Splashes, Specials, and Spectacular Events

Fountain in Mount JoyLots of things happening around here before our fantastic Memorial Day Weekend rolls in.

Splashes: Take a look at our beautiful fountain on the corner of East Main and High Streets. The borough truck pulled up this morning to open it, and of course I ran outside to strike up a friendly conversation and to see how it was done. It was already uncovered and, in what was not one of my brightest moments, I chirped to one of the workers, “Do you have to put water in it now?! Hehehe?!!”  You know how you understand that what you have spoken is stupid before you even finish the sentence? I ran back inside as soon as he answered, “Yes.” Ah, well. They can’t all be gems. The fountain rocks, though. Lots of photo ops.

Specials: Hope you can take a few minutes to visit our home page. We’ve added a Specials button at the top to let you know about our current offers. Be sure you check often; I’d like to change them up from month to month – or even a few times within the month.

Next, in the drop-down menu under “Inn” there’s a section called Things To Do to help you plan your trip to Lancaster County. It’s a work in progress, so you’ll see that changing also as we add to our list of things to see and places to go. If you have a favorite haunt not listed, let me know so I can add it to the planner.

Spectacular Events: Main StreetMount Joy has some fun planned for summer. Memorial Day weekend will feature a parade down Main Street at 2:00 and a Community Yard Sale. June brings our town’s 21st Annual Golf Outing, while in July you can look forward to the 13th annual Taste of Mount Joy Cruisin’ Cuisine. And after you’ve shopped and golfed and sampled and cruised, you can come back to your comfortable air-conditioned room at the Inn to relax or can take a dip in the pool in the back garden, or can just snooze on the balcony. Nice.

A couple more spectacular events I have to mention. Aimee and I were sitting on the side porchMusic on the Grand Balcony listening to strains of classic rock. “Love that,” she commented. “Which park is having a concert tonight?” Well, that was no park concert! We were being entertained by our own guests who were playing on the Balcony right above us! Joe and Monica Jo (aka Joe Squared) play Thursday nights at Da’s Pub in Blakeslee, PA. Lucky Blakeslee!  If you’re around that area, drop in to see them. You won’t be disappointed. Monica surprised Joe with an overnight getaway to Olde Square Inn along with reservations for a Mystery Dinner at Bube’s Brewery for his 40th birthday. Awesome!

Surprise engagement getaway weekendTo close on an additional excellent note, our guest Lennie executed the perfect trifecta: 1.) booked the Suite along with a Birthday Celebration Indulgence, 2.) made reservations at the Catacombs for dinner, 3.) popped a marriage proposal to his long-time girlfriend Lisa, who, of course, said yes.  Who wouldn’t say yes to a guy who can make plans like that? Only no one!

What is your personal trifecta? It’s time to get your vacation on and make reservations at Olde Square Inn for some time out during these upcoming glorious summer months. Not sure what to do?  Check our Things to Do section or call me at 717-653-4525 and I’ll help point you in the right direction. Looking forward to meeting you soon.

Every Child Left Behind: School’s Out Forever for Retired MTMS Teacher

JackieYou know we love a good celebration event here at Olde Square Inn, and I was honored to be able to host a retirement party for a former co-worker who is joining the ranks of  Those Who Will Now and Forever Love Sunday Nights. You know what I’m talking about – that feeling of dread that begins to creep over you Sunday afternoon as the gates of freedom slowly being to close right in front of your face, not to open again for another five days. The doors are soon forever open for her.

Anyway, Jackie’s good friends Eileen and Katrina organized the whole event; they could be my go-to party planners any time. We set up all the food, the drinks and the wine they had brought, then at 5:00 friends started dropping in to offer their congratulations and enjoy a great dinner.

Jackie had time to open gifts and had quite a haul, particularly in the wine department. (See the “wine purse” she’s holding? I thought that was was particularly clever and thoroughly coveted it.) I think she received so many libations due to the amount of time she spends at the Vineyards at Grandview on Friday nights – great music, food, and fun going on there.

