Mixed Blessings

Mar 5, 2017 | 1 comment

Reader Board, 3/5/2017

The words on the reader board just south of the Shelburne Inn are more-or-less an inside joke – if an outdoors sign can be said to be an inside anything.  For those in the know, however, those words announce to the world that Laurie and David are back at the helm and that our imperfect world is back in balance… more or less.  The subtext is a mixed one – relief, disappointment, anxiety and hope, probably not in equal measures.

For a year or maybe less, the venerable old hotel has been under a lease-to-buy agreement with a management company.  Shelburne owners Laurie and David Campiche have had the Inn on the market for several years and were full of high hopes when the arrangement was negotiated but, as best laid plans often go, it didn’t work out the way they had imagined.  And now they are back to continue their almost fifty years of tender loving stewardship of Washington State’s oldest continuously operated hotel.

The Shelburne Inn

Speaking as a ‘community member,’ I couldn’t be happier.  While I was interested in the management company’s innovative marketing ideas (and was even involved in one of them – a ghost storytelling night on Halloween weekend), I have to say that I missed the comfort of the Shelburne hospitality we were used to.  I missed David’s friendly conversations at pub or dinner table, and I missed the welcoming, personal touches that both he and Laurie provided just as a matter of course.  Somehow, the hotel was beginning to feel like a stranger in our midst.

But, speaking as a long-time ‘friend of the family,’ I’m sorry it didn’t work out.  Everybody deserves to retire eventually – preferably at a time in life when they can still smell the roses.  And maybe those in “the hospitality business” (as they call it, these days) deserve a few relaxing years more than most of us.  After all, they’ve been looking to the needs and comfort of strangers day and night for all these years, to say nothing of keeping the grand old hotel propped up, spiffed up, and operating smoothly.  Time for their own share of R&R!

Shelburne c. 1900

“What are the warts?” Nyel asked me as we read the reader board.  “I haven’t a clue,” I said.  “We’ll have to ask Laurie.”  I can’t really imagine.  I think the Shelburne under Laurie and David’s watch is probably in better shape than it’s ever been since it was built back in 1896.  Builder Charles Beaver must think so, too.  He hasn’t been around for some time now – at least not that we know of.  (You can read about him in “The Man Upstairs at the Shelburne” in my book, Ghost Stories of the Long Beach Peninsula… but that’s another story.)

1 Comment

  1. Marc Stiles

    Thanks for the update, Sydney.


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