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“Lovely Inn-keepers, but tired B & B!”

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Shaker Meadows Bed and Breakfast
Ranked #2 of 2 Canaan B&B and Inns
Reviewed July 11, 2013

I honestly feel pretty bad about posting this review, however, people need to know what this place is all about. The in keepers are lovely people! Very nice! Unfortunately, their B&B is tired and in need of a major cleaning and repairs. It is also expensive!!! I understand that old homes, this one in particular was built in 1790 are dusty! However, if this home were cleaned daily, Example: windowsill dusted, floor vacuumed and mopped etc, it would be easier to maintain. There were many dead bugs all around the kitchen sink, windowsills and floor.

Again, I understand the home is old, but if proper cleaning is done daily as guests leave, I don't believe this would be a problem. More upsetting than the condition of the house was the smell. When we walked in the smell hits you immediately. The smell of must and almost mold. We had a headache after an hour or so of watching TV in the living room. There is no way a window has been opened in a very long time! The roof was covered in moss and you can see the outside of the house was in total disrepair.

After speaking with Jean, she was very understanding and allowed us to checkout with a full refund. (We were only checked in for a few hours) Again, lovely people, however I feel as though they need to work on the cleaning inside and out! I get the feeling they aren't doing well financially and perhaps just hanging on, which is why updates or things being repaired have not been done. This is a very small town with not much going, so that may explain it!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Vbkate725
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
strider2013, Owner at Shaker Meadows Bed and Breakfast, responded to this reviewResponded December 18, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review our bed and breakfast on Trip Advisor.com. As you say, when planning to visit, people need to know what our place is all about. Now that our very busy summer and fall seasons are over, we'd like to take the time to give you a little more information about our mission and operation, and speak to each of your concerns, so that perhaps you might have a fuller, and more accurate picture of our operation, "what we're all about," than you were able to surmise from your brief encounter.

Our mission has essentially two components: hospitality and stewardship. We at Shaker Meadows aim to provide a welcoming, comfortable and relaxing experience. Our first priority is to offer comfortable beds, quality linens, and delicious, homemade meals to our guests, as well as excellent customer service. We regret that, not having stayed at our B&B, you missed experiencing the comfort of our 100% Egyptian cotton towels, fine linens, and the full, country breakfast that so many of our guests have enjoyed and praised.

Stewardship of the historic buildings and grounds is also very important to us. You mention the challenges of maintaining a 1790s house in your comments, and it's true that the need for capital improvement is constant. Because improvements are budgeted and scheduled around high occupancy, the work must be carefully prioritized. For the comfort and safety of our guests, structural and mechanical improvements take precedence over cosmetic concerns. For example, the fireplace in the living room is unfinished because we removed a massive iron stove from the center of the room which was vented through the fireplace and up the flu, and took up a large part of the room which we needed to be clear for guest seating and safety. The trim work had been removed by whomever installed the stove. The earliest we can schedule a master carpenter to complete the cosmetic part of the job, the new trim, is spring of 2014. In the last few years we have installed a wireless fire and security alarm system, replaced a 1948 oil-fired boiler with a high efficiency propane boiler, replaced the outdated cesspool with a double shallow-tank septic system and replaced the flashing at the roof peak of the Farmhouse. Each of these upgrades, as you know, requires many hours of research and installation time, and thousands of dollars.

You describe the Farmhouse of the B&B as "tired," which seems to imply that the physical property is getting more worn over time, however, the exact opposite is true. When we purchased this property in April of 2001, the farmhouse floor was caked with multiple layers of paint and stain, the walls had six layers of peeling paint and wallpaper going back to the 1880s, the three porches were deteriorating, and the grounds were overgrown with dead trees and weeds. We sanded down and refinished the farmhouse floors; removed, scraped, sanded, primed, painted, and replaced all the interior moldings; scraped the wallpaper off the walls, plaster patched and painted them; and brought in new furniture and fresh linens. We rebuilt the southeast porch of the Farmhouse in 2006, the west bulkhead in 2008, and rebuilt the entire east porch in December of 2012.

