Inn Time: Maggie Smith Celebrating Three Decades at the Logan Inn
by Edie Weinstein
Walk through the door of The Logan Inn; the stately and elegant New Hope mainstay that is notable for its hospitality, and you will enter a portal into history. The Logan Inn is approaching its 300th anniversary in a few years. The story goes that that the name was taken from that of Chief Logan “a Lenni-Lenape chief, noted for his kindness and hospitality with the white settlers, developed a close friendship with James Logan, secretary to William Penn, and as a sign of admiration took Logan’s name.”
The woman who has been a guiding force for maintaining high standards for hospitality at America’s 5th oldest continually running inn, for 30 years, enthusiastically says,” I love what I do. I keep showing up. Nobody tells me to go home.”
Meet Maggie Smith, who has been part of the team for a generation of visitors. She and the rest of the staff offer “exceptional customer service. Our goal every day is to create memories. From a basic lunch gathering to formal events, we want every guest to have something to remember us for and want to come back. We embrace hospitality from beginning to end.”
“I’ve been fortunate to be in this building for the many years I have.”
This “proud mama of three college grads,” raised two of her three children in this building. “Two were not even born yet when I started working here.”
Hospitality in Her History
Smith shares what she calls an ‘interesting little story’, “When I was young and new in the hospitality industry, I worked at The Yellow Brick Toad in Lambertville that (was) owned by David Duthie. He was passionate about the business. I worked my way up from being a waitress to manager. He knew hospitality well, which is one of the things I value about Landmark Hospitality, the company that now owns The Logan Inn. The owners, Jeanne and Frank Cretella have a passion and personality that makes our profession successful. From what facilities look like, to every meal we put out, to how we fold towels”.
Waxing poetic about the destination people seek from around the world, Smith casts out a wish, “New Hope is a spectacular town. They come here and discover the Logan Inn. I would like them to find the Logan Inn and then discover New Hope.”
Legend has it that the Inn has friendly spirits and not just the kind guests can imbibe.
Smith weaves the tale, “The story as I know it, is that the most talked about spirit is Emily. She is the mother of a previous owner, Carl Lutz, who owned the building with his business partner Arthur Sanders. The chef knew her and would take her dinner every day. It wasn’t a tragic death. She died of old age. It is believed that her spirit stays with the room. She is not the only one. The building is almost 300 years old. During the winter when people passed on, they couldn’t bury the bodies. In the basement is a hearth where they would cremate the bodies. The belief is that there are many spirits who haven’t left. Now people stay a day to a week. Back then, they would stay a month or more.”
What is special about the inn that has guests from all over the world returning and telling others about its charms is that, “People feel like they are home. I have made life-long friends with guests. We want to have every member of our team care about them. It wows me all the time. The guests who return love how we treat them and how they feel when they are here. From the guy having a beer in the bar to the one who stays in the best room.”
Signature dishes and beverages she recommends?
“My absolute favorite is crab cake. 100% crab meat. No fillers, not fried. Pan seared and baked, just the way a crab cake should be. My favorite beverage is Rose’ Prosecco. We have seasonal cocktails all the time. A lot of thought is put into them. The current cocktails are Pumpkin Martini and Stonewall (Apple Cider, Ginger Beer)
What’s in at the Inn?
The Logan Inn hosts special events that include baby showers, wedding showers, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, anniversaries, young adult parties, small weddings and holiday parties. One dining room can be converted into meeting rooms.
Companies are welcome to hold corporate events which include a cocktail class which Smith says “promote team building, as people work together to create a cocktail,” fundraisers, New Hope events, bike races, Winterfest and VIP receptions.
In keeping with the spiritual feel of the inn, they will be holding two spiritual reading weeks in January and March with Edward Tabbitas, medium. It will include dinner and cocktails. Check the website for details.