Retirement is bittersweet for many people, and I think teachers in particular. The hours are endless when you include the planning, continuing education classes, meetings, IEPS, phone calls to parents, time at the copy machine, dreaming up new ways to engage students, and the countless sleepless nights worrying about “your kids.” But the kids, even the ones who irritate the heck out of you, are the reasons you love your job. There are truly dedicated people who have their hearts on the line to do their best to help your children become their best, and Jackie spent the last 32 doing that.

She retired to spend more time with family, to travel and enjoy life, to drink wine, dance, watch the sun set, and to sleep past 4:45 am. I taught foods and nutrition the last eight of my 24 years in education and knew it was time for me to go when a student said to me, “Ms. Skee, is it hard to make chocolate chip cookies?”

“No, why, Anderson?”

“Because you look really, really, tired. Let me get you a chair so you can sit down a little bit.”

Lucky he was charming, but at any rate how do you not love that? You miss the kids.renee

If you’ve had a wonderful teacher in your life or in your children’s lives – this year, last year, or 20 years ago – take a minute to look her or him up, jot a note, make a phone call. As a teacher you hope you somehow make a difference in your students’ lives. Let a great teacher know how you have been greatly influenced.

And congratulations, Jackie. Welcome to the club! Do what you love.



Fun in the Sun, Made in the Shade In Lancaster County Year ‘Round

Pool Boy GajGardener GajThe proof is in the picture: now I can say the pool is officially open with our first swimmer making the best of the hot, hot May weather we’ve been experiencing! When the Gajs came to stay Mother’s Day weekend for their nephew’s college graduation, they took advantage of some of the backyard offerings – soaking up the sun, reading in the shade, floating in the pool, walking through the gardens. But I’ll tell you what, the advantage clearly was mine, and as a result I came up with a great idea for a new getaway package.

As it turned out, Ray knew a few things about filters, skimmers, and jets and got the pool situated so that the skimmer works the way it should, the pump’s doing its thing, and the intake is intaking just right. That made me quite happy because I don’t know pools (yet) and was pretty thrilled for that little tune-up. On top of that, he showed me how to turn off all the gas fireplaces in the joint which was great because those pilot lights throw off a lot of extra heat in 85 degree weather, not to mention all the fuel they burn just hanging around.

Then, as Mrs. Gaj and I were talking, she mentioned that she’d like to try planting some lily of the valley and  lilacs at her North Carolina home. Apparently they don’t do so well because the winters aren’t cold enough, but you know how odd the seasons have been everywhere, so those plants could actually stand a chance now. I handed her a shovel and she dug up those annoying little volunteer lilacs that shoot up around the real shrub and thinned out my herd of lilies! Yard work!

In the past few weeks friends have been here to help me open the pool, identify plants, and string lights on the trees out front, while guests have shown me how to unlock windows and put in screens and have moved furniture. As one guest said, “What other help do you need? This is more fun than hanging out with relatives!” So here’s the great idea for a new getaway package:

You know you can go on a volunteer vacation to maintain a trail or repair somebody’s gutters or dig out invasive plants on a popular hiking trail? I can do Inn Volunteer Vacation Getaways throughout the year!

Just think of it: the spring trip to the Inn could be weeding, mulching, opening the pool and putting in air conditioners, then the winter one could be putting in insulation, starting the gas fireplaces, decorating for the holidays, shoveling snow. Maybe in the fall the service trip participants could turn the gardens, remove air conditioners, do some touch up painting.

What could be more exciting?! Parents could get their kids to sell candy bars or wrapping paper to raise money for their Mom and Dad Volunteer Vacation Getaway or do a Go Fund Me thing so they don’t miss out on seasonal maintenance fun. According to Sierra Club people love cleaning up stuff. “Besides the satisfaction of a job well done, service trip participants…often return year after year to the work site…to see how the work they did is holding up….There is also a social aspect to service trips….Friendships form, and it’s not unusual for groups to meet again on future service trips.”

