The Love Nest

october 10, 2013 Dear Lucy and Dennis! Thank You from bottom of my heart for super stay! We from Los Angeles (before that from Moscow), and you helped to make …

october 10, 2013

Dear Lucy and Dennis!

Thank You from bottom of my heart for super stay! We from Los Angeles (before that from Moscow), and you helped to make our 24 hours in Vermont remembered forever. Waterfall, Warren Store, shopping street in Burlington for walking only, drive on Stowe Mountain, seeing important state capital in Montpelier—population only 8,000—beautiful fall paint on trees. We saw something funny on the Waitsfield trail You suggest for us: naked people swimming in river! In October! Later we read “nude beach” and we laugh. Vermont like beach in European capital! I’m too scared to take clothes off in front of other people. Even Vladik only ever see my body in dark. I envy that man who sit so calm, naked on rock, and talk with two women.

Vladik learn from You that in Vermont code of law is legal to leave house naked but cannot disrobe in public. Now we drive to New Hampshire, where people “live free or die.” Saturday, we eat lobster in Maine, Sunday, Vladik fly home to LA but I stay to install important computer program in Boston Bank.


Svetlana (you can call me Sveta from Russia) and Vladislav (Vladik)

november 4, 2013

Dear Dennis and Lucy,

Thanks for a phenomenal night in your B&B. Your breakfast astounded us—the home-stuffed sausages! You’ve outdone yourselves. You really made our Vermont stay special. It’s not every year we get away from the entire family and treat ourselves to 24 hours of peace. The Jacuzzi was a nice touch, and the Mission-style solid-oak bed frame in Mona Lisa reminded me of my grandmother’s house in Keene, New Hampshire. You’ve been to their pumpkin festival, right? It’s just down the road from you.

We’ll be sure to recommend your place to all our friends, not that we have that many anymore—because that’s what happens once you start having kids, all your friends disappear for some reason, and it can’t just be the diaper talk.


Sarah and Mike

january 3, 2014

Dennis and Lucy!

Your place just radiates high-powered energy. We could feel it as soon as we crossed your threshold. The wind chimes. They played the exact tune we sang to Shoshana in utero. Thanks for accommodating our gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegetarian, Kosher diet. Thanks for not questioning the fact that we still choose to eat fish. You’re right when you say that food choices are such a personal matter—like underwear. Anyhow, the smoked salmon and wheat germ delighted us. Your choice of mason jars instead of cups added a touch of nostalgic class and brought us straight back to college and a naked party where we met our junior year. Roger couldn’t take his eyes off me because I refused to part with my socks. Naked is fine, but cold feet are something I cannot abide. We’ve been together ever since.

Happy New Year, Sweet Peas. This will be one to remember!


Delilah and Roger

march 15, 2014

Dear Den & Lucy,

We’re totally wowed by your love. The way you two crafted that omelet together this morning, sashaying through the kitchen, humming along to Cat Stevens.

One gripe: the rooms are a little on the rustic side. We could have used some of those little lace trinkets that they have in other B&Bs. Susan likes to take photos of them and post them on Instagram. I could have used a TV. I know there’s one downstairs for all of us to share, but I’m really not the kind of guy who can get into watching poker tournaments where the ladies look a bit like men, if you know what I mean. I was hoping I could decompress after an afternoon on the slopes to something a little more along the lines of bikini modelling. But I’d never write a complaint like that on TripAdvisor cause it might affect your rating. Just saying, in confidence.

Bob and Susan

april 30, 2014

Yo Dennis and Lucy!

What can we say? A-M-A-Z-I-N-G place you have here. It really is a home away from home. And to see the love you guys have between you. Maybe next year when we come, there will be three of you? Dudes, don’t hold off on the baby-making. That love of yours, it can only grow. Trust me. When Mel first told me she was pregnant, all I could think was stretch marks, and I thought I was going to puke. But seeing that belly of hers, I tell you, it made me so horny, and we just did it all the time. Nine months of uncontrollable, non-stop fucking. That’s what pregnancy is, man. It’ll totally take your marriage to the next level. We scored some magic here in the Mona Lisa room—who knows where we’ll be nine months down the line?

