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Eagles Mere Innkeepers Preserve the Past

  • By
  • January 15, 2018
Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

Hospitality at its Finest

Innkeepers Geniality Abound

culinary Eagles Mere Inn
Richard and Tammy Lobach have brought their years of culinary and hospitality experience to their positions as innkeepers at The Eagles Mere Inn. Photos and text by Joan Mead-Matsui, journalist, travel writer, and photographer.

When you walk in the doors of the Eagles Mere Inn, you’ll likely smell a sweet aroma coming from the kitchen. Shortbread cookies, warm cider, and aromatic teas are seasonal treats in the works throughout the year that is available for guests to sample. Consider your first whiff of delightful sweets as an indication of what’s to come during your stay at the inn.

Eagles Mere Inn country retreat
Innkeeper, Tammy Lobach isn’t shy about asking guests to taste test new recipes. In the meantime, while you wait for your “small plate” or entree to arrive, you can dream of what’s cooking in the kitchen. 

Creating a Favorable Experience Is Key

 

Staging allows innkeepers Richard and Tammy Lobach to create an ideal atmosphere for their guests.

“We’re all about the experience. We’re trying to make our guests’ experiences a bit more current. But the house has a history. We’re giving the inn a fresh facelift. We love the history of Eagles Mere and we are incorporating that into this building.” ~ Richard Lobach, Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper

 

Richard Lobach Eagles Mere Inn innkeeper
Richard Lobach embraces Eagles Mere history and the inn’s collection of memorabilia displayed throughout the inn. The medal he’s shown holding will hang in the Water Carnival Room to represent happenings at Eagles Mere water carnivals held in the 1920s. 

Be Prepared to Embrace History

 

What are guests looking for in a bed and breakfast experience? One guest reserved a room for one night and stayed a week. Richard attributes her change of heart to an abundance of peacefulness and a slowed pace that visitors seek when they choose The Eagles Mere Inn.

Eagles Mere is quiet during the winter months and Richard is candid with guests who seem disappointed to learn the borough doesn’t offer shopping outlets and nightlife.

“I tell prospective guests, If you’re looking to be entertained, you won’t find that in Eagles Mere,” Richard says. 

 

What you will find are an inn and a village brimming with history and activities centered on family.

“We’re bringing the history of the town into the inn,” Richard explained.

He found his way into the hospitality industry as a bellhop right out of high school and has worked for several large hospitality corporations. His positions entailed taking over bankrupted, foreclosed, and underperforming hotels. But the hours were demanding and five years ago, Richard required surgery to repair a back problem and realized he had to change his lifestyle.

“I got a job at a bed & breakfast in New Hope, PA and when the position was eliminated, I (answered an ad and) came to the Eagles Mere Inn.”

Richard and Tammy, Allentown, PA natives, have been married for 32 and have two daughters.

“We went from seeing each other 30 hours a week to seeing, living and working together 24/7. I think with 32 years of marriage, we got that part. We learn from each other and sometimes we are able to listen to each other. Sometimes not,” he quipped.

Richard’s extensive background in hospitality management and Tammy’s many years in food preparation have enabled them to run the inn and stay on top of their evolving business as innkeepers.

Eagles Mere Inn culinary
Tammy has worked on and off in the hospitality industry for years. 

Although they use seasonal chefs, during the off-season, Richard and Tammy assume a variety of roles. Tammy is shown in the recently renovated kitchen at The Eagles Mere Inn. Her day typically begins around 5 a.m.

“I started out in the J.C. Penney restaurant and I cooked my way through college,” Tammy noted.

Breakfast is available bright and early for “first on the scene” guests who are eager to begin their day. Featured breakfasts range from sweet or savory options to a buffet when visitors total 10 or more.

“What kind of things do you like for breakfast?” was one of the first questions Tammy asked upon my arrival at the inn, followed by “Do you prefer sweet or savory?”

Eagles Mere Inn breakfast
“Made to order to your liking” is one of the extraordinary aspects of dining at The Eagles Mere Inn. A fried egg served over strips of crispy bacon and greens is a delightful mix of savory and healthy. Baked peach oatmeal, eggs, and a “Country Bake,” (everybody’s favorite) a gluten-free selection that’s prepared with eggs, potatoes, and cheese are among the breakfast options. 

In addition to her breakfast and dessert contributions, Tammy makes several treks each week to markets to buy fresh produce and other staples.

“I do all of the shopping and I try to buy fresh produce whenever possible. Whatever is in the store that looks really great, that’s what I serve,” Tammy says. “It’s great to have that flexibility because we are not a corporate property. I can go to a farmers’ market and buy vegetables and put them into a dish.”

