Q: You B&B is quite new, isn’t it? When did you open? A: We opened July 1st.
Q: Congratulations on finishing your first month! Has it been what you expected? Any surprises?
A: It’s just what I thought it would be—it is so different from what I used to do so there’s a learning curve.
As to surprises, well, I’m not used to planning breakfast so thoroughly. When you have kids you do not think about menus, but for the B&B I focus on them. I want to make sure all the components of the meal really work together. I enjoy that part of cooking.
Q: Do you have a favorite breakfast dish so far?
A: The favorite for me is the one I made today: almond croissant French toast, topped with with almond butter syrup – it’s really excellent.
I use local fruits and vegetables as much as I can, whatever is in season. It always tastes better.
Q: You said running a B&B is so different from what you used to do; what was that, and what’s the biggest difference?
A: I was a physical therapist for almost 40 years, doing outpatient orthopedics. I liked interacting with my patients and helping them recover from surgery or ordinary injuries. Helping patients through some tough times is very rewarding.
As to differences, beyond the obvious ones, as a physical therapist my time was very structured. This career is a lot less structured. I’m enjoying some of the freedom it affords me.
Q: The way you describe physical therapy, it has a real hospitality dimension to it. But a B&B really is a career change; why a B&B?
A: Yes, there is a hospitality dimension to it; I’d interacted with people for long periods of time. This has helped me with the transition to my job.
My husband and I often stay in B&Bs when we traveled. We thought it was a great way to meet other people and to have the feeling you are closer to the community. We thought wine country would be the perfect place to start a B&B. Because family was here too, this was a logical choice for us.
Q: You have family around here? Did you grow up out here?
A: My sister lives in Hampton Bays, but no, I didn’t grow up out here. My dad was in the Navy and we moved a lot when I was a kid. I went to high school in Smithtown. When I got married, my husband and I settled down in Massachusetts. When we would come visit my mother and sister we would take the Orient ferry, and we just loved the North Fork.
Q: Your B&B is called the Wickham-Prince Bed and Breakfast. Wickham and Prince are old names here; why did you choose them for the B&B?
A: The house is historical landmark and was named the Wickham-Prince house. It was sold from the Wickham family to the Prince family in 1897. The Wickham family built it. We looked at a lot of places, before buying this one. Nothing really fit until we found this one; it was just perfect.
Though the building remains historic, we’ve renovated the inside. Some of the walls, closet doors and molding are still original. We have two guest rooms. The Prince room is a cozy bedroom with a private bathroom; the Wickham room is larger, more of suite with a sitting area and private bath. Our guests enjoy a private patio in our gardens.
Q: Where are you located?
A: We’re a couple houses in from the Main Road in Southold, a few steps from the train station and downtown. It’s easy to dine, shop, and visit museums and galleries without getting in your car.
Q: You’ve been passing through the North Fork for over 30 years, but you’ve been living here only a short while. Has anything surprised you about living on the North Fork?
A: The thing that surprised me—and I don’t know why it surprised me—is that everyone in Southold and on the whole North Fork has been friendly and helpful. People out here have helped us significantly in getting our B&B started. I really appreciate that.
Q: Do you have a favorite thing to do that you recommend to your guests?
A: One of my favorite things to do is get a bottle from a local vineyard—my favorite is Sparkling Pointe—and go to the beach for the sunset on the sound. It’s really beautiful.