Friendships form! At the end of the day we could sing kumbaya around the fire pit they would have dug or just walk to one of the area restaurants and have dinner and a beverage. I think I’m on to something here. I’ll let you know as soon as I get the details worked out, but one more thing.

Can’t close without saying congratulations to all of our college grads who are now off to make the world and even more awesome place. Go get ’em. And definitely can’t forget our moms.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you hardworking mamas who hold down the fort everyday and love your families the best way you know how. My own mother is 93 and although she lives in Indiana, we talk often. Growing up she told me, “Never leave the house without your lipstick!” and you can be sure that even at 93 you’ll never to catch her without it. Love you, mom!









Hoping all of you Mamas out there had a wonderful Mother’s Day, and trust that your families know how much love you pour into everything you do for them. With lots of great guests at the Inn this weekend keeping us busy, my family will be celebrating Mother’s Day, in addition to my grandson’s second birthday, later this week. I’m pretty excited about all of that!

Love the people who come and stay with me, and I’m always happy to see them when they return for another visit. Shelly and Nathan were back here this week with an event at Spooky Nook, and it was fun to be able to talk with them again to find out what’s going on in their part of the world.

A Priest, an Officer, and a Banker Walk Into an Inn – Main Street Mount Joy

2015-05-06 14.01.092015-05-06 13.36.51 HDRPriest, Officer and Banker






My friend calls me mid-morning with this announcement: Nancy! I saw you cavorting with some guy this morning. Did you find a special someone?!

Me: No, you weirdo. (And who “cavorts” these days?) That was my guest who was having breakfast on the side porch. We sat and chatted after I did the dishes. Tony was taking a break from his job at the bank and was out for Man Getaway Vacation. He had a blast visiting Mick’s All American, Mosby’s, Beanies, Bube’s, and Waltz Winery. During his Man-cation (I just at that moment coined that term!! Clever, right?!) he got to sing karaoke,  play pool and music trivia, make some great friends, tour the catacombs, go through a vineyard and sample some fabulous wines, cheeses, and chocolates. In addition to having breakfast on the side porch, we sat and chatted over beverages on the balcony last night. Tony’s a  personable guy who was here 20 years ago when the Inn was just a baby, and he loves the great people in Mount Joy.

Friend: Oh.

The morning turns to afternoon. Aimee comes over to tell me there is a police officer looking for a turtle in the greenery around the inn. The station was notified about an endangered species trying to cross the road. (There’s a joke in there somewhere.) Then –  ring, ring, ring. It’s my neighbor calling.

Neighbor: Nancy!!! There’s a police officer parked outside the inn and he’s looking around the property! Is there something I should know about?!

Me: No. That’s Officer Williams. He’s looking for that turtle you set free under my trees.

Neighbor: Oh. If he needs to know who discovered the turtle, my name is spelled D-O-N-N-A…

Me: Okay. And Donna? If you see a priest walking up the front steps? Nobody has died or needs  Last Rights. Father Tcheou is coming to bless the Inn.

Neighbor: Hahahahahahahaaaa! That’s good then!…Do you know how to spell my last name in case somebody asks?

Me: No. Love you! Talk to you soon.

So Father drives up and gets out of his vehicle. My third grade St.Mary’s Catholic School brain was hoping he would have rhinestone crosses on the side of his car, or a priest vestment on the roof, or  at least a clever priest-saying painted on the bumper, but no. He travels incognito, but he is totally awesome anyway.

As I was saying, he gets out of his  car then exchanges pleasantries  with Officer Williams, pets the turtle and we go into the Inn. I give him the 10-cent tour of the joint, and he, like many others, admires the kitchen floor which is an attractive black-and-white checkerboard pattern but picks up dirt like nobody’s business. I like to tell people that the floor attracts everything but men and money, but I’m thinking I could be wrong.

As the month of May unfolds, rooms are booking like crazy as people are getting ready for Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, the end of school and beautiful, beautiful weather. And didn’t three men just walk through those doors today? In fact, I almost called this post “It’s Raining Men” because it was raining today, but I felt that would be entirely inappropriate. I think I made the right decision on that.

