"Have you thought about writing your family history, but found yourself stuck from the start? Writing a family narrative can be a daunting task, but Karen Jones Gowen found a way to bring her mother's story to life." (Homespun Magazine)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"If These Walls Could Talk"

I found the book I was in the mood for the other day, a book steeped in home and habitat. It's "If These Walls Could Talk, Thoughts of Home" a book of essays by a variety of different writers (none of whom I've heard of, gulp, but many of whom I'll now look up for more of their published works). This book has sat on my bedside table for awhile, and so I took it with me to Idaho this weekend, to finally finish.

My husband and I stayed at the Enders Hotel in Soda Springs, Idaho, and fell in love. No, not with each other lol, with the hotel. It's 19th century restored, with rich dark woodwork, furnished with antiques, quilts on the beds, tapestries on the walls. Original artwork and large, framed portraits of family ancestors grace the hallways. You're steeped in history just walking to your room. Ours was on the third floor, at the end of the hallway, as secluded and quiet as a couple of over-stressed suburbanites wanting a retreat could ever want.

Outside the window of our room, a geyser shot high into the air every hour on the hour for five minutes. After it finished, birds came to drink from the pools around the rocks. The most picturesque freight trains you ever saw, with box cars in bright primary colors, tooted their way past the hotel almost as often as the geyser spouted.

In this environment, I read from my book of essays on home. Oh, and did I say that on the main floor of this hotel was a kitchen like a family dining room, with delicious, large meals for unbelievably cheap prices? We loved this hotel, and our own third floor room, so much that we hardly wanted to leave it. We read, we talked, we worked on the business plans of two family businesses. We happily cocooned there for two full days, and promised each other to return soon. It's only three hours from our Utah home, but it feels like another world, or another century.

We decided that if we ever get really, really rich, we will buy this hotel and live on the third floor.


  1. Sounds like a fabulous weekend in a lovely place, Karen.
    Third floor, Soda Springs - would make a great title for a book.

  2. What a lovely weekend retreat.

    Hope you and your beloved return there very soon

    Take care

  3. Brigid, Third floor, Soda Springs-- I can see this going in two different directions. Hmm, either Stephen King or Nicolas Sparks?

    Old Kitty, Thanks, I'm ready to go back now!

  4. Wow, a step back in time. It reminds me of what I see on old Bonanza reruns, but with indoor plumbing. All the charm of the old world with the comforts of the new.

  5. Jane, I could check myself in there for 30 days and write a novel. I'm not kidding, I was really into it, then came back home and the magic disappeared, the mood exploded. No wonder JK Rowling stayed in hotels later on to finish her books.

  6. I love finding little places like that. I would love to be able to stay in a hotel and write. I think I would actually write more...not having to clean, or cook or...be anywhere. Hmmm, one day. I'm definitely putting that on the Christmas list. Maybe I'll get lucky!

  7. Palindrome, I would so love to do that, too. I crave it. But not just any hotel. It would need the right atmosphere. And this one had it. I could feel my creative brain coming alive just being there.


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