The Eagles Mere Inn can accommodate up to 140 patrons in its three dining venues: A.C. Little Drinkery, On the Rocks patio and the 1887 Chop House, a more formal dining space.

“The inn is a continuously growing and product improvement plan. Take-outs, eat-in…you can do it all at The Eagles Mere Inn,” ~ Richard Lobach

More interesting facts about The Eagles Mere Inn:

(courtesy of Richard and Tammy Labach)

  • The guest rooms (17) were numbered when they first arrived at the inn but researching historical Eagles Mere documents helped them to assign a name to each room and the dining options.
  • In the Raymond room, they have “Raymond” memorabilia, a teacup that’s stored in a shadow box and pictures to go along with the former Raymond Hotel.
  • Some of the renovations have included new carpeting in 80 percent of the rooms, all new mattresses, water filtration systems, water softeners, air conditioning, remodeled tavern and front porch, and a fresh coat of paint.

 

Don’t miss my companion story joanmatsuitravelwriter.com/eagles-mere-inn
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Historic Philadelphia in 24 hours

  • By
  • April 4, 2017

The City of Brotherly Love: 

Experience historic Philly in 24 hours

Do your plans include an overnight stay in The City of Brotherly Love?

historic Philadelphia
historic Philadelphia’s skyline is a mix of architectural elements and styles.

Why historic Philadelphia? 

By far, Philadelphia is one of my favorites cities to visit.

“The City of Brotherly Love” tugs at my heart.

Whether you choose to take in the sights on foot or perched on a streetcar, be sure to detach from your electronic devices long enough to appreciate the modern and historic buildings that line Philadelphia’s wide streets. Keep your camera close by because there’s something for everyone, whether you’re tuned into people watching or architecture. Philadelphia offers an array of stunningly beautiful architectural gems.

You’ll find a list and descriptions of Philly’s treasures here and a rundown of the Top 10 Historical Buildings in Philly.

A thriving birthplace 

Are you aware Philadelphia’s history dates back to 1682? I also learned something new while researching the city’s rich history. Philly and I share a birthday. William Penn founded Philly on October 27 to serve as the capital of his Pennsylvania Colony. According to http://www.ushistory.org/us/4c.asp, Penn aimed to draft a plan for the city that left the horrors of crowded European urban life behind.

Learn more about historic Philadelphia here.

 

What makes Philly unique from other metropolitan hubs? History abounds on the streets of Philadelphia, with miles of historic and cultural icons you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to bring along your camera (and selfie stick) so you can capture every photo op. All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui.

Whenever possible, take your cue from residents and guests – a walking tour of Philadelphia is one way to see the sights. You’ll be tempted to pause often to glance into storefronts, read menus or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. According to tripadvisor.com,  Philly offers 3,698 restaurants. That’s foodie heaven. You can find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Get your dose of Philly here.

The extra wide streets are a breeze to navigate.

5 must-see Philly attractions 

History: everywhere you turn

1. Penn Museum

(also known as University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology)

After a particularly long week, my husband and I took two days off to rediscover Philly’s cuisine and culture. We began our glorious 24-hour whirlwind tour at Penn Museum, 3260 South St.,
on the University of Pennsylvania campus, with Pam Kosty, public relations director, as our guide.

You’ll be captivated by the artifacts and art from around the world. Kunihiko Matsui, AIA, marveled at the distinctive architectural elements throughout the museum. Of course, the Japan gallery was a must-see for this Kyoto native.

Stroll the University of Pennsylvania campus and you’ll soon discover why this Ivy League school is regarded as one of the world’s most respected research and teaching institutions. Penn Museum, located on the campus, was our first stop upon our arrival in Philly. Both the interior and exterior of the building are enchanting and representative of an enlightened society eager to promote the arts and sciences. The museum in College Hall was formally opened to the public January 2, 1890.

Create your own signature learning experience as you celebrate the incredibly diverse artifacts and art displayed and intermingled with hands-on learning tools. If you’re fast-tracking your way through Philly and you’re short on time, you can view each of the exhibits in two to three hours. You can also expect to find many objects on display that originated from university-led archaeological excavations and anthropological expeditions. Stone tools, household items, monuments and yes, fine art, are among the treasures you’ll see.

When you think of archaeology and anthropology, what comes to mind? Truly, both disciplines are a celebration of mankind and our world’s diverse cultures.

Take your Pick or see them all

The interior space houses 11 signature exhibitions: Egypt (Sphinx), Egypt (Mummies) Gallery, Africa, Canaan and Israel, China, Etruscan Italy, Greece, Rome, Japan, Mexico and Central America galleries; space dedicated to special exhibitions, and a cafe that features tasty, authentic food from around the world. I chose an Indian dish that was delicious.

Click here for an updated list of special exhibitions or to purchase tickets to the museum.

