As part of the Let’s Stay Connected campaign, The Valley Reporter is partnering with the Mad River Valley 4-Season Guide and the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce to gather the stories of our community as we weather this pandemic. On the Mad River Valley 4-Season Guide website is a clickable link to a survey seeking information on how people are managing. Here’s a response from Peter and Susan MacLaren, owners of West Hill House B & B in Warren.
How have you been affected by mandatory shutdowns?
We proactively decided to close as of March 16 and stay closed until at least April 30. We have rescheduled one wedding and canceled/refunded other bookings that were within this period. For later reservations, we have offered to reschedule or cancel at no penalty for our guests. Our guests have been very understanding and appreciated our proactive approach.
What has been your greatest challenge? What workarounds are you proudest of so far?
We have taken advantage of being closed to get ahead with maintenance and cleaning that are always part of the spring routine – just started a few weeks earlier this year. The biggest challenge is the uncertainty of when we can reopen for business.
Has there been any unexpected positive outcomes?
We have had a chance to not set the alarm clock and work on a much more relaxed schedule! Also we have included going out for long walks on the quiet roads and paths around the B&B, and appreciating anew the beautiful place we live in.
The effect of the pandemic has affected individuals, our community, our state, our region, our country and the world. What do you think the outcome might be of everyone sharing this life-altering experience? Do you think it will be different for those who live in small towns than those who live in cities?
We have once again, like the time after Irene, learned to appreciate the community spirit in the Mad River Valley. The number of people getting involved in doing what they can to help others is one of our amazing strengths. It’s just like one big family and makes us even closer. I suspect we are dramatically better off than those who live and are now isolated in cities.
Anything else you'd like to share about your experience?
We have made a point of getting out of the house, visiting uplifting websites, watching movies, checking in over the internet with friends and family around the world and playing games, so that we are not totally fixated on the news. We have given the submitted photo, taken by Susan on one of our walks, the hopefully inspiring title of "Every barrier has a path to the other side.”
Here’s the link to take the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1eC6ExVpmGIQqxAKERb5_f4pVpfLox_5dCsmLp-aYOzY/viewform?edit_requested=true