Anyway, Father blesses the Inn, its operators, and all people who have and who will walk through our doors. I hope that Olde Square Inn can be a renewal to you when you stay with us so you can return to your busy lives refreshed and in good spirits. You don’t need to be a priest, an officer, or a banker to visit us. I am so excited to help you make your getaway one full of happy memories, whoever you are.  Looking forward to meeting you soon.



Gimme an A! Gimme and O!

Very glad it’s May, as April was a very hectic month for our family. Of a more personal nature, many of you know that my daughter Aimee has been going through a lot of testing to get herself on the list for a kidney transplant.

AimeesignsitShe has been on dialysis for for almost a year an a half and moved up from Florida last May to make the whole transplant business easier to deal with.

I can’t say enough good things about the care and treatment she receives at Pinnacle Health in Harrisburg. They have been thorough in everything they’ve done, and the support team works together to make sure patient and family don’t go nuts. We are very lucky to have them. With her four surgeries in three and a half weeks, I was a little wacky. Aimee dealt with it in a more chipper manner than I did, I must admit.

At last, all tests are cleared and she has officially signed the papers to happily accept a donor kidney. (See left, haha.)

Now we wait for a compatible donor, living or otherwise. If you happen to be blood type A or O (negative or positive!) and aren’t using one of your kidneys, the team at Pinnacle Health would be happy to test you to see if you could be her donor. Testing and surgery happen at no cost to the the potential gifter. Should you be interested, email me at nancy@oldesquareinn.com – we’ll chat. Enjoy this awesome weather!

Latest Top 5 Happenings at Olde Square Inn & Main Street Mount Joy

I’m close to being the happiest person in the world now that the snow is gone, and I wanted to show you a few things that have been happening around the Inn and around town since the winter weather has broken. Everyone’s been busy!

1. We hosted our first Bridal Shower at Olde Square Inn. Melissa was treated to a beautiful luncheon by her Maid of Honor Tanya and her wonderful bridesmaids.

2015-04-25 11.06.12 2015-04-25 11.06.48 2015-04-25 11.28.08
2015-04-25 11.55.23Bridal Shower2015-04-25 11.31.56

2.  Pool is open! Now all we have to do is wait for a few 90 degree days so the water can warm up. By August I’ll probably wishing for a little bit of that snow we had in March. No, probably not. Ever.

2015-04-26 16.53.57 HDR

3.  Grand Balcony is open! You don’t even have to wait for a hot, hot day to enjoy this lovely spot. I had just finished putting up the indoor/outdoor carpet and bringing out the chair cushions when a guest and I thought we should test it out. We relaxed with a chat and a beverage and just enjoyed the lofty view. The Balcony is available to guests until 10 pm. Love, love love this mild weather.





4.  Two new shops have opened in Downtown Mount Joy and were featured this past weekend during our Fourth Friday event with ribbon cutting ceremonies. Next time you’re here be sure to check out Crafter Hours at 67 E. Main Street. Gather your friends together for an evening of creativity and “…inventing, experimenting, breaking rules, taking risks, making mistakes, having fun!”

If you’re looking for a great dress, jewelry, accessory for your yourself or as a gift for someone you love, take a look at Mayita’s Boutique at 83 E. Main Street. It’s a new women’s clothing shop where you can find some beautiful outfits and beautiful pieces to dress up the things you already own.

Harvey's Barbeque




5. The Pig Will Oink Again! Harvey’s Main Street Barbecue was damaged last June in a fire, and I know it doesn’t look like much, but take heart: this is solid evidence of recent rebuilding activity. Can’t you just taste those melt-in-your-mouth ribs, the pulled pork sandwiches, cajun sausage, mac and cheese, corn bread….? Sigh.


Don’t forget that a night at Olde Square Inn would make a fabulous Mother’s Day Gift for your  mom, auntie, your wife, a favorite friend, or you! You can book directly through our reservations page, or can give me a call at 717-653-4525 if you need any help. Looking forward to helping you treat someone special to a well-deserved break.

