From Gerard and I and all here at TerraVina, we would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope that you all enjoyed a lovely Christmas. We had a busy and fun time with two sittings for Christmas day lunch which went brilliantly, with lovely guests and then a super duper New Year celebration, again with fantastic guests, almost all of whom had visited before and ensured that we all saw 2012 arrive in great style and fun.
We are all now looking forward to 2012 with anticipation, excitement and an awareness that it will be a challenging year, but we are positive and hope that many of our regular guests will continue to return time after time to enjoy all that TerraVina has to offer… we have had a number of competitors open close by in recent months. They are housed in beautiful buildings and in lovely locations within the forest. Press articles have been bountiful and very complimentary, but TerraVina has held its own and we too continue to enjoy great reviews, happy, returning guests and we are proud to continue to promote the beauty of the New Forest and all that makes it so special; there are even more competitors moving into the forest during the coming months, so the New Forest really is becoming the place to be!
Whilst it is exciting to look forward and to the future, now and then a touch of nostalgia is lovely too. Recently we had some guests to stay who used to live here. That is not unusual in itself as we often have people pop in to tell us they were born here (the building was once used as a maternity hospital during war time), but rarely have we had the opportunity to hear so many stories of what life was like here when it was Busketts Lawn Guest House. We had two sisters to stay with their husbands, and both were celebrating Golden weddings. They promised to send us the brochure of the house when it was run by their parents as a guest house and we are thrilled to have received the brochure – it is in black and white and the hotel’s phone number was Ashurst 94.
The sisters told us that times were hard as rationing from wartime was still in place, but that it was an idyllic place for two little girls to grow up with the forest on their doorstep. At that time the hotel still owned the paddock (sadly this was sold off in later years) and so was nestled in quite extensive grounds. In the description of the bedrooms it states that whilst it is a charming old world house it has every modern convenience, including electric light, central heating, hot and cold running water and gas fires in the bedrooms, with spring interior mattresses. It goes on to state that “Our desire is to provide our guests with every comfort in a homely atmosphere where special attention is given to catering and cooking, including produce from the garden.”
At the time a bus service to and from Southampton was available from the end of the drive for the return fare of 10d. As for the bedroom tariff, this was 4 and a ½ guineas, weekly, according to season, including room, light and attendance and the use of the public rooms. A time gone by, but from reading the brochure it is heartening to note that the ethos of Hotel TerraVina is not very different now from all of those years ago… a homely atmosphere, with comfortable bedrooms, good food, using locally sourced produce and a friendly welcome. No matter the technological advances we have all made, such simple rules of hospitality still remain and we hope that we still deliver such old fashioned values, 60 odd years on.
Happy New Year to you all- may 2012 bring much to enjoy, not too many challenges that cannot be surmounted and health, wealth and happiness to all our loved ones.
Till next week!