Lucky Luke

may 7, 2014

Dear Dennis and Lucy,

Can’t believe the nerve some of these people have, getting all personal like that. Does every couple really need to be seen as a procreational vessel? We’ve known you three years now. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to have a child until that marriage of yours is rock solid again. You’re young still. Enjoy life before it comes crashing down into a heap of leaky diapers. The kid thing just sucks all the juice out of you. Are you ready for non-stop exhaustion? Zero privacy? What about the sustainable-landscaping course Lucy’s been dreaming about? You’ll barely have time to clean the baby barf, and boom, it’s there again.

Think long and hard about this one, guys,

Mary and Stan

july 4, 2014

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Scott,

Thanks for an incredible night. Loved the Jacuzzi tub in our room, and the organically sourced lavender bubble bath you provided. And to think that the two of you met on a bus twenty years ago and just knew. And that Mrs. Scott could have been a world-famous architect, but gave up a grad-school offer from Princeton to open the Love Nest with Mr. Scott in rural Vermont. What a gift you’ve given so many love nesters from around the world—we could feel the positive energy and love in this room passed down from all the couples who stayed here before.

You guys are a sweet emblem of Vermont love—a model for us in our early days of marriage. We gifted each other couples therapy sessions before we tied the knot six months ago. I think we’re going strong, and we do our affirmations every morning—marriage is a journey, we accept the challenging places it will take us—so here’s hoping our future is as bright as yours.


Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Jones

september 18, 2014

Dear Friends,

Your Northern Neighbours here. We’re visiting Vermont for the first time, test driving Olaf’s new Audi semi-sports car all the way from Waterloo (not that Waterloo; ours is known for the university where Olaf works). We rarely vacation in America but kept hearing about your fall colours, progressive politics, organic produce, and local businesses, and finally we couldn’t resist. Our Scandinavian hearts were warmed.

I grew up with Danish design, and Olaf’s mother interned at Marimekko, so we immediately appreciated your penchant for bold patterns and clean surfaces. Decor says a great deal about the psychological makeup and longevity of a couple. You’re on the right track!

I, too, left Stockholm when Olaf accepted a position at URI. It was a shock on every level, especially not seeing midnight sun in the summer. But after Dennis’s breakdown at Citibank, what else could you do? You were brave to make a change in your lives, and Lucy, your sacrifices do not go unnoticed. We could see the way Denny looks at you (a little awkwardly over his bifocals—I have the same problem looking through mine), and we recognized it as a look of true love.

With admiration,

Gudrun and Olaf

october 7, 2014

Dear Lucy and Dennis,

Thank you for making Mad River Valley feel like home. You both worked so hard to make my research trip memorable. So many people just assume that Johanna is an easy name to pronounce, but it’s pronounced YOhanna, and you thought to ask. That’s very rare.

Lucy, I’m confident that you’ll figure out how to fit a landscaping course into your life. I’ve seen the way you arrange our plates at breakfastI never would have thought to position a sausage atop a mound of hash browns. It might have been the sliver of apple that acted as a platform bed to offset the sausage. In any event, it brought to mind Le Corbusier.

You’re right though—life doesn’t amount to hospitality courses and bookkeeping. Dennis will understand if you present the matter to him logically. That’s how I get my way with Dirk.

Best of luck,


april 20, 2015

Dennis and Lucy,

Perfect as always. You know how to make a guy feel at home when he’s far away and lonesome for his Marylou. Thanks for keeping me company while we watched UFC. Sorry Lucy—I know you would have preferred Downton Abbey, but Den and I needed some man time.

