Fat Tuesday came and went, and for our family, this holiday season came upon us faster than in prior years. This is such a special time for so many. It is a time of year for reflection, repentance, rebirth, renewal, and celebrations down the road.
So much of what links Frenchtown residents together has to do with their personal spirituality, whether it is through an organized religion, mystical outlooks, “alternative” faiths, expression through the arts, introspective daily reflections, or so many other personal means by which to reach a Higher Power. This is a community filled with caring people, filled with residents who want to make a difference, who look for ways to share their passions with others.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have met many of these wonderful people, and through all of the varied and colorful conversations I’ve had with so many of our guests, I have enjoyed this open exchange of differences in our viewpoints and tolerance of diversity. That's the beauty of Frenchtown. It's inclusive, and at The National Hotel, everyone feels comfortable enough to share their viewpoints, knowing that no one is there to judge, criticize or exclude. I've been privy to hot topics ranging from political views to alternative holistic healing practices.
One person we absolutely love having over, is AmarJyothi (Bonnie Pariser) from Yoga Loka. Not only is she a very talented and highly skilled yoga instructor, she is also an incredibly generous individual. She recently traveled to India and is now raising funds to help a village where she stayed, with a farm project. Her business is also a holistic center where everyone is welcome, regardless of the level at which they practice yoga. AmarJyothi is certified as a Structural Yoga Therapist, and has an incredible following. She has even partnered with us, to offer in-room private yoga sessions for the individual or the couple, exclusively for our hotel guests...what a treat!!!
AmarJyothi will always hold a special place in my heart, for many reasons, but in particular because of the bounty of generosity she showed us when we had barely been open for 5 weeks, and I was having trouble finding a menorah to display in our front window, and we'd already gotten our Christmas tree up and decorated. When she heard me share my woes one night, she literally sprang into action, and offered to bring me a menorah she had made herself. Well, not only did she bring it, she also brought the special candles, and then came every night to light the next candle, and say prayers with children in tow! Now that's community for you.
This is just one of the MANY reasons why Frenchtown is so incredibly rich. It is bursting at the seams with people who come together, as they frequently do at The National Hotel, to share of each other, to converse, to discuss, to express themselves through the spoken word or through other artistic means. There is such openness that there are some nights when we reach an almost philosophical state, discussing the importance of creating a world that is inclusive and not exclusive, the beauty of sharing one’s faith with others while at the same time being open to learn about other faiths, customs, and beliefs.
How fortunate Pete and I are. Truly. We opened The National Hotel, and now we are the proud hosts of a Thursday Open Mic Night series, a Sunday Afternoon Music Series, a weekly poetry reading to kick off in a few weeks…do you see why we’re in awe of the artistic talent in our area?
And if you walk around Frenchtown, you’ll see shop after shop filled with works of art, from paintings, to sculptures, to home accessories, to jewelry, to antiques, to hand-made items. The list is endless.
So during our post-Mardi Gras season, when so many of us abstain from one thing or another, fast, or participate in different expressions of our faiths, Pete and I wish you all many blessings and hope that you’ll continue to frequent The National Hotel, to stop by for a chat, to discuss politics, events, family issues, and even religion. Why not, after all? Why shouldn’t you have a place you can call your own, a place where no matter what is discussed, you’ll find fellow patrons willing to listen, and often, share their own point of view. Come on, drop by, we’ll lend an ear—and given ½ a second, jump right in and join the discussion forum! We love this about being the proprietors of this fine old lady. Don’t you?