Luxury Suite Opens This Weekend

kinglivingroomFive months after becoming Innkeeper of this beautiful bed and breakfast, I am so happy to be opening our Third Floor Suite! Outfitted with both a king and a queen bed, a luxurious sitting area and reading nook, a private bath that features a spa tub and two separate sink areas, this elegant space offers a sunny 360 view of our great little corner of Mount Joy. As with our other guest rooms, our Third Floor Suite includes a TV, DVD player, refrigerator, internet, and – of course – a delicious three-course breakfast in the morning.

This space is perfect for girlfriend getaways, romantic weekends, extended stays,  families with older children, or anybody who appreciates the exquisiteness of being able to stretch out in her own private space. With Mother’s Day around the corner, our Suite is the perfect place for Mom to rest and regroup. Traveling to Spooky Nook for a tournament? After the excitement of the games, come home to relax in this beautiful suite.

I don’t have professional pictures yet, but I was too excited  to wait so I took a few  myself. My pics don’t really convey  what it’s like to actually be standing in the room and looking around, but  I wanted you to be able to at least get an idea of what was happening on on the Third Floor! It feels so fresh – I just love it!

bathAbove is the spa tub and one of the sink/bathroom areas, while the photo below shows our brand new queen sized Serta Perfect Sleeper – just delivered a few days ago. This area looks directly on to the living room and fireplace. The opening photo shows the comfortable king bed which is adjacent to the other end of the living room.

Our first guest are checking in this Saturday, April 18, but everything came together so well that we’re opening a day earlier. Maybe YOU will be our first guest instead! Check out availability at Olde Square Inn reservations and check in to our Third Floor Suite.


Not Your Mom’s Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Souffle with green hand thrown mug by Deneen Pottery

Just had to share this great recipe with you. We served this for breakfast at the Inn on Easter morning, and it was a total hit. Guests who claimed to never like sweet potatoes (I would have include myself in that) loved this. It’s light and fluffy, not too sweet, and topped with a delicious crunch. When I make this for a family event I always double the recipe and even so, there is not  a spoonful left over.

My friend Andrea gave me this recipe 15 years ago, and I had always attributed the creation of this great side dish to her mom since it was called “Mom’s Sweet Potato Bake.” Well, I just found out yesterday that she got it from a friend who got it from A Taste of Home magazine at some point. Who knew? At any rate, somebody’s mom makes great sweet potatoes, and I’m sharing that secret with you.

Mom’s Sweet Potato Bake

  • 3 c. cold, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 2 T cold butter

In a large bowl, beat together first seven ingredients. Pour into greased 2-quart baking dish.

In a small bowl combine brown sugar, walnuts or pecans, and flour. Cut in butter until crumbly, then sprinkle on top of sweet potato mixture. Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes.

Lancaster County Best Kept Secrets Shopping Tour Coming in April


Look at the postcard I got in the mail the other day and check out the first April date! Have you ever been on one of these Best Kept Secrets Shopping Tours? My daughter and I did one last fall and it was a blast. Here’s how it works:

  • Follow the link above to find the location nearest you to purchase your $9 ticket.
  • When you get your ticket, you also get a bag full of little treats, entry blanks for prizes, coupons, a map and a list of all the places on the tour, which are like 37 stores!
  • You have between April 9 and April 25 to visit the places on the tour where you can enjoy refreshments, games, gifts, farm tours, demos, workshop tours, make & take projects, and all of the other free specials the businesses have planned for you.
  • You can play the Shop & Win game and enter to win over $800 in prizes or even a $200 shopping spree at one of the tour businesses you choose.
  • The businesses are unique places, and you won’t find out what they are until you get your ticket – that’s the secret part!

Two of my very first guests, Brenda and Judy, booked a room the second weekend I was open and did a Christmas Secret Shoppers Tour. They shared stories of their shopping adventures and I got to see some of the things they purchased. I tried to appropriate one of their finds – an amazing carved santa wall hanging – but they were on to me. I was hoping that if I displayed it on the mantle they would forget it was there, but it didn’t work out to my advantage. Oh well.

