Looking to beat the heat this summer and experience some local history? Pack your bags and head to the lakeside community of Eagles Mere during the 1920’s when prohibition was on tap, flappers were all the rage and The Crestmont Inn was the place to stay for the wealthy cliental who flocked to the mountain village each summer.
To experience this bit of refreshing history, you won’t need a time machine, only a copy of the historical novel Crestmont penned by New York author, Holly Weiss, and written from the viewpoint of the staff who might have worked at the inn during its heyday.
"If the stress of your life is overwhelming, Crestmont provides a "vacation" of sorts through the reading of a book," Weiss said.
"I tried to stay true to the locale and period. William Warner, the creator and first owner of the Crestmont, built it with the vision of providing ‘respite for those pummeled by the stress of everyday life.’ I attempted to make my novel accomplish the same goal."
The book tells the tale of Gracie Antes as she leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to follow her dream to become a renowned singer.
On her way to the big city, fate pays Gracie a visit and soon after she accepts a job as a housemaid at the Crestmont Inn. It is there; amidst the tranquil resort that Gracie meets the enchanting opera singer, Rosa Ponselle in addition to a man with a mysterious past.
Although something seems uncertain, it is clear Gracie’s life will be forever changed.
Although it is fate that crosses the paths of Gracie and the opera singer, in reality, some of Weiss’ own life gets woven into the book since she is a gifted singer and instructor.
For the book, Weiss also needed to take on the new role of historian and discover what life was like in the roaring 1920s.
"The challenging part (of writing the book) was weaving my personal visions of the characters into the time period. I wanted the theme of grace to pervade the novel," she said. "Finding ways to incorporate that with out being obvious was tricky. The research took the better part of a year. A 1927 Sears Catalogue provided much about everyday items people used."
This Saturday, Weiss will return once again to the historic village for a book signing at the Eagles Mere Museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A seasoned travel, Weiss had experienced numerous locations that have inspired authors throughout the ages, yet Weiss, decided to pen her first novel in Eagles Mere.
"My husband and I wanted a nice place to stay overnight before returning home in upstate New York from a visit to family in New Jersey," she said.
"I found the Crestmont Inn on the Internet and fell in love. After one night there, staying in what used to be staff quarters built in 1926, now converted to luxury suites, I was inspired to write about that period. I was entranced with Eagles Mere's charm."