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Monika Sudakov

What happens here ... stays here

This is a little tongue in cheek, but since Jeff and I lived in Las Vegas for five years, we thought the popular marketing slogan would apply here. When you are dealing with the public, you never know what might come up. Normally things are fairly routine at our Chestnut Street Inn. People arrive; we do a tour; they have dinner; they sleep; they have breakfast; we chat; and they go home happily rested and fed. But, every so often, things can get interesting. I suppose at some point, a tell-all book would be in order, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of our most unusual memories.

• One of my favorites involved what should otherwise be a simple procedure — check out. We present a bill, guest pays bill, guest leaves. Well, when said guests’ credit card is nowhere to be found, guests and innkeepers begin a massive search for 30 minutes throughout the entire house and the guests’ vehicle. No credit card to be found.

Then, out of the blue, “Mrs. Robinson’s” light bulb goes off, and she promptly retrieves her credit card from, you’ll never guess where — her bra. Needless to say, hilarity ensued. We took care of the bill and she gave us permission to use her story in the future. I guess your bra is a somewhat safer place to keep your credit card than your purse, which is exposed to the elements and to would-be thieves, but it certainly got us caught off guard. Gives a whole new meaning to the notion of a “support bra.”

• The second incident worth mentioning involved the fireplace in our largest suite. While it is a great amenity to offer guests, it does come with certain liabilities, namely the fact that the flue needs to be opened before use. I’m sure you already know where this story is going, but our guests that evening decided at about 2 a.m. to light the fire and create a romantic atmosphere. The room smoked up, setting off all the fire alarms in the entire house, with a house full of guests in all four rooms. Jeff sprang to action, immediately running upstairs and straight into the room to get the flue and windows open so that the house would air out quickly, while I made sure all the other guests, who had been awakened by the alarm, knew that everything was OK and they could go back to bed.

What Jeff hadn’t noticed was that the young lady in the room happened to be wearing some fancy lingerie, and the following morning she decided she would come down to breakfast wearing this lovely garment stating, “Well, you already saw it last night, so I have nothing to hide.” We all got a good chuckle out of that one, including the other guests who happened to be having breakfast at the same time. The complimentary robe in her room didn’t get used on this occasion, to be sure.

• This final incident happened just recently and was so good I had to share it on Facebook immediately. After breakfast, prior to check out, “Mrs. Smith” came to me, and in a whisper, asked if I had located her bra in the parlor. I knew that she and her husband had spent the evening in the parlor with a bottle of wine and that we had left them at about 9 p.m. to retire to our own corner of the inn. But I sensed they weren’t just reading a good book, if you know what I mean.

Now, I always tell people to make themselves at home. That being said, this wasn’t quite what I meant. But, I’m glad they enjoyed themselves. I presume she found her lost undergarment in her luggage because after a long search under every cushion and behind every nook and cranny, we never located it. I shudder to think that perhaps one of the other guests found it and didn’t report it.

Some people may think innkeeping is pretty boring and the same thing every day, but as these stories prove, it can be full of unique challenges and unusual occurrences which make for a constantly intriguing and often amusing profession.

Monika Sudakov is the chef and innkeeper at the Chestnut Street Inn in Sheffield. She can be reached at monikaandjeff@chestnut-inn.com.

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