The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Pillars Bed and Breakfast is closing


The Pillars, Plainfield's only bed-and-breakfast inn.

Sad news comes that Plainfield is losing its only bed-and-breakfast inn, The Pillars.

The magnificent mansion, set on spacious and lovely grounds on Central Avenue in the Van Wycks Brooks Historic District, has been a refuge for business travelers and others for over two decades.

Originally founded by retired Presbyterian minister Chuck Hale and his partner Tom, the couple spent years remodeling the expansive house to provide bedroom-and-bath suites.

I remember being piqued in the mid-90s by Chuck's early adoption of an online presence for The Pillars (the website is here), which he said brought it a steady clientele of business travelers on temporary or short-term assignments to Fortune 500 companies in the area.

The gracious home, nestled in Plainfield's largest historic district, attracted visitors who were more adventurous and discerning than those who would settle for flopping at a motel.

Eventually, Chuck and Tom decided to 'retire' and sold the business to Lamont Blowe and Nancy Fiske, the current owners. (I put 'retire' in quotes, because the Hales continued to fill in for other inn owners when they needed a break or had to be away from their B&Bs.)

Lamont and Nancy quickly became community fixtures, participating in everything from the VWB Historic District to the Girl Scouts and the Plalinfield Chamber of Commerce.

'Plainfield had never been a destination in the usual sense,' Lamont recently said. The inn's clientele had continued to be drawn from business travelers, along with those who needed accommodation because of weddings or funerals in the area.

But in the age of the Internet, Skype and online conferencing resources, large corporations no longer make as much use of temporary assignments.

The death knell, Lamont says, was sounded by the closure of Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in 2008, drying up one of the more reliable sources of clients for the inn.

Lamont and Nancy will still be in Plainfield and active in community activities. (If you're a nature enthusiast, you may also bump into Nancy in her work for the Audubon Society.)

A contents sale is being planned -- I will try to keep everyone posted. Meanwhile, take a moment to drop by The Pillars at 922 Central Avenue or send them an email at info@pillars2.com to thank Lamont and Nancy for all they have meant for Plainfield.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dan, for a lovely article and send off for us from The Pillars. We look forward to continuing to be part of the Plainfield community, and we look forward to seeing you at library and other local events. You are, indeed, a Pillar of Plainfield! Nancy

Anonymous said...

So sad to see another business close in Plainfield. Has Mr. King of Plainfield tried to help them ? MAYBE A TAX BREAK? If we are not careful the only businesses we will have left in Plainfield will be Bars, Liquor stores and 99 cent stores!

Anonymous said...

So sorry to see the B&B close. We all need to support Plainfield businesses because if we don't we will have empty stores and empty homes and that will make all our taxes go up and the beauty of Plainfield go down.

Nancy said...

So sad - a big loss for Plainfield. Best wishes to Lamont and Nancy.

Anonymous said...

Sad news indeed. I will miss the Pillars. Happy that Lamont and Nancy will still be in town. Will probably see them more now.
Andrea K.