Some words of advice from an old married guy: don’t worry about the together time as much as the apart time. All those Hallmark cards talk about two becoming one. You take care of all that stuff in bed. A marriage is also about being your own person. So don’t throw away the Ducati, Den! And hurry up and sign up for that landscaping program, Lucy. And have those chubby babies you guys keep talking about, even if it means doing the turkey-baster ordeal or getting all those shots and having a test-tube baby. Hell, you might even get twins and be done with that business all in one go.

Stop thinking so much, you guys.

See you in October,


june 12, 2015

Dear Lucy and Dennis,

Thank you for your extraordinary hospitality. We loved every minute of our stay. This really is the best B&B in Vermont. I know I shouldn’t admit this, but we spent more time nestling in the Love Nest than schmoozing at the festival.

I’ll be blunt: About five years ago, Mike and I went through a really rough patch. No offense to Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Jones a few pages back, but couples therapy and affirmations left us cold. Heck, we even tried God when nothing else worked—we joined a church group, but hanging out with people who went on and on about Jesus in ecstatic terms actually made us horny and the whole thing felt embarrassing after a while, so we quit. Oh my goodness, I’ve never shared that story before!

In the end, what got us through was realizing we’d rather be together than apart. Marty still falls asleep when I talk to him, and though it used to make me cry, I now like that my voice is the one that lulls him into a stupor. You should see the smile chiselled into his face as he dozes off.

You guys are beautiful, inside and out, and I hope you can bring some of the love back into your own nest.


Mary and Marty

june 16, 2015

Hi Dennis and Lucy,

I’m not about to offer any kind of marital advice, guys. Life’s too short. If you want to keep the love alive, get to it. If not, move on. There’s no such thing as finding the one magic person.

And for the record, Lucky Luke, a baby solves exactly zero percent of your problems. As for the non-stop fucking, as you claim, congrats, though my experience as an infertile-marriage therapist’s secretary tells me that people who use that kind of language are usually the ones who end up booking appointments in our office with more than a slight tinge of desperation in their voices. I always find it strange to look them in the eye afterwards.


Linda & James (he who adores but refuses to worship)

august 3, 2015

Dear Love Nesters,

Thank you both so much for the Mona Lisa room upgrade. Our anniversary was a success! A few years ago, Bruno booked a B&B in Nova Scotia, but as usual he skimped on the private ensuite, and in the middle of the night I found myself chatting by the bathroom door with my neighbour, whose hemorrhoids were acting up. The place also had spider webs in every corner, which Bruno found endearing because it reminded him of his grandfather’s cabin back home.

I’ve taken charge of our anniversary B&B bookings.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag about your baby-making dilemma, here’s my two cents: kids don’t make one ounce of difference (though I hope things work out for you, if that’s what you want, but it’s also completely OK to be ambivalent—just don’t tell my kids I said so). Well, you’re up to your ears in carpooling and soccer practices and piano lessons and college applications and then they’re gone and the issues you had are there all over again, staring you in the face. You find yourself sitting on the sofa and listening to your husband intone ballads about the Carpathian Mountains to an accordion recording. Twenty years later, you’ve learned that it’s OK to wear earplugs.

And, my dear Lucy, life is never as one might have expected. It’s always so much more and so much less.


Amanda and Bruno

september 4, 2017

Hey Dennis and Lucy,

Pete here. I did you a huge favor and tore out the preceding twenty or so guestbook notes about the state of your marriage. You’ll find the pages in the kitchen drawer on the left side, between the cutlery and the zip-lock baggies. Read it one day when Emma’s away at college. And it’s OK for her to know she was a turkey-baster baby who almost didn’t happen.

Your pal Pete

Julia Zarankin
Julia Zarankin is a writer and lecturer whose work has appeared in Maisonneuve, The New Quarterly, Ontario Nature, and Antioch Review.
Lynn Scurfield
Lynn Scurfield is an illustrator. Her work has appeared in The Scientist, the Globe and Mail, and Corporate Knights.