to New York City where he worked with a public relations agency, allowing him to dip his toes in the world of event planning.  

And he hasn’t looked back since.