The starting point of this latest in an ongoing series of articles on the unique aspects of regular visits to the modernized historic Exeter Inn in Exeter, NH is intense anticipation for this return in October 2019 prompting an almost uncontrollable impulse to inquire about arriving a week early. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder as to this refuge from this filthy world.
The genesis of this visit is an increasingly relevant emotional rescue in April 2019. A staycation at a nearby property that still has favored nation status had been repeatedly marred in ways that reflect the theme of this current essay, That equally historic property, which is independently owned but affiliated with a certain Mormon-owned global chain, remains highly desirable and overall unique but glacially is becoming a victim of "elder" abuse.
Sadly, like all mistreated "children," the ability of the other still-grand hotel to offset the "sins of the father" is limited. A "back-breaking" straw having NOTHING to do with that hotel on the last day of that stay led to a strong desire to not spend the final night there.
Several factors prompted not wanting to drive home under a figurative cloud that was as dark as the ones in the sky. The first hotel very graciously agreed to not charge me for that night if I left that afternoon.
Calling Inn manager/professional friend Derek Hunt resulted in getting a distressed friends rate for the fabulous Jacuzzi suite. Derek smiling and handing me a bottle of French wine on his desk (as well as personally going to the bar to get me a glass) on my seeing him to thank him nicely contributed to the sense that I was not in Utah that day.
The following photos of the suite help convey this euphoric blend of glee and bliss. The traditional furnishing convey that mother knows best in advising that a purple couch looks cool but soon leads to buyer's remorse.
That experience prompted booking the Jacuzzi Suite for the October visit before even going to the suite, Highlights of that stay included being warm and dry while wet sloppy April snow fell outside, and Bobby Bradying the Jacuzzi by filling it with tons of bubbles. (The non-corporate feel of the Inn extends to no announced plans to replace bottles of amenities with the bargain-gym style soap dispensers that are the latter-day norm.)
As Inn Credible New England posts mention almost as frequently as referring to the perpetually packed duffel, driving a couple of hours to get to a whole new world is much more pleasant than enduring the discomfort and high expense of flying, Even paying the full rate for the Jacuzzi Suite (or slightly less for other luxurious accommodations at the Exeter Inn) is much less expensive than airport transportation, airfare, and a cookie-cutter room at a corporate hotel. This is not to mention the ease with which you can fill your vehicle with the comforts of home.
Both Derek (who has a very liberal open-door policy) and the desk clerk were very nice and welcoming. Walking into the Jacuzzi Suite truly felt like coming home again.
Personal touches this time included easily hooking up a personal Blu-ray player (using a power strip from the duffel) to the living room television and plugging in an unnecessary white-noise machine in the bedroom. Of course, the Jacuzzi was getting filled during the unpacking process.
The avoided storm that time was a nor'easter/borderline bomb cyclone that did not so much as rattle a window.
Watching Derek and his clerks staff the desk further contributed to the sense of classic hospitality that begins with every reservation call coming to the hotel switchboard.
Hanging out in the parlor-style lobby while Derek very patiently dealt with a last-minute reservation that both tried to get him to accept a comically low online rate for an upgraded room illustrated the skill of this literal Southern gentleman. Virtually no one else would have offered the upgrades that Derek did for the price that he quoted.
All of this is in keeping (no pun intended) with the small-town setting of this oasis next to top-tier prep school Exeter Academy. There are plenty of nearby opportunities to walk in the woods or the beach, shop in independent bookstores or gift shops that feature local items, or feast at reasonably priced restaurants that offer cuisines from around the world, In this case, it is good that all of this is nothing like home,