Your perception that "the outside of the house is in total disrepair" perhaps stems from seeing some chipped paint on the window casings and kitchen porch, and seeing that the siding needs cleaning and/or replacing. Of course, we understand that appearance is an important part of the guest experience, and are aware of the cosmetic and aesthetic improvement that can be attained by painting and re-siding, so we look forward to completing these projects as time and budget allows. We believe, however, the assertion that the exterior is in total disrepair is inaccurate.

You seemed concerned that the "roof was covered in moss," as were we when we first encountered it. The Farmhouse roof is, in part, a composite slate roof, put on in the 1950s. Both our inspector, at the time of purchase, and our roofer, just last winter, explained to us that, unlike on an asphalt-shingled roof, moss on a slate roof has a neutral to beneficial effect, and should be left in place. We researched this statement and found confirmation from many sources of its accuracy. We have never had any trouble with the roof, and expect it to perform excellently for many years to come.

As for the cleanliness of the premises, we do appreciate your comments, as it keeps us cognizant of how important this is to our guests. We have very high standards for our B&B, and, if you look through other reviews from TripAdvisor.com and Bedandbreakfast.com you can see that our guests often comment on, and highly rate, the cleanliness of the accommodations. I do apologize that you found the Farmhouse not up to your own standards. We do have very high occupancy in the summertime, and your check-in, early on the afternoon of July 7, came hours after a large number of guests checked out following an extremely busy July 4 holiday.

The windows have been a restoration challenge for us. We decided to leave the original windows in place rather than install replacements. Many of the windows were not easily opened, and the configuration made it impossible to clean the outsides of the windows without approaching with a ladder from the exterior. At the time of your visit we already had an appointment in place with a master carpenter to repair and consult with us on the condition of the windows. Many repairs were completed in August of this year (subsequent to your July visit) including repairs to the sash weights and pulleys to restore the ability to smoothly open and close the bedroom windows. We have since completed cleaning on many of the downstairs windows, and further repairs and cleaning are planned.

You can see that the repairs that have been completed since our arrival negate any need to conjecture as to why "updates or things being repaired have not been done," as repairs and upgrades are ongoing and have been throughout our stewardship of the property.

As for the "very small town" of New Lebanon, many of our guests greatly appreciate the rural beauty and quiet and visit us just for the lovely surroundings. Of course, to achieve the wide popularity and steady occupancy of our little inn, we do not depend entirely on New Lebanon's many attractions, which include Darrow School, The Tannery Pond concerts, The Theatre Barn, the New Lebanon Shaker Village and Museum, Lebanon Valley Speedway, Hand Hollow Preserve, and the Lebanon Valley Heritage Visitor's Center. Our clientele, in summer, also come to enjoy Tanglewood, the world-renowned summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, which is just eleven miles from Shaker Meadows, and, in winter, they come to ski the trails at Jiminy Peak Ski Resort, the largest ski area in southern New England, just eleven miles to the north. In addition, we are a short drive from Bousquet Ski Area, the world-class Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Shakespeare & Co., Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Colonial Theatre, Bash Bish Falls and Taconic State Park, Mount Greylock State Park, the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail, the Harlem Rail Trail, the Mahaiwe Theatre, the Clark Art Museum, the Berkshire Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Berkshire Botanical Gardens, the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Red Lion Inn, and the charming shops, restaurants, antique stores and strollable downtowns of Lenox, Stockbridge and West Stockbridge, Mass., and Chatham and Hudson, New York.

We wish you happy travels in your future!

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Reviews (47)
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31 - 37 of 47 reviews

Reviewed June 27, 2013

Proximity to Tanglewood on the back roads (no traffic) will bring us back to this B&B. We stayed at one of the suites. The kitchen was nice and big; living room adequate for 2 or 3 with additional sleeping room (twin bed & sleeper sofa) . The bedroom was an upstairs loft and quite small but the bed was comfortable. Light came in early due to the skylight and the light from downstairs. Deck on the back had a pleasant view. The public areas are welcoming. Breakfast was awesome. Jean & Sean couldn't have been nicer and more informative about the area. Will go back.

