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House at Royal Oak: Starting Over & Rebuilding a Life One Room at a Time

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  103 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
An unforgettable story about a couple who follow their dream of converting a run-down country house into a working bed and breakfast, and what they learn along the way from an old home, a close-knit community, and a parade of extraordinary guests
Hardcover, 273 pages
Published April 28th 2010 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 218)
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Jackie
Two book people, an editor and a former bookstore owner, married, in their 50s, decide to buy an old, historic house, renovate it, and make it into a bed and breakfast. The dust, must, mistakes, the weird and wonderful neighbors, setbacks and triumphs are all there, as well as some seriously yummy recipes (at least one with a "her way" and a "his way" version)--what's not to love?
Shawna
Nov 03, 2010 Shawna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This delightful book about a husband and wife starting a renewed life as owners of a B&B in Maryland’s eastern shore was a fun vacation read. The naiveté of individuals embarking on an adventure like this always surprises me, and I wonder if it is partly forced in order to make the book more interesting or intriguing. I mean, did they really think taking an abandoned 150 year old house and turning it into a place of luxury would be easy? When part of the foundation requires replacing, you re ...more
Anne
Sep 10, 2010 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The premise of moving to a new area, new culture, and renovating a wreck of a house sounded good, so I bought this book. We had briefly entertained the thought of opening a bed and breakfast in our golden retired years. Let's just say that was a bad idea which we recognized in the nick of time. Anyway, I bought this used from Amazon, for $5, and will pass it along to my friend who has a boat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, reducing the price to $2.50 as I calculate, about right for a disappoin ...more
Steffi Rubin
I enjoyed reading about the journey of this husband and wife who renovated an old St michael's home and created a bed n breakfast. Their motivations and obstacles are as interesting as their process; the growth and stamina of their honest relationship and the stakes of what they set out to do come through without whining or complaining. I would like to stay at Royal Oak sometime, meet them and see the house myself.
Catherine
Jan 06, 2011 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rizzoli and her husband Hugo purchase a rundown home in the Chesapeake Bay with the intent of ditching their jobs, fixing up their new home on meager funds, and turning it into a bed and breakfast.

The process of buying the house takes almost a year, the repairs two years. She takes the reader through the entire process of building their new lives not only with their home repairs and building the business, but a few unexpected life-changing incidents along the way.

I enjoyed reading about her and
...more
Phair
Not as much about the actual renovation of the old house as I'd have liked. Much more about her marriage, the community and the ups & downs of running a B&B. I did like hearing some of the history of the area and there were nice descriptions of nature. At the end are recipes for the favorites from their B&B fare and there is a list of reasons why and why not to open a bed & breakfast that seemed very practical and well thought out. Pleasant enough to read but not memorable for m ...more
Kelly
May 06, 2014 Kelly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was actually surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. It was a quick, easy read and it was very apparent that the author has written for the Smithsonian. She did tend to go off on tangents that were quite enjoyable for me.
Abby Cureton
Apr 28, 2010 Abby Cureton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book I've read in a long, long time. Carol Rizzoli's writing is excellent! I finished the book in one day! I didn't want to put it down.

I'm not at all interested in running a bed and breakfast, but do own my own business, so really enjoyed learning about the couple's experience starting up as well as all of the trials and tribulations they had! If they'd have known what they were getting into, they probably wouldn't have done it.

