Tuesday, August 30, 2016

THE SERENDIPITOUS INNKEEPER: Northey Street House, Salem, MA By Polly Guerin:

Northey Street Bed & Breakfast
The perfect word to describe the Northey Street House, Bed and Breakfast is "Serendipitous," which Webster's describes as "obtained or characterized by serendipity (discoveries)." 
     Discovery is what makes Northey B&B, a rather small gem with a big historic heart; reinvented with modern amenities fifteen years ago by the charismatic innkeeper Flora Tonthat.  
     Located in Salem, Massachusetts on a quite little enclave, 30 Northey Street,  Northey B&B is a short walk to museums, nautical adventures, wharfs and fine restaurants. It is a peaceful retreat after sightseeing and for the weary walker you can take a taxi anywhere in Salem for $6. At least that was the fare when I was there in August 2016.  Of special note, Northey has free parking, but it is best to check first for those details.
     The Salem Train depot is just a few blocks away and takes you to Boston and Cape Ann in a mere 30 minutes.  There is also a commuter ferry from Boston to Salem or if you prefer. as I did, I left Salem in nautical style and took the ferry back to Boston.
The Federal style house's historical past is a discovery worth the telling. 
Northey;s  Charming Woodbury Room
     The documented history of the house goes back to 1809. In those days, cabinetmaking was an important industry and Salem was an epicenter of this trade. 
    Flora Tonthat is fond of historic and local information,"The Federal house was built for the cabinetmaker Nathaniel Appelton, Jr. and later occupied by his daughter Susan and son-in-law Captain Isaiah Woodbury, a Salem Shipmaster. That is why I named one room the Woodbury and another room the Captain's Quarters.  The latest addition to the house is the Garden Room with double French patio doors that accesses a Japanese Garden. Of special note, Northey has a separate apartment suite, which is ideal for small families, for vacation stays and even transient visitors."                                                                                                                                                           PERIOD DETAILS and ANTIQUES
Northey Sun Deck and Breakfast Al Fresco 
Elegantly furnished rooms with period details and antiques appealed my creative senses but I appreciated most the private bath, queen bed, cable TV/DVD and other personal amenities. The inviting living room welcomes guests for conversation and relaxation and the kitchen opens out to a large Al Fresco sun deck where a complimentary breakfast is served each morning (weather permitting).

     Polly can attest to the specialty of this Eco-friendly house that recycles, has composts and solar panels and adheres to serving healthy low sugar baked goods such as Northey Glory muffins, scones, and Provencal fritatas. The next day another surprise, blueberry whole wheat pancakes were served drizzled with maple syrup, plus fresh fruit, a fresh garden fritata and scones. Many of the herbs and some of the vegetables come right out of Flora's garden. Complimentary coffee, tea, juice, snacks and other accoutrements always available including ice, movies and library.
Northey;s Japanese Garden, of the Garden Room
FLORA TONTHAT has immersed herself not only in the historical aspects of  Northey House but also by serving on local community committees, as does her husband Jeff.  Flora is a woman who was determined to succeed. 
     After 911, when she lost her job as a software engineer Flora was already living in this house in Salem and worked part time in IT while raising her two daughters. Then, as fate would have it, while jogging one day through the Salem Commons she noticed the B&Bs and the thought entered her mind, "I can do that!" And that, dear readers, is how the Serendipitous Innkeeper was born. 
     Flora welcomes your interest and reservation. She can be reached at 978.397.1582 or stay@northeystreethouse.com.
Internet: www.northeystreetshouse.com.

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