If you think that having wood-burning fireplaces in your inn is akin to playing Russian Roulette every time you hand over the box of matches to as visiting guest, you would be correct.
We have 12 fireplaces in all at the Lamb and Lion Inn. 5 are gas fireplace stoves. They are easy, relatively harmless, and as long as you have dexterity in at least 1 finger, you can turn the things on.
We have 4 wood-burning fireplaces in our part of the house. One that we use regularly–sometimes for ambiance, and sometimes when we want our 2 high-strung Pomeranians to leave us alone. Heat & sparks are not their thing and probably messes with their winter-loving sled dog genes. If you want to have a crackling fire in the same room as a Pomeranian, you might as well leash them to the fireworks barge on the 4th of July. Poms are loving dogs, but not too sharp and more paranoid than a narc at a biker rally, so when we’ve had a day chock full of barking and begging, we use the basic tool of fire to our advantage–a nice dry log will end their night pretty quickly.
Our other fireplaces we can’t access at the moment. It’s the end of summer and they are in two adjoining front rooms that we haven’t been in since mid-July. All summer long we just open the door and hurl stuff through the threshold. Unfortunately these two rooms also house a couple of 250 year-old wood-burning fireplaces…At least I think they still do.
There are 2 guest rooms with wood-burning fireplaces as well. This is where the Glock meets the temple. With each check-in we need to go through the do’s and don’ts of having a fire. Essentially they are “do be careful” and “don’t burn the inn down”. The more detail needed, quite frankly, depends on the guest, so serious profiling needs to take place.
Things to look out for:
~ Any guest without eyebrows and/or eyelashes.
~ Any guest wearing a t-shirt reading “I (heart) the movie Backdraft”.
~ After clearly ignoring your instructions, they state “It’s aaaall good. I was a Cub Scout.”
~ Guests that bring a suitcase full of wood in lieu of clothing.
Fortunately Ali and I have gotten pretty good at summing up our guests, and although we haven’t had a fire truck here in almost 8 years, that streak could more easily be chalked up to dumb luck.
The last wood-burning fireplace is in the courtyard. Although this is one of our favorite features of the inn–especially when soaking in the hot tub–it’s a feature we use less and less. The problem is that the slightest breeze can turn the hot tub into a massive ashtray. But we think we’ve found the solution…
During the “farm to table” dinner during this September’s CLASH weekend, Teddie Churchill of Cucina D’Amore Fine Catering cooked an amazing meal for 80, partially using “Cape Cod Fire Logs”. After dinner Ali started chatting with one of the guys from the Cape Cod Fire Log company. I assumed she was over there because the guy resembled part Kurt Russell and part someone even better looking than Kurt Russell, but Ali meant business and was determined to fix our outdoor fire issues. These things just might do the trick. They’re made of all recycled wood so they smell and burn like the real deal, but without all the mess and red hot, popping embers.
To make a long story short, a pallet of Cape Cod Fire Logs was dropped on our doorstep on Friday.
We now have enough Cape Cod Logs to build us a Cape Cod Log cabin.
I hope to God these things are the miracle log I’ve been hearing about. I could really use the peace of mind this winter–and so could our dumb little dogs.