The 1910 Inn
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|Posted on January 7, 2013 at 4:30 PM||comments (1)|
It was delightful to have Veronica and Tom as our guests at The 1910 Inn during the inn's Inaugural Weekend and Epiphany! We enjoyed our conversations about the similarities between the Italian and Greek cultures, foods, and languages. Easter bread with a red egg. Tsoureki. And Pane di Pasqua. We look forward to having Veronica and Tom visit again next year! Oh, I must mention that Veronica had the most beautiful Victorian-style eggplant-color coat with lovely black velvet trim. Quite complementary to the Victorian inn. The inn's eggplant-color trim is called 'Love Potion'!
|Posted on January 3, 2013 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
A beautiful dish garden was delivered to The 1910 Inn this afternoon. The attached note: "Thank you for keeping this 'grand old lady' alive. I pass it frequently. Good luck in the B & B.
My response (in hopes that the Secret Admirer will read this blog entry):
Dear Inn Admirer,
Thank you for the beautiful dish garden. It looks quite lovely as the centerpiece on the inn's dining room table. Today the inn received its inaugural overnight guests. Jim and Dianne will enjoy the dish garden during their breakfast tomorrow morning.
It is truly my pleasure to restore the 'grand old lady'. The restoration continues to be a fascinating adventure. 'If walls could talk...' During my hours at the inn I continue to wonder and imagine the decades of life experiences that transpired within these victorian walls during the past 102 years. Others have loved and nurtured this grand structure in previous generations. I am thankful they have. Please know that I love Tarpon Springs, and I love this house. It feels like such a privilege to be one of the nurturers of this structure. One part of its timeline.
Please come see the inn. I would love to give you a tour.
|Posted on January 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM||comments (0)|
Oh, the most charming new friends keep finding their way to The 1910 Inn! Cathy from the Spice and Tea Exchange of Tarpon Springs stopped by with a welcoming basket full of wonderful teas and goodies from her shop at the Sponge Docks. It was nice timing for a visit, because Sue and Alleane, "Delaware Floridians", arrived with Mama Harriette's treasured stories and mementos. Mama Harriette was blessed to live to the age of 102. Today was quite a special day at The 1910 Inn.
|Posted on December 27, 2012 at 4:12 PM||comments (1)|
From a childhood dream, The 1910 Inn opens in Tarpon Springs
By Stephanie Wang, Times Staff Writer
Stephanie WangTampa Bay Times In Print: Friday, December 28, 2012
On the way to the grocery store, a little girl wondered what the inside of an old Victorian house looked like. From the outside, she could see the big wraparound porch and the rounded tower, like a giant doll house. But inside? She never tried to fill in the blanks herself, never tried to imagine it. "I just watched it from afar," said Annie Samarkos, now 47. Decades later, after she raised three little girls of her own, she noticed a for-sale sign in front of the house. So she walked in. "Wow," she thought. "Look at that staircase."
The grand wooden staircase led upstairs, to big bedrooms with high ceilings. In the dining room, a sparkly chandelier dangled. The sitting room featured a carefully carved fireplace that showed off natural whorls and swirls of old wood.
Samarkos returned four more times to see the house. Then she put in a bid — a low one, knowing a higher offer had already been placed.
"If it's meant to be," Samarkos told herself, "it'll end up in our hands."
She waited. And waited.
When the house remained unsold a year and a half later, Samarkos finally called the real estate agent to ask about it. The higher bid couldn't go through.
Finally, the house was hers.
Built in 1910, the house at 32 W Tarpon Ave. once served as an annex to the larger Tarpon Inn. After the main part of the inn burned down in 1927, the house converted to a private residence.
Later, it became a bed and breakfast known as the Spring Bayou Inn.
When Samarkos bought the house in "as-is" condition in September, it looked like someone had abandoned it. Like someone had to abandon it, she thought.
The eight-room house had originally gone on the market in February 2011 for $609,900, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Its asking price fell over the months to $389,900.
It eventually sold to Samarkos in a short sale for $175,000, according to MLS data.
"This poor little house needs help," Samarkos said. "It just needed someone."
It needed her.
Towels still hung in the rooms, and mattresses had full linen sets. She threw all of it out, but she kept finding things inside drawers, including locks of baby hair tucked safely inside a plastic bag.
