Skylands Visitors Magazine
Review of Chestnut Hill Inn by Mary Jasch
Skylands Visitor Magazine, 2002


You’ll Be Dreamin’



Linda and Rob Castagna have been Innkeepers for 20 years at Chestnut Hill on the Delaware. Their secret? “We love each other. We love working together,” says Linda. The two houses, built in 1860, hold six rooms and three suites. In the main house, cozy settings breathe energy for being social in the living room. Big black walnut cabinets, the gift galley, span a long wall and hold memorabilia of the inn. Plants and flowers are everywhere. The chandelier in the dining room is a showstopper with brilliant drap-ing crystals, and showcases are filled with Rob’s collections of beads, bottles, books, tools and other old-time items found behind the house’s walls and in the Delaware River. In the guest rooms there are whirlpool tubs and murals, and over 200 Teddy Bears. Feather beds will make you feel like you’re floating on a cloud.

The main inn is next door. Linda indulges her love for decorating with remembered pleasures in the Country Cottage. There’s The Palms—a suite with a breakfast nook in the bay window, pretty in the sun. The Paradise Room is not lost, but alive with trees and pink flamingos. Mosquito netting with little stars floating on top drapes the canopy bed, and there’s a big stuffed chair to curl up in. The bathroom is a trip—a heated glass floor that warms you from the bottom up, mirrored walls, glass shower, whirlpool, walls painted with exotic fish, seahorses and grass above handmade ocean-wave wall tiles from Spain. There are bubbles on the ceiling, and spangled starfish decorate the windowsills. Everything is perfect. “I’m a dreamer. The world can be so harsh, so I try to create an atmosphere where people feel good. It’s so much fun to let my imagination go.”

The long mahogany veranda on the front of the house faces the Delaware. Lay back and watch the river flow on a lazy dreaming day or walk across the yard to a terraced garden that slopes to the water’s edge. The river is peaceful, shallow and inviting. Go ahead, take a dip. Bring your own boat or rent one nearby, or go river tubing. “There’s no better spot to sit and watch the river than from the terrace that Rob made.” Walk down to a dock where you can lie in the afternoon sun and watch the fish in the shallow water.

Linda says “I want people to feel loved and hugged and cared for by the surroundings, and still experience their privacy. It’s just the sense that we’ve taken care of things and that they feel like they count and that they’re special. And you can’t beat the river.”