Museum hours are Tues to Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month.

Admission is $15/general adult, $13/senior citizens (65 and above), and $10/children 6 to 17 and full-time students with college ID. Museum members, active U.S. military personnel, children 5 and under and PennCard holders (Penn faculty, staff and students) receive free admission.

 

Flanked by a lovely courtyard, koi pond and seating area, the lawn is a respite where students, staff and museum guests can take a coffee or lunch break, amidst the soothing sounds of trickling water.

 

2. Sonesta Philadelphia Lobby Art Exhibit 

Our next stop was check-in at the incredibly hip Sonesta Downtown Philadelphia. View the original art of Philadelphia’s fine artists and craftsmen in Sonesta’s lobby. The exhibit is updated every six months. Hotel guests in need of information should consult with the concierge. 

Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor.

 

Contemporary decor
Art created by Philadelphia artists and craftsmen is the focal point in the lobby of Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

Read more about Sonesta’s accommodations and services at my companion post: http://wp.me/p7Pqe9-uy

3. Reading Terminal Market 

Sonesta Rittenhouse Square is centrally located downtown at 18th and Market Streets in Center City, and only a short distance from a multitude of attractions. Whether you and your spouse are on an overnight getaway or you’re traveling with children, I guarantee you won’t want to miss the historic Reading Terminal Market. Whatever taste bud you hope to satisfy, you’ll find a selection of baked goods, meats, poultry, seafood, and produce. Other vendors also carry flowers and cookware. The Reading Terminal Market has been open to the public since 1892.

4. The Butcher Bar

What’s your hankering? As 5 p.m. rolls around, and particularly after hours of sightseeing and walking, why not try one one of historic Philadelphia’s newest restaurants?

As we approached the restaurant around dusk, the large shutters on the second-floor windows were wide open. I could see diners engrossed in conversation and candles gently flickering. The entrance-way was bursting with activity as guests sipped cocktails, wine and beer. Happy hour was in the works.

The Butcher Bar, 2034 Chestnut St, offers a lunch, brunch and dinner menu that will leave the meat lover’s mouth watering. I can still recall my reaction to one of our appetizers, a slab of bacon. “Oh, this is incredible – tender and juicy.” Words cannot describe this delectable creation. Kunihiko Matsui and I sampled a variety of menu items.

The bar features 16 beers on tap, 6 draft wines, and a whiskey-based cocktail program. You should absolutely make reservations. View the menus here.

5. The Eastern State Penitentiary 

Before leaving Philly, The Eastern State Penitentiary was our final stop as we prepared to leave the city. Over the years, I’ve heard rave reviews about the Eastern State Penitentiary, but since most of my trips to Philadelphia have been brief, I’ve never found the time to visit.

Regarded as “one of the most famous and expensive prisons in the world” and the world’s first true “penitentiary,” the ruins are bone-chilling and captivating. My overall opinion is the crumbling walls, empty prison yards and dimly lit hallways all speak of the lives of the inmates who called the Eastern State Penitentiary home. They are haunting as much as they are thought-provoking.

Notable residents were “Slick Willie” Sutton and Al Capone, who were among some of America’s most famous criminals.

A masterfully created one-hour hands-on audio tour, history exhibits, artists’ installations, and a vivid imagination are all you’ll need to feel the history that emanates from the walls. A very knowledgeable tour guide also led us through portions of the building.

Stay tuned for video clips from Eastern State Penitentiary. 

Are you looking for a more in-depth history of the penitentiary? Visit http://www.easternstate.org/history-eastern-state.

The penitentiary is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last entry at 4 p.m. Don’t plan to visit on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, when the facility is closed.

Adults: $14
Seniors: $12
Students & Kids: $10 (not recommended for children under seven-years-old) 
Members: FREE


Granted, you won’t have a full 24 hours to tour historic Philadelphia, when you factor in time while you’re sleeping, but in a brief period of time, you will get a taste and feel what makes Philly so interesting. Allow some time to relax and catch your breath. There’s no need to rush, and realistically, who can say how many days, weeks or perhaps even months you’d need to see everything Philly offers? Move at your own pace.


Visitphilly.com graciously arranged my visit and also provided me with information that helped immensely when we were mapping our 24-hour visit. Feel free to reach out to the staff as you are planning your trip to Philadelphia. 

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Art and Culture Exhibits Museums Northeastern Pennsylvania

Artists Give New Life to Books

  • By
  • June 2, 2016

Artists transform mass-produced books

“Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art”

Photos by Joan Mead-Matsui

Artists giving new life to books as unique works of art is the premise behind Between the Covers: Altered Books in Contemporary Art, a must-see exhibit due to close in a matter of days at The Everhart Museum of Natural History & Art in Scranton.

 

 

 

 

 

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