It took 600 cotton balls to painstakingly clean the stains off the wood floors. It took an hour to polish one tarnished pole of an ornate golden bed frame. She rubbed dust out of every carved crevice of furniture and vacuumed it off the green velvet upholstery of regal chairs.
A former insurance underwriter and frequent bed and breakfast visitor, Samarkos tackled each task without letting herself consider how daunting the entire project could be.
With fresh turquoise paint on the outside and new wallpaper inside, The 1910 Inn is ready to open and already booked for Epiphany. Located in downtown Tarpon Springs and blocks away from the Sponge Docks, it joins three other bed and breakfasts in the city.
"A lot of the work that (Samarkos) is doing in there, she's doing because she's from Tarpon," said Sue Thomas, president of the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce. "It is her city and she cares. That makes a huge difference."
Samarkos' daughters are the fifth generation of women in her family to live in Tarpon Springs. Her husband, Charles Samarkos, is descended from the famous local sponge divers known as the Samarkos Brothers.
Given the 1910 Inn's location and historic feel, the chamber predicts a great demand for the four rooms and two seasonal apartment rentals.
"I want (customers) to be relaxed and peaceful," Samarkos said. "This is a world away. This is a step back."
The inn is serenaded daily by the ringing of church bells at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral and the clock tower from old City Hall. Its black-and-white kitchen has a retro feel, matching the cozy and quaint atmosphere upstairs.
When the fire marshal came to inspect the inn, he marveled and admitted he had wanted to buy it himself.
"Everybody knows this building," Samarkos said. "Everybody loves this building."
But nobody has loved it as she has.
|Posted on December 25, 2012 at 3:26 AM||comments (0)|
Merry Christmas To All.It was heartwarming to visit with family and friends atThe 1910 Innon Christmas Eve, after a stroll along Spring Bayou to view the luminaries. A new tradition has begun...
|Posted on December 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM||comments (0)|
What an educational morning! A very nice gentleman, Michael, came by to see The 1910 Inn for his friends who will be guests at the inn during the spring. Michael remembers visiting the inn during his childhood with his grandfather, Petros. Petros brought his family to Tarpon Springs in 1904, worked in the sponge industry, and knew sponge industry founders John Cheney and John Cocoris. The 1910 Inn is a living history lesson!
|Posted on December 17, 2012 at 1:08 PM||comments (0)|
It was so wonderful to see my childhood friend, Maria, on Saturday after the Tarpon Springs Christmas Parade. As she and her family walked up to The 1910 Inn, she said, 'This is perfect for you, Annie. Remember how you always built doll houses out of shoeboxes when we were little?'
The 1910 Inn is a life-size doll house!
|Posted on December 10, 2012 at 10:43 AM||comments (0)|
You just never know who you might meet when you talk to strangers! Every day at The 1910 Inn is an adventure. Mary and Jim from Anchorage, Alaska were walking by the inn on their way to see Spring Bayou. They inquired if there was "room at the inn". I explained that I will be licensed to accept guests within a few weeks, and we had a wonderful conversation about Alaska and Florida. When Mary and Jim toured the inn, Mary loved the cherub wallpaper in Bedroom Three. I smiled as I told Mary that another Mary chose that wallpaper! :) Hopefully, Mary and Jim will be our guests at The 1910 Inn during their next visit to Tarpon Springs.
|Posted on December 8, 2012 at 6:44 PM||comments (0)|
Today husband, Charlie, and good friend, Gene, were installing a temporary sign in the yard at the inn. The words 'The 1910 Inn' are at the top of the sign. A car with two women drove by a few times, and they were looking, smiling, and waving. When they parked across the street, I went to talk with them. What a delight! 102-year-old Eleanor was in the car, and she was excited to see a building that was built in the year she was born. She wanted her picture taken in front of the sign. :) It was truly my pleasure to take Eleanor and her friend, Janice, to tour the inn. What a privilege it was to meet Eleanor today.
|Posted on November 13, 2012 at 1:27 AM||comments (0)|
November 2012: Very exciting to see the new paint colors on The 1910 Inn.
Caribbean Green with Love Potion trim!