In opening your home to people, you are opening
...more
Elaine Leahy
She writes in an interesting way but I didn't like remodeling part and skimmed thru it. Interesting guests. I know where Royal Oak is and I'm familiar with the area so I think that is what made it interesting for me
Mary Yerrick
Apr 09, 2014 Mary Yerrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it a lot and think it should be required reading for anyone who thinks they want to operate a B&B. She was very generous with her information. I found out, however, they are now out of the B&B business. They are in the process of selling the house and have moved to New England to pursue other interests.
Kathleen
Sep 09, 2010 Kathleen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A charming memoir about a couple purchasing a run-down, old house on the Eastern Shore, renovating it over the course of a few years, and opening a bed and breakfast. While the tales the author tells are enjoyable, sprinkling local color with personal narrative, she could have used a better editor to help with the pacing and the sudden jumps between topics that were sometimes rather jarring. In addition, there are a few tangential ramblings that don't quite fit in with the flow of the book, thou ...more
Sue
Jan 24, 2011 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
An enjoyable read. My favorite parts were anytime they realized there was a lot more to do for the house than they had estimated, and the descriptions of the couple both DIY-ing;it connected to my memories of my parents redoing a _lot_ of things with our 100-plus yrs. old Victorian. I miss the house, but the book also made me realize that there is a lot of maintenance that goes with a larger, older house, and keeping up would have been too much.
Not that I was interested too much anymore, but now
...more
Marit
Apr 28, 2015 Marit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful, gentle, true story of a couple who makes some brave choices. I love the recipes in the back! I'll be rereading this book periodically for years to come. Truly heartwarming.
Denise
Jan 30, 2015 Denise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Cover to cover in 1 sitting. Excellent!
Kathy
Jul 14, 2013 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This true tale takes the reader behind the scenes of a bed and breakfast on Maryland's Eastern shore. It begins with the renovation of a very old farmhouse and as we all know, you never know what you're going to find in one of these until you start tearing it apart! Woven into the story are the personal lives of the author and her husband who are complete newbies at this sort of thing. Quirky neighbors, medical crises, hurricanes and the incredible scenery of water and wildlife on Chesapeake Bay ...more
Brooke
Oct 05, 2010 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, usa
A good read on the trials, tribulations, and delights of opening a Bed and Breakfast. As a long-time resident of Royal Oak, MD, myself, Rizzoli's account of life on the Eastern Shore is superb. I am particularly found of her manner of describing the lull one easily falls into on the Shore, that lull of enjoying the simple life and cherishing the little things, like fireflies frolicking over the cornfield and the effect of sunset over the myriad creeks winding throughout the Shore.
Sunny
Made me realize I would hate to run a B&B. Just knocked the romance out of that dream!
Tattered Cover Book Store
Jackie says:

