If you happen to be in New Hope for New Hope Celebrates Pridefest 2019 later this month or in Bucks County any other time, stop by Wishing Well B&B, where you’ll find Scott Drake, PGN’s former design director.
The PGN staffer and longtime photographer spent the better part of the last decade putting together ads and layouts for the newspaper as well as running all over creation to photograph events covered in PGN’s pages.
If you think of PGN as The Black Pearl from “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the publisher is Captain Jack Sparrow, the editor (whomever that may be at the time) is Captain Barbosa, and for the longest time Drake was first mate, Mister Gibbs; ever capable, immensely knowledgeable, surrounded by chaos he did not create, somewhat overtaxed and always ready to roll up his sleeves and get the job done, sometimes warily and through gritted teeth.
After numerous tours of Gayborhood duty, Drake decided to hang up his journalistic commission with the SS PGN on April 19, and shift employment gears and his direction in life by venturing to New Hope, where he and his fiancé, Micheal, own and operate a rustic bed and breakfast on Old York Road.
Drake has some tangential experience is housing people. He was the landlord for a building in Philadelphia and rented apartments to tenants. Still, he said, being a host and cook in the bucolic lush natural surroundings of New Hope will likely be less stressful than being a landlord in the city.
“I imagine that when it comes to filling the property, it’ll be a lot more fun and easy to get people to want to stay for a weekend than it was for someone to want to commit to a year’s lease,” he said.
Soon after Drake moved out of Philadelphia, PGN caught up with him as he ran some errands in downtown New Hope. Drake said that while operating a B&B isn’t as fast-paced as covering the news and arts community of Philadelphia is, it still has its challenges.
“It has its own unique set of running around and getting things done,” he said of how things have changed for him. “But it’s also a little bit easier because everything is within a block or two of wherever we need to go; the hardware store or the grocery store or whatever. Certainly, parking is no longer an issue, which is nice.
“No day is like any other. We’re trying to get everything established. We spend a lot of time just settling our own stuff in and integrating it into the house. We have our own antiques and things. Outside of the house we find that marketing, even in town, is going to be more crucial than we thought. There’s a lot of places in town that haven’t even heard of the Wishing Well. We find that mind-boggling because it’s been there 19 years.”
For anyone who knows Drake, the idea of him running a B&B isn’t a surprise, except for the fact that he’s setting up shop in New Hope. To put it mildly, Drake abhors cold weather. We’re not talking about freezing temperatures either. He hates any outside temperature below 60 degrees with a righteous passion. He’s happiest when the mercury is somewhere in a neighborhood North of 90 degrees. So, it was generally believed that if he was ever going to live this B&B dream, it would be in a warmer locale such as one of his favorites, Key West, Fla.
“No realtor in Key West offered to help us buy a guest house down there,” Drake said about choosing New Hope for the next phase of his life. “This was all kismet. We made a comment to a a realtor last spring. We said casually that it would be nice if we could buy a bed and breakfast. He said, ‘we could find a way to make it work.’ It took a few different false starts, but we did find a way to make it work.”
Drake added winters will be much easier for him to tolerate when he doesn’t have to ride a bike or catch public transportation to work in frigid temperatures and inclement weather anymore, and he can ride things out not unlike the bear on the Sleepytime Tea box.
“In the dead of winter [New Hope is] not exactly a big tourist spot,” he said. “It’s more of a Spring, Summer and Fall area, and even into the holidays. So honestly a nice fire in the fireplace in the winter and a good book and I don’t care if I’m snowed in.”
Drake, an accomplished and award-winning photographer, said that one of the benefits of running the Wishing Well is that it will give him the time and the location for him to shift his talents as a shutterbug more in an artistic direction as opposed to the weekly routine of photojournalism.
“I had lost that time and interest over the years because I spent so much time doing it for work,” he said. “Now I can go back out and shoot again for my own pleasure and explore a whole new area. Bucks County had got a lot to offer for photography. ”
For more information on Wishing Well B&B, 144 Old York Road, New Hope, visit www.wishingwellbnb.com.
New Hope Celebrates Pridefest will sponsor events starting May 11. The Pride Parade and Fair is set for Saturday May 18 with Sunday Funday May 19. For more information about Pride events in New Hope, visit https://www.newhopecelebrates.com.