In most small towns, the biggest and most elegant building on Main Street is the funeral home. Or an old-age home. These buildings always look as if they might be the starring attraction in Stephen King’s next novel.
The biggest house in one nearby town is a huge, white Victorian that looks like a wedding cake. It has a wide front porch that runs the length of the house, along with three-story turrets with curved glass windows topped with witches’ hat roofs. Gables and wings and filigree and shutters and shingles hang off the house like pearls around an old lady’s neck. It is bigger than Perkins’ Funeral Home and the Falling Leaves Home for Seniors combined —the two other biggest houses on Main Street.
Anne and Jim bought the Wedding Cake about two years ago. I ran into Anne mowing the lawn and introduced myself. She told me they were going to turn it into a bed and breakfast. She went on and on about how wonderful it was going to be, and how their only worry was that they wouldn’t have enough room for all the guests who would want to stay there. “This is the most perfect little town,” she said. “It’s not spoiled with a bunch of tourist traps and souvenir shops and outlet malls. It’s like a movie set. You could shoot a movie here. Like ‘The Music Man.’”
Anne and Jim, it goes without saying, were from the city. They loved staying in B&Bs. They enjoyed getting up at 10 in the morning and walking down to a dining room that looked the way it did in the 1880s, with crystal chandeliers and wall sconces and sepia pictures of the owner’s relatives on the wall. They enjoyed lolling around until noon reading the newspaper, then strolling through the local antique shops. They loved sitting in big overstuffed chairs after dinner, drinking fine wine and chatting with the other guests.