Two book people, an editor and a former bookstore owner, married, in their 50s, decide to buy an old, historic house, renovate it, and make it into a bed and breakfast. The dust, must, mistakes, the weird and wonderful neighbors, setbacks and triumphs are all there, as well as some seriously yummy recipes (at least one with a "her way" and a "his way" version)--what's not to love?
Karen
Jan 02, 2011 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story was a little weird with his medical problems, but hey, life is unpredictable. The reasons for becoming/not becoming B&B owners is terrific. Reading this book has fueled my predisposition to ask housekeepers if I can help them make the bed, empty the wastebasket, etc. Let's all be the best guests we can be. The innkeeper's job is tough enough.
Leslie
May 30, 2011 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What a great book! This house is located at the corner of our road. I was fascinated to read of it's humble beginnings and all the hardwork that the owners put into it. Also, as a local it was interesting to read what transplants and the people in their lives think of our area. Not a lot of respect in the beginning but I think we won them over!
Crubano410comcast.comnone
This short book was a pleasant read. If you ever want to open a bed and breakfast in your fifties read this.
Gena
Jun 09, 2011 Gena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was fun to read about an area that I know so well (we used to live about a dozen houses down the road from the Royal Oak House. I thought she kept the narrative moving and when she wrote about the plants, animals, scenery etc. she was very poetic.
Sandy
Oct 31, 2012 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a big fan of B&B's but I do like reading about houses being fixed up. This one had some of that, and also some of the running of the B&B. What I loved was her unrelated comments about life, esp after her husband's close call!
Bethany
Oct 29, 2012 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very true to life, very enjoyable. Took some nice detours into wildlife and community building and other areas. But made me depressed on all the work I have to do on our house.
Torrey
Jul 21, 2011 Torrey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a surprisingly good read. It was quick, interesting and whitty - and it helped that I know exactly where the "house" is located.
Sharon
Oct 25, 2010 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book, I find I need to hold myself back from knocking on the front door to see the place! Wonderful story!
Pam
May 24, 2011 Pam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Especially liked it since we have a home on the Eastern Shore in Royal Oak and personally know many of the characters.
Alison Schwartz
Jan 13, 2011 Alison Schwartz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-clients
A wonderful memoir about having the courage the chase your dreams and live on your own terms. With recipes!!!
Ann
Jun 18, 2012 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read it because it was about a place locally. It was very good. I liked it and would recommend it.
Stacey
Dec 20, 2014 Stacey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, kindle
Good read. Perfectly insightful if you're fanciful about opening a B&B. (I'm not)
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“Hugo’s Prizewinning Praline Pumpkin Pie What does it take to turn out a prizewinning pie? Lots of “mouth feel,” as the saying goes. When the pie cracked as it baked, we added a last-minute ring of pecan praline and that convenient coverall, a small mountain of brandy whipped cream, for first prize in the St. Michaels contest, restaurant division. 9-inch deep-dish pie shell FOR THE FILLING 1 15-ounce can pumpkin, unsweetened 1 cup brown sugar, loosely packed 2 teaspoons cinnamon* ¼ teaspoon cloves* 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated ¼ teaspoon salt 2/3 cup whipping cream 2/3 cup milk 4 eggs FOR THE PRALINE 3 tablespoons flour 3 tablespoons brown sugar 2 tablespoons butter, softened ¾ cup pecan halves FOR THE CREAM ½ pint whipping cream 1 tablespoon sugar 1 tablespoon brandy Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Partly bake the pie shell on the middle oven rack for about 10 minutes until it looks set. In a food processor, blend the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and salt for one minute. In a heavy saucepan, cook this pumpkin mixture at a simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Remove pumpkin from the heat and stir in the cream and milk. Whisk eggs to combine whites and yolks and blend thoroughly into the pumpkin mixture. Pour this into the pie shell, adding any extra filling after the pie has baked for about 5 minutes. Bake the pie on the lower oven rack for about 20 minutes and prepare the praline. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and butter and stir in the pecans. Remove the pie from the oven and spoon the pecan mixture in a circle around the edge of the pie, inside the crust, and return it to the oven. Continue baking for about 10 minutes more until the filling is puffed and wiggles very slightly when the pie is gently shaken. Cool on a wire rack. Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff, then stir in the brandy. When the pie is completely cool, mound the cream on top, inside the ring of pecans. Serve right away or refrigerate. Serves 6 to 8. *Freshly ground cinnamon and cloves are best, but spice straight from the jar will do.” 1 likes
“Eastern Shore Breakfast Pudding Eggs, cheddar, ham or sausage, and bread baked together in the rich tradition of English savory puddings. This rib-sticking main course is equally delicious in a vegetarian rendition. 4 thick slices white bread, torn into quarters ¾ pound cooked ham, thinly sliced and chopped (or 1 pound sausage meat, cooked and drained) 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated ½ medium onion, minced 1 sweet red pepper, diced 1 tablespoon olive oil 6 eggs 2 cups milk ¼ teaspoon salt Black and red pepper to taste Pinch of nutmeg Parsley to garnish Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a deep 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Lay bread in the dish, covering the bottom, and top with the ham or sausage and cheese. In a small pan, sauté the onion and red pepper in oil until fragrant and softened, about 5 minutes, and layer on top of the cheese. Whisk together the eggs and milk, salt, peppers, and nutmeg. Pour the mixture over the bread, meat, vegetables, and cheese. Bake for about one hour, until the pudding is puffed, firm, and golden brown. Tent with foil if necessary to prevent too much browning. Cut into four squares, garnish with parsley, and serve along with Old Bay potatoes (below), steamed asparagus, and broiled tomatoes. You shouldn’t see a hungry guest again until dinnertime. Note: For vegetarians, substitute for the meat a cup each of lightly steamed broccoli cut into small florets and thinly sliced, sautéed zucchini—both well drained. Serves 4.” 0 likes
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