July 5, 2013
Red Robin Song Guest House: Nichelle's Visit at a Vegan B&B
My Editor and Editorial Manager, Nichelle, lives in upstate New York (the HH team is everywhere!). Back in April, Nichelle stayed at a B&B near the Berkshires when she was nearby for a yoga and biking retreat. She texted me to tell me a few things about the place — they rescue farm animals, serve a delicious vegan breakfast, and had my books on the bookshelf! So today, we're sharing some of Nichelle's favorite things about her weekend at Red Robin Song Guest House and her interview with the wonderful owners, Lisa and Jeff.
Hi, Nichelle here! I just moved to upstate New York about nine months ago, so I have been exploring my new state whenever possible. While I was planning to meet one of my best friends (Hi, Jess!) when she was nearby for a yoga retreat, I noticed that Red Robin Song Guest House was nearby and I just had to stay there! (P.S.: Please excuse my crazy outdoor breezy hair in the photo above. Also, you can't really see it, but that's an HH button on my hoodie!)
My boyfriend and I stayed in The Lily Pad room, which has a private sitting deck and Jacuzzi tub (plus a TON of all-natural bath products at the sink, tub, and shower to enjoy. I loved this!). We absolutely loved our stay here (highlights were the amazing breakfast and the goats!) and really enjoyed meeting the wonderful owners that made us feel so welcome. We were only able to stay one night, but it was fantastic and we will definitely be back — I can't recommend it enough. Enjoy my Q&A with Lisa and Jeff, plus some of the photos from our stay!
We loved knowing that we were staying somewhere that we could enjoy a delicious breakfast and support a veg business. How did Red Robin Song Guest House come to be and what made you decide on the location?
Well, first we found the house. We were looking for someplace in the country with lots of acres. We have 85 and are surrounded by 100s of acres in conservancy. We had a lot of other criteria — many things we wanted in a house, hoping to find a place that had most...but this had everything! Peaceful road, ponds, woods, a huge fireplace. No other home came close; it was our dream house. The brochure even said it would make a great bed and breakfast, but even then, we had no idea we could do that. After we moved in, we both were working full time jobs — neither having anything to do with our real passion... a love of animals.
We love to travel and know how hard it is for vegans to find a place to eat and stay, and also wanted a way to get in front of non vegans to educate them about how their daily actions impacted animals and their health and the environment. We also are able to show people with our array of bath products how easy it is to shop for products and not to support animal testing. And with our wildlife work, we encourage people to learn to live in harmony with nature.
I have thought about these muffins a few times since. They were amazing!
We wanted to adopt farm animals and rescue more animals, but knew we could not it do unless one of us worked from home. Jeff worked construction for years and the house needed a lot of work, so that remodeling and building the animal shelters was something he could do. As we were thinking about it, wondering how we could start our own business that would allow us to do all of this, the B and B seemed like a good idea, but we weren't sure. Then we met some goats at an animal sanctuary that were up for adoption, and we fell in love — so the decision was made! The only way we could bring the 5 goats home with us was if we knew Jeff would not go back to the 9 to 5 grind and make this project his full-time job. We have not looked back since!
I was so impressed by your advance email asking if we had any specific dietary restrictions or dislikes (in addition to everything already being vegan, which is the best! I love being able to eat everything without question!). If one of our gluten-free, soy-free, and/or oil-free/low-fat Herbies came to stay, could you still provide them with delicious breakfast options?
Yes, we will accommodate any requests, as long as it's vegan; however, we do need advance notice. And we do not have separate kitchen facilities, so if anyone has extremely severe reactions to say gluten, celiac, etc., we cannot guarantee there are not traces of ingredients. [Editorial Note: My boyfriend hates broccoli (crazy, I know!) and Brussels sprouts, and he loved being able to dig in without fear.]
Our breakfast included a vegan omelette, sausage, and potato hash — plus muffins, a smoothie, and coffee. Such a treat!
Tell us about what there is to do in the area. What attractions are nearby, and what are your local recommendations?
Jiminy Peak Mountain Ski Resort is minutes away for great skiing, as well as Mount Greylock for great hiking. In the summer, Tanglewood is a great option for outdoor concerts — and it's not just classical/symphony, they have great other music acts. Hudson, NY is about 40 minutes for antiquing. The Norman Rockwell Museum in nearby historic Stockbridge. There is a local theatre in town in the summer for plays, plus Theater Barn and Tannery Pond for small music concerts (also summer only). The Hancock Shaker Museum is also close by. [Editorial Note: We hiked through the nearby Hand Hollow Conservation Area (seriously, maybe a 5-minute drive) and loved it.]
We loved seeing the goats on the farm! What other animals might guests see roaming around?
In addition to great wild bird-watching, we have dogs, cats, goats, sheep, chickens, Guineas, ducks, and 1 rooster. Frogs in the pond will serenade you, and we also do wildlife rehab. We currently are raising 6 orphan beavers; however, we need to keep our wildlife away from the public, so the beavers are the one animal that guests are unable to interact with, unfortunately. Guests should know their room cost helps go to our animal sanctuary, which includes everyone's care.
The goats were playing king of the mountain!
Any future plans for the farm? There was some construction in progress during our stay (which affected us in no way!).
We have many plans! We are planning to expand our sanctuary and hope to keep adding barns, ponds and homes for rescued animals. We also plan to have seminars events, and potlucks — all-around educating the world how everyday actions can help animals, their own health, and the environment.
When I mentioned HH, Lisa pulled cookbooks off the dining room bookshelves :) She said they love the Fettuccine Alfredo in HHC!