Here are two secrets I will share with you:

  1. Two of the businesses are in Mount Joy very close to the Inn. What a great place from which to start your tour!
  2. Book a stay at Olde Square Inn for your Best Kept Secrets Tour and receive 10% off your room when you reserve directly through our site. When you get here all you have to do is show us your Secret Shopper passport thingy filled out with your name and address and cha-ching! the discount is yours.

Aside from the cool shops handing out free stuff, the other thing that makes this fun is that you get to spend time with a favorite daughter (or mother, depending on who’s telling the story) or best friend, or new friend. You get to eat delicious snacks, find unique places, unearth great treasures.

The tour is a neat weekend away, or even a sneak-out-during-the-week getaway, since it runs 16 whole days. So, hey, Judy and Brenda, as well as all of you other Secret Tour Shoppers, I’m looking forward to seeing all of the lovely items you’ll bring back for me to display on my mantle. We’ll put them up there for just a little while. Maybe longer. I’m just sayin’.

Pampering Massage was Xquisite

Xquisite MassageI so dislike the cold, and the below-zero temperatures made me crankiest person on the earth. To add insult to injury, the weatherman was calling for air that was more chilling than the North Pole (really!), the pipes in two of our rooms had frozen, and so had I. You know how sometimes you just get chilled to the bone and you can’t shake it and wish you had your toes in the water and the rest of you in the sand? I was that kind of cranky-cold.

Toes in the water was a long way away, and I knew for sure I was to spend the next many, many weeks as a frozen, miserable Elsa ice pop. And then, then – the heavens opened, the light shown down upon me, and I got an invitation from the gals down the street at XND to come in for a massage that involved hot rocks and heated blankets. Xquisite Nail Design and Day Spa is maybe six doors down from the Inn. Six! Even I could bear the cold and walk six doors in order to enjoy hot rocks and warm blankies. Couldn’t wait!

When I arrived  I was ushered into a lovely room that was furnished with a sofa, end tables, low lighting – all very relaxing – and of course, with a massage table that was covered with those warm blankets in which I was so interested. Joyce was going to do my massage, and while she slipped out of the room I was instructed to slip onto the table face down. She came back in and adjusted the blankets and supports to make sure I was comfortable before she started. Before she started I was so comfortable under the blankets I thought I might drool through that little face part that holds your head, but I didn’t and was happy about that. Then she began to work out all those knots in my back, and I could feel myself melting into the table.

Joyce knows what she’s doing. She’s (and I’m quoting) managed The Spa at the Hotel Hershey, worked for Wenger Chiropractic on Lititz Pike practicing therapeutic massage and rehabilitation exercise and has owned and managed spas in Harrisburg, as well in Daytona, Florida and Zurich, Switzerland. Unquote. Pretty amazing.

As she was working on my muscles, she let me know what would happen next so I was never anxious but only looking forward to the next great thing. If you’re the shy type, you don’t have to worry because you’re always covered up, and if there’s something you don’t like (ha! as if!) you just let her know. The hot rocks came out when I turned onto my back, and at that point I truly became one with the universe. When the session was over Joyce told me to take my time getting up and  getting dressed, and she’d knock before she’d come back in.

By that point my muscles were all relaxed and I didn’t want to get up, but I did because I had to go home since the plumber was coming to try to thaw my frozen Inn pipes. I loved that they offered to ease my transition into the Land of the Standing with a glass of wine to sip and cheese and crackers to munch. I regretfully turned down the refreshments because, you know, the plumber was coming to thaw my frozen Inn pipes and I needed to appear sharp and intelligent.

Next time I go there (and I guarantee there will be a next time because I loved it the first time)  I will have the refreshments and will also get a spa pedicure and a manicure and maybe a spa tan. That would be fun. So when you see me with my great looking mani-pedi and gorgeous tan, you’ll think I had my toes in the water and back in the sand when all I really had to do was walk six doors down. Ha! How lucky am I?