It is often--perhaps usually--the case that I would rather sleep in my own bed, even if I have to drive a few hundred extra miles in the middle of the night to get there. But every once in a while, I love sleeping in other people’s beds. By which I mean, of course, that I like being a houseguest. Everyone has a different way of being gracious hostess, a particular way of adding the small touches to a room that make a guest feel that not only are they welcomed, but their visit was anticipated with delight. A vase full of fresh flowers. A carafe of ice water by the bed. A stack of unusual books. A bundle of lavender tucked into the corner of the bed frame where it meets the headboard. A fresh new bar of handmade soap.
I also like trying out different beds--modern and low-slung or old-fashioned four-poster. A few nights ago, on North Haven, I slept in what was referred to as “the boatman’s room”. The bed was so well worn that as soon as I got under the covers, the mattress sank into a cradle shape. I drifted off wondering about said boatman, why he had a room that was sequestered from the others, accessible by a private staircase up the outside. And I slept soundly.
My friend Judith, in Union, Maine, is an expert and gracious hostess. She has old quilts hung over the stair railings outside all the bedrooms, so that you can pile them on the bed if you get cold in the middle of the night. Judith always has interesting books in every room; she was quite clever to use these red chairs as bookcases. Even if I have some of the same books at home, they manage to look more intriguing on her shelves. There is something wonderful about roaming from pillow to pillow--and getting home refreshed, with a few new tricks of your own. Judy, my grandmother's quilts await your visit.