“I grew up in a vegetarian bed-and-breakfast in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. Back in the 1970s, my grandparents discovered an old stagecoach stop in ruins and, eager to move on from the New Jersey suburbs, transformed it into a haven for any traveler in search of a bacon-less breakfast.
They found two huge slabs of chestnut in the walls, valuable wood that was apparently hidden from the king’s tax men before the War of Independence. They turned each slab into a table, maintaining the natural edge so that guests had to fit their chairs between its swirls and curves. My grandmother gave me the late-night job of setting the tables for breakfast, and I’d run my hand along the edges with the thought of that wood hidden away so long as the house itself passed through time, rooted in place.”