Room Tip: We liked the suite. Didn't see any of the other rooms.
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Diana06798
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2012

What I mean, is from the outside, this would not have been my choice of B&Bs. However, once going inside, the innkeeper was sooo nice. The rooms were fine. Not beautiful but fine. We stayed for one night, and the rates were very fair which included breakfast. I think the outdoors just needs a good power wash and all will be well. I would hesitate to recommend at first glance, because I don't think everyone will be open minded. Good we were, because we did have a very nice, fun experience with the innkeeper and the other guests. Our room was $110 and we shared a bathroom with our friends. If we weren't with friends, I would not have wanted to do so, but the other rooms do have private baths.

Room Tip: Not sure only saw ours which was in the farmhouse upstairs, sharing a bathroom
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank bongail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2012

Shaker Meadows Bed and Breakfast is what B & B's are all about: comfortable rooms, delicious breakfasts, and friendly, helpful hosts. My family and I have been going to Shaker Meadows for just about four years now and wouldn't stay anywhere else in the Berkshires. The rooms are lovely--pretty, comfortable and very clean. You won't find antiques or scented soaps, but you will find a relaxed and friendly place to stay for the whole family--even well-behaved dogs!

Shaker Meadows has a number of suites with separate bedrooms, along with kitchen/living rooms. These suites are perfect for families or groups of friends who are sight-seeing around the beautiful Berkshires, but don't want to eat out every night. The suites are also fabulous for folks who are skiing in the Berkshires; in fact, Jean and Sean can supply you with discount packages to nearby Jiminy Peake.

I'm not sure if Jean's breakfasts are legendary in New Lebanon, but they should be. Simply put, she's a fabulous cook and her made-from scratch pancakes & scones, her homemade sausages, and her made to order omelettes are delicious. Add hot coffee/tea, fresh fruit and yogurt, and a variety of cereals and you are all set for a day of hiking in the mountains, touring nearby stately homes and gardens, or down hill and cross country skiing.

We've gotten to know Jean Cowhig during our stays, and have decided that she is the perfect B&B hostess. She's extremely knowledgeable about the area, always happy to tend to the needs of her guests, and is truly great fun to talk with. She's a gracious hostess and we always look forward to our visits.

We highly recommend the Shaker Meadows B & B!

Room Tip: Just ask! They have suites for families and friends, or traditional rooms. All are a little differ...
  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank NJMom10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 23, 2011

First of all - this B&B is actually in New Lebanon, New York. It is on Route 22 and is about ten miles from Tanglewood (using a back route) and nearly the same to Pittsfield. As I said, we have stayed a few times. It is a bit tired, but location can't be beat. We like the large suite, though it is definately over priced. As it stands, I would negotiate the price with the owner before returning. The place has maintenance issues - but it is quiet and pretty fields are all around for looking. Perfect setting for an artist. The seaons play upon the countryside, so enjoy the views!

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank ShelleyinBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 12, 2010

We made Shaker Meadows our first stop of our fall vacation and it was a good choice. Our room was lovely and clean and the bed very comfortable. The best thing for us was a delicious breakfast the next morning in the dining room. It started with freshly made scones with jam and cream, poached pears (cored) in a raspberry sauce with a dollop of cream, choice of cereals and fresh fruit and the hot entree was eggs anyway you want them with sausages (yum) or ham and fruit garnish. Choice of coffee (reg or decaf) and milk (skim, etc.), juice. Everything homemade by the inn keeper, Jean. Thank you, Jean, and thank you for guiding us with convenient maps to that live music/meal in a nearby town that first evening. And keeping us abreast of the weather! A nice relaxing place- a good location and a good price. Would definitely return. Summer by their beach area at the nearby lake may be a good reason and Tanglewood!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank ligh501
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2010

With Jean in charge, there is nothing you cannot ask for and if at all possible, she will deliver. Spacious, comfortable, well stocked kitchen and bath.....comfortable bed.....but most of all was the remarkable breakfast Jean cooked and served. Mother never did as well! We invited our two daughters who were staying elsewhere to join us for brunch, and all agreed, from fruit and scones to pancakes and sausages.....it was an unbelievable treat! We expect to return!

Dadie and Norman Perlov

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank birderdp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shaker Meadows Bed and Breakfast

Address: 14209 State Route 22, Canaan, NY 12029-1918
Location: United States > New York > Canaan
Amenities:
Free Parking Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Canaan
Number of rooms: 6

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