Dear Jim and Nancy Thomasson,

I was afraid it was coming. And now, with sadness, I see you have the Inn at Maple Crossing up for sale. You say this is bittersweet.

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For years, it has been my custom to travel over to Erskine and then down to your Inn for lunch. You know I would come there with Ann Porter, Jan Olson and Marijo Shide (who moved on to heaven last year).

You would welcome us, and we would browse around in your elegant gift shop. Jim would be waiting with excellent luncheon fare in the gracious dining room. I remember when you two refurbished the Inn at Maple Crossing. You sold the bed and breakfast you had been operating in Virginia. Jim had taught some classes at Georgetown.

The Inn at Maple Crossing is a 19th-century country inn style. It has 16 rooms, all with baths. I always liked your library sitting room and the porch that looks out over Maple Lake.

And I know that Nancy was a member of the Maves family in Crookston. The Maves had a summertime cottage on Maple Lake. It was near the Inn you have been operating.

Since 1880s

History tells us the inn began in the original log cabin moved to the site in the 1880s by John Buhn, a Norwegian immigrant.

From 1890 and on, additional rooms were added. And by 1903, it was a 35-room hotel available for summer rentals. In those days, some people would rent for an entire season.

That was before my time here in the northland. But I was acquainted to the elegant Sunday dinners with chicken and lemon meringue pie by the late Virginia Satrom. She invited me to go with her. The Buhn sisters, Dora and Clarice, wouldn't serve anyone they didn't know.

Memories linger

Well, they are long gone. The memories linger on. You two rebuilt and enlarged the gracious lakeside hotel. You served as warm, caring hosts there since 1996. Now you are retiring and moving into Crookston.

That's where you grew up, Nancy, as a daughter of the late Russel and Eleanore Maves. Your dad ran Maves Optical. And, in the 1970s, he operated the former Upper Deck restaurant in Crookston. It was a fabulous upstairs restaurant. Oh, the memories!

I hope someone will carry on the Inn at Maple Crossing with the same high standards. I know times change. Your excellent old fashioned friendliness always will be remembered with high regard.

Your friend, Marilyn.

P.S.: Among the many things your patrons will miss is your traditional Valentine's dinner. It was served in seven courses with poetry readings and music in between.